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Blackjack's review: Grimlock & Optimus Prime Walmart Two-Pack

A far cry from what you might expect from reading the title, this particular two-pack isnít your normal Ďletís lump two new toys together as a two-pack, maybe repaint one slightly and call it a dayí affair. No. Iíve covered the insane attempts of repainting Beast Wars toys as the Dinobots from the fourth movie, but there is a third set which at the time of writing those two I am unaware of. This is that third set, and unlike Strafe and Slug, Grimlock is repainted off a mould not from Beast Wars but from Transformers: Energon, specifically the Terrorcon Cruellock.

Optimus Prime, meanwhile, is just his ROTF Legends class toy re-released. Both moulds are ones Iíve never owned before, and I have this really huge obsession of owning moulds of the Energon-era Decepticons, so I bought the set.

All of the actual Age of Extinction Grimlocks suck in one way or another anyway, so might as well as get this one.

Name: Grimlock
Allegiance: Autobot
Accessories: Big Sword, Gun.

Grimlock is repainted off Cruellock, one of the five basic class Terrorcons from the Transformers: Energon toyline. Itís not a mould I really ever paid much attention too, honestly Ė I know he exists, but unlike, say, Insecticon or Divebomb or Mirage or Sharkticon Iíve never really had a strong desire to own it. But eh, here I am with him anyway.

Beast Mode:
Grimlockís deco is, of course, similar to the orangey-brown colour that all the Age of Extinction Grimlock toys haveÖ which I thought was a rather stupid paint scheme. Slug is purple, Strafe is dark blue and Scorn is redÖ all relatively eye-catching and pretty colours compared to the showís monochromic silver Dinobots. Grimlockís toy scheme, on the other hand, on all his toys are a mixture of this shade of rusty orange-brown, black and gray, and it generally looks bad. Considering how lackluster the actual Age of Extinction toys are mould-wise, it only makes them look worse.

Well, this Grimlock turns into what is definitely not a tyrannosaurus. Itís certainly a theropod of some kind, but I donít think itís really based on anything in particular. Some people say his head is based on Godzilla and that alongside Signal Flare he forms a Godzilla homage team, but not knowing all that much about that particular franchise I donít really have much to say. As mentioned before, Grimlock is mainly black and brown, with light gray on his lower arms, the energon star thing on his chest, his front toes, his weapons and some joints. His eyes are blue. Grimlock has the general vague shape of a theropodal dinosaur, albeit one with a lantern jaw and only a couple of teeth. Spikes run down his back and all through his tail, which ends in a cut-off stump.

Grimlock feels rather hollow, with the area around his waist and tails having a bunch of empty space that kinda ruin his silhouette, and is obviously parts of his robot half all hanging around. My main problem with his dinosaur mode is his overlong arms, which donít even make an attempt to hide the fist-holes in robot mode. Despite being on a ball joint the lower arms can only hinge inwards, and canít go upwards like how dinosaurs normally are shown to fold their arms. They either point straight which looks unnatural, or youíll have to bend them so that it looks like Grimlockís going to go boxing which also looks unnatural. Combine that with the general poor look of the tail and the rather unimpressive head and I donít have much fondness for Grimlockís dinosaur mode.

Articulation wiseÖ his legs are pretty articulated, having ball joints on the hips, and hinges on two points down his legs. His front toes can also hinge up, but the ball joint here is so loose the slightest movement will pop it off. The arms are hinged on the shoulders and elbows, but the elbows canít have any real meaningful movement in beast mode that looks natural. Grimlockís tail can waggle around weakly. Rather poorly, Grimlock canít move his head. His jaw lowers slightly but it doesnít give the impression of a roaring dinosaur or a fire-breathing kaiju Ė itís like he just heard an immature joke and is chuckling to himself going all Ďheh heh heh, what a dumbassí.

Grimlockís tail can split apart to reveal a bunch of Minicon-styled pegs. You can either plug the small gun here on the peg nearer to the base, or the massive sword on the peg nearest to the tip of the tail. You can fit both in by bending the handle of the sword. The end result is giving Grimlock an impressively long bladed tail which certainly looks better than his vanilla tailÖ except itís now way too long and makes Grimlockís already poor silhouette look even worse. In theory the energon star on his chest can be removed but mine is stuck so tight it actually caused my fingers to bleed and itís still stuck fast.

Heís overall a rather disappointing dinosaur.

Robot Mode:
Grimlock actually works on a transformation akin to autotransformation or automorph, but the instructions make no mention of this, so when I first transformed him I nearly broke him by not realizing that all the springs and whatnot are connected. You can squeeze the halves of his crotch together, and this makes it move closer to the torso, as well as making sure the dinosaur head stays flipped, the tail halves stay apart and the shoulders get slightly wider. The transformation feels really fragile and in general he feels like heís going to shatter apart during transformation, but he forms a solid robot mode. I do quite like how the paint scheme translates into the robot mode, being primarily rusty brown in the center with the limbs and whatnot having all the black and gray. Articulation wise Grimlock has the exact same points as he did in dinosaur mode because he just stood up, with the main difference being that it actually makes sense this time.

Grimlock does make a rather beastly-looking robot mode. His dinosaur claws form Wolverine claws over the robot fist-holes, his robot head is mouthless and has a spiky faceplated thing and I do quite like how the tails can be splayed out backwards a la Driftís sword sheaths. Splaying it sideways looks awkward in my opinion, though more space-efficient. His dino head just sort of hangs there, though, unable to be folded properly to give him a clean robot mode.

Grimlock comes with the two accessories. The gun is sorta pathetic and since itís cast in the same plastic as his hand it immediately gets lost in the clutter. The massive butcher knife canít be hold straightaway, you have to bend the handle at the hinge for Grimlock to hold it because the Wolverine claws makes holding the sword properly impossible. This also looks bad and unnatural. You can, however, plug the gun into the swordís hilt and give the sword a super-long hilt, but at the same time making Grimlock hold it naturally. Thatís how I display him currently.

Overall his robot mode is the stronger one of the two, but even then itís still pretty below-average.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 3/10 Itís simple enough, but the autotransformation makes Grimlock look fragile and the general unfinished look of both dinosaur and robot mode makes me feel like a lot more thought could be put into designing the transformation.
Durability: 4/10 Grimlockís spring-loaded parts feel relatively fragile, and Iím certainly slightly scared whenever I transform him. Itís not as bad as I thought he originally is, but he still seems pretty fragile. Also, those feet? Pop off every time.
Aesthetics: 3/10 I ended up liking Grimlockís paint scheme than I thought I would, and I do really like the massive butcher knife, but both Grimlockís robot and dinosaur mode leave a lot to be desired.
Articulation: 5/10 Heís got great articulation in robot mode, but canít really hold his sword properly unless itís combined with his gun. In his dinosaur mode? Pfft, itís horrible.
Fun: 7/10 Despite all his problems Grimlock is relatively fun with his massive butcher knife, his articulation range in robot mode and being the right size to serve for a mount for the smaller Optimus Prime heís included with.

Name: Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot

The Age of Extinction class doesnít really have a size class equivalent to the Legends (later renamed Legion) class toys of the past. However, that doesnít mean it canít reuse the old Legends class toys for exclusives. Optimus Prime is basically an unchanged Revenge of the Fallen Optimus Prime, which is reportedly one of the best Legends class toy to come out of a movie line. He certainly is a nice little dude.

Alternate Mode:
Optimus Prime transforms into the Peterbilt truck he has as an alternate mode for the first three movies, and despite being a tiny toy Optimus is quite show-accurate as much as a toy that size can be show-accurate. Heís got all the proper moulded details, he looks like the truck (even if he does feel a little longer than he should), and heís got show-accurate blue flames on the hood of the car. The stuff like the front grille and side fuel tanks and all that stuff are nicely moulded in. Itís basically a pretty nice little representation of the truck from the movie, with absolutely no kibble Ė the robot hands are blatantly visible on the trailer bed, but since they donít actually look like arms I donít really care. Not sure what more I can say, heís a nice looking little truck that looks like Optimus Prime.

Robot Mode:
Optimus Primeís transformation is pretty simple, but surprisingly quite involved for a Legends class toy. Considering this was made in the same period that ROTF Sideways was, it certainly puts that thing to shame. Weíve got waist rotations, moving panels and all that jazz, making it a lot less simple than just Ďflip the hood, flip out the armsí. Optimus Prime has the general look of Optimus Prime, though obviously the robot mode is a lot more simplified than the truck. The chest is still mainly red with some nice silver details here and there, the legs are blueÖ the limbs arenít really all that great, with the lower arms being massive blocks with obvious smokestacks and wheels hanging off them, but itís not really that horrible. Heís got a nice headsculpt, though his shoulders look pretty barren next to those massive Popeye arms. Optimus has got a fair bit of articulation, having ball-jointed shoulders, elbows, and hips. Itís not quite stellar but pretty nice for a Legends class toy. Overall, thatís all I can say for the robot mode Ė nothing particularly stellar but definitely not horrible.

Combined Mode with Jetfire:
But wait, there is more! If you happen to have Legends class Jetfire from Revenge of the Fallen Ė which I do have, though I had to spend three days digging it out from one of the boxes of shame because itís kind of a crap toy. Anyway, if you do have Jetfire, you can attach it to Optimus Primeís back as something resembling the Jet-powered Optimus Prime from ROTF. Since the leader class toys canít really do a good job of thatÖ well, the Legends class toys just basically peg Jetfireís jet mode onto Optimus Prime and has him wear Jetfire as a corpse backpack. Jetfireís turbines end up around his shoulders, which is about the correct location and actually fixes Optimusí Popeye arm problem. Jetfireís nosecone kind of scrapes the ground a little in this combined mode, but I do adore this little gimmick even though it doesnít do much.

Also, Optimus is just the right size to ride Grimlock. Yay!

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 7/10 Itís not bad for a legends class toy. Not bad at all, especially compared to the legends class Optimus from the first movie.
Durability: 8/10 Optimus is a sturdy little brick of a toy. The shoulders do pop off quite often but otherwise heís pretty durable.
Aesthetics: 8/10 Not that big a fan of the Popeye arms but otherwise he looks like what a little Optimus Prime would look.
Articulation: 5/10 Articulationís around average for a Legends class toy.
Fun: 9/10 I did have fun with him! Heís a fun little transformer in his own right, but packaged with Grimlock he can ride Grimlock around and pretend to hold Grimlockís massive butcher knife. I also have Jetfire, so I can make him wear a corpse backpack while riding an enslaved ally charging through a Chinese city with no care for bystanders. Optimus is fun!

Price/Value: (as a set) 6/10 Grimlock is a basic class toy, Optimus Prime is a legends class toy. Itís a bargain, but not that much of a bargain considering how problematic Grimlock is and how widespread Legends Class Optimuses are.
Overall: (as a set) 5/10 Iím pretty lukewarm about these dudes. They lean on the side of ĎI like themí, and they certainly felt more fun as a set. Itís not like Strafe and Bumblebee, where both of them blew me away with their awesomeness, or Slug and Stinger where they both blew me away with their shitinessÖ Grimlock is a slightly below-average toy with a great accessory, and Optimus Prime is a decent little legends class toy. Grimlock is definitely not crap, but at the same vein I won't recommend him either. Neither are truly necessary and while I don't regret owning the two of them, no tears will be shed if I didn't stumble across them.
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