HotShot81's Review: Voyager Class Grimlock
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
Where does one start with Grimlock? On a more personal note he was the first bot I ever did a review for on this website, go check it out
. Jokes aside, Grimlock is like the dumb uncle you see at family gatherings – he's great with kids, he's got tall tales to tell, and when the chips are down he can give one hell of a wedgie to that annoying bully of yours. He's your adult best friend but is a kid at heart.
Ever since it was announced that Michael Bay would be directing Transformers as a movie franchise, he made some of his goals clear. One of them was getting rid of the sudden size changing such as turning from a boom box into a three-story tall robot within a moment. Another goal was that he wanted to tell stories (whoops guess he made a boo-boo there), and finally he wanted to work with the Dinobots… which leaves me surprised since it took him 4 films to reach the point where he was working with Grimlock and his motley crew.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Up until the fourth movie, Bay has never said that he wanted to have the Dinobots as part of the movies specifically.]
Grimlock's bio reads as follows from the box, "Grimlock is the ultimate wildcard. The Dinobot leader has the power to decide the fate of Earth almost singlehandedly. His ferocious strength makes him a devastating force in battle."
I guess they are keeping it somewhat close to tradition, since Grimlock sounds like he's fulfilling his traditional role. He might be an Autobot, but because he runs his own command independently he's used to doing things his way, and this sometimes leads to disagreements between him and the Autobots, especially Optimus Prime.
As a note to the reading public, the reason why there are no specs for Grimlock attached to this review is because his box doesn't have any.
Grimlock has one of those Bayverse designs that really grabs you when you walk down a row of toys. He looks big, he looks bad, he looks like he can kick butt! Just what you want out of a character with the might of Grimlock! I definitely like this whole samurai/warrior look he's got going for him. Let's tear down the big guy.
Where does an aspiring warlord start? He needs the right boots! Despite being a warrior, Grimlock has toes that curl up like . . . elf boots. That is thankfully the end of anything resembling cuteness in him. Everything else is covered up and down with spikes done in gun metal gray, with orange highlighting the knee spikes. Even though Grimlock has the interesting ability to move his ankles slightly inwards, it is a disappointment that his knees does not bend 90 degrees.
Grimlock does have a rather hip design that combines screws and ball joints, making it next to impossible to pop it off. I will note I did slide mine off early on when working with him. Because of the samurai inspired armor along his legs and groin area it does a great job of covering the mechanism up.
I love the detail work on his chest and how great his helmet looks. While his eyes hint that they can be lighted up via light-piping, there isn’t any panel on the back of his head to let light through.
Sadly from there on, the quality takes a bit of a dive. His arms are one of the worst offenders. The more you get his hands away from his body, the more exposed plastic that you’ll see connecting the arms to the chest unit. And while the plastic is nice and thick, it is still poor design. Raising his arms up also makes his T-Rex head halves displaced in the movement, and it generally doesn’t give the impression of being well thought out. His hands can rotate a full 360 degrees, but there is a big problem – there is only one slot to lock in his T-Rex feet on his robot arms.
And that’s not all either. Turning Grimlock around, I can see empty spaces and a jaw hanging down so low it’s embarrassing. Screws and pins are exposed and simply conveys poor design overall.
To transform Grimlock from his beast mode into his robot mode, I had to discover the exact way – I couldn’t even find a manual on transformers.com! First you’ll have to pull up the upper back part, which will give you space to close the two halves of Grimlock’s T-Rex head. You may need to adjust the shoulder armour to give some space for this to work. There is a slot in the neck of the T-Rex’s lower jaw to let you lock that part up.
Now odds are you are saying he doesn't remotely look like a T-Rex right now. Pull the samurai armor from the groin up. The pins on the shoulders will flip it up. the upper back part that I mentioned before earlier will close up behind Grimlock’s robot head, and combined with the chest armour it hides it well. Now flip the legs in the same direction as the armor, flip the feet down and you can join the legs together and plug in the feet.
Flip out Grimlock's T-Rex feet from his robot arms. You will need to twist them about 180 degrees from the tabs combo to fully deploy them. Then you will find in them a hidden rear toe to help stabilize Grimlock. The T-Rex arms and chest are deployed via a simple pull out and slide method to help cover his legs. Attach his mace to his feet to form his tail, and he's done transforming.
Let's look him over in this form. I love the paint job; I love all the details that go into him as a T-Rex because he looks almost alive, at least if you ignore tail and his upper back. I have to give Grimlock the dinosaur his dues because he looks like he can chomp up some poor legends-class toy that flies into his jaws. He can stomp some poor bot that gets beneath his foot into next Tuesday. There are definitely some nice articulation for the feet, and the jaws.
However there are still some problems with him as a T-Rex. Remember that mace plugged into his tail? Here is the problem… the mace is about 7 inches long, while ol’ Grimlock is 9 inches long. The tail extension is just proportionally too big for the dinosaur in question. While he can rest on the tail in without the mace, to be in chase mode he needs the tail up. Both endings don't do a good job in closing him up so to speak. It just doesn't look right. Dinosaur fans out there will love the fact that he can hold the active running pose. However, if you try to sit him down, all those missing pins and plugs will lead to bigger problems.
When it comes to how well can Grimlock move, it's not good news. Yes he has that nice jaw that closes if you press a button on the side of his neck, and yes it's small and discrete. However because the chest, and tail don't really lock into place if, say, Grimlock wants to lower his head and munch on a flipped over Transformer or sit down and take a load off. Trying to pose him means that you need to get ready to move everything and not just the part you want to move. I can see a kid getting pissed with this.
Before I put this review of Grimlock to bed, I need to note another problem with him. Now anyone who knows biology knows that most beings have smooth backs. Grimlock's beast mode lacks a smooth back, and part of his robot head sticks out of his back. Now I can see the arguments, that he's supposed to be ridden, hence the hump. But the lack of pins combined with the fact that I tried to do it with the core figure of Ultimate Optimus Prime (who is about Voyager-class sized), it just can't hold up and in fact fell apart. It’s as if if some fat man tried to ride a kiddie ride!
Transformation Design 5/10:
In more than a few ways Grimlock follows the tradition of how he has always been transformed, and while there are some new features nothing blew me away.
If this were based solely on his robot mode the score would be higher. However clearly he lacks durability in dinosaur mode. I mean he can't even change position without you having to move the whole kit and caboodle, otherwise he’ll fall apart.
Is Grimlock fun? Yes the jaw munching feature is nice. However his weapon isn't that much fun given how it can't really be held except via a handle that sticks out. As much as I hate to say it, the lack of durability also severely impacts this score.
I am of two minds here, part of me loves the paint job, and how he looks in both states of transformation. However, I hate the fact that in dinosaur mode you see screws along his legs, the fact that his tail never really ends in a form that looks good, and I absolutely hate how he looks from the back in humanoid form.
Grimlock has standard articulation for a transformer this size. Nothing that knocks it out of the ballpark, but nothing that says he needs a major change to get the job done right.
I paid a little over $30 Canadian for him. Honestly, he's not really worth the price of admission.
I like Grimlock, I hope the character does a lot better in the movie than he does here. After weighing the price of the action figure, and all the other factors involved to say if he's good or not, I can only close this review by saying that a massive redesign is required. He's nowhere up to the standards of a lead character of the Transformers franchise.