Cliffbee.com: Grandus Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Grandus
Series: Japanese Generation 1
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Robot Base
Alternate Mode: Aircraft Carrier, Base

Thanks to heroic decepticon for loaning me Grandus for this review



AIRCRAFT CARRIER MODE
Height: 15cm Length: 23.5cm Width: 26.5cm

   A black brick with a a couple of large grey stickers on top, featuring white, yellow and red markings indicating a runway and helipad. There's a red control tower on the right side, along with the white platform that carries the helipad and various red guns on both the right and left sides (with more of them on the left). There are some pale yellow radar-dish like add-ons on the front, rounding out a simple colour scheme.

   This is more of a rolling aircraft platform than a naval aircraft carrier. There are grey treads on either side - which are quite small & diminutive - they're easily to miss. There are white wheels underneath these treads, although he doesn't roll well. There's a white gear at the front, turning it will cause all four radar attachments to rotate. It's worth mentioning that most of the red guns, the control tower and yellow radar pieces are all add-on weapons (although unlike many of the bases of this era, they can remain attached as he transforms). There's a yellow "towbar" that extends from the front, allowing Grandus to be towed by Star Convoy, which is a nice feature.

   This is very much a "third" mode - it's not a whole lot more than the robot lying down and it feels like it. Granted there's enough room on top for 4-6 Micromaster aircraft, but there's a brickiness to this mode which is made worse by the proliferation of small coloured attachments.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Stand him up, fold the feet in. Detach the helipad from the back of his right arm and attach to the side of this same arm. Rotate the various guns forward. That's it. No, really, it is.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 24cm Width: 23cm

   A white brick with black arms, red and feet, Grandus has various blue, red and silver stickers, including a large one on his chest with a red Autobot logo. The yellow radar array is now around his head, which features a simple silver face and blue eyestrip. The red guns are prominent on his feet, shoulders and to a lesser extent on the sides of his thighs. The colour scheme is simple and somewhat reliant on the stickers for colour, but works well enough.

   Whenever Grandus is discussed, I've noticed the work "brick" comes up a lot, and now that he's standing in front of me, I can see why. This block has no real shape, rather it's a boxy with feet, arms and a head. There's no gap between the legs , no real waist and very short thighs anyway. I can't say he looks impressive, even with his size, since he really is a lump, but the weaponry looks good.

   The play value here is fairly minimal. The helipad forms a nice shield and between the 7 guns on his shoulders, legs and feet (all of which can be aimed), Grandus has a total of 18 barrels. The radar array can spin in this mode - and this gimmick is more sensible now, since they're on top (and oriented the right way). His arms swing at the shoulders - representing all of his poseability. The hands are claws, but these claws are fixed.

   Well, he's an unposeable brick - and is actually shaped like a brick. It's a very limited robot mode, but at least the radar gimmick works well and there are lot of guns here. I can't say it's a great robot mode - or even a good one - but it works well enough to support the base mode, which is the main show here.

TRANSFORMATION TO BASE MODE

   Fold the feet out. Fold down the front, fold down a ramp on the front, attach two white ramps to either side of what was the chest. Reposition the guns on the feet. Detach the shield and attach to the top of his right shoulder as a helipad.

BASE MODE
Height: 24cm Width: 27cm

   A black tower with a black platform in front, complete with three white ramps. Again he's complete with red guns and yellow radar dishes. The silver & blue face is clearly visible. There are two grey platforms visible inside the tower, on the left side, while the right side features a single white platform. The colours are similar to those of robot mode, with more black and fewer stickers. While the colour scheme is simplest here, this is where the action is.

   The brick has opened up to form a great battle station for Micromasters. The radar arrays still work, but become a sideshow now. There are two yellow "repair" claws above the lower grey platform, while the white platform is actually a working lift - which is manipulated using the same dial that turns the radar. There's a simple but powerful yellow slingshot - like launcher on the front, which will happily send a Micromaster parked in front of it down the ramp and across the table. There's a slot which allows a Micro-Trailer (not included, but available with most other releases in the same series) underneath the grey "repair" platform. Between the ramps, launcher, platforms & helipad, there's room for at least 8 Micromasters, and more space in the driveways behind the launcher - making this a versatile & useful base mode. On top of all this, he's armed with all those red guns he had in robot mode.

   I think I'd pretty much covered the play value, and while it's easily to see the robot mode here, this base mode still works really well. It's actually enough to justify the extreme blockiness of the robot mode. The lift is great and the other platforms really bring a lot, in that he can house Micromasters standing in robot mode - most bases accommodate smaller Transformers in vehicle mode.

   It probably goes without saying by this point that this is Grandus' stronger mode, and given that most of the engineering is for this mode, that makes sense. There's a lot of good play value and he's a fun playset for your Micromasters. The colours do their job and there's just so much happening here.


SPINNER
Alternate Mode: Police Car

POLICE CAR MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 3cm

   A white Cybertronian sports car with blue painted windows and strobes on top, Spinner sports black stickers on his doors reading "POLICE" and a black sticker on the hood with a blue police badge. There's a grey spoiler on the back (which looks very kibbly) and grey plastic tyres. The colours are good enough for a police car without working all that well visually - they're just a tad messy.

   As mentioned, he's a "Cybertronian" car, in that the shape is anchored in fantasy. The front is essentially a nose while there are some angles towards the rear. There's a engineblock at the back, which is composed of unpainted white plastic (which lessens the visual impact of this scupting). The play value is limited to his wheels turning.

   A decent police car, although a more realistic shape would have helped a lot - and he should have been better in this respect.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold over the front to form legs, fold down the spoiler as his chest and stand Spinner up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm Width: 3cm

   Spinner has a grey chest, yellow head and groin, grey thighs, white boots and white arms. The face is unpainted yellow plastic, and while this sort of colour tends to drown out finer detail, there's not much on his face anyway.

   Play vale is limited to swinging arms - well aside from the 37 places you can position on Grandus in his various mode.

   Aside from the unpainted face this is a good robot mode. The colours are slightly unusual - white and yellow together - but he still works well enough, since the two are separated by the grey.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Grandus was only sold in Japan, and late in their G1 run.

OVERALL

   A good set on the back of an excellent and _fun_ base mode, Grandus is a brick but he's a fun brick and Spinner, which having some flaws, is a good Micromaster companion. It's a shame this toy didn't see a wider release as it's the best Micromaster base. I'd recommend it beyond the limited robot & aircraft carriers modes. Spinner is a solid sidekick despite some limitations. If you have the funds and are interested in a true "City" transformer, Grandus is worthwhile - 8/10

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