SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review….Transformers Generations Grimlock- from The Fall of Cybertron

I have some history with Transformers.  I have certainly never been a hardcore collector.  CHEAPSKATE, REMEMBER!  But I had a couple as a kid, and even have the remnants of those few as an adult.

My children, on the other hand, have had quite a few Transformers.  And I have had the priceless privilege of helping transform them.  😦

Here is my strong opinion.  They just don’t make them like they used to.  It seems like nowadays they are all plastic, while in the 1980’s at least some of the main body parts were die-cast metal, or something similar to that.  Back then there were tight screws holding the joints together, but today, they make them so the joins can snap off and on easily.  In general they are ball joints, so this makes it even less less like the originals.  Then there is the Michael Bay influence.  Transformers nowadays take cues from the “Bayformers.”  And I ain’t necessarily a fan.

(For the record, I liked the first movie, and thought the second was tolerable.  But I hope I never see Transformers 3 again.  And do you think I am going to see the fourth movie?  NO WAY!)

Back to the subject at hand.  I went to the Wal-Mart this morning, and browsed the toys aisle.  It seems the girls are taking over.  There was only one aisle for the boys.  And three for the girls/babies.  So walking up the boys toys aisle, I thought I would maybe buy a new Chima lego set to review.  Or maybe finally get that lego Ninjago dragon I have been eyeing to review.  Instead, I saw Grimlock.  But I REALLY SAW GRIMLOCK.  He looked like the vintage toy I never had.  He looked like the G1 cartoon even.  He was marked $20, which I thought was reasonable.  (He was actually $23.95, but I wanted him more than I wanted to argue.)  There were a few others with him in similar boxes.  Most of them I thought were dumb or at least just not as cool as Grimlock.  Notably, there was a Sharkticon Megatron.  (Megatron is NOT A SHARKTACON.)

So I got him, and here’s my review.  In fact, it is my first ever Transformers review, so, let me know what you think.  How many Hub City Geeks out there are interested in honest reviews of Transformers?

Grimlock came in this box.  This is the image that caught my eye at the store.

Doesn’t he look just like Grimlock!  Unaware of what “Fall of Cybertron” meant, I thought it was just an updated version.  Instead, one of the SpartanSmurfs informed me that this is a video game version.  Who knew?  The word TransFormers has a little extra type…it says “Generations.”  Not sure what that means.  But I hope to see more toys like this.  You’ll see why!  But first, more packaging.

See that line graph.  OH YEAH!  Actually, they were better when I was a kid.  You had to look at the graph through a translucent red piece of plastic to decode the stats!

And more awesome packaging.  The sides and bottom of this box are also pretty neat.

So.  Now that I waited all day to open this up, throw away the box, and play with it some, here is a review of the ACTUAL TOY.

Grimlock is pretty durable.  I mean, he’s not G1 Transformer durable.  But still, he’s not falling apart like some of those Bayformers.  His knee joins were so tight I was afraid I was going to break him somehow.  Of course he’s articulated.  Maybe even “Super Articulated,” to use the retiring Poe Ghostal’s words.  He has feet that rock up and down (but not side to side.  Knees that bend.  Thigh-cut joints, swivel arms.  Hinged elbows.  And his head turns from side to side.  All this articulation doesn’t count the other stuff you can move.  You can move the backpack some, for instance, and the claws on his “cuff-links”

Also, notice those awesome weapons!  Grimlock came with a sword that might remind you of a cross between a lightsaber and a skill saw.  And that shield seems to be a copy of what one of the baddies on Quake 4 use.  Worth noting, there are additional holds in his arms and shoulders, where you can peg the accessories to and stylize him as you like…I’m willing to bet you could arm him up pretty heavily with similar modeled Transformers.

He has a light effect too.  One is generated from the button on the back of his T-Rex mode…(More on that later,)  But this transformer has the translucent plastic on the back of his head that allows light to shine through his eyes.  You know.  Similar to MetalHead from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.

OK.  Here’s a back view.

Not much to see here.  He has a backpack, which is actually the inverted T-Rex torso and head.

Grimlock’s instructions say that he is a Level 2 “Intermediate” Transformer.  So, being an adult, I shouldn’t have had much trouble this time….

I really didn’t.  It took me about 5 minutes.  I only referenced the instructions for accuracy….

Speaking of instructions I remember saving these as a kid and just staring at them for weeks.  I would read all of the text.  I would be really sad when I had to throw them away also.  The instructions here don’t seem to have the same “soul” as the G1 Transformers.  But maybe it’s just me.

To transform him, basically, you have to flip his backpack over his head.  His chest becomes his back.  His arms become the T-Rex legs,H  And his legs and feet become the T-Rex tail

As a T-Rex, he isn’t THAT impressive.  I don’t dislike him.  But he seems a little….little.  If you know what I mean.  To me part of this reason is because he doesn’t have much of a chest/belly.  In fact, he has none at all!  Just hollow nothing that you can unfortunately see.

(The instructions show that you are supposed to put the weapons on it’s hips.  I din’t just make that up. See…Accuracy, people.)

I also find his tail to be most unsightly.  You can clearly see Grimlock’s mech feet on the tail  Which is dumb.  They should have been able to disguise them better.

Luckily, his charm isn’t all in the form.  Nosiree.  This guy has a surprise trick!

That’s right.  You saw it here first, Hub City Geeks.

This Grimlock can Actually Breathe Actual Fire!  (Not actual, actual, literal fire.)

Don’t Doubt me, underlings!  “Me Grimlock Angry!”

If you are a true nerd, and you must be if you enjoy reading this blog, then you probably remember that Grimlock and the other DinoBots could breathe fire, giving children everywhere the misconception that actual real ancient dinosaurs could breathe fire, and also blurring the line between the fictional dragon and the factual dinosaur.

How this works…There is a button, really more of a pressure switch, on the back of the dinosaurs neck.  You press this, and his whole head lights up, as well as he opens his mouth in a menacing way.

(You can activate this in robot mode, but it lights up his chest and body rather unsuccessfully.)

So now for a comparison time…What?  Oh yeah.  This is my first ever Grimlock….I’ll have to compare to something else.

Grimlock’s underwhelming T-Rex mode might actually only be in my mind.  After all, I own the most awesome robotic T-Rex ever made…Gojulas Zoid!  (Actually, not the same one from when I was a kid, which was actually titled Terrox, and was blue and gray.)  Any Transformer up to maybe PowerMaster Optimus Prime, Revenge of the Fallen Devastator, or maybe MetroPlex looks kind of wimpy when compared to the Zoid.

How about comparing him to a similar modern Transformer.

Grimlock is a little bulkier than this Bayformer SpartanSmurf #1 lent me.  I appreciate that difference..I like my Transformers to have a little weight.  You can see that the SideSwipe figure here has skinny feet, and other dubious features.  None of that for Grimlock!

What about those weapons? Well, at first I thought “This sword will look good in Megator’s hands.”  Nope.  It looks dumb.

Then I thought, why not try He-Man.  Master of all swords.

Now we’re talking!  This could easily be some variant He-Man.  Maybe some New Adventures space theme.  I’m sure that’s what Hasbro was thinking when they made this sword. ( Because Mattel makes the MOTUC! )

My overall rating of Grimlock.

Well, he IS the first Transformer I have reviewed.  I think I’ll go easy on him, and judge each mode separately.

As an Autobot, he is just awesome!  4/5.  Losing a point mostly because the backpack is obviously a T-Rex torso stuffed into his back.  And the battery doesn’t light his eyes.

As a T-Rex, He gets a 3/5.  Because he feels kind of scant.  More like a Raptor.  With a really fat tail.

His accessories are great! 5/5  I think I will start to cross accessories for these reviews.  An accessory should be able to be used in other hands, especially in a similar scale.  (I consider Grimlock to be in scale with MOTUC figures, though technically he probably has a much different ratio number because in “real life” the Transformers are bigger than a house!

So Overall, My rating of Grimlock is 4/5.  Do you agree?  Or disagree?  Let me know!

Figure Review…Sonic The Hedgehog Superpack by Jazwares

I have limited knowledge of Sonic and his universe…I have always been known as “THE Mario Master,” and proudly announce to the world right now that I have beaten every Super Mario game up to Mario 64 WITHOUT WARPING!  (And I have beaten Super Mario Bros. 1 countless times without even dying once.  Take that, SEGA.)  Oh, and I beat Super Mario Bros. Wii by myself!  (Also with my sons on multiplayer)

Oh.  A Tangent.  Sorry!

Not that I am completely devoid of experience with Sonic.  I had the first Sonic games on iPod…And maybe I also have the free version on my iPhone today.  In the SpartanNerd household we have Sonic: The Black Knight and Sonic Colors on our Nintendo Wii.

So, because I am such a Sonic NOOB, SpartanSmurf #2 is going to help me with this review!

I am told that these three figures are the Super versions of Sonic, Silver, and Shadow.  And the Gems are called Chaos Gems.

When we picked this set up, we were not entirely clueless as to what we were getting.  SpartanSmurf #2 has a regular Sonic Figure, and I must say it is masterfully articulated.  These appeared to have the same joints and all as that figure.  And those are…

Swivel Ankles
Knee joints that swivel and bend
Hip joints that swivel and bend, certain ways.
Waist Swivel
The same joints on elbows and shoulders as on knees and hips.
Swivel Wrists
Head Swivel

SpartanSmurf #2 tells me that Sonic can even kick his own butt!

This is impressive, considering that they are figures in scale pretty much with  California Raisins!

I just wish they could move their heads up and down, and move their fingers.

The Chaos Gems are a nice touch.  SpartanSmurf #2 tells me that these are required for the character to transform into their Super Selves.  These are all translucent, and about the size of a super-ball, and shaped like a classic diamond.  I wish there was a stand or something that came with them to prop them up, because they must lay on their side.  I guess the person playing with the figures have to get creative!

Here are some pictures!  Today, SpartanSmurf #2 did all of the posing!  Enjoy!

This was what they looked like in package from Toys R Us

We get this artwork on the back of the box.  SpartanSmurf #2 did not see fit to keep it.

This is our favorite picture that we took of the set!

Sonic, the main character looks cool as he gathers the gems.

I was unaware of Silver the Hedgehog…He is apparently the Sonic of the future or something.
This is SpartanSmurf #2 ‘s favorite.

And here is Shadow the Hedgehog.  All of these super hedgehogs remind me, the SpartanNerd of Super Sayans.  How about you, oh Hub City Geeks?

My Score…4/5.  The point was taken off because the head can’t look up on either figure.  But other than that, perfect!

The Value of Nerd Stuff…Specifically "Why Do Lego MiniFigures Cost So Much?"

Today I am going to rant about something.  Everyone who reads this blog knows that I am a cheapskate.  This post might sound like “get off my lawn.”  But I feel strongly about this, and have put alot of thought into it.  I have to teach my children about the value of money, and so when they read this, maybe they’ll get it too.

I am specifically ranting about the amount of money that Lego MiniFigs are going for nowadays.  My question is, Why?

(I should say that these pictures come from places that I will not disclose, on the web and in person)

Here is a MODEST example.

WHY PEOPLE?  THIS IS INSANITY!  These guys are zany and off the wall.  Who is the scientist?  Why would you pay $29.99 for a generic scientist?  Why would you buy any of these guys.  These are the kind you should get in a starter kit and give to an 8 year old.  The kit should cost about $10, and contain about 100 primary colored bricks of assorted sizes and shapes.
Here’s another, more specific and crazy one.

OF COURSE I am a Star Wars fan.  I unashamedly identify with Anakin/ Vader.  I also think the LEGO Star Wars video games are fun, and enjoy the cuteness of them as well.  But I think this much money for a mini-fig is ridiculous.

Remember, we are talking about something about the size of a quarter, made out of plastic.

The Mystery Pack here seems reasonable enough.  This kind of thing is popular nowadays.  But you don’t know what you are getting…And I happen to know, that these guys tend to be rather generic.  (I know this is a pic of the HALO MEGA BLOCKS mystery pack price..But both are the same price, I checked.  At least with Halo, you know you are getting something Halo.)  $2.97…You can get a happy meal for this price, and get food AND a better toy.

Now, I don’t think the Mystery Pack is entirely overpriced…It’s just not my kind of thing.  Magic The Gathering Booster Packs operate the same way…More about them later in the post.

Am I alone in this?

Here are some things to compare for discussion of value.

You get a decent set, and three well known characters.  Good deal!  Maybe a good birthday present.
You get a pretty big set…and four mini-figs.  This is OK. IMHO.  Maybe a good Christmas present.
This one is labeled FINAL BATTLE.  Looks like Ninjago is coming to an end.  You get a 100+ piece set, with two mini-figures.  This seems like the best value on this page, as far as Lego is concerned.  Furthermore, the boys can build this set themselves without being overwhelmed.

The SpartanSmurfs own a comparable set. Of course I had to build it for them. After that dragon bit the dust, it never has been together again.  I should have seen it coming.  It has been done before, after all!  (power rangers!)  Eventually…a Gold Ninja.  Is this good value?  Looks like you get three minifigs and the dragon…a pretty big set.  I guess its OK.  If you are a fan of Ninjago. But not the Gold Ninja alone.  Sorry.

Here you see everything you get in the Halo Pack.  $6.  Considering the price of the mystery pack, this seems fair. Plus I happen to know that there is more stuff here than you would get in the Mystery Pack.

I guess I just don’t value Lego MiniFigs.  They are the kind of thing that just gets played with for awhile, then taken apart, and then the hands get lost, or the weapons, or they get mixed up.  And the kids could have just as much fun with the generic type you get in the Mystery Pack.  Or the ones you find at a yard sale….

I mean, for as much money as the Darth Vader up there, you could have THREE Ninja Turtles.  And you wouldn’t have to order them on the internet…You can walk out the store with them!

Metalhead is one of my favorites!
I have spoke a few times about this movie.  It is an older movie now.  But look at the size of this guy!  For $19!  Great articulation!  1000% larger than the Vader Minifig, and STILL CHEAPER.

Here’s a “girly” example.  For $19.97, you can own a doll, with tons of accessories…A popular toy at that!  You still aren’t paying as much as you are for Vader!

The Great SpartanAunt is guilty.  You see, she got the SpartanSmurfs some extravagantly priced Storm Troopers and Clone Mini-Figs.  And spoiled them!  I try and tell them…Look, you could get THIS item, or four of THESE items for that price…Nope.

There is nothing there but INSANITY!  Am I being a jerk?

I exercise caution when I am buying Magic Cards with the boys.  I don’t feel a piece of cardboard is worth the price of a meal for a whole family at a decent restaurant.  I personally own a Voice of Reason…This card would cost $35-$50…But I got it in a booster pack….That’s How I roll, see.  And all of the Shocklands that I own, I got the same way, or traded.  I boosted my collection, and I keep it organized alphabetically by set.  I am getting the bang for my buck, see.  And I play everyday.

The SpartanSmurfs are going on and on about Mr. Gold.  He’ll cost his weight in real gold.  Mr. Gold is apparently the rarest MiniFig or something like that.  Here’s what I see happening.  They’ll get a Mr. Gold.  Then he’ll be in 10 golden pieces, mixed into Storm Trooper and Ninjago parts.

And I just don’t see the value here.

And that is my two-cents cheapskate opinion!  Are you mad now?…Comment!