This is Kre-O Transformers Grimlock Unleashed.
Last year was a movie year for Transformers so the stores were filled with Age of Extinction. Kre-O was no exception. Unfortunately, the reception to these movie sets were lukewarm at best. Most of the builds involved inaccurate movie Dinobots in weird colors just like their toys and none of them came with Dinobot Kreons (seriously, why?). Then some guy randomly found this set in a store. It came out of nowhere. It wasn’t shown at last year’s Toy Fair. It wasn’t officially revealed anywhere. Was it not movie enough? They must’ve known we wanted G1 Dinobots in Kre-O since day one. All we knew at that point was that we had to have it.
Let’s get into the set. But first I’d like to bring up Kreon quality. Since around wave 4 of the Microchangers or the first set of Custom Kreons, the quality has gotten significantly worse. Kre-O isn’t known for its quality but I think the earlier ones have more “fused” and consistent printing. New Kreons have the raised kind of printing you can feel which is more prone to chipping/flaking. That and I’m seeing more offset printing.
Optimus Prime (Movie) – This is a movie variant. Which movie? I don’t know… I can’t tell the difference, especially on the Kreons. I thought I got bad printing because there are some brown smudges. Turns out that’s how it’s supposed to be so dirty Prime is an exclusive. The instructions show a clean torso but the box shows this one.
Bumblebee (Movie) – Like Optimus, it’s a movie variant and again I couldn’t tell you which movie it’s from. Bumblebee has silver smudges all over so this dirty Bee is an exclusive too.
Galvatron (Age of Extinction) – The helmet and perhaps the arm attachments are new to Kre-O. There’s minor differences between this and the Custom movie Galvatron Kreon. The torsos are the same design but drawn differently. The face here has a squarish smile instead of rectangular. The legs also don’t have glitter like the Custom. That means this is exclusive. The only lame part is the random gold hands but better those than the chrome helmet. If you have this helmet and the Custom’s hands, you’d have a proper Galvatron.
Lockdown (Age of Extinction) – The helmet’s all new and accurate and the helmet cover is such a cool addition. The torsos are more or less the same as his other two Kreons but this one has dark gray hands. The biggest standout is the smiling expression. What happened here? I’ve been hoping for alternate expressions in Kre-O for a long time but they should make sense. Was he ever this happy in the movie? This is exclusive for negligible reasons, but the smile’s the biggest one.
I’m sure it took a lot of work to draw and scale the movie designs to suit Kreons and I really appreciate the effort but they end up looking complicated and busy. This is more a jab at the movies than Kre-O because I can’t complain about toy companies attempting accuracy, just the designs themselves. The movie characters are represented properly here, but as Kreons there’s too much going on.
If you read through all that, I’m sure you’re thinking “Come on… Who are these guys? We don’t want them. We want Grimlock.”
Grimlock (G1) – He looks accurate in a general sense though the red eyes means he’s not based on the cartoon. The sword is a new mold that looks just like his. For some reason it’s made of a softer plastic. The helmet’s a reuse and while most would’ve preferred Soundwave’s, Sideswipe’s is passable. I do wish he came with a backpack for his “wings” but I can probably make that happen. The face printing’s off more than I’d like but not too bad. Very happy with this guy.
What’s cool is that they included a nod to the comics with the Dinobot Crown of Leadership which for some reason was in Optimus’ bag. Fans appreciate little touches like this so whoever green-lighted this, good job. The crown only works if you take the helmet off first which doesn’t look very good. You can position the crown on the helmet which looks great and you can tilt it like the comics. Just be careful about it falling off.
The build is simply awesome. Not only does this set include the first Dinobot Kreon, you get to build a robot t-rex. You can tell I bought this for the build as well as the figures which is always a plus. Disappointed that it’s not a 2-in-1 build which died with Beast Hunters. I think it would’ve been really cool if I could’ve also built Grimlock’s robot mode. Still, having a giant t-rex build is fine with me. Also, no stickers!
With the neck bent forward and standing straight, he measures around 9 inches tall. He’s as tall as his Masterpiece toy. There are ball joints for his neck, arms, elbows, wrists, legs, ankles, and three on his tail. That’s a lot of articulation and potential for posing. His mouth can also open and close.
I do have a few complaints about the build. First, no teeth. The bottom jaw kind of has teeth but they look more like gums. It doesn’t look too bad but with the head as it is, my makeshift “teeth” might be worse and you can’t close the mouth. It’s more of a nitpick because I think the mouth’s fine. I just expect teeth to be standard issue for a t-rex.
Next are the hands. I’ve seen Grimlock have 2-3 fingers and t-rexes have two. Here they used Kreon claws so it looks like he has four fingers per hand. Why did they do this? If you look at his feet, they have single claws so those would’ve worked just as well for the hands with some retooling.
The Autobot symbol should be way higher.
I mentioned in my Mega Bloks Legendary Megazord review that those ball joints were made of plastic. Well, the ball joints for Grimlock’s legs are made of rubber. They don’t handle weight well and this guy’s pretty hefty. When I’m posing him, it’s really annoying when he does the splits by himself because the holes don’t grip the rubber joints securely. Rubber also wears out over time which is awful. His arms use small plastic ball joints so why not use plastic for all of them?
Expert tip: If you’re not playing with your Kre-O builds, detach anything on these rubber ball joints. If you leave them on, they’ll eventually leave marks and dents in the rubber due to constant gripping making them less effective.
There are some problems, but are you really going to turn this one down? This is the Kre-O set we need and deserve. I sounded apathetic on most of the Kreons but objectively you’re getting all the “main” Transformers in the movie and the long-awaited G1 Grimlock. I know even Kre-O fans aren’t always enthusiastic about the builds but who’s going to say no to building a giant t-rex? At 333 pieces, the set retails for $30. That’s already a great value but they give you five exclusive Kreons too. I can’t recommend this set enough. If you’re a fan of Kre-O or Transformers in general, it’s a must-buy.
Now to find an apron, a bow tie, and a tray for the big guy…