Hasbro made the Transformers Generations line largely as a big valentine to long-time fans, seemingly focusing mostly on those who read the comic books. Skullgrin is based on a 1980s "Pretenders" toy, back from when they had tiny transforming robots placed inside large hollow figure shells. Skullgrin came in a giant devilish ram beast, and in the Marvel comic books the character eventually found his way on to film sets where he starred in a monster movie. (And you thought the cartoon had a monopoly on weirdness.) With few appearances of any real consequence outside this one comic story, the character eventually died unceremoniously in the Generation 2 comic series.
The 6-inch tall robot takes the toy of Darkmount and gives him new paint and a new head. Personally, I think the grey and pink look way better on the mold than the blues and greys of Darkmount, although the robotic ram's head isn't quite as cool as the original Pretender toy from 1988. The original toy had a sword and gun, but the 2010 release has a giant axe-- I think it works for the bulky monster of a robot, but sticklers for authenticity or holding true to the older toys may be upset. Oh well, thankfully there aren't too many of you.
He has no problems holding on to his large weapon, and the three smaller clamp-on weapons fit on the bars just fine. I think they're a little excessive for the toy, but it's a nice added play feature and you can always put them on other figures instead if you're so inclined. Articulation is pretty great, and as long as you don't have loose ankles he'll have no problems standing up. Aside from a chunk of the tank serving as a backpack, the transformation is fairly involved and generally more complicated than I've come to expect from other tank toys.
In tank mode, there's not too much going on. The wheels turn, the turret spins, and you can raise or lower the barrel. Also, the clamp-on weapons can be stuck in any of a number of places for your amusement. Grey really works for this vehicle, so even if you have Darkmount I'd suggest snagging one of these if your budget allows for repaints and remolds.
Skullgrin shipped in November 2010 with two other notable toys-- War for Cybertron-inspired Cliffjumper, and another classic Pretender character, Thunderwing.
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