"Generations" Fall of Cybertron Grimlock Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: February 2013
Price Point: $22.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword, Shield

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from the Official Transformers Web Site:
There was a time when the rage that boils inside Grimlock would have driven him straight to the ranks of the Decepticons. But while his flawed manner of speaking may make him sound strange, he’s smart enough to recognize a bully when he sees one – and Grimlock doesn’t like bullies. It’s this that fuels his dedication to the fight against the Decepticons.

This dynamic dino will be your fiercest Autobot yet! Your Grimlock figure converts from dangerous robot mode to Tyrannosaurus Rex mode, with glowing eyes and mouth and a monster chomping jaw! Keep converting him back and forth so his Decepticon enemies can’t keep up with him!

Includes figure. Series 1 003 Grimlock. Ages 5 and up. Includes 2 "A76" batteries. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios was due to release "Fall of Cybertron" in August of 2012 so a large portion of the "Generations" toy line became dedicated to characters and designs from the game itself. One of the most highly anticipated characters appearing in the game was the Dinobot leader Grimlock. Over the years, the character has received the toy treatment many times in various lines including Energon and Classics. However, it's been a while since he was given a treatment in this size scale with an accompanying "media" tie-in.

Robot Mode:
This figure is based on the CG model used in the video game. This model was huge, bulky, powerful looking and featured many of the key design elements from the original Generation One iteration of the character. This includes his head design with protrusions on the sides, a visor and mouthplate. His chest is wide with mechanical details inside and his upper arms are circular, leading to massive forearms with his dinosaur claws at the ends. This leads to a narrowed mid-body leading to curved legs. Indeed, the primary "missing" element from the G1 Grimlock are the "wings" on his back that formed part of the beast mode. Instead, the beast mode's head, neck and upper body section (complete with dinosaur arms) wind up on his back, giving him much of his upper body bulk. Overall, it's a really nice update to the original Grimlock, giving him much more detail while still keeping his look regal and powerful.

A lot of the smaller details on the CG model have carried over to the figure. Among the most notable are the tubes and circles in his chest, the layered armor design on his mid-body, six sided details on his lower legs near the knees and vent lines near his feet. Perhaps one of my favorite details on this figure is the variation of the Autobot symbol on his chest, which is based on the symbol of Grimlock's "Lightning Strike Coalition", a sub-group of Autobots who use especially brutal tactics. It's really neat to see such a subtle detail reflected on the figure. Overall the detailing is fantastic and looks great. I'm really happy how much the designers tried to make the CG model details come to life.

Grimlock is cast in silver, gold, translucent red and gunmetal grey plastic. These colors match up nicely with his CG model and his Generation One iteration. The silver makes up most of his body including the arms and legs. The gold forms his torso and smaller parts such as the claws on his forearms. The gunmetal grey is found on the head (though part of me believes it might be painted gunmetal instead of cast in that color. It would've been easy for the designers to just use the translucent red plastic for the eyes, but it's also used inside the torso section from the chest down to the waist. These translucent red pieces give Grimlock some interesting coloring (matching the red colors on the video game model) but it also ties into one of his "action" features (discussed below).

Paint colors on this figure include gunmetal grey, silver gold and red. These are distinct "Dinobot" colors that have been part of the Dinobot aesthetic since Generation One. For the most part, the colors match up nicely to his CG model. The gold is on the lower part of his legs, the red is used for the dotted pattern on his knee area. The red is also found on the sides of his shoulder joints and lower legs. The red is bright enough that it looks like it is "glowing" against his silver parts. Gunmetal and silver are used to fill in many of the details on his torso and the area near his head. The contrast between the gunmetal and gold colors looks great, especially since the gold is a lighter shade than you'd expect given how dark the character looks in the video game.

Grimlock comes with two accessories: a sword and shield. The sword is designed to resemble his CG model's weapon, with a wide blade and a series of smaller blades set in a round pattern near the hilt. The shield has an asymmetrical shape up at the top with one side coming up higher than the other. In the middle there is machinery styled detailing, giving the impression that the shield itself is generated from the device at the center. To that end, both weapons have been cast in translucent orange plastic. They look fantastic and really give the impression of "energy" coming out from the parts painted gunmetal grey. The shield has a 5mm peg on it, allowing you to attach it to Grimlock's arms either on the shoulder or forearm. The sword's handle is a 5mm handle and it has pegs on the sides, allowing you to attach it to his arms or even connect other weapons to it.

There are twenty one points of articulation on this figure, which is great. This includes five on each arm and leg. The only significant point of articulation missing here is waist articulation (which could have been done given the design, but it probably would have cost more to make the figure if it was done). The other "action feature" I hinted at above is really a light up feature. On the back, you'll find a silver tab that you can press. When you do so, his entire chest lights up red. The light itself is red, and the translucent red plastic inside the chest enhances the color. This isn't just a random feature, it actually reflects the "rage" that builds up in Grimlock in the video game and it also gives him the "glowing" look that many of the characters from the game have. It's really cool and I love how it fits the character in both personality and the way he appears in the game.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1.     Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2.     Swing the arms out to the sides at the shoulder joints.
  3.     Rotate the arms around and pull them out slightly.
  4.     Swing the back piece (that includes the dinosaur head) over the robot head.
  5.     Rotate the robot arms again and push them in, filling the gap left by the back piece.
  6.     Each of the robot shoulders has a tab at the top, this should fit under the chest piece.
  7.     On each forearm, swing the part with the two claws out, then swing the fists in.
  8.     Swing the front part of the lower legs up, exposing the inner workings and tail ends.
  9.     Swing the lower leg pieces up and push them down.
  10.     Connect the tail ends together.
  11.     Push the robot feet down.
  12.     Attach the shield to one side of the hip and the sword to the other.

Note of caution: the dinosaur arms are connected by ball joints and they tend to pop off more easily than expected on my copy of this figure than expected, so be warned.

Beast Mode:
Traditionally Grimlock has been a Tyrannosaurus Rex in his alt form, and that's what this mode attempts to do. The video game explains that Shockwave found imagery of the dinosaurs on ancient Earth and used those forms as his inspiration for the alt modes of the Dinobots. When Grimlock is revealed, he is indeed a creature based on a tyrannosaurus complete with a head with a long snout, a neck that leads to a thick body and a long tail. He also has the famous short arms and powerful looking legs in the center. He even runs in a more horizontal pose similar to the modern understanding of how the Tyrannosaurus would have moved when it was still alive. In terms of proportions and smaller details however, the figure and CG model have more exaggerated proportions on parts like his legs and tail. Both sections are rather thick compared to what they would have been on a "real" T-Rex, but given this was the result of Shockwave shoehorning a dinosaur inspired design into Grimlock's existing form, it works really nicely.

Grimlock is full of smaller details from nose to tail. His head has some really nasty looking teeth sculpted into the inside of the mouth and nice panel lines on the sides. There are raised ridges on the back of his neck which could be interpreted as 'spike" like details or perhaps even the mechanical interpretation of the feathers many scientists now believe the dinosaurs had. Some of the details from the sides of the legs take center stage now as parts of the tail. The sides feature dotted sections painted red, representing Grimlock's "glowing" sections and a series of layered armr with mechanical details on the sections in between the panels. Even if his beast mode's inspiration is an organic creature, it's very clear this is a mechanical monster!

This mode features all the same colors as the robot mode, but with all the parts extended out, he shows off more colors. This includes more red paint on the head/neck area, gold on the sides of the tail, gold plastic for the end of the tail and gunmetal grey on the "spikes" on his neck. The top of his head also has a part colored with dark grey plastic leaving gaps open to form an Autobot symbol. Why gaps? When you push the tab on his neck the mouth opens up and the bright red light makes his entire head glow, making him look like his eyes are lighting up, making the Autobot symbol grow and looking like "fire" is coming out of his mouth. It's a really spectacular, yet simple effect and I like it a lot!

Grimlock has six points of articulation in this form. This is mostly focused on the legs, but his dinosaur arms are on ball joints too. If you position his legs properly, you can have him "sit" on his tail, giving him more of a "G1 Grimlock" appearance in this form. Holes on the robot arms allow you to attach extra weaponry on the sides, turning him into a walking monster artillery unit! Overall I'm really happy with Grimlock's beast mode. Some have complained a bit of the "open gap" in between the legs, but given his transformation scheme I totally get why it's there and it doesn't bother me at all.

Final Thoughts:
"Generations" Grimlock deserves the excitement fans have had for this figure. He looks like the CG model from the game and has so many elements of the G1 character that he's instantly recognizable. He's also fun to play with and I dig his weapons and light up feature. Highly recommended!