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Grimlock

Transformers AOE
by yo go re

Ever since Transformers 2 was in development, there have been rumors that the Dinobots would be introduced to the movieverse. Now with Transformers 4, it's finally come true!

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. If that strength can be focused and harnessed for good, it could be enough to turn the tide. If not, it might be what seals Earth's doom.

Judging by the trailers, Optimus Prime digs up Grimlock somewhere in China. Not literally "digs up" - but then again, he is a Dinobot, so maybe? Anyway, it's quite fitting then that Grimmy's design really appears to have been influenced by ancient Chinese armor. This is particularly clear on the shoulders and hips, with their layered plates of armor, and the sloping helmet shape of his head with the spiky crest on top. Granted, we can't find any evidence of Chinese armor that had half a T rex face over each shoulder, or massive kibble sticking off the arms, but the parallels are there. His curved, pointy toes and the armor on his lower shins look like European sabatons, so even at a glance, the character looks old and warlike.

What he doesn't look like is Grimlock. The designers opted not to give the new Grimlock any visual connection to all the ones that came before. The only area where there's even a little bit of similarity is the face: the "toothy" cutouts on the cheeks are vaguely analogous to similar features on the face of War Within Grimlock.

In the movie, Grimlock is huge. Gigantic. Optimus Prime rides him like a horsey. Since this is a Voyager Class release, the toy stands only about 7¼" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. Everything moves well enough, but the arms are kind of poorly designed: the dino kibble on the arms plugs into slots so that it doesn't fall out of place; however, since it also attached to the hands, that means the wrists can't turn when the pieces are properly plugged in. So either his arms will only bend inward, or the hands will have to be palm up. Obviously you can just unplug the kibble and turn the wrist freely, but that should have been taken care of in the design phase.

The reason that's a problem is because Grimlock has a weapon. It's a big spiked mace, and while he can't hold the actual body of the staff, he can hold the handle on the back. However, the orientation of his hands and elbows mean there's no natural way for him to wield it. It can also be stored across his back, thanks to the kibble that can be found back there.

The most exciting part about this toy is that we're finally getting a true, scientifically accurate Tyrannosaurus! Sure, you may say things like "Tyrannosaurs didn't have horns" or "Tyrannosaurs didn't have spikes all over them" or even "Tyrannosaurs weren't orange and silver with sharp metal plates all over the place," but I say not all the science is in.

(Hey, if soft-brained jobbernowls can continue to retard society by insisting that there isn't a scientifc consensus about global warming or that vaccines cause autism, I can drink paint thinner and claim that Grimlock is what real T. rexes looked like.)

The packaging proclaims that Grimmy changes to his T rex altmode in 18 steps, and it's a pretty easy process to get the hang of. In fine Grimlock tradition, the robot's arms are the dino's legs, and the robot's legs are the tail. Well, most of his tail. The mace attaches to the back of the robot, nearly doubling his length. Depending on how you pose him, he's about 5½" tall and 14" long. If you want Optimus to ride him, you'll have to go all the way down to Legends Class to find something the right scale. Or Kre-O.

Judging by the trailers and images released so far, Grimlock is going to be dark and metallic in the movie, rather than the orange this toy presents. That may seem like a cheat, but it's not like they didn't do the same thing with the last movie - Shockwave was only purple when you saw him on the store shelf, not when you saw him on the screen. The dino has balljointed arms, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, and hinged knees. If you push the button on the side of his neck, his jaws snap shut. How fun! His ears or horns or whatever they are are also moveable, because why shouldn't a dinosaur work like a puppy?

Grimlock was provided for this review by Hasbro. Which is handy, since I probably wasn't going to buy the Voyager Class version - as seen at Toy Fair, there are Grimlocks in pretty much every portion of the line, including a massive Leader Class version. But this one has a lot of nice features for the pricepoint, and isn't brought down by the weird elbows.

-- 06/10/14


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