As you can probably tell, I’m on a real Transformers kick lately, and why not? The figures are coming out in rapid succession, and they are all pretty damn great. The original animated film is getting a lot of attention, and I’m here today to check out another of the Studio Series 86 figures. This time it’s Leader Class Grimlock!!! Oh, and Wheelie too. I guess.
We saw the Studio 86 packaging back when I reviewed Scourge, and I don’t have much more to say about it, other than making Grimlock share the title card with Wheelie might have been a little excessive. I’m tempted to gripe here about how many do-overs we’re getting lately. After all, it was only a few years ago that we got the Power of the Primes Grimlock, along with the rest of the Dinobots, but since those were a collective mixed bag, I’m all in favor of it this time. As I recall, I wasn’t terribly thrilled with PotP Grimlock’s T-Rex mode and while I was a bit warmer toward his robot mode, it wasn’t really ideal either. Of course, that Grimlock sacrificed a lot in favor of an ill-conceived combiner gimmick. Let’s take a look at this new Grimlock’s T-Rex mode.
I gotta be honest, I was a little iffy on this Dino Mode when I first opened the figure, but it’s been growing on me quite a bit. It’s not the homerun I was hoping for, but it’s pretty solid. Grimlock has a bit of a Dino Pot-Belly, but it gives him a powerful look and some charming character. The arms feel like they’re a little too big, but they’re still fun to pose and have articulation in the shoulders and elbows. I do really wish they were painted silver, though, because the bare off-white plastic looks unfinished compared to the rest of the toy, and we get more of it at the tip of the tail. The rest of the plastic coloring is a satisfying deep gray, and I think they added just the right amount of sculpted panel lines and bits and bobs to his skin. It’s not as hyper-detailed as the PotP Grimlock, but I think that what we got here works well for the movie aesthetic.
His legs are big and powerful, but don’t add an unnecessary width like they did with the PotP version. No need for a Wide Load bumper sticker here. Grimlock looks great when he’s sitting up with his tail resting on the ground. And while he’s a little back heavy, he can stand with the tail off the ground as well. When viewed from the back, he’s got a case of beaver tail going on. It’s really not terrible, but a little too flat and wide for my liking. At least the red, green, and blue painted panels look nice.
The head is pretty good, but he has no front teeth, which is really weird. A big strike against him is that they nixed the translucent plastic on the neck in favor of a satin gold paint job. I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but the toy’s neck on the back of the box had it and it looks so much better than what we got. Also, the exposed screws on the right side of his head and neck are a real shame. How much could it cost to throw some plugs into those? They went with the blue eyes here, and I dig them. All in all, this T-Rex mode is loads better than either the Power of the Primes or the Fall of Cybertron toys, but I’d still take the original G1 toy’s Dino Mode over this one as being more polished overall. Let’s move on to robot mode!
The transformation is based on the original toy, but with some tweaks that make it a little less elegant, but not at all too fiddly. And the result is an absolute tank of a robot! The T-Rex mode might not have been a homerun, but this robot mode sure does the job! The proportions here are fantastic and he hits all the right points for me! Some of my favorite nods are the T-Rex claws protruding from his wrists, and the Dino Hide Wings coming off his back. These are even hinged so they can be angled up a bit more if you prefer. The Dino head hangs close to his back, just like on the original G1 toy, and there’s no hollow leg syndrome on this guy at all. He even has some really nice ankle tilts for those wide stances. Furthermore, he’s solid and lots of fun to play with. I actually prefer posing and playing with this robot mode than I do my Masterpiece Grimlock, which tends to be pretty floppy in the groinular region.
If I’m going to nitpick anything, it would be that I wish the translucent plate on his chest was a little less smoked so you could make out the Autobot emblem under it a bit more clearly. Yeah, it’s a tiny gripe, but it’s really all I’ve got. The head sculpt is pretty much perfect, and like the T-Rex eyes, they went with the blue visor here. I don’t really have a preference between the red or blue, but I will say the blue here looks rather pretty.
Grimlock comes with his rather iconic double-barreled blaster, which is suitable large and hefty. Alas, we’ve been cheated out of a sword for the second release in a row. Sure, he’ll end up with my Fall of Cybertron Grimlock sword, but I Still can’t understand why Hasbro couldn’t give him one. I would have much rather had a sword than the other accessory he came with…
And that’s Wheelie! Wheelie is more an accessory than a figure. He doesn’t transform and his articulation is limited to his hips, shoulders and neck. He’s meant to sit on Grimlock’s shoulder and pose like he’s firing off his slingshot, although you can actually get him to stand in a decent action pose. It’s a great sculpt, and he looks good sitting on Grimlock, but I’ll stick with my Titans Return Wheelie, thank you very much.
If it felt like I picked on this figure a bit, that should be a testament to just how great Hasbro’s Transformers releases have been lately. This Grimlock is a great figure, but my expectations have been so high lately, I turned my spotlight on him extra bright. The robot mode is definitely this figure’s strongest point, but the T-Rex mode ain’t bad, it’s just not as polished as I had hoped. What I’m really happy to see here is Grimlock scaled properly. The Dinobots are supposed to be huge, and the Power of the Primes Dinobots were ridiculously tiny. It’s nice get a Grimlock that even towers over Optimus Prime. And thanks to some leaked images, we know more similarly sized Dinobots are coming!