February 15th, 2010


Now where's my Variable Voltage Harness?

Shortpacked!: We are pretty damn petty.

Leslie doesn't lie.  Scroll to near the bottom.

So, yeah, I'm finally gonna talk about my Masterpiece King Grimlock!  I had to have it.  He was way more expensive than the regular Japanese version, but the number of alterations to him that really tickled my pickle were worth it.  First is the box, which you can see in the corner in the image on the right.  That is some really Geoff Seniory-looking art there.  It's not genuine, and I can sorta tell from the hands, which aren't quite stylized as distinctly, but it's a really good aping.  Really really good.  

But seriously, this came from Japan?  This loving tribute to Western-only comic book stories that they never got over there?  They get the Marvel Comics colors and the UK comic book-style box with the Universe-style profile on the back?  They also got a bona fide green Creation Matrix a few years ago, so I shouldn't be too surprised.  But Japan's been giving plastic tributes to the Marvel Comics stories for years, while Hasbro's Straxus didn't get announced until this past weekend.  (But what a way to play catch-up, America.  That's catching up in style.)

Why did I pay more?  First of all, this exclusive version's got the crown.  But, you may say, Masterpiece Grimlock is coming to America this year as a Toys"R"Us exclusive, and he too has the crown.  Yeah, I figgered when he eventually made it here, he would, but I'm not done yet.  The American version (and the original Japanese version) are in toy colors.  Those look great, but they aren't magnificent, like this deco is.  All of his black is replaced with dark blue, which echoes the not-so-sophisticated coloring process of 1980s comic books.  Likewise, the silver chrome of the tail and dino forelimbs are tinted blue, another nod to his Marvel colors.  Instead of the original deco's flat gray plastic, he's covered in silver paint.  If you have Alternators Silverstreak or Grimlock, or Energon Energon Hot Shot, or Revenge of the Fallen Sideswipe, you know what I'm talking about.  It's the same pretty silver paint coating.  The gold is also much more saturated and his sword is tinted red instead of remaining neutral clear.

And then there's the box, which I've mentioned.  It's a gorgeous thing.

As I've said, this guy is coming to America (with the crown) as a Toys"R"Us exclusive.  He won't be as pretty or nearly as geeky, but he'll be much cheaper!  But I don't regret my purchase at all.  And I thank Jordan Derber, a guy who I sometimes don't get along with, for helping me get it from Japan cheaper than I would from a store.  Saved a little bit of money there.

As for the toy itself -- first thing you notice is its size.  It's a big hunka Grimlock!  It's waaaaay bigger than his original toy.  Height-wise, though, he's not in scale with the other Masterpiece toys.  I don't care.  I didn't get him to display with my Masterpieces.  He goes with my Classics, with whom he fits in with really perfectly.  I briefly hit on this topic on Friday, if you recall.  Another plus of his size is he's shoulder-to-shoulder with the original Blaster toy.  Blaster's original toy was really really huge compared to the other toys, especially Grimlock, and finally this is a Grimlock that can go toe-to-toe with his rebellious rival.  They can totally fight on the moon for Autobot Leadership.  (Well, they could if Blaster had better articulation.)

On this note, I'm not sure whether this toy's very slavish adherence to Grimlock's cartoon dinosaur proportions are a plus.  On one hand, he looks really dorky and outdated, with his tiny head, long cartoony arms, and unsophisticated dino legs.  On the other, this is what Grimlock actually looked like when he did all of his awesome King Grimlock stuff, tiny head and all.  This is the Grimlock who said "Okey dokey, Blaster."  (This is also the Grimlock who, on the cartoon, walked around like a human in dinosaur mode, upright and swinging his arms.)   And just like the original Grimlock toy, I can cheat a more modern t-rex depiction out of him.  I can still stand him on his toes and put his torso at a more level angle.  It's far from a perfect solution, but it makes me feel better when I'm in the mood for a less-accurate Grimlock that's more dinosaury.  

(Neither of these fixes get around, of course, the sad fact that he has two toes and three fingers, which is just anatomically atrocious for a t-rex.)

While Masterpiece Megatron and Starscream were transformation nightmares, Grimlock's transformation is closer in complexity to Masterpiece Prime's. 
In fact, it's (unsurprisingly) similar to his original transformation.  He's basically the original toy but huger and with more articulation.  The only substantial difference is that his tail-tips store inside his legs now, rather than hang off the sides of his knees.  Because he's relatively simple, he's a joy to transform.  I can get him from one mode to another in about a minute.  And it's no pain to do so!  He's pretty great in this respect.  

He's also got a few action gimmicks.  If you wiggle his tail, his dino head rotates back and forth.  This is fun, but not very dignified.  It kind of reminds me of Kermit the Frog when he's introducing guests to the Muppet Show.  ("Yayyyyyyy!")  And, allegedly, if you push him down on his feet, his head looks up, but I haven't gotten this to work.  During the transformation from robot to dinosaur, his symbol disappears on his robot chest/dino tummy.  And if you don't like the comic book's toy-accurate red eyes, you can swap them out for the cartoon's blue in both modes with ease.  (I swapped to blue the other day when I was watching "Grimlock's New Brain."  Felt appropriate.) His right arm has an LED in it, so that when you put either his sword or his gun in it, and press a button on the back of his shoulder, it'll light up. 

Oh, he can do sarcastic finger quotes.  Ha ha ha ha.

When he makes it to these shores, get him.  He will be your favorite.