Transformers Animated Grimlock Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dinobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: June 2008
Price Point: $19.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword


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GRIMLOCK more than lives up to the reputation of his Tyrannosaurus Rex mode. Ill-tempered, powerful, and always ready for a fight, he loves to throw his weight around. He likes the way the ground shakes as he stomps around, and the way people scatter when he roars. He’s happiest on DINOBOT Island, where he can stomp and roar to his Spark’s content, shattering trees with his tail, and breathing jets of flame into the sky. Every once in a while, though, he prefers to find the biggest, most powerful DECEPTICON he can, and smash its chassis to pieces.

Convert this DINOBOT leader from robot mode to T-Rex mode and back again. Pose the robot crusader with his “flaming” sword in hand. Change him into T-Rex mode and the sword becomes a removable jet of fire breath! Snapping jaws and gold-colored accents make this advanced-conversion figure an impressive addition to your collection.

Dinobots are among the most revered of characters from Transformers lore. When they were first introduced in 1985, they fired the imaginations of fans everywhere by not only being large, powerful creatures but their defiant attitudes distinguised them from most of the Autobots. Leader of this team of Autobots was Grimlock, who (thanks in large part to the writings of Simon Furman) has turned into the resident super powerful rebel of the Transformers universe. In a line that seeks to pay homage to significant characters from the history of Transformers, it was of no surprise to learn Grimlock would be joining those ranks, once again serving as leader of the Dinobots.

Beast Mode:
Grimlock's beast mode combines elements from his G1 form, modern day knowledge of dinosaurs and the exaggerated style of "Animated" and combines them into one powerful looking package. The original Grimlock was a silver, gold and red T-Rex which was designed to stand upright, the standard for the dinosaur's appearance in the 80's. However, as time went along, scientists learned that the T-Rex actually stood in a different way, with its head pointed forward and tail back for balance. Most T-Rex based Transformers since the mid-90's have been designed with this appearance in mind instead. As such, Grimlock is sort of "T" shaped in this form, with his bulky center body on a horizontal plane, with his head pointed forward and his tail pointing back. His legs are set in the center, providing the appropriate balance for the figure to stand. Part of this is helped by the way his legs arch back and then forward in a bird like design that offers stability to the beast mode.

A lot of G1 Grimlock's design went into this figure. The neck is narrower than the head and then leads to a bulky chest and upper back section with tiny arms. This section angles on the edges, giving him the look of an entirely mechanical dinosaur, not a techno-organic like Megatron from Beast Wars. The legs have oval shaped designs on the sides, a nod to the circular designs of G1 Grimlock's upper legs. The robot feet are clearly visible on the rear of the beast mode, which is easily forgivable since their designs blend so well in with the rest of the figure.

Where Grimlock uses the "Animated" aesthetic are the exaggerated parts of the body. His lower jaw is so big it practically eclipses the top part of his beast mode head. Some parts are much shaper and more sleek than G1 Grimlock's. Take the upper beast mode legs for instance. instead of just being simple circles, they are curved, elongated blade shaped sections with an oval inside them (surrounded by raised details to boot). Also, while the original Dinobots had sculpts that seemed to work overtime to create intricate details on their necks and faces. Here that aesthetic is replaced with clean flat panels and broader line detals such as those found on his back and lower legs.

Grimlock is cast in light gold, grey and black plastic. Grey makes up a majority of the figure with light gold and black used for smaller sections such as his arms, claws and tail. A bit of translucent blue shows up on the head where it forms light piping for his eyes. Red and gold paint are used for detail work. This red is a dark one compared to the one used on G1 Grimlock but it fits the more muted look of "Animated" Grimlock. The red can be found at the base of the neck and bands on his back and feet. Gold is used on parts such as the neck and the edges of his legs. A silver Autobot symbol graces his upper left leg.

There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure in this form. Most of these are concentrated in the legs. The main joint is a huge ball joint, allowing you to pose it in various ways. This is critical since getting the "horizontal T-Rex" pose takes a bit of adjustment (less than a minute or so, but it doesn't just happen by itself). The jaw opens and closes if you press the button on the top of his head. The sword weapon fits in his mouth with the handle going sideways. The rectangular piece which sticks out of the handle goes into a slot inside the mouth to hold in place. While I know this is meant to look like he is breathing figure, it really does just look like Grimlock is chewing on his sword. I prefer him without it, but sadly that leaves nowhere to stow the weapon which is one negative point against the figure.

Grimlock's beast mode is definitely a great homage to his G1 form and he looks great. I wish a bit more could have been done with the sword, but it's hardly a deal breaker.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the sword if you have it in Grimlock's mouth.
  2. Split the tail section in half and swing each half out to the sides.
  3. Swing the back of the dinosaur mode back.
  4. Fold in the panels on the back of the legs to form the heel pieces and the back of the robot legs.
  5. Straighten out the robot legs.
  6. Swing the dinosaur head and neck back.
  7. Pull the robot chest up.
  8. Swing the dinosaur arms into the flaps on his back.
  9. Rotate the lower arms around and fold the claws in.
  10. Place the sword in either hand.

Robot Mode:
Just as his robot mode combines bits of Grimlock's G1 appearance and the "Animated" look, this form carries that idea through full circle. Grimlock's general shape is the same as his G1 counterpart. "Wings" are formed on his back by parts of the dinosaur mode, his arms are formed from the dinosaur legs and his chest is wide with mechanical details in the center while his legs are formed from the rear half of the dinosaur mode with the tail halves attached to the sides. His proportions are very top heavy, which adds to his brutish appearance, down to his extended arms which look like he could almost be a "knuckle dragger". I mean that in the sincerest form of admiration for the character's power of course!

Grimlock's head design is largely based on the G1 Grimlock head with its central crest, antennae and visor eyes. However, his mouthplate has been replaced with a gigantic lower jaw with huge teeth, a robot mode carry over of the same jaw design in beast mode. A collar of sorts surrounds the robot head, looking much like a mouth with sharp fangs in the front. His main body is very smooth and curved rather than being angled like the beast mode. I like the contrast this offers since it really differentiates the two modes in aesthetic. His chest section has a nice translucent section on top with intricate circuitry like designs inside. This is reminscent of similar design features from the G1 Dinobots. In a nice touch, his claws become his fingers in this form rather than having a hand pop out of the lower arm. This adds to his savage appearance and looks much more fierce.

Grimlock adds gold and maroon to the color palette in this form. Gold makes up the chest piece while maroon is used for his abdomen, waist and the collar around his head. The gold chest piece is painted while the plastic on his back is black. The circuitry pattern section of his chest is translucent clear plastic, giving it a nice, alien appearance. A silver Autobot symbol graces the center of his chest. His robot head is black with translucent blue visor eyes, offering a very nice contrast against the rest of the figure. Maroon and gold paint apps can be found on his lower legs where they are used for the knee armor and feet respectively.

Grimlock's accessory is a huge sword sculpted to look like flames coming out of a sword hilt. Want a neat action feature? Plug the sword into his right fist and a small peg inside hits a switch in the sword and extra flames pop out from the sides. The effect is fantastic and mirrors an action the character performs in the show.

There are twenty two points of articulation on Grimlock in this form. This isn't too surprising considering each arm already has six points. While his articulation is great, the oddly shaped elbow joint on his arm requires you to adjust his arms a bit to get them posed if they're holding his sword. Sadly, the jaw piece on his head does not flap up and down, but that's hardly unexpected (but boy it would have been funny/cool/neat).

Final Thoughts:
Animated Grimlock is a wonderful reinterpretation of the character. While simplifying many aspects of the G1 design, he manages to somehow look a bit more intimidating than his G1 predecessor. Add to this the inherent coolness of robot dinosaurs and you have a winner of a figure here despite my reservations about its weapon not being stowed away in beast mode. Recommended!