Review: Transformers AOE Voyager Grimlock

Leader (or king) of the Dinobots, Grimlock has been one of the most popular characters in the history of the franchise, largely thanks to Simon Furman’s decision to veer away from the Sunbow cartoon’s “big, dumb, and stubborn” portrayal of the character and make him one of the biggest badasses in the Marvel Transformers comics. Because of this, there are two very distinct and very iconic versions of Grimlock that continue to show up in the franchise, with Furman’s hardass commando in IDW comics and the G1 cartoon’s powerful simpleton in Animated. At this point, we don’t know which one (if either) will be reflected in Age of Extinction’s dino star Grimlock, but for now, here’s his toy.

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Dinosaur Mode

Grimlock is, as per tradition, a big robot Tyrannosaurus rex. Instead of traditional silver and gold or movie-accurate gray and grey, the AOE toyline has opted to give Grimlock a rather nice bronze, black, and silver color scheme. I actually quite like it and wish these were his colors in the film. As far as the T. rex mode itself… it’s a bit awkward. The head is too big, the legs have a very cartoonish feel to them, the body is very clunky and awkward, and the tail is very small. He honestly looks like he has some sort of birth defect. Despite all this, he’s really not that bad. I think he’s a better T. rex than FOC Grimlock, and much better than the awful-looking Leader Grimlock. His legs are pretty well articulated, so he’s got that going for him. A little grey button on his neck makes his jaw close, which results in his mouth being open by default, but I don’t mind. The instructions say to slide his mace over his tail to make a really long tail, but that’s dumb and you shouldn’t do it. Also, the tip of his tail is suppose to peg together, but it just doesn’t work.

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Transformation

Grimlock follows the standard Grimlock transformation scheme, with the tail forming legs and the legs forming arms, but is a bit more involved than you’d expect with his torso doing some flips to get into proper position. The T. rex head can bump into the panel that covers his head in dino mode if you’re not careful, but overall it’s a pretty smooth transformation with a pretty satisfying result.

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Robot Mode

Grimlock’s robot mode is rather tall and imposing thanks to him being about 70% legs. Seriously, his thighs are longer than the whole of his torso. I found this to be very jarringly awkward at first, but after looking at him for a while, I see that the design gives Grimlock the effect of looking taller and bigger than he really is, or at least that seems to be the intent. It… kind of works. His arms are the real problem, with the entirety of the dino feet and lower legs just hanging off the side. You can rotate his fists to get the feet at least a little bit out of the way, and there are even pegs and slots to support that configuration, but then you run into the dreaded gorilla arms that plague many a poorly-designed Transformer. The fact that the design seems to intend for this is a bit frustrating and inexplicable, but to be honest, this toy poses best as Grimlock just looking really angry, and the fists-inward arms work fine for just that. His mace weapon is still really dumb even in robot mode, with its handle waaaay up at the head of the staff where he could in no way wield it as a practical weapon. He looks okay just holding it, but good luck making a convincing “I’m about to smash you” pose.

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Grimmy’s articulation is good, but nothing special. His head is on a swivel joint for rotation, and he can also nod back and forth a bit thanks to the transformation. His shoulders are on universal joints, his biceps rotate, and his elbows can bend impressively far. As mentioned, his wrists do swivel, but they bring with them giant chunks of T. rex feet, so why even bother? He has no waist joint, which I can forgive due to the nature of the transformation, but his hips are on universal joints and his knees bend not quite 90 degrees, but close. He also has what could be considered an ankle tilt, but it’s up high, right on the cut of his “boots.” You can get some nice poses out of him, but most of them boil down to “just standing there looking like he could kill you.”

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Overall

An interesting thing to note is that while the other Dinobots are explicitly knight-themed, Grimlock has some tribal warrior and samurai elements mixed into his design. Maybe that will be reflected in his movie character, but I won’t bank on that. Anyway, Grimlock is a totally okay toy. He looks better than the Leader class figure, but as a Voyager is pretty unspectacular, especially when compared to his wavemate Evasion Mode Optimus Prime, who is an amazing toy. There are a few variations of this guy you can get, including a G1 colored version priced in the $100s and a Toys R Us two-pack variant with a black face and silver skirts that comes with the terrible Grimlock toy from Energon. Sound appealing?  If you want a Grimlock for your AOE collection, just go with this one and hope a better version of the Leader figure is on the horizon.

Where to Buy

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