"Authentics" Alpha Assortment Grimlock Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Alpha, Authentics, Autobot, Dinobot

Authentics

Grimlock General Information:
Release Date: May 2018
Price Point: $10.00 (depending on location)
Retailer: Alternative Channels (Family Dollar etc.)
Accessories: None

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon India:
Transformers Authentic figures feature popular Transformers characters at a 7-inch scale. Experience the excitement of Transformers conversion play with this Transformers Authentic Grimlock figure. It changes from robot mode to Dinobot mode and back in just 7 easy steps. Choose a side and collect other Transformers Authentic figures to stage epic Autobot vs. Decepticon battles (each sold separately. Subject to availability). Grimlock is the powerful leader of the Dinobots. He is one of the strongest bots in the universe. When battling Decepticons, he prefers to let his feet, teeth and tail do the talking. When Grimlock unleashed, no Decepticon can stop him.

In 2017 word came through the online grapevine that a line of Transformers was being released known as the "Authentics". These figures are simpler, lower priced figures aimed at the "alternative channel" stores such as Family Dollar. In early 2018, the "Authentics" were released in "Family Dollar" stores. As of March 2018, these figures have only been found at "Family Dollar" stores and listed as "out of stock" on sites like Target.com.

"Authentics" are separated into two sub-lines of figures. One is a 4.5 inch (about 11.43 centimeters) "Bravo assortment" and the other is a 7 inch (about 17.78 centimeters) "Alpha assortment". This Grimlock figure is part of the "Alpha" assortment.

Packaging:
"Authentics" figures are packaged on a bubble card. The bubble does not actually cover the entire figure. Instead the figure sits against the bubble and then the bottom part wraps around the insert. Each figure is packaged in robot mode with the insert showing its alt-mode. The card has a vertical Transformers logo on the right and the character's artwork towards the top to the middle. Overlapping the character art is a circle with numbers around it. The artwork used appears to be from the "evergreen" designs which feature classic characters in forms that are not unique to any particular toy line.

Unlike the smaller Bravo assortment of figures, the back of this packaging is color, not black and white. It shows Grimlock in both modes and indicates a seven step transformation.

Assembly:
Grimlock is packaged in such a way that his beast mode head and back piece are separate from the figure itself. The beast mode head connects to the hinge right behind the robot head. The back piece connects to his back, but I recommend swinging out the hinge piece in the back first to make the assembly easier.

Robot Mode:
"Authentics" is the first Grimlock action figure to hit the market that uses the "Evergreen" design for the character. This "Evergreen" design uses the classic G1 design of the character as its foundation and then alters some of the details. Like G1 Grimlock the beast mode legs become the arms, the robot legs form the back and tail of the beast mode and the chest and head of the beast mode wind up on his back. At the same time, several details have been given an update. For instance, the torso section is curved and features several layers of designs such as several layers of armor right under the chest. The waist area has a raised section with two details that look almost like nuts and bolts keeping the armor on. His legs also have several line details that resemble circuitry on them.

Most interestingly, the head looks bulkier with some extra greebles on the lower part of the mouthplate. I am very impressed by the amount of detailing on this figure. "Authentics" Grimlock may be a "simplified" figure for a lower priced market but the designers definitely did not skimp on the details in the sculpt!

All that said, there are some design elements that are obviously cost saving choices. For instance, the halves of the tail stick up from the knees like armor instead of being pieces that swing out to the sides. Also the robot fists do not swing out or move away from the beast mode claws. Finally, the robot legs are basically hollow "L" shaped pieces. If these are deal breakers then this figure is not for you, but none of these design choices bother me enough to dislike the figure.

Grimlock is cast in silver and black plastic. Silver makes up most of the figure with black used on the thighs. There is a very impressive amount of paint used on this figure. Many of these colors are inspired by G1 Grimlock. The torso has a combination of gold and silver paint. The waist area has red and silver paint on it. Meanwhile blue details are used on the legs. The head is painted black with red eyes. The finishing touch is an Autobot symbol in the middle of the chest. I have to say this deco is fantastic for a "low cost" figure. Between the sculpt and deco I am really happy with how this figure looks.

Grimlock has nine points of articulation. This includes ball joints on the head, shoulders and hips. This figure also features a 5mm port on each hand. My favorite weapons to give him are the sword and shield from Voyager Class Grimlock (or in the case of the photo above, a redeco of that figure).

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Rotate the forearms around.
  3. Swing the "back pack" section with the wings up.
  4. Swing the chest halves of the beast mode together, which cover up the head.
  5. Swing the beast mode head forward and push it into place.
  6. Swing the robot legs back over the thighs and connect them together.

Beast Mode:
Using the "Evergreen" design, Grimlock is an interesting combination of G1 Grimlock along with some modern day design elements. Like G1 Grimlock the design of this T-Rex inspired dinosaur is based on the outdated upright design, where the beast mode is set upright and the tail "drags" behind him. The head is also stuck in a permanent downward tilt so you pretty much have to have him in upright "tail dragging" position otherwise he'll be looking downward. One of the most interesting design choices made with this figure is the addition of spikes on random parts, most notably the legs. His teeth are also very jagged looking, making him look more savage. There are also sections at the top of the legs with two circles on top of one another and a vent above them. There are also a bunch of mechanical looking details such as pistons on the sides of the neck and ankles on top a pile of line details etched into the beast mode armor. Like the robot mode I am very impressed by the sculpt on this figure.

This mode heavily features the silver plastic. The blue plastic from the beast mode legs wind up on the back. The claws on the feet are painted gold. The beast mode eyes are red.

Grimlock has six points of articulation in this mode. There are two in each leg and his beast mode arms can move up and down. I wish the beast mode head was articulated, but again this is a low cost figure so some design sacrifices are to be expected.

Final Thoughts:
Among the first three Alpha "Authentics" releases Grimlock is the best one. Sure he is not up to the standards of "Generations" figures, but he is not meant to be. The goal of this figure is to provide a good figure for the lower priced market and it does a great job of it. Recommended!

Pros:

  • The relatively low price makes for an easy entry into the Transformers toy line.
  • The "Evergreen" design was a great choice as the foundation for this figure.
  • Good play value in both modes.
  • Very nicely detailed sculpt.
  • Good deco in robot mode.

Cons:

  • There are some design choices made to keep costs down including the hollow legs and the tail halves being part of the knees.
  • The beast mode is limited to being a "tail dragger" T-Rex.