"Transformers Adventure" Battle Grimlock Toy Review

in 2015, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dinobot, Robots in Disguise (2015), Transformers Adventures, Voyager


Battle Grimlock General Information:
Release Date: October 24, 2015
Price Point: $30-40 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: Japanese Market Only
Accessories: Sword, Shield

Tech Specs (Translation by Doug Dlin):
Grimlock was originally a Decepticon. He was captured as a convict, but as an Autobot, through his numerous battles with Decepticons from Underbite onward, he has gained experience and boosted both his strength and speed. In addition, Grimlock never used to give teamwork a second thought, but while spending time as a member of Team Bumblebee, he has learned the importance of his comrades and of cooperation in battle, and has definitely been growing as a warrior. Grimlock has now become the indispensable combat strength of the Autobots, and he battles with more heroism than ever before—not for himself, but for his teammates and the entire world!

The "Robots in Disguise" toy line largely focuses on a younger audience who may have moved beyond "Rescue Bots", but are not quite yet at the point where they are jumping on the "Generations" bandwagon. That meant when Hasbro developed the toy line, much of it focused on simpler transformations and less complex figures (including One Step Changers, Three Step Changers and Legion Class figures). While the Warrior Class represents figures that lean towards the "Generations" collector, fans who wanted a big Grimlock to go with their Warrior Class figures only had the 3 Step Changer to turn to - until October of 2015 that is!

Since the Japanese market tends to cater more towards animation accuracy and more complex figures, Takara Tomy decided to create a different Grimlock figure for release in Japan. Using the Voyager Class Grimlock figure from the "Fall of Cybertron" series, Takara Tomy made significant changes to the figure to create Battle Grimlock. Check out my original review for my original thoughts on the base sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. For the purposes of this review, I've compared this figure's sculpt to the "Age of Extinction" version of the "Generations" figure.

Grimlock is packaged in robot mode inside a window box. The design is very bright and cheery, similar to the "Robots in Disguise" packaging. The box has a white background with the modern Transformers logo set vertically on the right side. Above that is a version of the scannable Autobot symbol found on the figure itself. The character's name is along the bottom written in both English and Japanese. The other side shows a thin section of Grimlock's artwork. He has a screaming look on his face that makes him look funny and crazy all at the same time. The window is large and lets you see most of the figure. Above the character's name is a photo of the toy in beast mode. The back of the box features all sorts of text (some of which I'm assuming is standard legal text), but it also has a tech spec with a photo of the figure in a battle scene. It's nice packaging and evokes the Voyager Class figures from "Generations".

Battle Grimlock includes two accessories: a sword and shield. Both of these are the same sculpts that came with the "Generations" Voyager Class Grimlock. Both accessories are cast in translucent yellow plastic. Gunmetal grey is used to paint in detailing. I was surprised to see just how much. On the shield the center is painted and on the sword the handle, hilt and even part of the blade section is painted. That's a lot more attention than accessories generally get nowadays so I was very happy to see this. Both accessories have 5mm pegs that allow you to attach them to Grimlock's arms or in the case of the sword have him hold it in his hands.

Robot Mode:
With most redecos/retools nowadays one or two parts get replaced, new colors are slapped on and there you go. Often this is enough to make a cool toy. However, the folks at Takara Tomy decided just a new head or chest plate wasn't enough and they decided to go all out with the retooling. Here's a rundown of what's been changed from the "Generations" version of the sculpt to this one:

  • Head: The head is a brand new sculpt, featuring Grimlock's look from the animated series. This includes a pronounced crest and two small "antennae" sticking out to the sides at angles. The middle feels a tad thinner than he is drawn on the TV show, but it still looks great.
  • Torso: The entire chest to mid-body section is a new piece. This follows the animation design with flatter panels than the "Generations" version and small line details etched into them. This also has "collar" pieces that come up on the sides of the head that help frame the head sculpt.
  • Hip/Waist: This section is also a brand new piece. Instead of the series of raised and indented lines from the "Generations" version, this one is more flat with line details etched into it.
  • Shoulders: Instead of the round shoulders of "Generations" Grimlock, Battle Grimlock has armor pieces on the shoulders that start round at the bottom but then sweep up high to panels that actually go higher than the robot head.
  • Thighs: The top part of the thighs is a different piece than "Generations" Grimlock. Instead of just being rounded, this one features a panel that covers up the hip joint via a beveled rectangular piece.
  • Lower legs: The lower legs become significant parts of the beast mode so it's no shock these have been changed. The knee armor is more angled and sticks out more than the one on "Generations" Grimlock. You'll also find raised rectangles under the knee armor that become the "ridges/plates" on the back of the beast mode.

Whew! As you can see that is a lot of changes made to the figure. That's easily 60-70% of the parts having been redone and that's just really impressive. Retooling this many parts represents a huge investment on Takara tomy's part and I'm glad the effort was put into this release.

Grimlock is cast in black, green and grey plastic. Black and green make up most of the figure with the grey used on smaller parts like parts of the knees and the shoulder joints. Paint applications are done in yellow, green, grey and blue. The yellow is found on the face and the rectangular "lights" on his shoulders. Green is used to paint parts of the legs, arms and the are around the head. Grey is used fore smaller detailing such as his feet and the raised sections on his forearms. Blue is used to paint the robot eyes. Overall the deco looks great. In particular I'm very happy with the small yellow details on his shoulders, forearms and legs which call back to the yellow "lights" on Grimlock in the cartoon. This is a detail that's not really addressed at all in the "Robots in Disguise" line so it's great to see it here.

Grimlock has twenty one points of articulation in this form. This includes five in each arm and leg. You can attach the shield to either of the forearms. His sword's handle is a 5mm peg that fits into his hands without a problem. If you want his hands free, just use the peg on the side of the sword to attach it to his forearm in the same way as the shield. From a functional standpoint he's definitely fun to play with.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. On each forearm, swing the bottom of the forearm down, them swing the fists in.
  3. Push the robot feet in.
  4. Swing the top panel of each lower leg up and over the thighs.
  5. Connect the robot legs together, forming the tail and part of the beast mode's back.
  6. On the back, swing the section up that forms the front of the beast mode.
  7. Push the beast mode head and neck up.
  8. Rotate the beast mode arms so they are pointing forward.
  9. Rotate the robot arms so the tabs on the side of the chest panels match up to the tabs on the inside of the robot shoulder armor. Push the shoulder armor section in to connect it to the tab.
  10. The shield and sword can be attached to the sides of the beast mode legs.

Beast Mode:
With many retools most of the effort goes into one mode (generally the robot mode) leaving the other mode looking very similar to the original sculpt. Not so with Grimlock! Part of this is thanks to how many parts from the robot mode carry over into this one. Here's a rundown of what's been changed:

  • Head: The beast mode head and neck are completely new pieces. The head design features the "crown" like plates on top and the oversized lower jaw reminiscent of the 1998 "Godzilla" design. The neck section is designed to look like overlapping armor plates which is quite different from the "Generations" version of the figure. One of my favorite details on this figure is an eyelid over the eye which gives him a mean and expressive look.
  • Upper body: The section right behind the neck is all now, featuring sleek, angled lines in place of the "Generations" version's chunkier torso section. It also features raised plates on the back that also evoke the classic "Godzilla" profile. Note: the beast mode arms are still the same three fingered pieces used for the "Generations" Grimlock figure.
  • Legs: Since the robot arms form the legs, the top half of the legs are automatically different, with the high shoulder armor coming up over a bit in the middle.
  • Tail: The tail now features ridges that look like smaller versions of the plate on the upper body.

Grimlock mostly shows off his green and black plastic in this mode. The grey plastic appears on the head and arms. The paint colors in this mode really show how dedicated Takara Tomy was to making this figure special. green paint is used on the head and along the length of the body on parts like the plates on his back and parts of the tail. Yellow is found on his "crown" and the sides of his jaw hinges. Little spots of yellow are found on the legs, giving them more of the "glowing light" details. Gunmetal grey is found on the knees, adding a nice, metallic splash of color.

One of my absolute favorite details is one of the smallest. On the sides of the legs are details that look like turbines. Each line forming a circle in this section is painted silver. This is a really tiny detail and it adds a lot to the overall look of this section. I'm very pleasantly surprised that this detail was painted at all! The finishing touch is a scannable Autobot symbol on the left leg.

There are eleven points of articulation in this mode. Unfortunately the beast mode arms still pop off fairly easily (a flaw carried over from previous versions of the sculpt) but they do snap right back on. His jaw can open and close and thanks to his huge chin and sharp looking teeth it looks really cool. Due to the head and neck piece being new, the light and jaw opening feature from the "Generations" version of this sculpt was dropped from this version of the sculpt, but honestly I didn't miss it much.

Final Thoughts:
Battle Grimlock is a textbook example of how a retool and redeco of a figure should be done. The retooling is impressive in scope and the paint job in both modes looks fantastic. On top of all this fans can now have a Grimlock that will be larger than the Warrior Class figures like Strongarm while having articulation and cool weapons. I love this figure!

Note:It was revealed at Toy Fair 2016 that this sculpt would be used as part of a two pack with Bumblebee as a "Platinum Edition" release so it looks like if you missed out on the Japanese release you may have a shot at a U.S. release. The exact price and retailer has yet to be revealed officially at the time I am writing this review but if it's like other "Platinum" releases it should be readily available online.