Combiner Wars Liokaiser is now available exclusively at Entertainment Earth. There's a coupon code, SINGLES, which gets you $20 off, free shipping, plus a free diorama.
You probably haven't seen me talk about many Robots in Disguise toys here, and for a pretty good reason -- I don't really buy many! I mean, the cartoon's okay, and the toys look okay, but early on, before the toyline hit, it became apparent that I would be more frustrated with the toyline than I would find enjoyment out of it, due to my particular eccentricities.
You see, it was going to be a pretty small line, as far as "real" toys go (the non one-step or two-step guys), and they were all going to be Deluxe Class-sized. So I'm sitting there, looking at this coming line-up, realizing that if I was going to start collecting these guys, I was going to have to get used to having a Grimlock (who is very large in the cartoon) who was the same size as every other toy. And that chafed my bum, I realized I could save myself a lot of storage space and money, and decided that I was cool skipping on it all. I mean, minus Strongarm, of course, OBVIOUSLY. Strongarm is great.
But at some point last year, Japan's version of the toyline decided to go balls-out and make everyone a properly-transforming larger Grimlock that's not a one- or two-step toy. They grabbed Fall of Cybertron Grimlock (who may or may not be the same character depending on who you ask and how you look at things) and then retooled the crap out of it. New torsos, new robot legs, new shoulders, new fists, new heads -- there was a lot of new stuff to make him look like Robots in Disguise Grimlock instead of "basically G1-style Grimlock" -- and kazam you have a Grimlock who technically solves my Grimlock Problem or, perhaps, my RID collection problem.
And then Hasbro brought him over, put him in a Platinum Edition set with a redecoed RID Bumblebee, and now Entertainment Earth has him as an exclusive in the United States. Entertainment Earth also sent me these two to review! So here I go.
Let's talk about Bumblebee. If you have a Transformers Prime Vehicon toy (from the RID subline, not the First Edition) then this Bumblebee's going to feel very similar as far as transformation processes go. The roof folds up on the back of the robot legs, the arms pull out from the sides, and the rear bumper hangs off the back of the head. There's a sword that stores underneath the car mode. I got one the regular retail version in the take-home bag for Toy Fair 2015, but this is the PREMIUM EDITION! Mostly that means he's in a more metallic gold-ish color instead of canary yellow and he has a handful of new paint operations. There's black on his feet, there's red on his headlights, there's some silver on his sword... it's not a lot added here. But he's not really the main attraction; Grimlock is.
Fall of Cybertron Grimlock was not a well-received toy, and the retooling present in this version sort of addresses the perceived problems. His dino hips/robot shoulders accordion out during transformation, and it's incredibly easy to get them so untransformed that you can't remember how to inch them back turn by turn into the way they're supposed to go. It's one of those things where you wish you could leave a trail of breadcrumbs for yourself to find your way back home, but this is a plastic robot toy's shoulder apparatus, so that's not really possible. However, the retooling done to make Grimlock into another Grimlock removes the need to untransform the shoulders so much to get him back and forth between robot and dinosaur modes. All the possibility for over-accordioning his shoulders is there, but so long as you temper yourself, you can probably avoid getting lost in the woods.
The other thing people didn't like about the toy was how empty he is if you look at him from the bottom in dinosaur mode. You know that scene in Pete's Dragon where they put a big sheet over the dragon and he runs around and you can see a dragon-shaped sheet and there's nothing underneath it? No, you don't know that scene, because I'm really old and nobody has watched Pete's Dragon in thirty years. But the toy is kind of like that, trust me.
Honestly, that part I don't mind too much. Like, I'm not gonna be shoving my eyeballs in this toy's underside anyway. He's gonna stand upright on the shelf, not hanging around lying around on his back, exposing how little robot he has under there. If you have a bunch of RID Mini-Cons, though, this problem is partly addressed. There's ports tooled in there for you to fill him up with specific Mini-Cons. I don't know what they are because, again, I haven't collected much RID. But it's nice that you can do this if you have the toys available to you.
The original FOC Grimlock also had electronic lights for when you open up his jaw with a lever behind his head. This RID retooling has neither the electronics nor the lever to open his jaw, which is sad. The new dinosaur head does have an opening jaw, however, with both the top of the skull rising a little and the jaw itself hinging down more. You have to -- gasp -- use your finger, though.
Grimlock still comes with Grimlock's sword and shield. They don't suit this version of the character very well, but you can pretty easily forget you own them. I'm sure some other toy could borrow 'em.
Unlike Platinum Bumblebee's seemingly scant bit of paint, Platinum Grimlock feels covered with it. Lots of details here and there, from silver and green and charcoal to yellow. That and the retooling is where all the money went, and it's all very pleasing. He doesn't look unfinished, and I don't think I see any deco that my mind thinks is missing.
Hey, you guys! Entertainment Earth has a fancy new exclusive toy set! It’s one of those Platinum dealies where you get all the paint and whatnot, so if you saw Deluxe Bumblebee in stores last year and were like, okay, but what if this thing were painted, or if you saw Deluxe Grimlock and were like, okay, but what if this were scaled to Bumblebee correctly – these are your guys.
I will have one soon! And I will talk about it too much then, I’m pretty sure. You know how I am.