Considering the fame and popularity of the character, Grimlock gets the shaft when it comes to toys. In Beast Wars? Dalmation Velociraptor (which is cooler than it should be). For Transformers Universe, his new mold toy was shuttered into Energon which was largely a more popular series at the time. For Classics, he wasn't assembled properly and that's always a downer. He got a very expensive (and gorgeous) Masterpiece toy, and the Animated version was fun. This new version came out and was packed 3 per box against 1 Blaster per case, and Hasbro burned through it quite quickly. As of now, the toy has seemingly stopped shipping to stores. This explains his price on Amazon.
Standing over 7-inches tall, Grimlock's robot mode is pretty good. A recent interview mentioned that Hasbro generally starts with the alternate mode and works back. His robot legs form the dinosaur tail, and that's just not ideal. The figure has about 17 meaningful points of articulation and perfectly good detail. The plastic feels lighter and more airy, similar to the swell Beast Hunters Voyager-class Optimus Prime toy in that it's generally more hollow than his siblings. 2013 Springer and Blaster have a more glossy, chunky, and satisfying essence but only Grimlock is Grimlock. He also sports a nifty and (so far) unique to his toy insignia which lights up. Hasbro actually put a red LED in this one, allowing his robot mode to light up or the din mode to "breathe fire." It's a cheap but delightful gimmick.
Texture and coloring are pretty good, with expanded grating on his red knees and a smattering of gold to recall the original toy from the 1980s. Like Blitzwing, the figure's largely solid construction breaks down with tons of tabs and weak shoulders which don't quite lock into place and are cast from a strange plastic that will leave you asking "Am I going to break this?" I was delighted to find him in stores, but because of this strange plastic I've not touched him in a couple of months, which is kind of preposterous to think on a toy that says "Ages 5+" on the box.
Accessories are more abundant than necessary, and I wish they put more money into the actual figure. The sword is a fairly awesome accessory cast in clear plastic with 5mm hardpoints to connect it to the figure in either mode, while the shield, made from the same material, is largely superfluous. It hangs off his side in the dinosaur mode, and it hangs off his arm as a robot. It feels like it's just there to either a) add value or b) get in the way, neither of which is necessary. Grimlock's Grimlockness will sell Grimlock, and putting an extra fifty cents into the robot mode's shoulders or plastic would probably make a significant difference.
Speaking purely on a matter of opinion, I do not like his dinosaur mode much. The robot legs hang off the butt, the head is ugly, and if it weren't for the fire-breathing light I'd say it was pretty much worth never transforming. The light-up symbol on the top of his head was inspired, and the LED works very well. Once you get him into this mode, though, there's not much else to do. Slap a shield on his thigh and have him menace your other figures with his chomping jaw, and that's something at least.
The dinosaur mode does feel fairly large, but it's just not as satisfying as most of the other releases. The big red rosy cheeks are distracting, and his snout feels blunt. Textures on his head feel very forced, with the detailing allowing Hasbro to show you just how much detail they can put in there. A smooth head might look better, and as someone who really does like the original head (as well as some of the remakes) this one just didn't click for me. Since it'll be hanging off his back in robot mode in my house, I doubt I'll give it a second thought.
Sort of like Blitzwing, I see Grimlock as a great shelf figure. We could still stand to have a really top-notch Grimlock toy, which I would argue has yet to happen. While he's not floppy like Blitzwing, I suspect his shoulders will likely bother you. Not at first, but soon. If your goal is to just have him stand on your desk at work, though, this toy is perfect and totally worth getting. For everybody else, I'd suggest waiting to see what comes down the pipeline in the next few years. As I write this I've got 5 of the 6 2013 Voyager molds on my desk, and he does sort of feel like the odd man out. Still, I'd buy him at $23 or so. I mean, it's Grimlock.
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