Cliffbee.com: Botcon Grimlock Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Grimlock
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Evil Autobot
Alternate Mode: T-Rex



T-REX MODE
Height: 15cm Length: 20cm Width: 8cm

   A dark grey Tyrannosaurus rex, Grimlock is a repaint of the Classics toy of the same name, using a darker grey and different supporting colours. The paint mask is fairly similar, to retain a "Grimlock" feel. The gold on his claws and neck is replaced with silver, giving him the distinctive collar. There are elements of jade, purple and orange here and there, giving Grimlock a colour scheme which strongly resembles that of Trypticon (the most prominent G1 Decepticon T-rex). The eyes and a patch on top of his head are transparent orange - the patch is there to give Grimlock a lightpipe effect. There's no rubsign this time, although the indentation near the left hip is still discernible. On the one hand the colour set works well and the silver collar helps remind us that this is Grimlock in another incarnation, but on the other the colours scream out "Trypticon!". Personally, the link to the Decepticon city Transformers is not an issue, but I could understand some being bothered.

   When the toy that would originally become Grimlock was originally designed, the T-Rex was thought to walk with its head held high and tail dragging behind. Scientists have since revised theories regarding this dinosaur and now believe the T-Rex walking on two legs with the tail and head level with one another (think of a seesaw in mid swing). This toy is designed to work in either position, allowing both show accuracy and realism. The detailing is purely robotic, ensuring Grimlock looks like a G1 update rather than a beast era toy - the designer has done a good job of making this distinction clear. I appreciate that this is a modern design which has a G1 feel to it.

   Grimlock now sports a black missile launcher on his back - and while it's detachable you're probably better off leaving it there, since the post it attaches to looks odd on its own. Essentially the launcher sits over his back, and resembles a bayonet. It's not really a traditional Dinobot weapon, but then I guess they had to do something to give Grimlock an alt-mode weapon - standard in the Classics line. The launcher holds a single transparent orange missile, which fires quite well. If you've got Grimlock in taildragging mode, the upwards angle makes for a spectacular launch (and if you're not careful, a hunt for the missile over the other side of the room).

   As well as the missile launcher, Grimlock also gains some poseability. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and rotate. There's also some movement in the claws, allowing for stable walking poses. The short forelimbs are on restricted ball joints and move about as much as you'd expect vestigial arms to. His head can lift up and down (which allows for both standing poses) while the lower jaw opens and shuts. The tail is composed of four segments and a tip, all of which can swing from side-to-side, giving Grimlock a poseable tail, with joints tight enough that it'll hold the pose you give it.

   A good dinosaur mode that's both anatomically updated and able to tribute the older style stance of G1. The deliberately robotic sculpt really helps this figure succeed in feeling like a G1 Dinobot. I appreciate the poseability here, even if I don't think too much of where the missile launcher sits. The colours do a good job of bringing a more sinister feel to the mould, while still retaining some Grimlock in this toy - although there's a very strong hint of Trypticon here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove and set aside the tail and missile launcher. Pull out the front of the dinosaur to form legs, lifting up the upper jaw to form the feet and lowering the lower jaw to form heelspurs. Split the legs and fold away the forelimbs, fold back panels to reveal the waist. The upper body goes through several twists and folds. The hindlegs become the robot arms in a fashion similar to those of Pretender Grimlock. The tail becomes a handheld whip and the launcher also becomes a handheld weapon.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 8cm

   A dark grey and black robot with jade on his shoulders and groin, Grimlock has a purple chest and some orange hints here and there. much of the body is grey while the thighs, groin, waist and head are black. His face is silver with a transparent orange eyestrip and a useful lightpipe. There's also a transparent orange circle on his chest. The head very much fits the stereotypical Grimlock head. The colours again remind of Trypticon, although the head is all Grimlock - making this mode far less ambiguous. There are purple stamped Autobot logos on either shoulder.

   One of the things that really bugged me about the Classics Grimlock toy was the presence of screws on his shoulders. While those screws are here, the teal paint on his shoulders, along with the Evil Autobot logos, draw your attention sufficiently - they're no longer a significant flaw. The boots are huge in proportion to the thighs, and while he looks fine in standing poses, it does look a little strange once you try for dynamic poses (as well as causing stability problems). The mid section of the dinosaur body unfolds to reveal the head, with the black panels folding out to form shoulderpads. While these pads have tabs that correspond to sockets on the torso, they don't line up correctly - instead the panels sit slightly higher than they should. The mould's flaws haven't been fixed here, but the most visually dominant has been neutralised, which I really appreciate.

   The level of detail here is generally good, in contrast to some of the sloppy aspects I've just mentioned. This robot mode feels like it was slightly rushed - a lot of effort has been put in, but a few more tweaks were needed. The transformation which brings us to this point is quite clever, and while it's not the same as G1 Grimlock's, it's quite cool. The T-rex head is now his feet while the hindclaws sit behind his forearms. The shoulders would look really nice if they didn't have the screws so prominent, and the head fits the character perfectly.

   Grimlock's poseability is good although with some limitations. The head turns, although the loose shoulderplates will try come with it, so you have to grasp these before you move his head. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows are hinged and there are rotators just above the elbows themselves. The wrists are fixed - they had to be really, with the claws attached directly below. The waist rotates and the hips are ball jointed, while the knees, ankles and heelspurs are all hinged. The legs take a little bit of work in some action poses, since the knees are quite high, but once you find a stable pose Grimlock will hold it. The high knees are actually kneecaps - from the inside of either leg you can see proper boots, with the knee joints sitting behind and below the kneecaps. Combined with the poseable tailwhip and missile launcher, the poseability gives Grimlock good play value, although the weight of the tailwhip limits his stability a little.   

   The loose shoulderplates are still an issue, but the smart use of paint on his shoulders makes this a better robot mode than the Classics toy has. Okay, so this one isn't as accurate to the original character, but aesthetically it works better. The colours again work well, and there's a lot more Grimlock here, pushing the Trypticon undertones aside. The T-red mode is stronger, mouldwise, but the repaint works better in this mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Grimlock was available exclusively at BotCon 2008 as part of the Shattered Glass set.

OVERALL

   A good mould which provides a nice update to the character concept, the new transformation is interesting that the play value is strong. The colours tread a fine line between keeping Grimlock grey and making sure this is not the Grimlock we knew previously. By using the colour set of Trypticon, he straddles the divide between Autobot & Decepticon, and while not everyone will appreciate the strong hints of another character here, the colour scheme works well aesthetically, and does make for a good exclusive - 8/10

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