"Transformers Classics" Grimlock Toy Review

General Information:
Release Year: December 2006
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Average depending on retailer)
Accessories: Missile launcher, Missile, Tail/Weapon

Tech Specs:*
Motto: "Me, Grimlock!"
GRIMLOCK keeps a collection of the parts he's torn off his Decepticon enemies. His super-thick ultramantium skin in both robot and dinosaur mode is coated in energy-absorbing materials, making him nearly impervious to damage. There are many who might say much the same thing about his mind. He is actually quite smart, but a programming flaw in his speech centers gives him only the most basic communications skills. He dislikes the weak, but is dedicated to the protection of those he views as lesser creatures. The only thing he hates more than weakness, in fact, is those who exploit the weak.

Strength: 10 Intelligence: 7 Speed: 3 Endurance: 10 Rank: 9 Courage: 10 Firepower: 8 Skill: 10

Sometimes a character begins taking a life of its own. It is fair to say that since their introduction, the Dinobots were always popular characters. Transforming robots + dinosaurs? That's a magic recipe for success. However, out of the five Dinobots it was their leader who often shined in stories going as far back as the original Marvel G1 comic book series. The character's prominance has really grown in recent years, mainly shepherded by comics writer Simon Furman in both Dreamwave and now IDW titles. All this meant Grimlock was a natural choice to join a line that pays homage to iconic characters of the past.

Beast Mode:
Twenty some odd years ago, Grimlock's original beast mode was designed to look like a mechanical t-rex that walked upright (what some call a "tail dragger" since its tail was so close to the ground in the back). However, as science advanced and figured out the t-rex did not actually walk like that. Recent versions of the Dinobot commander (such as Energon Grimlock) have featured him as a dinosaur hunched over, its tail going back high above the ground, head pointed forward. With some adjusting you can stand him more upright like his classic self, offering a nice alternative "standing pose" for the figure.

The design of this figure seems to take cues from two of Grimlock's G1 incarnations. While the top portion of the beast mode takes a design cue from the original Grimlock (the beast head connecting to a golden section that then widens out to a grey section) the overall design has more in common with Pretenders Grimlock. Grimlock's head is a bit flattened compared to what fans may be used to seeing. On the sides is a hexagon right at the point where the jaw hing is. His eyes are narrowed and his snout looks like it has ridges at the tip. Combined with some big teeth and Grimlock does not look like one happy camper in this form.

The main body of the figure has a ton of sculpted designs. Along the sides of the neck are piston-like designs. From tubes leading up the sides to vent lines to lines that seem to indicate joins of armor plating, this is no techno organic beast. Running along the spine are several raised ridges going from the back down to the tail, giving him an appearance reminscent of a mythical dragon. The dinosaur arms each have two angular claws connected to more rounded arms. At the elbows are circles indicating the arm joint location (but it doesn't bend, it's just a sculpted detail).

The dinosaur legs and feet are surprisingly large, giving Grimlock the appearance of a Transformer that can run fast in beast mode - a sharp contrast to his G1 beast form which often looked ponderous and slow when walking. Although the legs still beocme the robot arms in this version of the character, they do not have the typical "circle to rectangle" design that G1 Grimlock has. Instead the top has a slightly triangular shape, but curved rather than angled. The lower legs arch back in a slight 'chicken walker' type position. Like the rest of the main body there are quite a few details including vent lines, bolts, armor plate lines and tubes on the legs. The bottom of his claws are ridged, presumably to allow Grimlock traction as he charges at his enemies! The tail is made up of five segments, joined by four cylinders (each a joint). Each segment has layers of detail starting wide at the middle and then coming to a point on the top.

Through most of Grimlock's incarnations he has maintained the same general color scheme. His primary color is silver (though in this version the head seems a lighter silver than the rest of the body). Mixed in are black parts such as the tubes running along the sides of the main body and the horizontal lines on the sides of his legs. Perhaps my favorite deco on this figure is found on the front section of the dinosaur. That section has a fantastic black wash over it, filling in details wonderfully. Another key "Grimlock color" is gold. Like G1 Grimlock, his neck and claws have gold painted on them. More gold can be found on the tail, where it is used to highlight the tech details in the sculpt. Translucent red plastic is used on the beast mode head with a "light pipe" bit on top. The gun attached to his back is black with a translucent red missile. Grimlock has a heat sensitive rub symbol on the left side of his body's forward section.

Grimlock has twenty points of articulation in this form. Much of this is focused on his legs, which have several joints that not only allow his legs to move back and forth, but also out to the sides. His tail is articulated as well, offering four points of articulation in all. Aside from adding play value to the figure, it really enhances the look of the figure. Something as simple as the tail articulation adds a bit of character to the figure.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the tail and gun from the figure.
  2. Pull the front half of the beast mode forward.
  3. Split the front half of the beast mode.
  4. Extend the lower jaws of the beast mode back and the front jaws forward to form the feet.
  5. Swing the grey panels in the middle of the body back.
  6. Rotate the torso around so the red "jewel" faces front.
  7. Rotate the black panel with the robot head on it around so the head faces front.
  8. Rotate the gold panel with the red jewel around.
  9. Swing the dinosaur leg on the back forward.
  10. Swing the rectangular piece that the gun plugged into in beast mode back.
  11. Swing the dinosaur leg on the chest to the side.
  12. Adjust each dinosaur leg so the claws swing back to reveal the robot fists.
  13. Swing down the black panels on either side of the robot head.
  14. Swing the panel on the back of the robot head down.
  15. Attach the tail to one of the fists and place the gun in the other.

Robot Mode:
Classics figures are generally designed to serve as homages to their G1 predecessors. Grimlock carries over many elements of his G1 self, but in other ways he differs a lot. The nature of his transformation is the primary reason for this. Most incarnations of Grimlock have the back of the beast mode becoming the legs and the dinosaur head being pushed out of the way somewhere (like his back). However, this version of the character reverses this and adds several steps to the upper body formation.

The robot head is the part that most resembles Grimlock's G1 self. With its large central crest, panels on the sides and the inset sides on the mouthplate, there's no mistaking whose face this is. Unfortunately, the head is where there is an odd functionality issue with the figure. The head rests on a black panel that has two tabs on the underside of each side-flap. These appear to have been designed to lock into the grooves on his shoulder joints - but they don't line up in any way to do so. I'm not sure if this was an idea that was badly executed or an early idea that was simply abaonded. Regardless it is a bit annoying since most of the time when you turn his head you wind up turning the panel part of the way as well.

The chest is rectangular and wide, much like the G1 version. Several detail lines run through it with the raised details and jewel looking like the Energon Star points from various "Energon" figures. The arms are made out of the dinosaur legs, much like his previous incarnations. However their shape moves away from having circular shoulders and instead it is a more angled shape. This leads to his lower arms that are full of details including each individual finger being sculpted and other line details. The fists have standard sized holes that can accomodate Energon weapons.

The lower body is quite different in design from Grimlock's predecessors. Whereas those had a slope going down and forward, here his legs are shaped a bit more normally and rounded. The upper legs are curved, attached to curved lower legs. Looking at the inner legs from the side you can see a very sleek shape not normally associated with the character. The dinosaur's front section makes up the outer shell of the legs, adding bulk that gives a sense of power. The feet are made from the halves of the dinosaur head and in that respect he reminds me a bit of the G1 Terrorcon Hun-Grrr. While a bit weird looking, this design gives the feet (and the figure) some good stability.

Grimlock retains the same basic colors in this form, however the distribution changes quite a bit. He is mostly grey/silver but gold is found throughout the body including the chest and ankle area. His waist section has some red and grey paint apps giving the black plastic detail. The "jewel" on his chest is made of translucent red plastic surrounded by raised parts painted black. Combined with the black wash (now on the legs) he looks great and very much like his predecessors.

Grimlock has sixteen points of articulation in this form. This includes four points in each arm and waist articulation. The head articulation is thrown off a bit because of the black panel not quite attaching to the shoulders properly. The black panel tends to move as you move the head. His missile launcher has a bayonet type blade on it (the shame is he can't hold it upright as a sword). However he has a sword-like weapon in the form of his tail which he can hold in his hand. The tail is a bit thick to buy as a sword, instead its segmented pieces make it seem more like a chain whip of some sort.

Final Thoughts:
This sculpt is definitely worthy of the name Grimlock. The figure is not without its flaws, but it tries to do something different with the classic transformation of the character. It's a fun toy with excellent sculpting. Were it not for the main flaw with the head section I would probably rate it higher. Recommended.

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