Friday, December 21, 2012

FOC Grimlock: A Transformers Review

It's probably been well over a year since my last TF Purchase, but I really liked the previews we had of this guy, and his inclusion into the Voyager size class was a big factor in me buying him. When I came across the figure in Hong Kong while on vacation I didn't hesitate to get him, and after I opened him up to see if he was as good as I'd hoped, well....

Let's say I he's not much of a keeper (at least to me.)

This is my review of the upcoming Fall of Cybertron Voyager Class Grimlock, a very awesome looking figure and the most recent iteration of the Dinobot commander out there, so to start off the review let's talk about the T-rex mode.

At eye level it looks good, it has a nice, hunched profile that's more evocative of the modern T-rex stance but with a more G1-ish feel to the shapes from the blockish head and the fat and bulky dino-legs It's not at all like the sleek, almost cyborgish look of the IDW grimlock design that I like. 

But despite that this looks very imposing and 100% dinobot-like. 

The front profile seems wonky but honestly you're never gonna look at this guy from any angle other than from the sides or a 3/4ths view now, are you? 

A closer look at the head shows an autobot insignia on the top of the eyes. it's connected to a transparent red plastic assembly that houses the LED gimmick.

And this is what it looks like lit-up. Pretty cool in my opinion and way cooler if seen from a dark background. I only wish there was a lock to keep the head lit instead of relying on a springing mechanism that only makes it light up when you open the mouth. 

Now that we talked about some of the good points on the figure, let's cover a few bad ones. The most immediate to me is the fat tail. It not only looks fat from the side but from the front as well and it's one of those things that takes some getting used to.

they just did a terrible job of hiding the feet in dino mode, though I can understand the challenges of designing  the toy based on the 3D render/concept art... the art always cheats.

And then we have the lack of a stomach. If you keep grimlock hunched it won't be such a problem but damn it's pretty annoying that the dino mode has this big, hollow gap where his gut should be. It perpetually throws me off.

You'd think they'd hide some of these flaws by integrating the weapons into the transformation but they opted to really cut corners (which is kinda normal for FOC toys). 

So where do the weapons store in bot mode?


Now I've never played FOC, but looking at the screencaps the dino mode looks pretty close to the game model, most of the gripe again is on the tail  and the missing stomach though they really could have thought it out more but hey, they have budget restrictions in designing the damn thing.

 Moving on,  I love the detailing they did on the figure, and despite having minimal paint-apps and relying on the base color of the plastic it's still pretty good. I can only imagine the Takara version (being painted as they usually are) will top this already neat looking color scheme. 

Let's talk about the Robot mode next. But before that, let's briefly tackle transformation. It's literally very easy to do and I think only requires one picture to get the gist of how it's done

*insert "looks like it's break dancing" joke here*

Robot mode. Boy is he chunky in all the right places. This bot succeeds in bringing bulk to both his modes but I think the robot mode wins out between the two modes. Mainly because all the mass is placed in locations that help establish Grimlock as one menacing robot, from the huge limbs and wide chest to the tapering waist.

 Looking at it from the front there are little to no gaps for you to focus on, everything gives the illusion of being solid. And I use the term illusion because whatever works for the front...

is only about a third true for the back. If you're really anal you'll notice the hollow shins/feet. the hollow back and inner shoulders. It's bad but not Swindle bad (you're welcome, Perry.) so it (just barely) works out. 

A lot of parts are again wonderfully sculpted and designed. I love the headsculpt on Grimmy here, though the  now classic "teeth on the side" look might make it even better in my mind. all the techno greeble is pretty nice to look at too, especially at how some parts are colored in red. If painted just right they'll look like they're perpetually venting energy.

Another thing I dig is how the normal autobot insignia in dino mode now transforms into a more custom one with more angry looking eyes and a toothed mouth. 

And the light-up gimmick reaches here as well. since the dino head is stored in the cavity behind the chest, activating the light makes it bleed into the transparent plastic parts of the robot chest though it's not as cool as the dino mode light-up head since not a lot of light bleeds through. 

Articulation isn't really hindered with Grimlock in this mode (at least when you're not expecting RD/Revoltech levels of articulation) and he can pull off some good poses. Since he has some nice ratchet joints in the limbs and pretty tight articulation overall, you'll have hours of fun posing

Though there isn't much beyond "charging, slashing, defending or kneeling".

His weapons in this mode definitely feel undersized. Especially the sword, but I'm half-expecting 3rd party companies to pick up the slack. 

Is FOC grimlock worth it? it depends on how much they sell him for. Personally I wouldn't buy him beyond the  150 HKD ($19) I got him for, which is roughly 800PHP. I'd actually keep him if I got him for lower. Why?

The plastic feels cheap, as my friend put it: like the plastic they use to make clothes hangers

Which if you've ever owned a few will break oh so easily. Then there's the simplistic transformation that isn't really what I'd expect from a voyager. Not like RTS Lugnut or ROTF Bludgeon, which were good toys and definitely worth calling a voyager this one, an oversized deluxe. Hell I'd go so far as comparing it to an oversized Activator class/Scout, Not unlike the oversized bootlegs of Animated grimlock that used to be so abundant in flea markets in South East Asia.
 Then there's the gimmick which, when you consider the transformation scheme feels like it stole the funding for a better transformation.

I share the sentiments of people who would have preferred a better toy overall over one that lights up and amuses your toddler or dog. 

You should only get this if it's at a sale price or you're bored and have a lot of money, but even then, for the reasons stated above this toy will only really deliver if you love the character enough to glaze over its faults. 

And that pretty much sums up Grimlock. 
Not worth an initial release price, definitely worth getting once the price drops. 


Joriben Zaballa said...

I'll buy that. Hollow stomach and fat tail is not bad for me. I will definitely get this. Nice review ;)


yeeeeep. not much of a beast mode.
robot mode is pretty aces though.

not buying this.

DYEHEYSI said...

I wish Fau was enlightened by this review .... dont do it Fau!

miko tizon said...

too late. hahaha

DYEHEYSI said...

It's never too late he he he