"Dinobots" Grimlock & Terranotron 2 Pack Toy Review


General Information
Price Point: $10.99
Retailer: Wal-Mart Exclusive
Packaging: Bubble Card Two Pack Release Date: March 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3 (Advanced)

The year 2002 saw the expansion of the Transformers line with sub-lines such as the Go-Go-Gobots. 2003 continues this trend with the promised "Transformers Universe" toys coming later this year and sub-lines which loosely fit under the "universe" category. One such sub-line is the "Transformers Dinobots" sub-line. Mostly consisting of previously released molds (with two exceptions), this line is a Wal-Mart exclusive. Altogether, there are six Dinobots in this assortment. Each package has two Dinobots, a deluxe sized one and a basic sized one. This review covers Grimlock and Terranotron, who come packaged together.

Grimlock Review

Grimlock is a redeco of Grimlock. Nope, that's not a typo. This Dinobots Grimlock is a redeco of the Beast Wars Grimlock mold. I specifically note this because there is a difference between the Grimlock and Dinobot molds from Beast Wars (albeit a very small one). You can read about that in the Beast Wars Grimlock review. Basically, an indentation was made in Dinobot's chest to accomodate the heat sensative sticker used on Grimlock. Although the sticker is not present in this release, the indentation is still there.

Beast Mode:
When Beast Wars Grimlock was released, his color scheme really confounded many fans. Why was the great Dinobot commander now a dalmation dog colored raptor? Indeed, my own review of Grimlock wondered why he had not been given classic Grimlock's colors. Well, someone at Hasbro seems to have had the same thought. Though the shades are not perfect, Dinobots Grimlock is indeed a combination of gray, red and gold in this form. The main body is a light gray (almost a silver color). The stripes (that everyone is familiar with by now) from the head down to the tail are red. His eyes are green and his teeth are white. The beast mode arms, upper legs and the stomach area are gold. The gold used here border lines on being a beige, it is very light and not a dark, metallic gold. Overall, you get a much more "classic Dinobot" vibe from this color scheme than any other colors this mold has been given over the past seven years or so.

Robot Mode:
Grimlock's robot mode show some more of the influences from Generation One Grimlock. His "Mutant Head" pieces are gold while the head underneath is mostly black with green eyes and a red mouth plate. Most of the upper body is gray/silver while the legs are mostly gold. On the center of his chest (the top of the beast mode head) is an Autobot symbol. The only thing I would have loved to see (but is not something Hasbro normally does anyhow) is a black wash on the gold parts of Grimlock's legs. They have a lot of rich detail in them, and it would have been nice to see that detail brought out more.

Grimlock's weaponry brings one interesting note out. The sword that is inside the tail piece is now made of an extremely flexible rubber rather than plastic. It's edges are also a bit more blunt and not as well defined as those of the original Dinobot or Grimlock. Also, it has been shortened. Of course, this is mostly due to safety concerns, but it does show how quickly toy standards of safety can change. It was only about two years ago that Dinobots' basic mold was reissued (okay, it was technically Hardhead's mold, but you get the idea) with the sword made out of solid plastic. The other weapon, the spinning blade still works by pushing down on the button at the base of the blade.

In an interesting note, on the package illustration Hasbro chose to place the spinning blade, with each blade out to the side on Grimlock's back. Although it may seem like a mis-transformation, in fact, it seems that the tail piece may have always been meant to mount on the back of the mold. Note the hole at the base of the tail piece and the peg on Grimlock's lower back. They go together perfectly if you flip down the piece that his tail attaches to. This offers a perfect place for him to "stash" this weapon. On a personal observation note, if you have it on his back and swing the blades out to the sides, it a visual allusion to the "wings" that Generation One Grimlock had in his robot mode.

The way I look at this redeco is that it is the redeco that we should have gotten during the Beast Wars. It's definitely a visual homage to the classic character and it looks nice on its own.

Terranotron/Swoop Review

Terranotron is a name that may sound familiar to some. It should, Terranotron was a member of the Dinobots during the Beast Machines run. Check out that Terranotron's review here. While that Terranotron was a redeco of Transmetal Terrorsaur, this Terranotron is a redeco of Beast Wars Lazorbeak. Unlike the original Beast Wars Terrorsaur, Lazorbeak lacked a "notch" in his weapon storage compartment which stabilized the gun. This toy also lacks that notch. Also, this toy has the square indentation for the Predacon heat sensative sticker (which is not present of course). Since the Lazorbeak mold is technically the more recent mold, it's not surprising that Hasbro used it instead of the Terrorsaur mold.

Beast Mode:
Terranotron is mostly metallic blue gray. His beast mode eyes are red and the grid pattern running along his head, wings and back are painted yellow in a pattern that allows gray in the middle, breaking it up (which actually looks very nice). In the center of the head is an Autobot symbol, which looks very striking against the yellow and gray, the contrast really brings it out and screams "I'm an Autobot!". Great looking beast mode overall.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode, orange, silver and purple make a splash on the robot form, adding some contrasting against the dark metallic blue gray. The robot head, fists and part of the lower legs are purple. The upper legs, waist and upper arms are orange. On each side of his wings is an Autobot symbol, which looks really great. His face is painted silver, and the eyes, which are really, really deeply inset in the face are red. I'm glad they painted them like that, it helps them stand out a lot. The only thing I wish they had done differently was to use some black wash on the upper arms and legs. The orange color drowns out the sculpted details, and since no R & D cost went into the creation of the toys, a bit of money tossed in the way of adding the wash would have been nice to see. However, it's not something Hasbro does often anyhow, so it's not entirely unexpected to not have it at all.

Terranotron is a bit plain looking in beast mode, but his robot mode really looks nice, with an interesting scheme (I honestly would not have thought to mix purple and orange). Although he may not be the greatest toy ever made, since he's packaged with Grimlock as well, it's a bargain for the price.

This two pack is a nice set, not only in the sense of being G1 Dinobot-esque redecos, but also as two toys from the early days of the Beast Wars being on shelves again. I appreciate the job done on Grimlock, those are the colors fans have wanted for quite some time. I wish Terranotron had been named Swoop however, that would have really put things over the top!

Note: Turns out someone at Hasbro was thinking the same thing as I. People have reported in that there is a variant to this two pack, with Terranotron now named Swoop! Just be aware folks, there are variant floating around out there. And yes, this two pack is now over the top.

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