And I’m back to wrap up my look at the thing of beauty that is MP-03 Grimlock. Yesterday we checked out his packaging and robot mode. Today we’ll look at his accessories and his Dino Mode! I know at least one of the Takara releases came with some pretty fun stuff including an apron and serving tray, a flame effect, and even the brain transfer helmet from the Sunbow cartoon. Since this is the second Hasbro release it seemed only natural that all those goodies would be packed into this box. Well they’re not. All you get are Grimmy’s weapons and a crown.
First we have the gun. It’s a simple black double barreled affair with clear extenders on the ends of the barrels. It’s designed to work with an LED in Grimlock’s right hand to light up. I like the gun well enough, but the lighting effect is pretty underwhelming. It fits snugly into the peg hole that is figure’s right hand, but there’s also an extra fixture for securing it into the more articulated left hand. Normally I tend to prefer my giant robots to have guns rather than swords, but in this case, it’s Grimlock… He seems better suited for a sword.
Hey, look at that… a sword! Grimmy’s edged weapon features a clear blade to again make use of that LED in the right hand. It works slightly better than the gun, but I would still have opted they left the electronics out of the figure and given us a chromed out blade instead of a transparent one. The sword still looks good in his hand, although I would argue that it should have been bigger. Unlike the gun, Grimlock can actually wield the sword with his wrist claw’s down, but if you want to angle it to the right or left, you’ll have to flip it back up.
Lastly, and of no particular interest to me is the crown. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice piece with a beautiful vac-metal gold finish and it fits on Grimlock’s noggin quite securely. Is it a fun little extra? Sure! Am I ever going to display the figure with it? Nope!
The accessories really don’t have a place on dino-mode Grimlock, so let’s put them aside and get with the transforming. Transforming this figure retains the same basic ideas of the original G1 figure. Some readers may remember that one of my common complaints about modern Grimlock figures has been the designers’ insistence on over complicating things. Here, the dino head still folds up from the back, the robot chest shifts down, the wings still close together to form the neck, and the feet flip around to become the tail. Sure, it’s more complex than that, especially when unfolding the tail from the feet, but at its heart, this is the same old transformation and it works great. There’s just enough complexity here to make it feel like a “masterpiece” level figure while still keeping things fun.
I loved Grimlock’s robot mode, but holy shit do I really love his dino mode. Grimlock is one of those few Transformers that is likely to find himself displayed as much in his alt mode as in his robot mode. I dare say, there are some collectors who may display him exclusively in his dinosaur form. As a result it was doubly important that Takara/Hasbro get this mode right, and they certainly did. Grimlock’s dino mode is as majestic and iconic as ever. The toy is packed with tiny details, like the jets on his back and that beautiful translucent neck that reveals all the gold vac-metal goodness within. This is one gorgeous robot dino!
There are also some really nice improvements, most notably the longer arms with ball joints at the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, and individually articulated fingers. Thanks to these new arms, dino-mode Grimlock can be a lot more expressive. I also love the balance on this figure. He can be easily displayed standing straight up or leaning forward as if running or ready to pounce.
Grimlock’s dino mode features a gimmick where if you flip the tail the head will tilt. It’s rubbish and much like the LED gimmick in the arm, I wish they had just left it out. It’s the kind of gimmick that you might find in a $20 Voyager Class toy, and I don’t think it belongs in a pricier Masterpiece figure. Thankfully, it doesn’t intrude on the toy too badly.
A much cooler and more useful gimmick is the ability to change the color of Grimlock’s eyes. Just open up the head and make the change from toy accurate to Sunbow accurate. The choice is yours! I’ll aslo take this opportunity to point out how awesome Grimlock’s metalized teeth are and that if you open his mouth you can see the flamethrower in his gullet. Bravo! On the downside, what the hell is up with those plugs on the right side of his face? Are those to cover up screw holes? Seems like they could have done that better.
But all gimmicks aside, I’ve found Grimlock to be a remarkably fun figure to play around with. I honestly thought that I would get more out of his robot mode, but I’m having just as much fun fiddling about with his dino mode. Choosing which mode to display him in is going to be tough!
I can’t deny I take a few issues with this figure. Some of the gimmicks don’t belong here, and some of the tabbing issues and the loose hips have the engineering on the figure starting to show their age. I don’t think he’s anywhere near as elegantly designed as the MP figures that Takara is putting out now, but that’s fair enough. The packaging may be new, but the figure may just be starting to show his wrinkles. That’s not to say I don’t love him because I sure as hell do. He looks fantastic on the shelf whether standing beside the MP Datsuns, chilling out with Krank and Stax, or squaring off against MMC’s Feralcons. I even think he doesn’t scale too badly with Classics Prime, if you like your Dinobots to be on the larger side. It’s difficult to say whether I would be as impressed had I dropped the $165 to $200 that the Takara version goes for, but at eighty bucks? ME GRIMLOCK TAKE THAT DEAL ANY DAY!