"Generations" Power of the Primes Grimlock Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dinobot, Generation One, Generations, Power of the Primes, Voyager

Generations

Power of the Primes

Grimlock General Information:
Release Date: December 2017
Price Point: $29.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Dinobot Enigma Spark; Prime Armor/Combiner Feet x 2

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The Autobots and Decepticons use Prime Masters to wield the godlike powers of the most legendary bots in the universe: the Primes. Prime Masters carry the spark of a Prime, allowing them to share a Prime's godlike ability with other bots. How will the mighty Dinobot leader Grimlock wield this epic power? Anything is possible and everything is at stake when the Power of the Primes is unleashed!

Transformers Generations Power of the Primes Voyager Class figures are 7-inch-scale figures that come with 2 Prime Armor accessories. Insert a Prime Master figure (each sold separately) into one of the accessories, attach it to the figure, and imagine Grimlock wields the power of a Prime.

Figure Specs:

  • Voyager Class Grimlock
  • Modes: robot, T-Rex
  • Converts in 8 steps
  • Includes 2 Prime Armor accessories, Dinobot Enigma accessory, and collector card
  • Works with Prime Master figures (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.)

Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Along with characters like Optimus Prime and Megatron, Grimlock is perhaps one of the most well known Autobots. In 1985 he was introduced as the leader of the Dinobots in Generation One. From then on the character appeared in Transformers fiction into the 90's where he also played a significant role in "Generation 2". Even after the tectonic shift that was "Beast Wars" and the "Unicron Trilogy", Grimlock was never forgotten. Over the years the character has appeared in many forms including the ones listed below:

With the release of the Dinobots in "Power of the Primes", it made perfect sense that their leader would get a new figure. This figure is not a redeco or retool of any previous figure. It is a brand new figure representing the Dinobot commander.

Packaging:
Like previous waves of "Generations" Voyager Class figures Starscream is in a window box. The box has a black background with graphics on top. These include the Generations logo on the upper right hand corner and the vertical "Transformers" logo under it. On the other side is Grimlock's package art (with him in beast mode!) along with the "Power of the Primes" logo and his name underneath with a Autobot symbol (no more symbol confusion!). The right side panel of the box features the symbols for the twelve Primes along with the "Power of the Primes" logo and the "Authentic Transformers" logo at the bottom. The other side of the box shows the combined form of the Dinobots: Volcanicus. In a nice touch, the figure can be seen both in box via the front window and a small window on top.

The back of the packaging shows Grimlock in both modes set against a grey background. It also shows him with his Prime Armor attached and Micronus attached to it. His cosells are the first wave of Prime Masters (Micronus, Vector Prime and Liege Maximo.

Accessories:
Perhaps one of the most unfortunate aspects of this figure is its lack of traditional Grimlock weaponry (either a sword, blaster or both). His primary accessories are the foot pieces for Volcanicus. Each features layers of mechanical detail with three claws/toes in the front, giving it a savage look appropriate to a Dinobot Combiner. Unlike the "Combiner Wars" foot pieces, the peg on top can actually move side to aside, allowing for ankle articulation. If you have some spare fist pieces from Deluxe "Power of the Primes" figures, they can attach to the holes in the back of the feet to form stabilizing heel pieces. Each of these can attach to Grimlock's forearms via 5mm pegs to give him melee weapons, but it is no substitute for a sword and blaster.

Each foot piece features an opening that is designed to accomodate Prime Masters in their Spark modes. It also fits the "Dinobot Enigma" accessory included with Grimlock. This "Enigma" is shaped like the Autobot Matrix of Leadership without handles, looking like a round casing with a crystal inside. The outside of the Enigma is painted silver while the inside is painted red. This can be attached to the Prime Armor on other figures or swapped out with the Matrix handles/holders included with Leader Class Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime.

Robot Mode:
Grimlock's robot mode is one of the more distinctive ones to come out of Generation One, and to some degree the various iterations of the character over the years have tried to incorporate elements of that design. This version however is the first in many years to really try to adhere to the G1 design without radically changing anything. Here is a rundown of some of the elements taken from G1 that appear on this figure:

  • Head Sculpt: The head sculpt comes right out of G1, complete with a crest in the middle, visor style eyes, a mouthplate and a distinctive set of panels on the sides.
  • Torso: The torso features several mechanical details with raised panels in the middle of the chest.
  • Arms: Each arm has round sections on top (from the beast mode hip area) and claws from the beast mode in the wrist area.
  • "Wings": The original Grimlock had panels from the center of the beast mode that swung out to form wing-like sections on his back. This Grimlock has the "wings" too, but they are not huge so from certain angles you won't see them.
  • Back: In G1, Grimlock's beast mode head swung back to form part of his back. This detail was even worked into his G1 animation. This version of the character does the same.
  • Legs: Like his G1 counterpart, Grimlock's legs are formed from the rear section of the beast mode. Like the G1 figure the legs have vertical sections broken up by horizontal details. They also include all sorts of mechanical greebles including two strips of vertical line details on each leg.

While the sculpt borrows heavily from the G1 action figure, the proportions seem to be more inspired by a combination of media appearances including the G1 cartoon and comic book. His chest is wide and his shoulders are relatively big, giving him a big, bulky look like he is a real bruiser in battle. This is totally appropriate for the character and I really like the bulky outline of the figure.

The deco on this figure seems to be inspired by a combination of the G1 action figure and cartoon model. Most of the figure is cast in silver, black and red plastic. The torso has a beautiful design involving the use of clear plastic that is painted gold on the inside. This creates the illusion of there being a gold layer of mechanical details overlapped with clear plastic. This was one of the key deco/design elements of the G1 Dinobots and it is great to see it on this figure.

The chest features a tampographed Autobot symbol in the middle. The arms each have red on the shoulders (a callback to a sticker from G1 Grimlock) and gold on the claws in the wrist area. His head has red paint on the eyes and red is used in the middle of the hip area. The legs have a series of stickers in strips along the inner edge. These stickers are directly based on ones found on G1 Grimlock. Since the G1 stickers were foil backed, these foil back stickers look great and unlike some of the recent stickers on other figures (I'm looking at you Starscream) the ones on my copy of this figure are cut perfectly and they are not peeling at all. Of course, the figure is new, who knows what it will be like in five years. Tampographs would have been preferred for the long term, but these are the times we live in. That said, Grimlock looks great. The sculpt is fantastic, the proportions are nice and powerful looking and his deco is a nice combination of G1 influences.

There are twenty points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and four on each leg. He does have waist articulation as well. The Prime Armor/foot pieces included with the figure can be connected to his forearms as melee weapons. You can also connect other weapons to the Prime Armor to give Grimlock some extra firepower. His fists do have 5mm ports, allowing him to hold weapons from other "Generations" figures. Note: while you can reuse the weapons from the "Fall of Cybertron" Grimlock figure, the shield does not sit flush against the forearm because of the peg sticking out on the side. Instead it will sit at a slight angle, but it looks good for display.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing each fist into the forearms.
  4. Push the lower legs together in the middle.
  5. Swing out the tail halves and connect them together.
  6. Split the torso in the middle and swing each half down, then connect them together. You may have to adjust the tail to do this.
  7. Swing the robot arms (now the beast mode legs) up.
  8. Swing the "wings" together.
  9. Swing the beast mode head forward.
  10. The Prime Armor can be attached to the legs.

Beast Mode:
When it comes to his beast mode, Grimlock is an interesting case in design planning. Back in the 80's, it was believed that the Tyrannosaurus Rex walked upright with its tail dragging behind. When the Takara designers created the mold that would become Grimlock, they designed it accordingly. By the 90's however scientists had revised their understanding of the T-Rex, showing it leaning forward instead. This Grimlock figure was designed with this in mind. Not only can it be posed as a "tail dragger" like G1 Grimlock, but you can also lean him forward and straighten out the tail for a more "modern" T-Rex pose. He looks great both ways.

Being able to stand with his tail dragging behind him is not Grimlock's only G1 based feature. A lot of design elements in this sculpt owe their origin to G1 Grimlock. These include:

  • The head is based off the G1 beast mode head. Unlike the animation model, there are some fine details like a five sided diamond shape at the end of the snout, a mechanical jaw hinge and beveled edges along the jaws.
  • The dinosaur arms are relatively thin with mechanical looking claws at the end. Each arm is one solid piece with a bend at the elbow
  • The neck area has mechanical details sculpted on the inside.
  • On either side (under the dinosaur arms) there are tube like mechanical details running along the middle.
  • The top of each beast mode leg is a round section with a vertical section with a series of horizontal lines inside of it.
  • The lower beast mode legs each have a trapezoid shape running vertically with a circle in it, calling back to a similar detail on G1 Grimlock.
  • On the sides of each lower leg you will find raised circles. On the original Grimlock figure these were the hinge sections for the area where the claws connected to the feet. Here they do not serve that purpose, but it is cool they actually included the detail.

There is one major structural change between the original figure and this one: the tail section. On the original Grimlock the robot legs swung inward and the tail pieces folded out at the end. This helped compact the back half of the beast mode and helped make its curve look more symmetrical with the rest of the beast mode. On this figure however the legs just point back with the tail halves at the end. This winds up making the tail section longer than G1 Grimlock's and in a way that's okay since nowadays T-Rexes are often portrayed in media with long tails. The only unfortunate side effect of this is that the legs create a very wide tail section until you get to the very end.

The other structural issue I have with this mode are the claws on the feet. They are tiny. I believe this was designed this way in part because the claws do not swing on hinges, so this keeps them out of the way if you want to attach weapons to the fists. Unfortunately they look really out of proportion with the rest of the legs. I really wish they were a bit longer, especially given how much bulk the rest of the beast mode has.

This mode mostly shows off silver plastic. Along the back you will see bits of red and black plastic. The neck and the hip area has clear plastic with gold painted on the inside. The back section has some silver paint on it. Gold paint is used on the back and the claws while red paint is used for the eyes. An Autobot symbol sticker is on the top of the beast mode head. The sides have a sticker on them that features mechanical looking designs based on a sticker found on G1 Grimlock. There are also stickers on the chest that are similar to the stickers on G1 Grimlock's beast mode chest. These stickers are wonderfully retro and I love their designs.

There are eleven points of articulation in this mode. That includes three on each leg and the tail being able to move up and down. The mouth can also open and close. The pegs on the sides of the legs allow you to attach the Prime Armor and if you want to give him a bit of extra height, you can put the Prime Armor under his feet (though to me it winds up looking a bit goofy). To give him some ability to interact with Prime Masters (or Titan Masters) there are two small pegs at the base of the tail section. It is kind of a funny place for the Masters to ride but I was happy to see this included at all.

Transformation to Torso Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Swing in each of the fists.
  3. Lift the top half of the figure up, then swing the top section forward. Press the tabs on the red waist area into the corresponding slots on the chest.
  4. Swing the beast mode head forward, pushing it into place to form the center of the torso.
  5. Swing the panels on the top up, then swing the Combiner head out, then push the panels back into place.
  6. Swing each robot arm out to the sides.
  7. Rotate each forearm, then swing the forearms back.
  8. Swing the "wings" from the robot mode down. There is a tab on the shoulders that attaches to a corresponding slot on the "wings".
  9. Rotate the lower half of the body around.
  10. Swing the waist panel down.
  11. Swing each leg out to the sides about 2-3 clicks.
  12. Swing the lower legs down and rotate them around.

Deluxe figures from both "Combiner Wars" and "Power of the Primes" who can form limbs can all be attached to this torso. It uses the same "clip" system as "Combiner Wars". The foot pieces included with Grimlock can be used as feet.

Torso/Combiner Mode:
Many fans have expressed everything from disappointment to outrage that the Dinobots are now Combiners. If you feel that way this torso mode will not wind up disuading you from that notion. I believe when people think about the Dinobots the image they conjure in their minds is that of bulky and powerful creatures, so all their modes should fit this image. Unfortunately this torso mode only partly succeeds in doing this. The top half looks great. The head is clearly a "bulked up" Grimlock head with a crown on top. Having Grimlock's beast mode head as the center of the chest is reminiscent of Predaking's chest so I really like that. The shoulder/chest sections are nice and wide, which looks great.

Where this design is lacking is right under the chest/shoulder area. The waist is really narrow since it is just basically Grimlock's waist area. The waist piece and the legs kind of make up for this a bit, but still once you attach limbs to the torso their bulk really does wind up magnifying just how narrow the middle section is. I do not have a huge problem with the look of this torso, but I can understand why some fans would. I too would have preferred the middle section being more "bulked up".

This mode shows off all the same colors that you saw in the other modes with silver, red and black taking center stage. The Combiner head is black plastic with red eyes, a gold "crown" section on top and a silver "chin strap". I do like the way the colors are broken up. They are quintessential Dinobot colors and I am really looking forward to seeing how all the Dinobots look combined!

Volcanicus' head can turn side to side and you can turn the torso at the waist. However most of the articulation you will get out of Volcanicus will come from the limbs that you attach. If they offer the standard "Combiner Wars" style articulation, that adds about eighteen points of articulation. Unfortunately since Grimlock does not include any weaponry Volcanicus winds up being unarmed, so I wound up giving my pseudo-Volcanicus seen in my photos the sword from "Generations" Grimlock. If you want to give Volcanicus a power up, swing Grimlock's beast mode head up and open the mouth. There you will see a rectangular slot to attach a Prime Master (or the Dinobot Enigma). The design of the Enimgma and its location here call back to the way the Matrix looked in Optimus Prime's chest, which is a fun callback.

Final Thoughts:
Grimlock is not a perfect update of the Dinobot commander. There are design elements I would have liked to see done differently, but I cannot deny that he looks great overall (thanks in part to all the G1 Grimlock design elements). On top of that he is fun to play with. Overall this is a fun addition to the pantheon of Grimlock action figures.

Pros:

  • Pays homage to many of G1 Grimlock's design elements.
  • Sculpt looks great in robot and beast modes.
  • Use of clear plastic painted gold on the inside is a wonderful G1 homage.
  • Intuitive transformations.

Cons:

  • I would have preferred tampographs over stickers.
  • Relatively narrow waist in torso mode.
  • Does not come with any traditional Grimlock weapons (either a sword or blaster).