I’m almost through the Deluxe Class figures I picked up from this series, but rather than finish them off, I thought I’d jump over to the one big guy. He’s one of the Voyager Class toys in this series and he’s none other than Solar Storm Grappel.
Whaaa? Yeah, just like Turbo Tracks, Hasbro seems to have mislaid the copyright to the name Grapple. Fair enough, but where the hell they came up with Solar Storm Grappel is beyond me. Again, it’s just a name on a box so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. It’s enough to know that he’s a repaint/remold of Generation Inferno, just like the G1 Grapple toy was a repaint/remold of G1 Inferno. I’m not terribly keen on the decision to go with making Inferno/Grapple as Voyager toys because I think they turned out a little too big to fit in comfortably with the other Classics, although as Deluxes I think they would have been too small. Too bad there wasn’t something inbetween. As with all the Voyagers in this line, the figure comes boxed in his robot mode, but I’m going to start with his vehicle mode.
As expected, Grappel is a yellow boom crane with some hazard stripes painted on the sides. He looks really good as Hasbro did a great job designing this vehicle form to work well as both crane and fire truck. The crane is fully articulated and even extends. There are still a few slight issues with locking all the panels together. I realize this could just be my own sucky transforming skills, but truth is I can rarely ever get either toy to completely line up and lock together perfectly. It’s not a big deal, but still worth mentioning. With the exception of the boom crane replacing Inferno’s water cannon, none of the other changes to the mold are evident in Grappel’s vehicle mode. Lots of crazy detail and the use of clear plastic really makes this vehicle stand out on the shelf!
Transforming Grappel is identical to changing Inferno. It’s fairly simple for a larger toy, but there are some clever things at work here. The way the side panels for the cabin all fold away neatly behind his shoulders is particularly nifty. There is definitely some very clever engineering at work here.
In robot mode we can now see some of the tinkering Hasbro did with the Inferno mold. Grappel’s forearms are rounded instead of squared off and he obviously has a brand new head sculpt, which is faithful to the original G1 character. These changes are all great, but it’s the crane hanging off the side of his arm that bugs me about Grappel. There’s so many other things Hasbro could have done to make this right without having to effect the mold hardly at all. Most easily, have it removable so you can peg it onto his back or something. Either way, this is a really lazy design that we’ve seen with crane Transformers in the past. The crane is intended to come protrude down his arm like a weapon. I find it a little less cumbersome to fold it back so it’s pointing away from his hand. Either way, it’s a giant albatross on what is otherwise a great looking figure.
I’m still really digging on this toy, warts and all. He’s a solid homage to the G1 character and a logical reuse of the Inferno mold. I still think the large size makes these guys feel a little out of place amongst the other Classics, particularly when displayed with a figure like Classics Optimus Prime, but maybe I just need to get used to it. If it weren’t for the crane arm, I could love Grappel a lot more, but as things stand Inferno remains my favorite of the pair.