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!

SpartanNerd Blog…Blog Photos the way they Should Be!

I have a few really nice figures, and am always reviewing them on this blog….

But up until now, I have only used my kitchen table….Or maybe the “Protector of the Keep” playmate for Magic cards or comics.

But not anymore!

The SpartanWife got me an early Valentines present…And I was completely surprised and blown away by it.

A LIGHTBOX!

Now I can take really good pictures, and edit them like a pro!

Here is a sample!

D Arts MegaMan!

i switched out the armor on Snout Spout last week.
I like my elephant warriors to be more savage!

Teela has proven to be the hardest to photograph.
I think her face is a bit too shiny for the spotlight.  Here I gave here a cooler treatment,
with mystical blue lighting.

Here is Marvel Select Thor, with a black background and a filter.  I wanted an antique look.
I am especially fond of how the hammer turned out.

Skeletor is an interesting one to photograph.  So much detail!  This black and white filter really makes the trio of Panthor, Havoc Staff, and Skeletor feel like they came from a horror story.

A good pic of the details on Panthor’s face.  The Sepia filter makes it feel bronze, or clay even.

One thing, Skeletor’s eyes can hypnotize you if you stare too long at them.
There was masterful design and execution on the face sculpt and painting of Skeletor.

I think this is my favorite picture I have taken with the new equipment.  Nothing too fancy.  But it feels like the cover of a Conan the Barbarian comic book.  I tried to have Vikor hold Teela over his shoulder, but their facial expressions are too calm for that pose to work.  Still, Red is the perfect color to go behind Vikor.

I tried to get a “Catalogue” feel on He-Man and Battlecat here.  

And here he/they are.  Two Bad looks like he leapt off of the comic pages as well.

I have a lot to learn about taking pictures for reviews, and editing them as well with iPhoto or other software.  But I am off to a good start.  The lightbox is a 3X3X3 cube with two spotlights and four background colors.  I have found that sometimes the light reflects on faces a little too much, as in the case of Teela, Mega-Man, and Two-Bad above, but I was able to recover most of the time with editing.  I need to spend more time previewing before shooting, I think.  And also maybe moving the lights back or something.  I also took a few pics right before my iPhone battery died, and I believe that caused them to be a little blurrier. (I took some Pokemon pics that were unusable.)

There are also size limitations.  He-Man and Skeletor barely fit on their cats in the pics.  I cropped down what you see.  But the Griffin is way too big for the lightbox treatment.  And so is Megator, really.

Still, it is a great start and I am having a blast.  Comment on the photos!

(Also check out my recent blurb about Born of the Gods, where I also used the white reflecting material as the background for the cards.)

Oh yeah.  My rating.  The Polaroid Lightbox gets a 5/5!

It folds up for easy transport and storage into a little baggy with pouches for the lights.  It also came with a camera stand that I will have to try out when I use a real camera sometime instead of an iPhone.  I won’t fault it on it’s size.  Really it is perfect for most action figures, and I am a beginner.

Masters of the Universe Classics Unboxing and Review…Weapons Rack!

Happy New Year!  Do you now have swag stacked upon boxes piled up on returns as well as items not yet sitting in a permanent spot?
My MOTUC characters have been like this for awhile…extra weapons scattered about, or stored away in a little baggie.  But not anymore!  Here is my review of the MOTUC Weapons Rack!
I wondered if this box was going to say “Weapons Rak.”
It was misspelled on the Matty Collector Website!

The Weapons Rack was something I wanted when it came out, but couldn’t fork over at the time.  And the way that Mattel does things, it disappeared and I never had a chance to get it again.  With Castle Grayskull having been on sale (didn’t sell out as they predicted, did it?), They wanted to be sure that people could display the castle with the proper Weapons Rack.  After all, the vintage version CAME with a weapons rack, which is what this thing I bought is modeled after.

(I have not purchased a MOTUC Castle Grayskull.  There are a couple of problems. 1.I don’t have that many figures.  2. It costs way too much.  3. Where would I put it?  I do however, think it is terrific, and am glad they made it.  Maybe someday I will have it.  But there are other ways I have to spend $300 + shipping right now.  I am a cheapskate, remember?)

Here’s what you see when you open the box.  A nice window on card,
featuring the furniture and the weapons, packed in weapons pack style.

This is what is on the back.  Oddly, only one palace guard?
Here is a picture of the weapons that came with it.  The red ones are especially nice!  The silver ones have a little patina to them, that might not be coming through in my picture.  The silver ones are supposed to be an homage to the original weapons that came with Castle Grayskull, and the red ones are supposed to be an homage to “Man-E-Weapons.”
Here is the rack, with nothing on it.
Rows of pegs to display your weapons!

Here is how I set it up at first.  Front view.  I like how there is a little post to put
the shields on on both sides, as well as pegs to hang some weapons on the sides.

Here is the back view of my initial setup.
Here you can see the mace hanging on the right side.

How do other weapons work with this, that is, other than those that came with it?  I decided to do a good and evil theme!

My evil theme!

My good theme!

What are the limits of the weapons rack?  I went and found all kinds of MOTUC weapons to load it down with!  Here is a front and back view!  Read the captions for a contest!

Can you identify all of these weapons, readers?!  Send a comment for prize!

I will respond back and you can send me your address!  (The prize will go to whoever names the most.  Look at both the front and back view pictures, please.)  

This weapons rack is worth fighting for!

My rating for the Weapons Rack?  5/5!  It is a superb sculpt, serves its purpose well, and looks amazing with the figures.

Masters of the Universe Classics Unboxing and Review….The Griffin!

Remember my review of Megator?
Well I think I have an even more impressive figure to review, now!  The GRIFFIN!
The Griffin is AMAZING!  Who would have thought we could get this?  And it seems very calculated as well, being an amalgamation of Battle Cat and Swift Wind.
In the Mike Young cartoon, griffins were the bad guy’s main mode of escape.  They would start to lose, and the griffins would swoop in and grab the villains and take them to safety.
This creature absolutely fits in my nerd closet with the Magic cards and other stuff like that.  I’d bet I have several dozen Griffin Magic cards…
When I first saw the Griffin, I thought, “Do I really want that?”  Then I got Vikor, and thought, “The Griffin would be a great ride for Vikor.”  It didn’t take too long for me to figure out, Vikor isn’t riding any steed, with that loincloth.  But it was worth a try.
I got the Griffin as a part of the Cyber Monday sale, as mentioned on the Groovy Dork List.  And am I glad I did!  This figure is the most impressive figure I may own!
He came in this big box.  It is so big, I decided to use it as a background!

Here he is in his ugliness!  Awesome ugliness at that!

When you take him out of the box, you see that you have to assemble the wings to his body.

Here he is, ready to fly!

Don’t call him four-eyes!

He has a double tail…the kind of thing that was favored on the MYP show.

I don’t own a Beast-Man, so Spikor will have to do.  Ugly riding Ugly!

I dreamed of putting Vikor on the Griffin.  Alas, his loincloth was too much.
Even with the saddle off.  This was the best I could do.  It kind of looks like
Vikor is going to slay him in this picture…

You can see that he has a cool mane.  His backside is just the Battle-Cat buck, with chicken feet.

What do Griffin’s eat?  Temple of Darkness Zoar!  (not included of course)

Here is an overhead shot.  This figure is HUGE!

I give the Griffin a 5/5!  He is solid.  Huge.  Fits in most contexts.  Ugly in a beautiful way.  He is one of the best figures I own as far as sculpt, displayability, playability, and on and on!

MOTUC AT BIG LOTS

                 As I tirelessly remind anyone who reads this blog.  I’M A CHEAPSKATE.  Mostly out of responsibility and guilt, needing to spare luxuries sometimes to make the ends meet.  So what news caught this Tri-Clops’ eye?

                  So I made my way to the Big Box discount store.  And LOADED UP!  MOTUC figures for $10 a piece.  Even the giant figures!

I got….

Orko/ Prince Adam
Megator
Icarius (Flipshot)
Count Marzo
Snout Spout.

I passed up on Faceless One (already have one), Molar/Skeletor (I have two Skeletors already and hate Molar.)

For $50.  YEAH.  AND it is TAX FREE WEEKEND!

This score seems exceptionally huge because of two things.  (1) At the MonsterCon, I bought a MOTUC Spikor for $40, reminding me of the huge aftermarket prices of these figures.  I TRIED to buy a FlipShot and a Marzo from someone, who backed out of the deal not wanting to take my debit card.  (Pleeeze.  This is the 1990’s.  Duh!) (2) ToyGuru and Company are trying to get me to subscribe.  AND I wish I could.  But I can’t commit.  Oh how I want a Modulok.  But I can’t commit.  I just can’t do it.  That is paying more than $500 for mostly sight unseen product.  And I buy a ton of Magic Cards and Comic books.  And these things are mostly for MY entertainment.  I have mentioned before that my boys don’t really play with them.  (Well they are now, now that I scored a few figs, but the newness will soon wear off.)

I wished I could find some female characters.  No luck 😦  Some folks on the internet say that they found Moss Man, King Grayskull, and Grizzlor.  I had no luck here either.

Lots of reviews on the way, including my first ever UNBOXING Reviews!

“Forever is a long time, Skeletor!”