Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Grimwing Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Beast Hunters, Predacon, Prime, Voyager

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: May 2013
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blackbeak Weapon/Partner

General Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com
The most honorable warrior among the Predacons, Grimwing seeks glory through chivalrous combat with a worthy foe! Take your Transformers adventures to the next level with this incredible Grimwing figure and his Blackbeak grapple launcher! Whether he’s in robot mode or ursagryph mode, he’s a scary enemy for any Autobot. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever you throw at him! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

GrimwingThe roster of Predacons in the "Beast Hunters" line continues to grow! This time out, it's a Voyager Class figure, making Grimwing one of the larger Predacons to date. Quite different in personality and form than the other Predacons, he appears to be more than just a violent, savage creature but one with a personal code that he follows, making him instantly appealing and reminscent of characters like "Beast Wars" Dinobot.

Tales of the Beast Hunters: Chapter 15
Having recently escaped from Shockwave's lab, Grimwing flies through the sky in an effort to clear his head. He remembers being instructed by the Decepticon scientist while in the Hyperevolution Chamber, but refuses to believe that hunting Autobots is all there is to this unfamiliar world. Spotting an unfamiliar warrior robot far below, Grimwing descends to meet him peacefully, despite the protestations of his partner Blackbeak.

Blackbeak:

Images:

In an effort to maximize the value of this Voyager Class figure and to add a bit of extra mythology to "Beast Hunters", Grimwing doesn't just come with a weapon, he comes with a partner in the form of "Blackbeak", a non-transforming, but sentient Transformer who accompanies Grimwing on his missions. The concept is a bit goofy, but no more than "Beast Wars" Megatron treating his dinosaur arm like it was sentient (or his rubber ducky). In other words, the concept is a fun and silly one all at the same time.

Grimwing's design seems based partly on that of a vulture, though it's beveled beak shape suggests it may be some other bird as well. The front/barrel of the weapon is the bird head, the back has feather like designs sweeping back to a mechanical looking section with angled, rear stabilizers. Situated in the mouth and then sticking out to the sides are two giant claws with serrated teeth on the nside and blades in the back. It's a really creepy looking weapon and the fact that it's located inside a "mouth" makes it even creepier. Want small detailing? Aside from the the teeth and blade details, there are also Cybertronian glyphs on both the claws and Blackbeak himself.

The weapon is cast in grey and green plastic, both colors also found on Grimwing himself. The main body of the weapon is grey with the back and claws cast in green. The eyes are painted yellow and the beak is black. I think for an accessory it looks great, but I do find myself wishing the Cybertronian glyphs were painted in.

The "Claw" section is really a grapple and weapon that is attached to Blackbeak via a string. Uncoil the string in the back and press the green piece forward and the grapple claw "launches" via a "pressure missile" system. I say "launches" in quotes because it really doesn't come out all that far. It's more of a "release" than anything else. Doing this reveals much more detail on the Claw/Grapple including layers of sharp looking details that evoke the image of a bat more than a bird. To reel the line back, lift the small grey panel with the "fin" on the back and pull the black string back. Blackbeak can be held via the 5mm peg on the bottom, which is long enough to allow it to sit on Grimwing in beast mode or be held in his hands in robot mode.

Blackbeak is a neat little accessory and definitely offers something different than say, a Micron in terms of being a partner. It's also rather weird and that's rather appealing in its own way.

Grimwing

Images:

Robot Mode:
Grimwing's robot mode has a very striking design. It's not one we haven't seen before. There are many "beast to robot" tropes here including the beast mode head forming part of the torso, claws on the feet and hands as well as wings mounted on the back. However, the way these parts are executed is designed very nicely. Many of Grimwing's parts are curved and end on a point. This design is seen on almost every part of the figure including his shoulders, chest armor, forearms and knee armor. Along with his claw like hands and feet really showcast the "beast" side of the character. The wings on back add a very striking and sleek design element thanks to the blade like designs that make up the wings and claw like designs on an extra piece at the top of each wing. Grimwing isn't all about the "beast" elements however. There are a lot of robotic elements in play. His wings are straight edged enough to look more like metal blades than organic feathers and the base of each wing has a vent on it. Sections of his torso and waist are a bit angular in design, evoking a machine rather than a beast. His head design is rather smooth, with an oval shaped "helmet" section and a crest that looks like that of a bird, but his face looks very much like a Transformer face and not an animal's. The one final touch I really love are the numerous Cybertronian glyphs on the figure. Each wing has a large one while several smaller ones appear on parts like the shoulders, chest and left arm. These are a really nice touch that give the character more of an "ancient" vibe.

Like Blackbeak, Grimwing is mostly cast in green and grey plastic. The green appears in two shades, a brighter shade that makes up smaller parts like his shoulder armor, the "claws" on his wings and his heel pieces. The darker green appears on smaller pieces distributed throughout the figure such as his upper arms, hip joints, hands and feet. The rest of his parts are grey. It's a nice combination and not one seen very often in the "Transformers" toy line.

Paint colors are done in two shades of green, light blue, silver, yellow and black. The dark green is most heavily used on the wings but you'll also see it on his torso. The light green is used for many accents like the area around the wrists and the sides of the waist. His knee armor is also painted green. The green is also on the crest of his head. Yellow is used for the large symbols on his wings, and I'm very thankful those were painted in as it would have looked unfinished otherwise. His eyes are also painted yellow. The robot face is painted silver, contrasting nicely against the dark green plastic that makes up the rest of the head. To affirm his allegiance, his left side chest panel has a black Predacon symbol printed on it. The light blue is a bit of an "odd man out" color and appears on the chest. Overall the main improvement I would've made on the colors would be filling in more of the glyphs and perhaps more accent or wear patterns on the grey armor, but that's a lot to ask for a mass produced figure such as this.

There are twenty six points of articulation in this figure including the ability of the wings to move on hinges, seven in each arm and five in each leg. The arm articulation includes the ability for his thumbs and wrists to swing up, down and around since it's part of his transformation scheme. There is only one flaw in the design of the figure. His torso is comprised of two side panels (attached to his arms), the beast mode neck and a chest compartment form the top/head/chest section and the panels attached to his shoulder joints are set at an angle on the sides. The problem is, nothing actually connects these pieces together, they all just kind of hang there. Even the beast mode head just sits in a gap in the middle of the torso, but doesn't lock in. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like his arms are flopping out to the sides and the robot head is swinging back at a glance. If you're just transforming and posing the figure for display, this won't be much of an issue. However, if you are playing with the figure and jostling it around a lot, those parts can fall out of alignment making the figure look rather odd. It's kind of an odd design choice. All it would've needed would've been maybe a tab or two or a couple pegs to link things up. It's not a "deal breaker" issue, but it is an issue if you're looking for a very solid figure.

Grimwing has five attachment points for 5mm peg weapons. He can hold them in his hands, attach them to the sides of his forearms and store a weapon on his back. In an undocumented feature, the curved parts of his shoulder armor (cast in the lighter green) can be removed from the shoulders and fit into Grimwing's hands like blade weapons. The claw/grapple from Blackbeak can be held in his hand like an axe weapon as well.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach Blackbeak and set him aside for now.
  2. Swing the shoulder armor down.
  3. Rotate the hands around (so the palms are basically facing back) and swing the thumb out, then swing them up to form the front paws.
  4. Swing the robot arms up.
  5. Swing the center of the chest up and swing the robot head back.
  6. Swing the beast mode head up.
  7. Push the beast mode neck/wing/head assembly down. You will see circular grooves on the sides. Push the sides of the robot torso against them and then push the wing assembly down (there are tabs that push into them) to lock the section in place.
  8. Rotate the two robot chest armor panels together.
  9. Pull the lower robot body out, extending the body.
  10. Swing the heel pieces on each robot leg up.
  11. Swing the robot legs up, then swing the lower legs back.
  12. On each lower leg section, swing out the lower segment (that includes the feet) and push the leg up to cover the knee gear from the robot mode.
  13. Blackbeak can be attached to either the hole on the back or the tail of the beast mode.
  14. Push the "claw" like portions of the wings back (though really they can be swung outwards without any negative effects on the appearance of the beast mode).

Beast Mode:
Grimwing has the distinction of having a beast mode never used in the "Transformers" world before, that of an "Ursagryph" (part bear, part gryphon). At Toy Fair 2013, this creature was said to be "Transformers" designer Lenny Panzica's favorite mythological creature, hence its inclusion in the line. It is interesting that a very non-dragon creature was chosen as one of the Predacons. Most of the Predacons have have been described as some type of dragon or reptilian creature (and really, they're mostly fantasy creatures that could be anything). Indeed, Grimwing's "other" self is a KREO set where he is portrayed more as a dragon like creature (though he is still green). Either way, this is a beast mode reminscent of the "Beast Wars" Fuzors who represented a combination of creatures in beast mode (Torca being an example).

The gryphon parts are perhaps the most obvious in this mode. This includes the head, which has feather like parts sweeping back from the eyes, a large beak complete with "nostrils" and a sharp lower beak. This leads to a long neck and his two huge wings on the back. The "ursa/bear" parts are mostly focused around his chest and limbs. His main body is bulky like that of a bear and his four legs are rather thick with clawed paws. He also has a stubby tail in the back that looks more like that of a bear than a bird. Together, all these parts create a really formidable looking creature. Like the robot mode, there are some really cool details here. This includes the sculpt of the gryphon head and the neck behind it, which has spine-like detailing and layers of armor detail sculpted onto the sides. The "bear" tail is also layered in design. The arms and legs are mostly the same in appearance from the robot mode, but on the rear legs, swinging the lower leg pieces forward reveals vent details inside. Overall, I'm really digging this sculpt and since the sides of the robot chest lock against the neck of the beast, the beast mode feels a lot more "solid" than the robot mode.

This mode only reveals a few new parts that you couldn't see in robot mode. This includes the head and neck, which are a combination of green and dark grey plastic. Green and light blue are used for the side and middle of the head respectively. The beak is colored silver and the eyes are yellow, offering nice continuity between the robot mode head and the beast mode head. The deco on the head/neck section is probably my favorite part of the entire beast mode as it is the most intricate and varied.

Grimwing has twenty eight points of articulation in this form. Most o fthese are the same points he has in robot mode, concentrated in the arms and legs. This mode adds the articulation based on his head, which can move up and down and turn at the neck as well as open and close its mouth. There are two 5mm holes on the back of this beast mode, one towards the front and the other towards the back, allowing you to attach weapons into both at the same time. Blackbeak fits into either one, though my preference is to have him facing forward. You can also technically use the holes on the forearms to attach weapons too, giving Grimwing some extra firepower in beast mode.

Final Thoughts:
Before I took him out of package I was prepared to give Grimwing a "highly recommendd" just for the concept and appearance. After playing with the figure, I have to downgrade that to a regular "Recommended" but with the caveat that his chest section simply doesn't hold together as well as it should in robot mode. This is the biggest flaw in what is otherwise a fantastic figure.