Apr 24, 2013

[Transformers] Hasbro Masterpiece Grimlock

Aside from Soundwave, Grimlock is one of my favorite characters from the original Transformers series, as juvenile as that sounds. Sure, we all know that the Dinobots tapped into that classic kid mindset that "dinosaurs are cool" and thus a robot dinosaur, despite his lack of intelligence, is still "cool"

But Dinobots are a little hard to come by these days - at least those from the Generation 1 period. Takara has not re-released any of the Dinobots as part of their Encore series of toys and instead we've contented ourselves with the alternate incarnations in other toylines.

But Masterpiece Grimlock is a different story.

I had long been searching for this particular variant of Masterpiece Grimlock as opposed to the two versions that Takara has released thus far. And I admit that I picked up this particular piece because of the silly little crown accessory. And while other Masterpiece Grimlocks have come with a lot more accessories, this one was just enough to meet my needs.

The Hasbro release of Transformers Masterpiece Grimlock has a number of differences to prior Takara releases, namely MP-8 and the variant King Grimlock MP-8X. Many have complained his teeth being somewhat rounded down in this version, but it's not like he's actually going to eat stuff. His paint scheme is a bit more accurate to the G1 toy and he features a number of different decals and accents that follow this pattern. He just doesn't come with the same accessories as MP-8 like the apron, serving tray and brain transfer device from the cartoon.

Admittedly I love this figure from head to foot. He has a crazy set of gimmicks for this release but more importantly he looks a lot like his cartoon incarnation, and yet also manages to remain largely true to his original G1 transformation style. While he is only my third full Masterpiece purchase, given Rodimus and Soundwave, his transformation is one of the simplest and yet also G1-accurate. The additions made to this figure didn't force the designers to create alterations along the way.

Both his dinosaur and robot modes feature an eye color changing trick - something that allows you to either match his cartoon or his toy / comic book appearance. Personally I like him with his dinosaur eyes blue and yet his robot eyes red. This is an aesthetic decision that you can figure out for yourself.

The detail on this dinosaur mode is pretty impressive. Apart from all the little rivets that dot his various body plating or the fun chrome parts that give his next a lot of distinct character, what I love the most are his little arms. In the original Grimokc release, there wasn't much to be said about his arms - they were just there. In this case he has elbow joints and three individual claws as fingers that you can position as you wish. Sure, he's still a T-Rex with ridiculously short hands and no opposable thumbs. But at least he can now bend his arms and flip the bird at passing Decepticons. He also has weird gimmicks like how wagging his tail makes his head and neck assemble move from left to right or how pushing down on the whole body makes his head move up and down, which are all cute but not at all necessary.

He's definitely a gorgeous-looking robot. The term "sexy" may not exactly apply, but I have to say that he's certainly a good-looking robot. He definitely captures the look of his cartoon incarnation with a lot of fun details all around. I particularly liked the unnecessary gimmick of his Autobot insignia only sliding into place when you fully transform him into a robot. But this design decision does make sure that he does't have the Autobot symbol right at his crotch area when in dinosaur mode.

His left hand features the same thumb-forefinger-three fingers design that we've seen in other Masterpiece figures and there's a little nub that you can use to lock his sword or gun into place. You could fumble with making him actually grip the weapon, but it just won't stick for long.

The right hand is the more important once  since it contains a small light that projects straight into the clear inner assembly of his sword and his gun. This makes a lot more sense with the sword, which lights up decently even in a well-lit room. The gun however only seems to light up at the very tips of the blaster based on how the light is traveling through the gun. This is the same even in a dark room - I made sure to try.

Either weapon work with the light-up gimmick and his batteries are contained in the upper portion of his arm. This makes it easy enough to replace and you don't have to be afraid of him losing his light-up trick should you pop the arm out of its ball joint. And given how it was designed, you know it's going to happen a lot.

I primarily got this version of Grimlock because of his crown and the fact that I liked this particular paint scheme. I could have gotten the crown with Takara's King Grimlock MP-8X release, but that would have meant having him in Marvel G1 colors, which are a little weird. This was the best compromise between overall look for Grimlock, the crown accessory and of course the overall price. Hasbro Masterpiece releases will always be cheaper than Takara releases.

In terms of poseability, he's a pretty decent figure but nowhere near as poseable as Masterpiece Soundwave. While the changes to his arm and hand design versus his G1 version gave this figure a lot more motion, his legs remains rather limited in their options despite Takara's retooling efforts. You actually have to make it look like he broke his knees a bit in order to position him well based on the direction of his pivots and hinges in that area. Don't get me wrong - he's still pretty fun and nicely solid too. But I would have wished for a little more based on what they had accomplished later on with Soundwave.

I still need to spend more time playing with this figure to get the full range of motion figured out, especially once I start posing him for more photos together with Soundwave and Rodimus. But just like the characters that they're based on, Masterpiece Grimlock is defiitely my second-favorite toy next to Masterpiece Soundwave. Sorry Rodimus, you'll get your time in the sun.

Overall, Hasbro Masterpiece Grimlock gets a 4 out of 5 given I still wish he had more motion options and I kinda feel sort about not having the apron. But I'm kind of a crazy fan that way.

And special thanks to the Facebook group Robot Collectors Haven (RCH) for helping me find a seller with this great toy!

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