"Generations" Cyber Battalion Grimlock Toy Review
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $14.99 (MSRP)
Retailer: Limited Release
Official images and text below in italics are from the Official Transformers web site:
This Grimlock figure won’t back down from any battle with his Decepticon enemies! He’s the leader of the Dinobots and a savage force in battle, and it only takes 6 steps for him to change from warrior robot mode to stomping dino mode. Will any Decepticon be able to stand against his massive assault? There’s only one way to find out!
2-in-1 Grimlock figure. Figure converts from robot mode to dino mode. Converts in 6 steps
In March of 2015, some interesting listings popped up on the Official Transformers web site for "Cyber Battalion" figures. These appeared to be simplified figures that resembled upscaled Legends Class figures. However, these figures were not present at both Toy Fair 2015 and they were not part of Hasbro's presentation at Botcon 2015. Still, sightings of these figures in countries like Brazil were popping up here and there online. In July of 2015, Ben's World of Transformer sponsor Bigbadtoystore listed several of these figures (including their larger "Cyber Commander" counterparts) and they sold out fast and a week later the listings were gone from the web site.
While the Hasbro web site lists an MSRP of $14.99 for Grimlock, I wound up paying $24.99 since I wasn't sure when I would ever see these for sale again (note: at the time I am typing this review, there are zero listings for these figures on ebay or any other retailer I normally frequent). It is very unusual for figures to make it to the official web site, get a limited release and then seemingly vanish from the market so this review is a bit of an anomaly among the other "Generations" figures. Perhaps they will see some bigger release down the road but nothing official has been announced at this time.
Unlike most Transformers packaging on the market nowadays, this figure comes in a rectangular box that has no window, so you can't see the toy inside. instead the front has photography of the toy in both modes with a white and grey grid behind it and an Autobot symbol in grey. Cut in a triangular panel is artwork featuring Grimlock in beast mode. This art comes from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app game. To the right is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. The back of the packaging features the figure and instructions along with a brief bio blurb in four languages (including english and spanish). Towards the bottom is safety information, but interestingly on my box there is a sticker slapped over this section with Chinese writing and citing Hasbro's China web site.
Open the flap on the side and you pull out a cardboard tray with the figure attached by plastic ties. This explains why there's no window box. Basically money was saved by not having to print a fancy background for the tray. It's just plain cardboard. My guess is given the simple nature of the figure, the designers figured most folks getting this would ditch the packaging anyhow. What I like about the packaging is that it is reusable and easily fit onto a bookshelf. There's even character art on the side with the character's name so you can line them up!
The first thing to note about this figure is that it is not an "upscaled" figure like "Beast Hunters" Bumblebee. This is an entirely new sculpt, though some of its design cues may remind fans of "Beast Hunters" Blight (which itself was repainted into two Grimlock figures for "Age of Extinction").
Grimlock's design appears to be a very streamlined take on the character inspired by his G1 roots, but taking the design in different directions. In terms of the "iconic" Grimlock profile, you'll find this Grimlock lacks any type of "wings" on his back (formed by part of the dinosaur torso in the G1 toy and cartoon model). Instead, his design is more akin to the G1 "Action Master" Grimlock who had no extra parts on his back or even the more recent "Robots in Disguise" Grimlock. It's almost odd seeing Grimlock looking so lean and sleek when the character is generally more bulky.
Grimlock does have many of the iconic Grimlock design elements however. His head design features a central crest with small protrusions on the top of his head and a mouthplate ending in a small "chin piece" at the bottom. His chest is divided into three sections, a middle area and two overlapping armor sections on the sides. His upper arms are round in shape, with beveled sections indicating armor. The forearms each have dinosaur claws on them, a feature Grimlock designs have had since G1.
The lower part of the figure is more generic, with thighs that have some angled designs and legs with raised sections that look quite different from his G1 incarnations. From the back of the figure you'll see the beast mode head, which is tucked into the chest, instead of just sitting against his back. Overall I like this design, though I have to admit it looks a tad less imposing than I would normally want from a Grimlock figure. I'm glad certain design elements from other incarnations were carried over, but I feel like he should be wider and "thicker" somehow.
Grimlock is cast in metallic bronze, metallic black and silver plastic. If you're trying to figure out where these colors came from, look no further than "Age of Extinction" Grimlock. That version was mostly silver and gunmetal in the film, but most mass release versions of the character used bronze (or gold), silver and black as the primary colors. In that sense, this figure is a mash up of Grimlocks from across time. I have to say I really love the look of the bronze and black colors. Sure they're not typical G1 Grimlock colors, but the metallic shine to the plastic looks fantastic.
The paint colors on this figure align with the plastic colors. Silver and black are the main paint colors. You'll find silver on the face, chest and lower legs. Black is used on the torso, forearms and feet. The eyes are painted light blue. The finishing touch is a large tampographed Autobot symbol in red and white in the center of his chest. This isn't the most complex set of colors. Indeed, I find the deco on Cyber Battalion Starscream much stronger deco.
There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three on each arm and leg. His arms are interesting. The shoulders have a hinge joint that swings out and another joint that rotates forward and back. Normally this would just be a ball joint but in this case this piece figures heavily into the transformation hence the unique design. His hip joints are ratchet joints swinging out and they can swing back and forth as well. Each of his fists have 5mm holes in them allowing him to hold weapons from other toy lines. This is good given that he doesn't come with any accessories of his own. Unfortunately he can't hold all weapons since the beast mode claws get in the way. It's best to use melee weapons that have long handles.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Push each fist back to form the beast mode feet.
- Pull each arm out to the sides.
- Swing the front torso panel forward, swing out the beast mode head and push it (and the torso panel) back over the robot head.
- Swing the beast mode arms forward.
- Swing the lower left leg up, then swing the beast mode tail out.
- Swing the lower right leg up and connect it to the left leg using the tab by the left foot and its corresponding slot on the right.
- Push the robot legs up, filling in the gap on the back.
- Swing the robot arms (now the beast mode legs) back and push them against the sides of the beast mode.
This beast mode is a bit of a throwback to the 80's. It is clearly designed to represent a robotic T-Rex from the 80's with an upright stance with the back sloping downward to the tail. Of course modern day understanding has the T-Rex leaning forward so it is not dragging its tail behind it. In that sense this is really a G1 homage. A lot of the designs are also very G1 in the sense that there isn't any crazy sharp, layered sections like "Age of Extinction" Grimlock nor is it organic looking like a "Beast Wars" figure. It is a very angular, robotic looking T-Rex and it looks great.
Some of the newly revealed details in this mode include the beast mode head and neck. The head is interesting. It's not exactly a G1 head because the lower jaw is huge, making it more reminiscent of "Animated" Grimlock (but not as huge as that version of course). The neck has some layers of armor, and perhaps that one section is the closest to "Age of Extinction" Grimlock, but it doesn't go that far in the design either. Also revealed in this form are the beast mode arms, which are tiny "T-Rex arms". Interestingly the claws are not sculpted. Instead the top two claws are just a flat panel, making it look kind of like Grimlock is wearing mittens. Fortunately this part is small enough that it doesn't dramatically affect the look of the figure. Also revealed is the tail at the end with ridges on top and line details on the sides. Overall the sculpt looks very cool and it is instantly recognizable as inspired by G1 Grimlock despite its more "modern" color scheme.
Speaking of his color scheme, this mode really continues pushing the "Age of Extinction" color connection since all the metallic bronze plastic comes together in this figure. The lower jaw and tail are silver plastic, and his arms are cast in black. There are some silver details on the beast mode head, back and chest. The eyes are painted light blue and black appears on the back and feet. The Autobot symbol from the robot mode carries over to the center of the chest in this form, boldly declaring his allegiance. I actually imagine this figure would have looked very cool in a G1 color scheme but this one looks cool too (just not, you know, as cool as it could have been).
There are six points of articulation in this form. The arms and legs can move, the tail can turn side to side and the jaw opens and closes. The head has a small tab on the back of the head. Press it and the jaw opens. The only small problem with the gimmick is that when you push this tab, the neck and head pushes forward a bit, revealing the back of the robot head. It's not really a huge deal but I'm sure that wasn't the original intended way for this section to work.
Grimlock is a cool figure if you look at it from the perspective of its intended audience: younger fans who are just stepping into the "Generations" line. For older and more discriminating collectors this figure may be hurt by its lack of accessories and relatively simple design. I like this figure and find it an interesting addition to the "Generations" toy line.