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Fall Of Cybertron Grimlock

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

A modern update of a much-loved character? How could that turn out any way but awesome?

There was a time when the rage that boils inside Grimlock would have driven him straight to the ranks of the Decepticons. But while his flawed manner of speaking may make him sound strange, he's smart enough to recognize a bully when he sees one - and Grimlock doesn't like bullies. It's this that fuels his dedication to the fight against the Decepticons.

You want the tl;dr version? "Me, Grimlock - badass!"

This isn't the first time we've had a toy representing Grimlock in his Cybertronian mode, but this one is a lot less interesting than the old one. This is basically a bigger, more detailed version of the G1 toy (as opposed to a total redesign, like the Classics version was). If you want that in your toy, well, good for you. If not, too bad.

Grimlock was the biggest (playable) character in Fall of Cybertron, so it makes sense that he's a Voyager-class toy, while most of the rest have just been Deluxes. He stands more than 7" tall, and that's even before you count the height of all his kibble. His design makes it readily apparent that he's brimming with powerful strength: he has a massive chest perched on top of a narrow waist, huge arms, and thick legs. He's missing the "wings" that G1 Grimlock had hanging off his back, but that's not a problem in this mode. He still has the claws on his wrists. Those always bugged me as a kid; they had joints, but if you moved them, they blocked off his hands; what was the point?

The general shape of Grimlock may be a G1 reference, but the fine details are all Fall of Cybertron! For instance, the "honeycombing" pattern in his knees or the specifics of the tech detailing in his chest. There's a lot of translucent red plastic used in the torso, to simulate the way the robot would glow from within. So you could use this in your C/U/G collection, but it is the FoC version.

One really cool feature? The Autobot symbol in the center of his chest. And the reason it's cool? It's not an Autobot symbol. At a glance it's the same, but when you really look at it, there are differences - like the lightning bolts under the eyes or the savage, snout-like mouth. No, this isn't the Autobot symbol; it's the symbol of Grimlock's own band, the Lightning Strike Coalition! Fun! Yes, it's a terrible name - Grimlock came up with it himself, and he's the only one who likes it.

Grimlock is armed with his sword, and also includes a shield that can be plugged into his forearm. The sword has a nice look, with a very straight blade leading to an abrupt angle at the tip, and even with a bladed hand guard coming off the hilt. The hilt is dark grey, while the blade is trans orange, making it look kind of like a lightsaber. The shield works the same way, with a grey center and orange edges.

Converting Grimlock is easy, though not quite as smooth as the G1 figure. Surprising no one, he turns into a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Why would a robot on a distant planet millions of years in the past turn into a dinosaur from Earth? Because G1, that's why.

The sad thing is that this T. rex mode isn't as good as the Generation 1 T. rex mode, and that one was made back when people still thought T. rexes stood upright! Because of the way the legs form the tail, it ends up being thicker than the rest of the body - it looks very stupid. Plus, this is where the lack of "wings" that we mentioned way up above comes into play; without those swinging down to form the dinosaur's chest, he's left with nothing but a giant, hollow gap underneath, and all that does is make the tail look even worse. Honestly, Grimlock is like Soundwave: the original conversion was so good that there's no point in trying to reinvent it. Now we have to wait for third party designers to come up with something to cover his stomach - if Hasbro insisted on not having a complete body there, they could have had a removable plate that became the shield. Currently his accessories have nowhere to go.

Grimlock has balljointed shoulders, swivel thighs, and hinged knees. Seriously, that's it? The original could move his head, jaw and hips, so this one is already falling behind. The head at least has the excuse of an action feature; why the hell did they design hips that can't move? The action feature isn't even that good: pull the lever on the back of his neck, and his mouth opens and a red lightbulb turns on. Sure, it's fine, but having enough articulation would be better. Oh, and the symbol on the dino's forehead is back to the plain Autobot look.

If you want a classic G1-type Grimlock, there's a better one available; if you want a reasonably priced alternative, there's a better one available; if you want a Cybertronian-mode Grimlock, there's still a better one available. This figure seems popular with the fans, but unless you're a die-hard Grimlock nut, there are just too many flaws to overlook.

-- 13/07/13

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