"Studio Series" 86 Grimlock with Wheelie Toy Review

05/22/22

General Information:
Release Date: February 2021
Price Point: $49.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Walmart
Accessories: Blaster, Wheelie mini-figure

Official images and product description in italics below are from Amazon:

  • STUDIO SERIES LEADER CLASS: Leader Class figures are 8.5-inch collectible action figures inspired by iconic movie scenes and designed with specs and details to reflect the Transformers movie universe, now including The Transformers: The Movie!
  • 8.5-INCH SCALE GRIMLOCK: Figure features vivid, movie-inspired deco, is highly articulated for posability and comes with a blaster accessory. Includes non-converting Autobot Wheelie figure that can sit on Grimlock figure in both modes
  • BIG SCREEN INSPIRED: Figure scale reflects the characters' size in the world of The Transformers: The Movie. Figure and packaging are inspired by the iconic Mockery of Justice scene
  • 2 ICONIC MODES: Grimlock figure features classic conversion between robot and t-rex modes in 24 steps. Perfect for fans looking for a more advanced converting figure. For kids and adults ages 8 and up
  • REMOVABLE BACKDROP: Removable backdrop displays Grimlock and Autobot Wheelie figures in the Mockery of Justice scene

This Studio Series 86-06 Leader Class The Transformers: The Movie-inspired Grimlock figure converts from robot to t-rex mode in 24 steps. Includes non-converting Autobot Wheelie figure that can sit on Grimlock figure in both modes. Remove backdrop to showcase Grimlock and Autobot Wheelie in the Mockery of Justice scene. In the Mockery of Justice scene Grimlock, Wheelie, and the Dinobots storm the Quintesson Courtroom to save Hot Rod and Kup from Quintesson judgement. Pose the figures out with the included blaster accessory and imagine recreating this classic movie moment!

Grimlock is one of the most popular Transformers characters out of the G1 era. As a kid I remember fans loved him and everyone wanted the toy. His appearance in the animated 1986 film elevated the character to a prime time player who would go on to be heavily featured in season three of G1. Over the years, the character has had many incarnations including:

As part of Studio Series 86 Hasbro and Takara released a Leader Class Grimlock, representing the character from the film but unlike say Hot Rod, this figure is not meant to be a slavish recreation of his animation model. Instead, it appears to use the animation model as a starting point but then adds detailing to the design.

Accessories:
Grimlock includes two accessories:

  • Blaster: Grimlock's weapon is based on the design of his G1 toy's blaster. This same design was used in the animated series. The weapon features an angled section in the middle with weapon barrels on either side. There is a 5mm peg towards the back. This weapon can be stored on Grimlock's lower back in beast mode (more on that below). This piece is made of black plastic with no deco.
     
  • Wheelie: While Wheelie has had a toy made not so long ago, he was introduced in the 1986 movie so Hasbro saw fit to add him in as a non-transforming figure. Since the figure does not need to transform, the sculpt is pretty screen accurate and is made up of grey plastic. Orange (in both a regular and light shade of the color) paint is used on the figure. He is in a squat pose firing off his slingshot weapon shown in the film. Much to my surprise, the slingshot can actually be removed from his hand as a separate accessory. Wheelie has six points of articulation, but they are not particularly meaningful as he looks rather awkward in most poses beyond the "firing slingshot" pose. Personally I would have preferred a sword in place of this figure to complete the G1 toy inspiration.

Robot Mode:
The G1 Grimlock action figure was based on a Diaclone toy released by Takara in Japan before the Transformers toy line was released. The figures that would become the Dinobots were highly detailed with lots of mechanical detailing and even clear panels to show off machinery underneath. When the Dinobots appeared in animated form, their designs were heavily simplified, removing a lot of the intricate mechanical detail. If you are going to release a figure at $50 USD however, you cannot just release a simplified lump of plastic and call it a day. The figure needs to be visually interesting. To that end, the designers chose to look at the G1 action figure as their inspiration for the small details while his overall body design/silhouette is more based on the animation model.

Many of the small details on this figure were designed specifically for this release, but others are inspired directly from the G1 toy. This is most apparent on the chest where there is a translucent grey panel over the chest and vent like details under it. The sides of the chest feature several rectangular indentations also inspired by the original Grimlock toy. Other parts such as his arms and legs have intricate detailing that seems more aligned with the Masterpiece figure released years ago. The general body design features many of Grimlock's more iconic design touches including:

  • The head sculpt looks like the animation model including his visor eyes and mouthplate.
  • The beast mode head and arms wind up on the back, looking like "wings".
  • The wrist area features the claws from the beast mode feet.
  • The legs are formed from the lower half of the beast mode, featuring curves

Unlike some recent Leader Class releases which were basically Voyager Class figures with some extra stuff, Grimlock is sized more along the lines of a traditional Leader Class figure from the past six years. Grimlock measures about 8.25 inches tall (20.95 cm) and about 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) wide from shoulder to shoulder. Considering he is intended to be sized against other Studio Series 86 figures he is sized appropriately. He is taller and chunkier than other figures in the sub-line and he looks great. In terms of how much plastic you are getting, Grimlock weighs in at 11.7 ounces. In comparison, Studio Series Age of Extinction Grimlock weighs in at 11.8 ounces.

Grimlock is made up of silver, gold, red and black plastic. The chest is covered with a translucent grey panel. The grey is a bit too dark as it obscures the red Autobot symbol underneath. Pint colors on this figure include metallic blue, red, green and gold. Of particular note is the blue/red/green on his lower legs, a feature which was prominent in G1 Grimlock's animation model. Could this figure use more deco points? Sure, there could be more to enhance details, but from the perspective of being faithful to G1, this relatively simple color scheme works perfectly.

There are twenty two points of articulation on this figure including five in each arm and leg. The articulation includes a ratchet joint at the shoulder and wrist articulation, which surprised me. The "wings" on his back can also swing back and up and down. This may not seem significant, but it allows you to move them out of the way into different positions when you pose the figure out. Each fist has a 5mm port, allowing Grimlock to hold his blaster. You can also attach it to the back, where there is a 5mm port on the beast mode neck section. To add some play value, there are 5mm ports on the sides of the shoulders, forearms, lower legs and the bottom of the feet, allowing you to attach additional weaponry. This makes his play pattern design more in line with being a Generations War for Cybertron style figure instead of the "Bayverse" designs typically seen in Studio Series. If you look at the top of the shoulder sections, you'll see a small port on both shoulders. These ports are meant for use with Wheelie. Wheelie has a small peg on the bottom of his left thigh. This peg attaches to these ports so Grimlock can give his little friend a ride in robot mode.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach Wheelie and/or the blaster and set them side for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the fists into the forearms.
  4. Swing the dinosaur claws up.
  5. Swing the heel pieces forward.
  6. Swing the back of each lower leg out to the sides.
  7. Fold out the ends of the beast mode tail.
  8. Raise the arms out to the sides to get them out of the way for now.
  9. Swing the beast mode head up to move it out of the way.
  10. Swing the lower legs up over the back of the thighs.
  11. Push the lower leg and tail halves together.
  12. Hold on to the gold part of the robot torso and swing it down. From the side the gold chest piece should sit flush against the angled part of the robot mode heel pieces.
  13. Swing the robot arms back down and swing the forward. Position them as the beast mode legs.
  14. Swing the robot mode head forward and down.
  15. Swing the two "wing" piece together and straighten out the dinosaur arms.
  16. There are tabs on the left side of the blaster. This allows you to attach it to corresponding slots on the robot heel pieces (now on the beast mode's lower back).
  17. There are small pegs on either side of the neck (at the base). You can use these to attach to the ports on the inside of Wheeli's knees. This calls back to an iconic scene where Wheelie sat in the same place in the movie while the Dinobtos fought the Sharkticons.

Beast Mode:
When Grimlock was first introduced in the animated series, he was often shown in both robot and beast modes. However, once The Transformers: The Movie and season three of the show rolled around, he spent most of his time in beast mode. This makes this almost his "default" mode and like the robot mode, it appears to take the animation model as its foundation, but then added a bunch of details on top. The basic shape of the figure is very retro. Instead of featuring a modern day "hunched over" form, this is more of a traditional "tail dragging" T-Rex mode (a popular view of the creature in the 80's). You can move him forward to stand more like a "modern" T-Rex but his tail winds up pointing up a bit as a result.

The detailing on the figure is fantastic. He has a big snout like he did in the cartoon, but there are rivet style details on it, similar to the G1 toy. His main body and legs also feature layers of detail including vents, angled lines and layers of armor giving him a complex appearance. He also has a very bulky appearance, especially around the lower body which fits in with his appearance in G1. I love the sculpt on this figure. It's fantastic.

A lot of the robot mode deco carries over into this form, but we also see gold around the neck area and feet along with white on the dinosaur arms. He also has red and green detailing too, inspired by details from the animation model. In the middle of the chest is an Autobot symbol in silver and red. He looks awesome!

Grimlock has seventeen points of articulation, which is pretty fantastic for a beast mode of this design. This includes two points in each arm, the neck being able to turn and six points in each leg. I'm really happy so much thought was put into making sure this mode was not a brick. There are two 5mm ports on the legs and one on each side at the base of the tail. Given that, I was surprised that the designers gave Grimlock a separate place to store his blaster! You'll notice on the side of the blaster are two small tabs. These slot into openings on the back of the figure (where the robot feet are located). This attaches sideways and holds pretty well, though it looks kind of awkward. Like the robot mode, Wheelie can be attached to Grimlock in this mode. This time around, Wheele can sit on Grimlock's neck area like he did in the film. To do this, you connect the openings near Wheelie's ankle area on the inside of the legs to the two small pegs on either side of Grimlock's neck. This is a fun touch but it does not remove my desire for a more articulated figure to have been included with Grimlock (or just a sword instead).

Final Thoughts:
Studio Series Grimlock comes very close to being the perfect Generations style G1 Grimlock. The aesthetics are on point, he has good play value in both modes and I love him being a Leader Class figure as it makes him big and bulky. The only downsides are the lack of a sword accessory and the rather unsatisfactory Wheelie mini-figure. That said, I still recommend you add this cool figure to your collection!

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpt that is about as close to a Masterpiece level as you get with Generations.
  • We finally have a Leader Class figure of this Grimlock design that can stand tall against other Generations figures.
  • Intuitive and fun transformation.
  • Good articulation.
  • Good deco.

Cons:

  • The Wheelie figure is a really big disappointment.

Lightbox Gallery
With G1 Grimlock
With "Beast Wars" Grimlock
With "Classics" Grimlock
With the "Age of Extinction" release of "Fall of Cybertron" Grimlock
With Takara Tomy "Generations Selects" Grimlock
With "Authentics" Grimlock
With "Kingdom" Grimlock
With "G1" Grimlock
With "Beast Wars" Grimlock
With "Classics" Grimlock
With "Age of Extinction" redeco of "Fall of Cybertron" Grimlock
With Takara Tomy "Generations Selects" Grimlock
With a "Authentics" Grimlock
With "Kingdom" Grimlock