Thursday, 17 February 2011

Classics Grimlock

By and large, I really do not like the Dinobots. Not the concept (robots that transform into... robotic dinosaurs?), not the characters. I didn't bother picking up any of the G1 Dinobots, and only bought the third-party-manufactured World's Smallest Dinobots because they were limited editions and incredibly cool at the time. I'm really not sure why I bought Classics Grimlock... but the reuses of the mold - TFCC's Shattered Glass Grimlock and Takara Tomy's Classics Overkill - were pretty good. Shame I don't own either of them... Yet...

Dinobot Mode:
Um. Yeah. While G1 Grimlock could never be described as an accurate rendition of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, this thing is clearly not based on any actual dinosaur that might have existed. It's either a cutesified T-Rex, or something closer to a Velociraptor. It doesn't look big, it doesn't look imposing, and it certainly doesn't look scary.

The paint job evokes some memories of the G1 figure - largely grey with some gold bits here an there - but something about it just seems very bland, even with the black wash on the midsection. The light-piped eyes are awesome, though... even if they do require such a large patch of his crown to be translucent red...

Still, it's quite poseable in this mode - a claim which cannot be made by the G1 figure - with a jaw that opens quite a way, well-jointed legs, and a tail with four points of articulation all to itself. I'm not quite sure why the robot's gun mounts on the Dinobot's back... While it might be handy to have as a gun turret, it's absolutely useless as a sword, as the blade is more likely to stab Grimlock in the back of his own head than it is to reach any enemy.
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Robot Mode:
Strangely, this manages to look, at once, very much like the G1 original, and nothing like it at all. The thigh-length-boot effect on the legs is quite distracting, and having the Dinobot mode's head split in half to become feet, while an improvement on just having it hanging off his back, a la G1 Grimlock, is awkward and not particularly effective - orient the lower jaw differently, and it looks like Grimlock is wearing thigh-length, stilletto-heeled ballet boots. Very kinky.

The upper body is far more successful, generally, but the arms seem clumsy and very stubby, despite looking quite elegant as the Dinobot's legs. I'm also not sure that the screws are meant to be showing on the robot's shoulders... but then, would it look any better if they were visible on the Dinobot's hips?

I do quite like the chest - evoking, as it does, both G1 and the later Beast Wars models with their 'spark crystals'. That red blob doesn't serve any purpose, though - there's no Autobot logo embedded in it. The best part about this mold is undoubtedly the head sculpt. While small, it just is Grimlock. It's based equally on the G1 animation model and some of the recent comics' interpretations of Grimlock, even those based on Cybertron. The only sculpt that does better, in my opinion, is the Masterpiece version... which I'm unlikely to buy.

In robot mode, the gun/sword seems even more unwieldy. I had hoped it would be something like the weapon wielded by Galaxy Force Fang Wolf, and have a grip that swiched between gun mode and sword mode but, sadly, it's fixed in gun mode... so the 'sword' is effectively more like a bayonet mounted on a rifle. On the upside, it does have a lick of gold paint on the edge of the blade, so it stands out nicely... The tail section is also some kind of hand-held weapon, having been described by some as a whip. It's far too bulky for that, though... straightened out, it could almost be called a lance but, even then, I can't see it being a very effective weapon.
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This is a bizarrely simple figure to transform - probably more so than the G1 original, not least because the tail just comes straight off, rather than trying to fold away anywhere. There was an assembly mishap on just about every Grimlock figure that means the black tabs on either side of his head don't actually peg into his shoulders as they're intended to. It doesn't really affect the figure, though.

While the legs are awkward and the arms stubby, this is actually a reasonably poseable figure. The feet do let it down, however, and the ball-jointed hips are a little weak on mine.

Again, I really cannot understand what compelled me to buy this figure. Certainly it's more sedate than the excessively chromed monstrosity that was the Japanese version, but it's just a bad figure in just about every significant way. It's a halfway decent attempt at a homage/update to G1 Grimlock, and certainly better articulated, but loses any of the sense of raw power that the blocky G1 brick ever had.

Also, it's rather strange that Classics Grimlock was billed as the Dinobot Commander... but no other Classics Dinobots were made...

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