Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Animated Grimlock: First Impressions

Since I have a flight really freaking early, it made sense to stay up, photograph, and open new toys. It's either that, or try to sleep for a couple of hours. First up: Grimlock! (Boxed images below. More images may be added as time permits, this will be obvious as you will look at the widget and you will see images.)

"Where are DECEPTICONS? Me GRIMLOCK getting hungry!" (Quote from back of packaging.)

The figure is a decent size, sporting a massive lower jaw in both modes. By enhancing this feature, the character has a meaner, more active appearance where it almost looks like he should open up his mouth and talk to you. Sadly, he's only going to talk if you provide his voice, and his robot mode jaw does not move. (It's worth noting that it's so big, you'll probably think it should.)

Our hero's lone accessory is a big flaming sword. If you put it in his wrist and twist his appendage, additional flames will pop out. It's a decent feature, certainly not stunning, but neat enough. In robot mode, the instructions don't really say where the sword should go, but the box implies that it can act as "flame breath." I guess you can cram anything into the dinobot commander's mouth, but it doesn't mean it's going to look good there.

Packaging has been a hallmark of Hasbro's marketing, and they seem to be going out of their way to do a more stunning job in each subsequent generation of toys. Animated is no exception. The box is absolutely gorgeous, with halftone patterns, bright colors, and character-specific illustrations from the series. I don't collect packaged toys as a rule, but I love these boxes so much I may get one or two pieces to leave sealed, just because it's so nice.

The toy costs $19.99 (or so), ships in a case with Lugnut, and is pretty good. Grimlock's transformation is similar to his Generation 1 toy, with a few differences. The tail still splits, the back still forms the leg, and the head and neck still essentially act as a backpack.

PROS: Nicely sized toy, looks a lot like the cartoon. Fun dinosaur "chomping" mouth, awesome flaming sword of death, articulation above and beyond what is expected from a toy of this nature. Solid construction, stiff joints. Good ability to balance in many poses in either mode. Shoulder articulation is well-engineered. Transformation is mostly solid, with many of the folding panels and pieces sculpted with tabs and slots to fit together to ensure the robot doesn't have loose, flailing bits of kibble.

CONS: Autobot logos are silver-- the animation model (and box illustrations) show red symbols with white outlines, which are cooler. Arm transformation is a little awkward, and the figure looks best with his elbows bent.

VALUE: It's not a lot of toy for $20, but odds are if you found my blog you're either a close personal friend or a big toy fiend who already is inclined to buy such things. As such, you should totally buy one of these IF you like Transformers as a whole or the new cartoon.

OVERALL: Grimlock is largely inspired by the toy of old, given new life with design elements of the 21st century. I squealed with glee when I saw this in the store (in a case, partially sealed on a palette, which I cracked open) and am presently having much fun with it. Kids should adore this toy, and older fans will get a lot out of it too.

No comments: