Before all you Transformers Masterpiece collectors get all up in my face, I’m talking about my beloved CHUG scale/styles. Yes, Classics, Henkei, Universe, Generations. I don’t get it. There have been two? three? releases in this scale and none of them scream “Grimlock.” Well, kinda. The two that I have in mind are the original classics in the deluxe scale and the most recent Fall of Cybertron version in voyager scale. Both figures are misses.
What makes them a miss? The Classics deluxe is just grossly undersized in dino mode. And this is important since the dino mode is key. Dino mode must be big, bigger than Optimus, or at least even with Optimus. Classics Grimlock is just small; his head is even with Classics Bumblebee, and, for a T-Rex and leader of the Dinobots, that’s pretty sad. He’s now that puny character that’s always getting his ass kicked. Actually, we solved this problem in our house after I sold off all my Beast Wars figures a few years ago — we call him “Dinobot.” That adds some badass to this figure. Let’s face it, that’s a pitiful thing that I’ve had to do to compensate for an oh-so-little Grimlock.
There are some pluses, and I would be negligent in my duties as a reviewer of action figures if I did not point these out. He’s got good dino articulation. Yes, you heard me, the articulation works. It may not be everyone’s favorite, but the hips allow for head-up, tail-down posing. He’s stable at the feet and has ankle, achilles, and knee joints; thigh swivels; and hips hinges and swivels. Great leg articulation. And the head is articulated with hinges at the neck and jaw.
But he’s short.
And his newer brother FOC Grimlock is also short. Well, he might be taller, but you wouldn’t know this since his hips are locked into place like a pointer on a hunt. C’MON! How man times is he posed like this? Yeah, when he walks around, great. But really? Even in the game he’s all up in Godzilla stomp mode! This is such a major design failure that I want to scream and shout.
And to add insult to the injury, Transformers Animated gets a good Voyager Grimlock in dino mode. Swap out the action feature mouth for plain articulation and this is a model dino mode. Almost. There is one major gripe and another not so major. There is a huge gaping hole in his chest. It’s like he was shot in the chest with a bazooka and was left with a crater. It’s an epic fail for a character that spends most of his time as a dino (actually, I don’t know if he does in Animated, but he should). The other gripe is the tail: it is static. I know there is no good way around this, but I’d like an articulated tail.
But Animated’s tail looks good. There’s no function but it looks good. Unlike FOC’s. Holy crap, that thing is a train wreck. I mean, what the hell happened to it? I know I’m no designer and I’m an armchair designing here, but really? This thing is awful. I think something shaped like this came out of me this morning. Oddly, the smallest of the group has an articulated tail. It’s kinda cool in that regard.
And that covers the dino modes. Let’s talk about the robot modes, an equally important feature. I’ll be honest. I like the look of FOC the best, he looks like Grimlock to me, and I bought him for his robot mode. He’s the right height, on par with Classics Optimus and towers over my smaller figures as he should. All the articulation works and he looks good. I’d love to have seen a thicker chest instead of the hollowed out thing that we have. The hollowed our chest sucks; it makes the figure light and takes away that thick/heavy feel I expected. And add to that a waist swivel. Those two things would make this the perfect robot mode for me.
Classics robot mode is a hot mess. The articulation works and he can pose, but this isn’t Grimlock — it looks more like Dinobot. It ain’t Grimlock. I’m not certain this garners further discussion.
Animated Grimlock is pretty close to perfect. He’s not hollow or messy, he twists and turns and does everything that you expect. And he looks like Grimlock in robot mode. He’s perfect. Except that he’s in the animated style. *slaps forehead* AAARGH! Major showstopper, he doesn’t look right in my CHUG display — he’s the wrong style!
The final insult in all this is that the Masterpiece version is perfect. He’s huge, he’s Godzilla, he’s just perfect. But he’s Masterpiece and I don’t collect Masterpiece — I refuse to go down that dark path. Oh, the Transformer Gods are having their fun with me. Until they have pity on me and make a decent CHUG-styled Grimlock in BOTH Dino mode and Robot modes, with decent articulation and no funk in the chest, I’ll continue to lick my wounds like a sad puppy.
For those of you still interested, all these figures are still available on BigBadToyStore:
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