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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review of: Grimlock and Swoop

Name: Grimlock and Swoop
Allegiance: Autobots
Function: Warriors
Sub-Group: Dinobots
"We love to munch Decepticon metal!"

Primitive in thought and simple in speech, what Grimlock and Swoop lack in intelligence they make up for in strength. They have given the Autobots the tactical upper-hand in battle time and again sending Decepticon legions retreating in fear. Swoop will often use his impressive aerial maneuvers to confuse and distract an enemy while Grimlock sneaks from behind and stomps that enemy before they even know what hit them. They then use their combined strength to ensure that there is little left of their unfortunate prey. Although they are armed to the nines with powerful weaponry, Grimlock and Swoop prefer to take down their enemies with razor sharp teeth and talons.

First, the short review: the combined mode sucks - it's rushed and looks terrible. Individually, the toys are great, though. Just don't pay over the $20 listed price if you can't find one at retail. A very nice set of two neat little toys for the price point.

Now, the long review...

In the Energon line, we've been handed a treat: new toys towards the end of the line as opposed to repaints - only. Two of these new toys owe their existence to older toys, with a new trick: Grimlock and Swoop.

Back before the Transformers franchise began, a lot of the toys were already floating around in Diaclone and various other lines. This included the original dinobots. The dinobots were introduced in the cartoon as being created from scans of the fossil remains of earth's ancient animal life, and it went from there. It could be pointed out that the dinobots' 'origin' and alternate mode makes significantly more sense than, say, a Transformer that turns into a tape player, but that's not the point of this review. At any rate, the timeline goes along the lines of: early 80's--> dinobots--> fan favorite--> numerous reincarnations--> the energon line--> you. And that's how we have the newest, oldest dinobots: Grimlock and Swoop. Throughout the review, I'll compare the two to their original counterparts, as enough of you will have had some experience with them for that to be a good reference point.

Not much to say about him: he uses almost the same transformation scheme as the original, as well as a lot of the original colors. He's somewhat smaller than the original, though--about the size of the other Energon Deluxes. The dinosaur mode is basically unchanged, although he can stand up straighter with a more modern therapod gait than older versions. The principle difference is that he has more articulation in his robot arms/dinosaur legs than he used to have. And... well... He's a robotic dinosaur. I suppose that over the years the novelty has worn off, SO NOW THEY CAN COMBINE!!!

I don't remember much about my original Swoop (it's been a long time), but it's enough to know that this based closely to the older mold. In pterodactyl mode, he has better articulation in his wings than the original, thanks to some ball joints. His robot legs form rather large jet-engines on the back of the pteradactyl mode... a bit avant garde, but a precedent the orignal set all the same. His dino-mode claws become his hands in robot mode, which is new. The biggest difference is that he features blue instead of red. In robot mode, he looks more menacing than before, what with wings outstretched, big meanie-looking claws, and being taller than Grimlock. Great articulation, too.

Combined Mode:
Have you ever read Great Expectations? Even if you haven't, I'm sure you can gauge where I'm going with this just from the title. The combined mode is underwhelming. The best way to describe is that Grimlock splits down the middle and sits on top of Swoop's robot mode. For a better picture, imagine two young children trying to sneak into a movie they shouldn't see. Since they're obviously children, they decide to conceal their size by letting one sit on the shoulders of the others, and wearing a long trenchcoat to hide their secret in the hopes of witnessing the debauchery within the theatre. That's the combined mode. On the bright side, it can stand under its own power, which is always nice. It's not a very secure connection, but that doesn't matter, since you're not likely to leave it in this mode anyway.

Transformation: 2 - Like riding a bike, you haven't forgotten how.
Durability: 9 - Nothing seems prone to snapping. Of course, some things will break if you're deliberately trying to, but that's another matter.
Fun: 7 - A dinobot is a dinobot.
Price: 7 - At $20, you should be satisfied if you keep them separate. However, given Hasbro's distrubution problems lately, you may have a hard time finding them in a store. If you order them online at additional cost, you may feel jipped.
Summary: 6 - If you liked the original dinobots, they're worth picking up. Ignore the combined mode, though. Thankfully, these are still good examples of how old transformation schemes and characters can be brought back with much better durability and articulation than the originals. Despite the major selling point being pitifully stupid, I'd still recommend these to anyone who digs the "new old stuff" approach. Just don't go out of your way for them.

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