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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's review: Legends Class Grindor

Name: Grindor
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Legends Class

So, I have this little obsession with the movie-verse. I want to own a single version of every character that gets a toy. Sadly, since the studio shares Hasbro’s penchant to redeco a character into another, we get two characters with basically the same toys. The most famous is Grindor, a straight reuse of Blackout’s CG model from the first movie as a Decepticon to fill in the big, climactic fight scene in Revenge of the Fallen, with the barely noticeable change of using a slightly, slightly different version of the MH53 Sikorsky helicopter (using the Sea Stallion variant, apparently… which doesn’t look at all different to me). Hasbro merchandising and practically every other tie-in material claim that this Blackout-looking guy is called ‘Grindor’, and he got a toy and everything. They say that Grindor is some sort of master strategist guy… although all he did in the movie was to harpoon the car Sam and friends are in, and then amble along and try to look useful while Megatron and Starscream lay the beating on Optimus Prime, before getting his arm and rotor blades hacked off and finally had his face ripped apart into two with hooks by our lovable psychotic hero.

Apparently Grindor wasn’t named anywhere in the script, and the writers and animators were simply reusing Blackout. Even things like the tie-in game had their files marked ‘Blackout’, although the name change apparently happened early enough for every spoken instance of the name to be re-dubbed Grindor. And Hasbro simply slapped a name on the guy… the ‘Grindor’ name’s most famous bearer, until now, was a kiddy Mini-Con skateboard from Armada that got about a dozen repaints in the subsequent lines, and the Classics line slapped the name on another random Mini-Con. Still, having him as an all-new character suits me fine, because Grindor seemed quite ineffective in the movie as compared to Blackout’s impressive, ‘murder everything in sight’ opening of the 2007 movie.

Now, in the first movie, Blackout was one of the bigger, more memorable Decepticons and got a Voyager-class toy. Now with all the new characters to buy, I won’t shell out for another Voyager-class toy that’s identical to one I already own. Now, in the movies, Blackout and Grindor were both metallic gray, but merchandising decided to paint Blackout a bluish shade of grey, and then for Grindor, to convince kids to buy him, they painted the Voyager class toy a grayish-white, which actually makes Grindor look a wee bit bland in my opinion.

And I wanted a toy of every movieverse Transformer, and I decided to fill the Grindor-shaped hole in my soul with this Legends Class toy. After all, I settled for Legends versions of Devastator, Jetfire and Sideways. The difference is, Grindor is a straight-up repaint of Blackout’s Legends class toy from the first movie, which means that I’ll be getting someone who shares their design with the old, crappy first-movie Legends I own. But, well, got him I did.

Alternate Mode:
Grindor transforms into a Pave Low MH53 Sikorsky helicopter… or a Sea Stallion, or whatever you want to call him. Of course, compared to the Voyager-class Blackout toy I own, Grindor is very lacking in details. He’s got the basic silhouette of the Sikorsky down, obviously… all the distinctive details, those side bulge thingies and the halves beside the main rotors and that… tail wing… thingy… okay, I suck at describing helicopters. All the things are there, they’re just not detailed.

Grindor is cast in mainly a very pale shade of blue, which looks absolutely nothing like the military feel that the CGI silver, or Blackout’s dark grayish-blue, or Voyager Grindor’s whitish-grey. It’s an odd colour choice. It’s made even worse by having random splotches of blue-green splattered randomly all across his side, done in a patchwork fashion which was probably supposed to represent Cyber-glyphs or mechanical details or tattoos or something, but only makes Grindor look completely ridiculous, like he’s got robo-leprosy or something.

The front windows are painted black, and both the main and tail rotors are cast in black plastic. Both can rotate rather nicely, although the fact that the half of the main rotor is elevated over the other half makes the thing look a bit awkward when viewed from anything but up.

Robot Mode:
Grindor’s transformation is very simplistic, as was the standard for Legends figures back then. The cockpit of the helicopter splits into two and form the hands… well, there are moulded hands inside the cockpit halves, anyway. The main rotors fold to form Grindor’s distinctive cape-like rotor layout. The tip of the helicopter tail fold up, and the main helicopter body unfolds to become the legs.

Grindor’s got some new paint applications here. Part of the face and center of the chest are painted in the same shade of blue that the leprosy vehicle mode details had been, and the sides of his chest and the front of his lower legs are a nice shade of conifer green. His upper arms and legs are cast from black plastic, and his eyes are picked out in red. I simply do not like his pale colour scheme. It simply looks out of place in someone who’s supposed to be all metallic silver, and while Blackout and Grindor’s Voyager toy has reached some sort of a compromise to being accurate enough whilst still being attractive to kids, Grindor simply looks very bland and silly.

Articulation wise, Grindor’s shoulders can sort of rotate, but his elbow joints are basically there to move the helicopter cockpit halves into place, so besides confusing the stock photographer who mis-transforms this toy, they aren’t good for articulation in robot mode. The thighs and knees are ball-jointed, but the knee joints are useless unless you like sideways articulation, and to make matters worse, the giant helicopter piece that hangs from Grindor’s back blocks any manner of articulation in that way. So there you have it, a sub-par robot mode.

Marks out of ten out of the following:

Transformation Design: 3/10 Laughably simple, but I kind of pity whoever had to compress the super-complex Bayformer designs into Legends class toys. There is absolutely no better solution to what they came up with, but this was still a pretty crappy toy as a result.
Durability: 4/10 The rotors feel like they’ll snap off with pressure, but the rest of him feel quite durable.
Aesthetics: 3/10 Ick. The pale blue simply just does not do it for me, and adding random leprosy blotches in vehicle mode doesn’t make it better.
Articulation: 2/10 What little he has is blocked by the pieces of kibble.
Fun: 4/10 He’s out of scale with the rest of my movieverse collection, but little Prime can beat him up. Face does not come off, sadly.
Price/Value: 2/10 First-movie Legends class toys are crap, and seeing this compared to the slightly improved ROTF-era Legends toys doesn’t give Grindor justice.
Overall: 2/10 Not recommended. The only reason I bought him is to fulfill my little OCD; this figure has little redeeming qualities.
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