Review by Sanjeev
Okay, guys, here's a weird quickie review.
I have a kind of a bizarre obsession-within-an-obsession with this toy. Yeah, yeah...we're all nuts for buying/collecting toys in general...but this one even has me scratching my head at times! I mean, besides the toy you're gonna read about below, I actually have four more in various states of disrepair. :P
See, when I was a kid, I had a Transformers G1 Grimlock. Lots of us did. And why not? Whether you're an obsessed transfan or a disdainful anti-TF snob, this is a straight-up fantastic toy. Just read Ginrai's review! It's got diecast, quality hard plastic, chrome bits, clear bits...and even a shooty gimmick!
Well, this one kid I was friends with during my tumultuous youth had a...different Grimlock...and we would play with them together and pretend they were brothers while we were bused to the YMCA in Quincy, MA for after-school daycare. Good times, indeed.
Now, I think I remember also seeing this "Prehistory Animal" bootleg in a Child World back then, but I'm just not sure. At any rate, I've always had a hazy-but-fond memory of the toy in the back of my mind...even if I've forgotten that other kid's name. Still, I remember the fun we had playing with these guys. Heh...I don't think we even bothered naming the bootleg. I'm sure we didn't go by his Engrish name, "Tyuannosaurus"!
When I joined eBay for the first time back in '98, I spent my meager dollars on a few vintage TFs here and there. In fact, I believe my second or third eBay purchase ever was the loose-but-complete C8-ish Grimlock you're about to see below. Well, it's taken over a decade, but I've finally tracked down a boxed specimen of his long-lost big brother! And to sweeten the deal even further, it actually came from a fellow CDXer!
Throughout the course of snaring basically every specimen I could find of the T-rex bootleg over the years, I've actually ended up with boxed examples of the Slag and Sludge bootlegs (#2 and #3 in the Prehistory Animal series). From what I've seen from watching the market, I think they're fairly common. I've never seen #4 Stegosaurus, however, and I just don't think a Pteranodon (Swoop) was ever made...
[Oh, and before y'all get any ideas, the obsession isn't over! If a MISB shows up, I'm fighting you for it! ;) ]
So, just in case the great Engrish (and conspicuous lack of company/copyright info) on the outer box wasn't impressive enough, check out this hi-res pic of the instruction sheet! "Triceratope" and "Prontosaurus", huh? Well, at least they finally spelled Tyrannosaurus right!
Here's the back, which shows the tranformation instructions and offers great advice, like "do not notices launch missile to a person"! Oh, and the sticker sheet hasn't been used, but there are some missing labels from the glue drying up and the stickers simply falling off throughout the years.
On to the toy!
I absolutely adore this thing! The brown plastic is similar in quality to the original Hasbro/Takara piece. The parts-fit is a tiny bit sloppier, but you can barely tell. The articulation is the same, and even the weapons were reproduced faithfully. The exact same diecast content, chrome parts, and clear parts were maintained, though the silver was replaced with beautiful gold.
One thing to be aware of, however, is that the gold chrome used on this bootleg is extremely prone to oxidation. This example may look gleaming but I think that comes from almost NEVER having been removed from the box! I handled it with a soft cloth to prevent oils from my skin from damaging the finish. I should've taken a pic of my Prehistory Animal "graveyard"! Even the Tyuannosaurus specimens I have in good shape have really worn chrome. Check out the chest on Ginrai's Tyuannosaurus for a common example of this type of wear.
After the color changes, the next thing you'll notice are the mold changes. This isn't just a simple bootleg! These guys actually put in work!
Check out the rounded Godzilla-esque spines on his back! Sure, they had to dump the diaclone pilot seat, but it looks great.
Next, check out the head. What they did here blows me away. The most striking change to the design is the addition of the horn on his snout. But they went further by adding canine/saber teeth to the upper jaw! And here's probably my favorite part: they added a diecast gold-chrome tongue! How insane is that!?
They also added what I can only describe as a diecast gold-chrome forehead: on the very crown of his dino-head, there's a weird little twin-peaked mound. Hey, I'm not gonna balk at more diecast! Finally, they added some serious toes and claws. The small T-rex arms now have three distinct claws on them, instead of Grimlock's amorphous blobs. Also, there are four individual toes to Grimlock's two.
Moving right along, we have robot mode. As you can imagine, the transformation sequence is identical to Grimlock's. In my opinion, this toy's robot mode is even more visually stunning than its dino-mode.
The robot head is the same as Grimlock's. I love the way the extra mold detail throughout the body adds to the look of the robot mode. The ridges along the back now line his legs and the small gold T-rex arms look cool flared off to the sides.
Next up, accessories. Now, I mentioned before that the weapons are basically the same as for Grimlock. That's not entirely true. Check out the side-by-side comparisons below:
And, finally, the comparison pics!
Most folks who know my collecting habits know that I'm not really into collecting bootlegs. I've got nothing against them...I just would rather have the better toy...and that's usually the legit one. I don't mind appreciating boots from afar, and I get a big laugh outta seeing some of the horrendous nonsense out there, but I prefer quality stuff on my shelves.
That said, however, I think I can safely call this particular bootleg "top-shelf". And I think Grimlock agrees...
Comments33 comments posted
I like the "fistbump".
Clearly they're bros.
Wow- good bootleg conversion...! I wanna get a G1 Grimlock, but now I also want one of these!
Nice bootleg, but still, my favourite Grimlock Rip-off is the one that looks like cyborg godzilla with chromed back spikes.
Wow, nice bootleg! Most just fall apart when you sneeze at em.
Gotta come up with a name for this guy, he's a full on autobot far as I'm concerned. :P
I love how his arms are labeled "Punch Storage."
"Me, Grimlock, keep punches in here until me need them!"
That made me want to watch some G1. In fact I think I will...
Childworld > Toys R US
"Dinobots, destroy Devestator!"-Optimus Prime TFTM
My parents always took me to the Child World in Waukegan IL, man did I love that place. It eventually closed but the building was still there and unoccupied. Years later when I worked at the Waukegan Fed Ex I would drive by the abandoned old building and dream of going inside and finding old boxes of Transformers and Star Wars toys.
I also remember having that bootleg Slag pictured in the instructions/catalog.
A HOT DOG MAKE ME GRIMLOCK LOSE CONTROL!!!!!!!
Good review of a great bootleg, but what really jumped out at me was that I used to go to the 'Y' in Quincy when I was young, the Child World was a couple-minutes walk away (I think it's a furniture store now), and I remember a kid who was into the Transformers but had a different Grimlock! I don't remember his name, but it had to be in the same 'era', the TF Gen 1 time, when the show was still on, not too long before Transformers the Movie came out (I think?). The world gets smaller every day. It would really blow me away if it was the same kid you knew, or if we had run into each other at some point in the distant past.
The red, glossy painting located on KO Grimlock's crotch doesn't have that grainy texture that you normally see in a bootleg toy because most moonshiners produces them in cheap times which equals cheap effort, cheap care, & cheap quality. Whoever the moonshiners are, they really took too much time on their hands to make this piece worth while.
How old is this this TF when you purchased it on EBAY? It looks like an old, precious antique that costs a fortune.
I must admit that toy's definitely worth keeping on the shelf.
80's bootleg rulz!
Why aren't there cool bootlegs any more? When I was a kid there was stuff like this Grimlock,or "Shackwave",or even those little pinball machine dudes you got at the grocery store or wherever. Sure they were boots/generics,but they were still fun to play with and built decently.
Hell,we even had an actual viable alternative to Transformers,Gobots.
These days,when Transformers is a blockbuster movie franchise and anime is more popular in the US than ever before,there's almost NOTHING in the market beyond Hasbro's official TFs.
There are plenty of "bootlegs", they just aren't mimics of actual characters. That's because the toy companies figured out why Southeast Asia was such a terrible toy market; not because nobody bought toys, but because everyone bought bootlegs!
That brings up an interesting point: are RoadBots really bootlegs? Or better yet, is Astro Plan really a bootleg?
Yes, their concepts are totally stolen from Transformers and Macross, but the toys, themselves, are original designs. Now, forget how you feel about these companies. Forget the moral (or ethical or whatever) injustice of clearly profiting from others' work. The actual toys: are they bootlegs?
I mean, you can't say that EVERY transforming plane/robot ever created since '84 is a Macross bootleg, right? Similarly, not ever transforming vehicle/robot, in general, is a Transformers bootleg. Sure, RoadBots and Astro Plan's mecha are damn close to Alternators/Alternity and various Valkyries, but I'm not sure where you can draw the line.
Like, to me, the Godzilla-Grimlock is pretty clearly a bootleg because it takes the exact transformation sequence, and I'll bet the exact joint design and internal layout as Grimlock...and just slaps on differently-shaped outer panels...
Probably because Hasbro is big and scary and no one wants to mess with them. :P
Thanks for the comments, guys! Yeah, this toy is high quality...but the writing on the box and instructions? Wow!
Wallas, I'm not familiar with this "cyborg godzilla with chromed back spikes". It almost sounds like Takara's Machine Zaurer, that crazy magnemo toy that was actually the Diaclone Dinosaur Robots' enemy! You're not actually talking about Mechagodzilla, though...are you??
And, yes, Child World totally ruled. Such a shame the big corporations murdered such great little spots. I remembered their going out of business sale and being happy to get such great things. Little did I realize that it was the end of a very, very great era...
Yeah, seraph2011, the Y in Quincy and the Childworld just around the corner from where NEC is now (though back then, it was closer to the middle of the square). Dude, how old are you? Or rather, what years/programs were you at the Y? I'm 31 and I'm pretty sure I was there for the after school and summer "camp" (read: daycare for latch-key kids!) from around '86 to '89 (I'm guessing)...
R78, the pricetag on this guy is $8.50. You can barely get a modern Hasbro 3-3/4" figure for that these days! There are no dates anywhere on the packaging or paperwork, but I obviously remember having it when G1 Transformers were hot, so it's the same age as Grimlock. Yeah, it cost quite a penny...but probably still less than what a boxed Takara Dinosaur Robo #1 Tyrannosaurus in similar condition would pull in. Bidding can get fierce for these, but the trick is catching them when they pop up. That's some good moonshine!
And as for why such cool bootlegs and other generic robot toys aren't made anymore, I'd say it's because kids want to play video games more than beg their parents to buy them something colorful on the peg at a supermarket...
Also, I don't buy the "video games killed toys" argument. I had and loved both all my childhood.
Well, I was never very into video games...mostly 'cause we couldn't really afford them growing up. Other kids in the neighborhood we moved to when I was little had lots of them, though (the height of the NES era). Like you, though, we probably spent more time playing outside (sports, "guns", whatever) and playing with toys.
But I really think that was a different era.
Today, I know tons of kids from various class and cultural backgrounds...and it definitely seems like video games are more popular. And it's interesting because it seems as though the further up the class scale you go, the more prone the kids are to eschew toys in favor of video games. There was this one kid I worked with of upper middle class background who was HUGE into toys and cartoons, though--but then I found out his parents strictly banned video games in their household! Most of the raised poor/working class kids I've worked with have a decent amount of toys, but in all these cases, it seems like video games take up at least 50% of their play time.
So, I don't think we'll ever see toys completely disappear from human culture, but there's an obvious trend here. Video games are "easier" methods of occupying children's attention, there's some social status attached to owning them, and more and more big toy companies are gearing their offerings to adult collectors, rather than just kids...
To really have fun playing with toys, you need to be playing with someone else. That means you need to go outside, and interact with other people, and--as we all know--other people are all sex-pervert serial killers who want to RAPE YOUR BABY TO DEATH. Better to keep the kids inside where nobody can ever touch them--and video games are even better now because it's just like going outside!
Sanjeev...I went to the Y for basketball, and I think swimming, but I'm not sure if that was actually at the Y or if we rode the 'short bus' from there to a pool elsewhere, and for a daycare program, from 84-86, I think, but I could be a year off. I'm 36 now, I think I was there between 10 and 12 yrs old. I remember wanting to go home instead, so my aunt used to 'bribe' me to go with a small toy from Child World or a comic from NEC once a week, which was the start of my collecting addiction.
I actually was just reading some old Tick comics yesterday, remembering those, and later, days spent in the square, 'wasting' my time and money. I saw a trade paperback of the whole series at a comic store here in Brooklyn on my lunch break. Hundreds of miles and 20-something years from the start of it all. Yeah, NEC was a small hole-in-the-wall back then. They've come a long way, and Tom still works there!
Here's the Godzilla Grimlock: http://i40.tinypic.com/fl8s61.jpg
Wow! Would never believe it. That sure is something.
On second thought, wait a minute: what happens to the tail? The extra-long gold and black tail in alt mode doesn't match up in robot mode. Is it removable?
I coulda sworn I've seen this monstrosity (and I mean that in every sense of the word!) before...
Wicker808, I think the Goji-Grim is just on the left. The toy on the right simply looks like the Diaclone toy. Note the blue crotch and chrome sword.
Neato! That is new to me... looks like the bootleggers were inspired by the mechano-dragon that the Diaclone guys fought!
I miss Child World,too. I miss KB more,since I actually used to work there. I suppose in a year or two I'll miss Toys R Us!
One reason I think games took over from toys is that in a way,games are cheaper. Like for instance,say a new game costs 50-60 bucks. 50-60 bucks in the toy aisle buys you what? 5 Star Wars guys? It's not that impressive.
I really get the argument of the economy of video games being probably better overall than the economy of toys. The way I see it, though, is that it doesn't come down to just cost. If I'm a parent who wants to shut my kid up (y'know...instead of actually spending time with him/her), I know that a video game will occupy the kid longer (time-wise) than a toy probably will. It's the safer bet.
And, yeah, like Robot Bastard's comment above, folks seem more and more addicted to "screens" than ever before. Venturing outside...to interact with people...in person!? Perish the thought! In the future, I want all my relationships to function solely via Facebook. ;)
A) I often played with my toys alone. Sometimes I played with them with my sister, sometimes with friends, but I played alone as well.
B) I almost never play video games alone. Always been a group activity for me more often than not. Oh the many hours sitting beating the crap out of each other on Street Fighter and Soul Calibur and whatever and lately, the 4 player madness of New Super Mario Bros.
I wouldn't actually call Roadbots and such "bootlegs" as in illegal knockoffs,but I was including them when I was talking about non-Hasbro TFs.
I define bootlegs the way Sanjeev does. If it's a copy of the actual toy,it's a boot. If it's a car that turns into a robot,then no,that alone doesn't mean it's a Transformer knockoff. Take for example,Staks from Gobots. He's not a knockoff of Optimus Prime,he's just another robot who turns into a big rig. I mean,Transformers weren't even the first transforming toy robots. Really I don't even consider Road Ranger a boot/KO even though his color scheme is clearly chosen to mimic Optimus'.
Where do you guys even see Roadbots these days? I used to occasionally see the in the toy dept. in "Burlington Coat" type places,but it's been years. Of course,it's not like I spend every Saturday night rockin' out at the Burlington Coat,so maybe I'm out of the loop.
Toys companies are developing new creative robots.I think they copied idea of transformers.Fantastic bootleg.I never played fighting games but love to play Mario Games,One of my interesting time pass.
Um, the reason the official missile you have looks different is because it's not Grimlock's. That's one of Sludge's missiles.
Heh, they may have labeled this guy "Tyrannosaurus", but their retools made him more of a Ceratosaurus.