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|Classics Grimlock||Reviewed by Thunderscream|
The name "Grimlock" is as familiar a name in the Transformers franchise as Optimus or Megatron. Most fans associate it with the immensely powerful, somewhat dim witted, and often rebellious commander of the elite Autobot team known as "Dinobots." The name has been applied to several figures, sometimes controversially, since the original was released in 1985. For Classics, Grimlock returns to the form that made the name famous.
Classics Grimlock's beast mode is that of the most infamous dinosaur in history, the Tyrannosaurus rex. He stands about three inches from foot to hip, a little under five inches at his head when posed in old upright position. He's primarily dark gray with black painted on his neck and torso, under his the base of his tail, and on his thighs. He has gold around his neck, on the upper portions of his tail, the claws on his feet, and on the main body just behind his left thigh. There's also a clear red plastic orb visible on this portion, which makes up his chest in robot mode.
Grimlock has fourteen points of articulation in the form, mostly on his legs and tail. The upper head can be raised or lowered and the lower jaw can open and close. Each arm is made from a single, solid peice of plastic and kind of do the "tomahawk chop", though a close look will reveal that there are elbow joints molded into them. The tail can be moved from side to side in a "wave", though I can't help thinking that it makes Grimlock look like he's wagging like an overexcited puppy; ball joints could have been used to give the tail a larger range of motion.
Grimlock can be poised in either the classic, semi-upright position of his G1 predeccessor or the more anatomically correct horizontal pose; he's surprisingly stable in both. I feel the need to point out that several images released of Grimlock have shown him with the legs mistransformed so that their support mounts are directly underneath his body, which makes him appear taller. This is not only anatomically incorrect but also alters his center of gravity and makes him unstable when his body is positioned horizontally.
Grimlock has a unique gimmick on his head, specifically his eyes. The "optics" are constructed from a single peice of clear red plastic, which also forms the center of his forehead. Shine a preferably small flashlight into the top and the eyes appear to be glowing. While this feature has been seen in the robot modes of several past Transformers, I believe this is one of the few times, if not the first, that this has been used in the beast head of such figures. It's a nice addition that could have easily been overlooked.
Grimlock has a small post near his left leg that sticks up from his back like a factory smokestack. This is where his main weapon is attached to his back in this mode, though the imaginative types might see it as smoke discharger of sorts, either to "psych out" his opponents or cover his escape. It does fit the profile of a character who was not the "sterotypically noble" Autobot, but I do wish the designers had found a way to tuck it way for a more "streamlined" beast mode.
With the exception of Megatron (the gun), the Classics figures come with a rub stamp (called "Energon Chips" in Beast Wars) that indicates their allegiance when activated. Grimlock's chip can be found on the left side of his torso, aboce and behind his shoulder.
I always suggest keeping the instructions on hand for the initial attempt, however Grimlock's transformation is not all that complex, even for a deluxe; I got the hang of it about mid-transformation the first time. His legs/arms do get in the way a little, but are easy to adjust. One word of advice: remove the tail before you start. This part is not firmly attached to its mount and can easily fall off during transformation.
In his robot form, Grimlock stands about six inches from foot to head, though he seems slightly taller due to his shoulders. His colors from his T-rex form carry over to his robot mode, with more black on his head and waists, three red squares on his "belt", and silver on the inside of his "cock piece", for lack of a better description. He has sixteen points of articulation, mostly on his limbs; his head and waist can turn to the sides.
According to both the original G1 specs and Marvel bio, Grimlock was one of the strongest Autobots, second only to Optimus Prime - and there was even some question about that. The animated series showed him holding his own against even Megatron and smashing through the strongest force fields with ease. Classics Grimlock definately evokes the air of strength and power fans have come to expect from this character. His chest, arms, and legs are bulky but streamlined and even when standing straight he looks ready to "kick butt." A few fans voice some intial concern about his feet, particularly since they formed the T-rex head. Though it is admittedly odd in appearance, stability's not an issue; he capable of holding just about any pose. It does, however, give a whole new meaning to the phrase "a bad taste in one's mouth."
Grimlock's visor and the back of his head are constructed from a single peice of clear red plastic, which allows the visor to "glow" when a light source is held to the back. Though the animated Grimlock was shown with blue optics (as were most Autobots), the original toy did have red optics, so those looking for any bit of G1 accuracy toywise will be pleased with this feature. There's also a large orb made of clear red plastic on his left breast, a feature that harks back to the Pretenders Grimlock, where a similar orb could be found on the right side of his Pretender shell. Personally, a true "spark crystal" or no orb at all would have been preferred, since no other incarnation of the character known by this author have this feature.
There are a few other physcial issues with Grimlock that I feel need mentioning. The screw that hold the head in place seems to have been put in very tightly, so much so that it's virtually impossible to turn the head without also turning a peice underneath that's supposed to hold the arms in place. It's not only the screw; there are tabs under the "collar pads" that, according to the instructions, are supposed to line up with slots on the arm braces and hold them in place. Due to whatever manufactuering process that was used, they don't line up properly, thus they don't fit, making it easy for the arms to become seperated from their spots when playing with him; something a child would be expected to do. Locking tabs on the sides of the torso itself could have fixed easily this problem. The holes in his fists apparently have not been drilled to the standard size; an attempt with Classics Astrotrain's rifle took a bit of force to fit the weapon into his right hand, and the left fist wouldn't take it at all. This was a common complaint with the Energon Dinobots and it appears that Classics Grimlock suffers from the same issue. I do wish to mention that these may simply be a problem with my version of this figure; others may have a different experience.
Grimlock comes with a missile launcher, referred to a "Guardian Blaster" by the packaging, bearing a large bayonet on its underside, as well as a clear red plastic projectile. The blaster is molded in black plastic with dark gold painted on the blade edge of the bayonent and a clear red trigger on the top. The trigger is spring activated and is able to fire the missile a fair distance, up to four feet or so. The blaster attaches to the post on the back of his T-rex mode and his robot mode, the latter for storage, and in his fists thanks to a small peg on the underside, behind the bayonet. It's a neat little accessory, but the peg could have been set on a rotating joint similar to Cybertron Snarl's sword-gun or, better yet, a ball joint so Grimlock could use the bayonet as a sword. Parents should also be wary before giving this toy to young children; the blade is made from solid plastic, not soft rubber as is commonly used. While it's casual use won't cut skin, it could do some serious damage to the eye if a child is not careful.
Grimlock's tail detaches from its mount and converts into a "smashing whip" simply by folding a peg and tab under the base. It's certainly an interesting concept, though again ball joints would have been more useful than hinges in giving this weapon more range of motion, like a real whip. This weapon looks and feels more like a club than it does a weapon. Then again, considering this character's personality, he might prefer blugdeoning his opponents rather than whipping them.
Grimlock has long been one of my favorite Transformers characters and despite the problems mentioned above, I feel this is a fair homage to the character. He is by no means perfect and could definately use some improvements, but one must still credit the designers for making the attempt. Recommended and worth the price.
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