KRE-O Battle Changers Grimlock Toy Review
Release Date: June 2015
Price Point: $7.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: Limited Release (Some parts of Asia, Discount stores such as TJ Maxx & Marshalls)
Official images and text below in italics are from the Official Hasbro Web Site:
Build an awesome KREON figure in 1 of 2 modes with this hardcore Grimlock set! You can use the 82 pieces in this set to build a Grimlock KREON figure as a charging dino or robot warrior. With him in charge of chomping and armed with a sword, your KRE-O Transformers adventures are going to rock and roll! Start building your Transformers forces with this Grimlock set!
KRE-O, Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
- 2-in-1 KREON Battle Changer set includes 82 pieces to a build Grimlock KREON figure
- Grimlock KREON figure can be built as a dino or robot
- Includes sword piece
The KRE-O toy line launched a few years ago with much fanfare as Hasbro's competitor line to other building block lines like LEGO or Mega Bloks. However, as time went along the line began to shrink in terms of toy store presence and prominence. When it came to Transformers, one of the biggest issues fans had with the line was that the toys did not actually transform. Instead, to achieve either mode, you would have to disassemble all the parts and then reassemble them into the alternate form. Then in 2014 Hasbro announced transforming KREO sets! Called "Battle Changers", these figures were made to be assembled and then transform without having to take the toy apart.
As 2015 rolled along, these sets began to come out in certain parts of Asia, but never saw the light of day in North America. That was until the summer when some appeared online and then a bunch began to appear on the shelves of discount stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Lot-Less. Not every Battle Changer was released. As of the writing of this review in October of 2015, Starscream, Blitzwing and Drift have yet to be seen. However Grimlock did come out as part of this wave of discount KREO toys. I personally spotted him at both Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, and he was $7.99 in both places suggesting his original retail was probably going to be somewhere between $9-12.99.
The Battle Changers are packaged in an interesting box. The back panel is flat and off to the right is a raised section where the toy, stickers and instructions are sealed inside. The box has a large illustration of the character in the front against a traditional G1 era "grid" background. There are photos of the toy in both modes on the back. The box uses the current "Transformers" logo on the side with a white background, giving it a very bright appearance that jumps out on the shelves. I really like this packaging style and I would've loved to see it on more toy store shelves.
Grimlock is made up of 82 pieces, but I have to tell you the assembly goes by fast. I worked on him on and off for about 25 minutes to complete him. I'm sure if I had just sat down and focused on the assembly it would have only been 15-20. There are no tricky parts to the assembly. Everything is very straight forward. However, be very careful with the translucent plastic for the sword. When I slid it onto the handle, a bit of the translucent plastic broke off. The sword holds together fine and looks great, but it isn't very flexible.
Grimlock's robot mode is largely based on his G1 appearance. He has a wide upper body, slightly less wide legs and he even has his "wings" in the back formed by panels with his dinosaur mode arms on them. Some smaller details come right from the G1 mode too including claws on the forearms and triangular panels on the sides of his legs that echo the shape of those sections on the G1 toy. The head uses a helmet piece that has small "ears" (or antennae if you prefer) sticking up at the top, a central crest and a covering over the mouth. This helmet was used for many KREONs but it totally works as Grimlock's head.
Unfortuantely there is one big design sacrifice made in robot mode. The beast mode "baggage" on his back is heavy, so you have to swing down the beast mode head to act as a piece for the figure to lean on in the back if you want him to stand. Even then he winds up leaning back a bit.
Grimlock's parts are cast in gold, light grey, dark grey and black. His weapon is cast in light grey and translucent red (for the blade). The gold makes up most of his body including the chest, armor on the arms and legs as well as much of the back. The black plastic is used on the head and helmet pieces. Like all Battle Changers, this figure uses a combination of sticker and tampograph details. The head has tampographs of Grimlock's "visor" eyes and mouthpate while the chest has his familiar G1-based mechanical pattern with an Autobot symbol in the middle. Stickers are found on his upper arms, providing mechanical detail as well as the sides of his legs (featuring a green and red detail found on G1 Grimlock). The sword blade has two stickers that attach to either side, evoking the look of the sword from "Fall of Cybertron" Grimlock. I love these little details and the stickers really help elevate the look of the figure.
There are twelve points of articulation on this figure. That doesn't sound like a ton, but consider that eight of those are ball joints (including the shoulder and elbows) allowing for a wide range of articulation. His primary weapon is his sword, which slides into either hand. Functionally speaking my copy of this figure is nice and tight, so if you start posing him parts don't go flying all over the place.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach the sword and set it aside.
- Swing the claws on his forearms down.
- Swing the robot arms up, then rotate the forearms around to form the dinosaur legs.
- Swing the backpack up and over the robot head.
- Swing the panels with the dinosaur arms in.
- Swing the dinosaur head forward.
- Swing the robot legs up, with the robot feet swinging over the back and the knee armor becoming the end of the tail.
Note: When transforming the figure, it is highly likely the back pack will pop off. It's no big deal to snap it back on, but I suggest positioning the robot legs as the tail first, when reattaching the back section.
Grimlock's T-Rex mode is a bit weird looking. Okay, it's very weird looking. The front part is actually fine, with a head that slopes down, small T-Rex style arms and bent legs towards the center on the sides. It's the tail section that looks kind of odd. It's thick and doesn't quite fold up against the rest of the body, so it kind of looks like a big stump in the back instead of a smooth line starting in the front. Given the limitations of a figure this size and since this is one of the first times that Hasbro has attempted a transforming beast for the Battle Changers I can forgive it, but at the same time I admit it may put some folks off.
This mode uses all the same colors as the robot mode, but it shows off the light grey and dark grey parts a bit more, specifically on the spine and tail section. There's also a bit of translucent red used for the eyes, which is a really nice touch. This mode also shows off the stickers from the arms and legs which really add some great detailing to this form.
There are eleven points of articulation in this mode. I'm being a bit generous here as I'm counting the ability of the arms to move up and down and rotate. His mouth can also open and close. Unfortunately there's not much to do with his sword. He can technically hold it in his claws but that looks kind of strange.
Battle Changers Grimlock is a fun toy to assemble and play with, which is largely why I'm not trashing the toy. That said, the dinosaur mode needed a lot of work. It's awkward looking towards the tail and a spot to stow the sword would have been cool. Me personally? I like to keep him in robot mode but I still like the toy. Take that as you will.