"Age of Extinction" Flip & Change Grimlock Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Dinobot, Flip & Change, Movie (2007)

Age of Extinction

Grimlock General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); May 17, 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images and text below from The Official Transformers Web Site:
The Transformers are back, and they convert faster than ever for incredible adventures! Your Grimlock figure has robot and dinosaur modes like always. Whichever mode he's in, he converts in a flash to the other mode when you flip him! Flip and change in the ultimate Transformers combat with your Grimlock figure!

  • Includes figure.
  • 2-in-1 Grimlock figure.
  • Figure converts from robot mode to dino mode and back.
  • Flip to change from one mode to the other.
  • Ages 5 and up.

As part of its drive to appeal to different segments of the toy buying audience, Hasbro has introduced different sub-lines of "Transformers" figures for the "Age of Extinction" toy line. One of these are the "Flip and Change", a set of figures that are centered around a type of movement that transforms the figure quickly. One of the first figures in this sub-line is Grimlock, who is a feature character in "Age of Extinction", so he's pretty much expected to appear in almost every segment of the toy line (much like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee). It is worth noting that while $19.99 was the suggested retail price for this figure, I wound up finding mine at a BJ's store for $16.99.

Robot Mode:
When evaluating this action figure, you have to keep in mind its design is almost entirely designed around its transformation gimmick. That means things you'd normally expect like lots of posability and a multi-step conversion do not factor into this figure. If that's what you're after, I recommend grabbing the Voyager Class figure. Indeed, this figure is more reminiscent of guys like the Jumpstarters from Generation One, that had a neat transformation gimmick, but not much else going on, featuring a whopping total of two points of articulation (the arms), and yet as a kid I remember having a great time with those toys.

With this figure, the transformation gimmick is key - but that doesn't mean the sculpt itself doesn't look cool. You can read my review of Voyager Class Grimlock where I discuss possible influences on the figure and my thoughts on Grimlock's appearance. What I will say is that this figure features a lot of the same key details. These include the head with a sharp looking, high crest in the center and "teeth" inside the mouthplate. He also has the halves of the beast mode head on his shoulders as armor and rows of what look like teeth turned into armor on his chest. There was some design compromise however. Since his transformation is essentially one step, his lower body is just the lower body of the dinosaur mode, complete with the three dinosaur claws in front. He does have the upturned toe armor on his feet seen on the Voyager Class figure, but those parts are in the back of the feet and there's no real way to turn the feet around. This doesn't detract from the rest of the figure however. I think he looks pretty cool even if not 100% accurate to other versions of this character.

Grimlock is cast in gold and gunmetal grey plastic. The gold is the primary color, with the gunmetal making up smaller parts like his feet and some of the joints on the upper body. His paint job also features these two colors, allowing the color pattern to give some balance to certain parts like the upper legs, which feature gold and gunmetal paint. Silver is also used for a lot of the details including the crest and mouthplate on his head and a chunk of the lower legs. Red comes into play with an Autobot symbol in the center of the torso. Like the Voyager Class figure, his eyes are painted green. Overall the color scheme looks good. It's rather "clean" and doesn't quite look like the color scheme seen on Grimlock in the movie trailers, but it was clear from the early press images of the Grimlock toys that the colors were going to differ. Also, with gold and silver both being classic "Dinobot colors", I don't mind the change from the on-screen CG model that much.

There isn't much articulation at all in this mode. In fact, he only has four: the forearms, which can bend at the elbow and swivel in and out. Everything else pretty much stays locked in position to facilitate the transformation. Again, the spiritual tie to toys like the Jumpstarters becomes evident with this design choice. In a wise move however, each of the fists have 5mm ports in them, allowing Grimlock to hold weapons with 5mm pegs from other figures (since he doesn't include any).

Transformation to Robot Mode:
To transform Grimlock, you swing out the tail halves on his back. Each half serves as a handle for one of your hands. Then you spin the figure towards you (holding the tail pieces in place, don't let go now). Once the shoulder armor pieces have come together to form the beast mode head, swing the tail halves back and connect them together. You may have to adjust the arms a bit if they were not perfectly straight when you started. Also, push the halves of the beast mode head together.

To reverse this effect, split the halves of the beast mode head first. Then separate the halves of the tail, swing them out to the sides and then spin the figure forward (away from you) and then swing the tail halves down.

Given that this gimmick is what this figure mostly relies on for its play value, I have to say it is a very unique way to transform a figure and it is really fun. It's a different kind of play pattern than I've experienced with the line before and it does make the kid in me smile every time I transform the figure. It' snot perfect, sometimes if the arms weren't straight you have to adjust them and you still need to push the head and tail halves together, but overall it works out very nicely and I appreciate the attempt to do something different with the core play pattern: transformation.

Beast Mode:
The main point of reference I have for Grimlock are his appearances in the movie trailers and the Voyager Class figure. From that perspective, it is interesting to see how this figures' proportions differ from both of those. This figure seems a bit shorter than one would expect. His neck looks a bit scrunched in - not to a bad level, it's just a noticeable difference. He still looks like a powerful dinosaur however, especially with his strong looking legs, claws and his sharp looking teeth that are constantly showing. He retains the same look of a skeleton with metallic armor layered over it. The layered look starts on his head and runs all the way to the end of the tail. The top of the dinosaur legs look like they have muscles showing on them while the lower legs look almost like a combination of exposed bone and muscle. It's a very visceral design that matches the character perfectly.

The design of this figure isn't perfect. There's a pretty visible gap between the tail and the legs. The robot mode chest panel also sticks out a bit too much for my tastes (partly interfering with the ability for the beast mode arms to move). Truthfully I'm nitpicking, but these are items that struck me as I played with the figure.

Grimlock shows mostly gold in this form, thanks to the head and tail being mostly gold plastic. His legs and arms are also gold. The gunmetal color is found on the thighs, feet and parts of the back. Silver makes a striking impression on his jaws and the "horns" above his eyes. It's also on the lower legs. His eyes are green and show quite prominently in this form. He matches up nicely (but not exactly) to the color scheme of the Voyager Class figure, so it's nice to see consistency between the figures.

Grimlock only has two points of articulation in this mode: the arms. You can swing him up and down at the hip joint, but I'm not fond of doing so as I'm afraid it will affect some internal mechanism related to the transformation. The lack of articulation may be a huge turn off to some, but I will remind everyone again that this guy is basically a figure built around one gimmick: the transformation. Items like beast mode posability take a back seat to such considerations.

Final Thoughts:
If you've read this far, then you know what this figure is about: a different type of transformation that serves as its primary play pattern. If you are cool with that, then this figure can be fun. If you want a complex transformation with lots of posability, then this figure is definitely not for you. For what it is, I like this figure and do recommend it for anyone interested in its unique approach to transformation.