"Generations" Platinum Edition "Robots in Disguise" Grimlock & Bumblebee 2 Pack Toy Review
Release Date: June 15, 2016
Price Point: $59.99 (US Price)
Retailer: Entertainment Earth Exclusive (US), General release (Singapore), Toys R Us (Canada)
Accessories: Shield (Grimlock), Sword (Grimlock), Sword (Bumbleee)
Official images from Toys R Us Canada. Text below in italics are from Entertainment Earth
Transform your toybox with the Transformers Asia Kids Day Robots in Disguise Premium Grimlock and Bumblebee 2-Pack - an Exclusive! This premium pack portrays protagonists Grimlock and Bumblebee in a whole new light. Sure, they may spend all day in a junk yard, but in this set they have a shiny new finish and some cool new features! Bring home two of the most popular characters from Transformers: Robots in Disguise with this awesome boxed set of transforming plastic action figures.
Bumblebee is the new boss! He's not the same as the old boss - with Optimus Prime otherwise occupied, our yellow friend leads a group of cadets and misfits on Earth to stop invading Decepticons from trashing the planet and hurting their human allies. This Bumblebee action figure goes through a 7-step change to a car and back again, standing 5-inches tall and ready to save the day. With enhanced paint job, you'll marvel at his headlights, his cool blue wheel rims, and just oodles of toy detail like you've never seen before. There's never been a better 'Bee! He even includes a unique sword - check out the enhanced hilt, now decorated silver and redesigned with a new guard. Don't miss this one - or his big green friend! Bumblebee sports 14 points of articulation.
Grimlock was a Decepticon, but he had a change of heart. Being disguised as a giant robotic dinosaur won't help him blend in easily on Earth, but he'll fit right in with your other awesome Autobots. His awesome 4 1/2-inch sword is almost as tall as other Autobots, and this towering terror stands over 7-inches tall in his robot form. Carefully redesigned with an awesome 10-step transformation, Grimlock features a chomping dinosaur jaw, over 15 points of articulation in robot mode, an awesome green shield, and a more complex transformation than any other Grimlock from Robots in Disguise on the market. With blue eyes, yellow highlights, and a candy-like finish you simply can't get a better Grimlock - so grab this one for extra transformation fun!
Disclosure: This two pack was provided to Ben's World of Transformers by Entertainment Earth for review purposes.
Introduced several years ago, the "Platinum" line of Transformers figures has largely focused on Generation One inspired characters such as last year's Triple Changer two pack and Trypticon reissue. Starting in 2016 however the "Robots in Disguise" line joined the line in a special two pack featuring Bumblebee and Grimlock. Depending on where you are this two pack was available at different venues. In Singapore (where it was spotted first) it was available at mass retail. In Canada it was sold at Toys R Us. In the United States this set was exclusive to Entertainment Earth.
This two pack features the Warrior Class version of Bumblebee. This base sculpt has been used several times in the "Robots in Disguise" and "Adventure" toy lines. Here's a rundown of various versions released so far:
- Warrior Class Bumblebee
- Night Ops Bumblebee
- Night Strike Bumblebee
- Clash of the Transformers Bumblebee
- Supreme Bumblebee
For reference, I'd say reading over the first Warrior Class Bumblebee review will do nicely since it goes into the most detail about the sculpt and deco.
The sculpt used for the Grimlock figure in this two pack began life as "Generations" Voyager Class Grimlock. It would later be given a new deco and released as "Age of Extinction" Target exclusive Grimlock. Eventually the figure was retooled and given a new deco and released as "Adventure" Battle Grimlock. It is this last version of the figure that was given a new deco for this release. Check out that review to see the detailed list of changes made to the figure.
The Platinum Edition packaging is very similar to the current Generations packaging. The box is rectangular and features a large window in the front allowing you to see both figures clearly. The front and sides are black and the right hand side has the "Generations" logo with an Autobot symbol on top and the "Transformers" logo set vertically under it. The bottom of the front shows off the "Platinum Edition" name along with the names of the characters. The back of the packaging uses a grey backdrop with a grid on it (echoing Generation One packaging) with photos of the figures on top of it. A brief bio write up is on the left in several languages with legal information on the corner. For the Entertainment Earth release of the figure an additional sticker has been added to the front with the Entertainment Earth logo. Overall it's a really nice looking package and thanks to the deco on the figures it really does look like something that should sit on a shelf alongside other Platinum releases.
The color swaps on Bumblebee are very straight forward. The designers started with the first Warrior Class Bumblebee figure and took the yellow plastic and replaced it with gold. All the other parts including the translucent blue, silver and black all remain the same. The deco pattern is similar to the first release of this sculpt, but instead of a flat black color a really nice gunmetal grey paint is used to provide detailing. This gunmetal is used on the arms, chest, crest and feet. The feet are particularly notable because they were not painted on the original version of the figure. Yellow paint is used on the lower legs and the face is painted silver with blue eyes. The deco is topped off with a scannable Autobot symbol in the center of the chest. This is not the same symbol as the original. When you scan this one you get "Bumblebee Warrior Asia" unlocked in the app. The character is about medium power in th game and when I scanned this figure I received a bonus of the "Nexus Sword".
In addition to the extra deco point on the feet, Bumblebee's weapon has also been given some extra deco. The sword included with the first Warrior Class Bumblebee came with a translucent blue sword with no deco. This figure comes with the same sword, but this time the handle and some of details near the blade are painted silver. I'm really glad they did this as accessories are often easy to ignore when developing a deco pattern.
In many respects I'm looking at this Bumblebee as the "Goldbug" release of Bumblebee. The gold plastic color really does call back to Bumblebee's upgraded form from Generation One. I'm very happy with the shade of gold chosen and the use of metallic flake. It helps give the figure the premium look that a Platinum figure should have. That said, there were a couple missed opportunities on this figure. On the animation model Bumblebee's shoulders have red deco on them that would have been nice to see here. Also he could have used detailing on the knee armor to bring out the sculpted detail.
The joints on my copy of this figure are in good shape. They are slightly more loose than my first "Robots in Disguise" Warrior Class Bumblebee but not so much that it bothers me. He can still hold his weapon up and strike all sorts of poses, and that's what matters. Also, given how many times this tooling has been used, I'd be shocked if the joints weren't a bit more loose than the original.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the sword and set it aside for now.
- Push the robot feet up against the lower legs.
- Connect the two lower legs and the panels from the top of the vehicle mode together.
- Rotate the lower body around.
- Straighten out each of the arms.
- Push each arm down and into the sides.
- Swing the door panels down then up to cover the arms.
- Swing the panel from the back over the head and push it into place.
- Swing the section with the windows up and push it into place.
- The sword can be stored on the bottom of the vehicle using the raised "V" shape tabs.
The mode brings all the various panels of the robot mode together to form the outer shell of the vehicle, so the contrast between the gold and yellow plastic becomes very apparent in this form. It also helps emphasize how rich the gold color is compared to the more flat yellow of the original. This time out the cabin cover is painted with gold paint that matches up very nicely with the gold plastic. A really interesting choice was made with the rest of the deco. The stripes on the hood are painted with a metallic black. However the area around the headlights is painted gunmetal grey, matching the color used in robot mode. I like this contrast in colors and found myself a bit surprised by it since the first Warrior Class Bumblebee used black on both parts. The headlights are painted blue, contrasting nicely against the gunmetal grey around it. Additional deco has been added in the form of two vertical red lines, a detail taken directly from the animation model.
This deco looks good and I really applaud the designers for properly matching up the gold paint with the gold plastic (it's not as easy as it may seem based on other figures that try to do the same). That said, I was very surprised that two key details were left out given the Premium nature of this release. On the animation model Bumblebee has black detailing on the sides leading over the rear wheel wells. These are absent on this figure. Also the "Robots in Disguise" characters generally have a colored circle at the edge of the wheel rims. Those too are missing on this release. To be fair, almost every release of this sculpt thus far has excluded these details, but I was hoping being a Platinum release we would see those details on this guy.
In my review of Battle Grimlock I went into great length on what's been changed between the "Fall of Cybertron" release of this sculpt and that new version. In brief, several major components of this figure have been retooled. This includes a new head, torso, hip/waist, shoulders, thighs and the lower legs. I can say without exaggeration that this figure is easily about 60% retooled if not more. That's very unusual as most retools generally don't extend much beyond a new head or weapons ("Combiner Wars" not withstanding). These parts do a remarkable job of distinguishing this figure from its predecessor and bringing the look of the figure in line with the animated series. The size of the figure also helps. Being a Voyager Class, he is taller and wider than the Warrior Class Autobots such as the Bumblebee included in this boxed set. This gives him the imposing look that he has in the animated series, but unlike say the 3 Step Changer which is also big, this has a lot of excellent sculpting and articulation to boot!
This release of the Battle Grimlock sculpt carries over all the same parts with one significant and possibly accidental change. On the Battle Grimlock version of this figure, the scannable symbol is located on the right shoulder armor. There's even a round indentation on the armor for it. On this version however the shoulder armor pieces have been switched, so the symbol is now on the left shoulder. From a functional and aesthetic standpoint these swapped armor pieces don't cause any issues. For those curious, scanning the symbol in the "Robots in Disguise" app unlocks "Grimlock Warrior Asia" who has medium level stats and also unlocks an "Energo Sword" (a nice G1 callback).
When it comes to the deco, I have to admit I found myself very surprised when I took this figure out and put it side by side with its Japanese counterpart. I had thought that this Platinum release would just be a re-release of the Japanese version with a couple tweaks here and there, but no, the deco is completely different than Battle Grimlock's. I don't just mean paint applications. The plastic colors are also different, down to the translucent plastic used for the weapons.
Let's start with the plastic. Between Battle Grimlock and Platinum Grimlock the color switches are as follows: Black is replaced with gunmetal grey. Green is replaced with a dark, metallic green. Silver is replaced with blue grey plastic on the legs. Finally the weapons are now cast in a clear translucent yellow plastic instead of the more cloudy translucent yellow used for Battle Grimlock. Even without the paint applications the Platinum version already looks significantly different than Battle Grimlock. The use of metallic plastic on the green and gunmetal grey give him a very machine-like feel. It also gives him a darker look overall than Battle Grimlock, who has a brighter, more "animated" look. Neither is inherently "better" than the other, it's really a matter of personal taste. Personally I'm leaning towards the Platinum edition's plastic partly due to my love for using gunmetal grey on Transformers figures.
Plastic isn't the only thing changed between Battle Grimlock and this release. At first you would think the deco scheme is the same, but there are some interesting differences between the two. Like the Japanese release this version uses yellow to create a lot of the "light" details on the figure including rectangular lines on the shoulders and thin strips on the "collar" around the head, the forearms, hips, lower legs and feet. These yellow strips offer some beautiful contrast against the gunmetal grey plastic. I was very happy to see that most of the yellow deco from the Japanese version carried over including the ones on the outside of the shoulder armor. The yellow used on Platinum Grimlock is a deeper shade of the color than the one on Battle Grimlock, which fits the theme of darkening the overall look of the figure. Oddly, two of these yellow details on the top of the forearms were left out of this release, but the ones on the bottom of the forearms were kept intact. This may have been a cost saving measure since so much was changed overall on this figure.
Interestingly the designers chose a different deco pattern for the gunmetal grey and green paint on the figure. The grey on the chest paints in and highlights the wing-like design on the center of the chest, helping it pop against the green plastic. This is less "show accurate" than Battle Grimlock, but somehow I like it more because it helps a sculpted detail stand out more. On the lower legs Grimlock has a deco point not found on Battle Grimlock: silver on the knees. Also the green lines on the legs do not cover as much surface area as those on Battle Grimlock. Another difference is "CE" text on the inside of the left leg which is required by law in the United States, but absent from the Japanese release.
Finally, both accessories included with Battle Grimlock are here as well. Both are cast in translucent yellow with gunmetal grey paint on them to differentiate the "metal" parts from the "energy-based" parts.
Overall the deco on this figure is fantastic. It is different than the Battle Grimlock mold, but I like that. I'm glad it's not just a direct reissue (especially since I already own Battle Grimlock!). I also like the metallic plastic used and the extra deco points not found on the Japanese version.
Grimlock's joints are all just as tight as previous releases of this figure. His weapon and shield fit nice and snug into their respective ports. From a functional standpoint I have no issues with this figure.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
- On each forearm, swing the bottom of the forearm down, them swing the fists in.
- Push the robot feet in.
- Swing the top panel of each lower leg up and over the thighs.
- Connect the robot legs together, forming the tail and part of the beast mode's back.
- On the back, swing the section up that forms the front of the beast mode.
- Push the beast mode head and neck up.
- Rotate the beast mode arms so they are pointing forward.
- 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.
- The shield and sword can be attached to the sides of the beast mode legs.
This mode shows off a lot more gunmetal grey parts concentrated together. They are broken up largely by metallic green parts and paint. The gunmetal grey and green replace the black and light green respectively from Battle Grimlock. The arms are light silver, the same as the previous release. Many of the deco points between the two figures are the same. This includes the yellow on the "crown" section of the head, grey on the mouth area, green on the back and legs and yellow "light strips" on the neck. The fun doesn't end there however!
Once again this figure surprised me with its differences from the Battle Grimlock figure. There are several deco points on the beast mode that actually wind up bringing the number of overall paint applications up, resulting in more deco points than the previous figure! First the area above the beast mode arms is painted silver. This was unpainted on Battle Grimlock. On each leg, there is a trapezoid shaped yellow section. Again, this was unpainted on Battle Grimlock. On the back, in between the legs there is a pointed section painted green. This too was unpainted on Battle Grimlock. Finally, the end of the tail is painted silver while it was unpainted on Battle Grimlock. This is both unexpected and a really large amount of additional paint. It really feels like Grimlock got all the love in this two pack (and frankly, I'm okay with that).
In terms of articulation most of the joints are nice and tight. Indeed, the arms on Platinum Grimlock feel tighter than they do on Battle Grimlock. The arms are connected to ball joints, so it's not hard to pop them off but with this version you have to put some effort into it (I don't recommend doing this). The one issue I did have involves the claws on the feet. The ones on Platinum Grimlock are more loose than the ones on Battle Grimlock. That can potentially affect how well he can stand in this mode, but my copy of the figure stands just fine.
You can probably tell by how much I wrote above about Grimlock that he's the star of this set. I'm thrilled that he wasn't just a re-release of the Japanese one and I'm still surprised that he has more deco than the Japanese version. This is a great two pack mostly thanks to Grimlock. Bumblebee definitely needs more deco, so think of him more as a bonus piece in the set. As for the price, I think it's pretty fair if you consider Battle Grimlock averaged $40-50 when he was widely available. Recommended for those who want a premium deco on Grimlock and a "Goldbug inspired" Bumblebee.