Toy Wizards Review: Transformers Studio Series ’86 Leader Class Grimlock & Autobot Wheelie


As early as I can remember, I’ve been a huge fan of robots and dinosaurs.

My earliest memories were probably when I was about 5 or 6 years old, with my first experience with robots coming from Astroboy and Transformers, and my first experience with dinosaurs coming from The Land that Time Forgot and, well, Transformers when Wheeljack and Ratchet created the Dinobots. While Swoop has always been my favorite of the Dinobots, because I’m a giant pteranodon nerd, there’s no arguing that Grimlock was their unquestioned leader, and that I had to get my hands on his Studio Series Leader Class figure homaging the 1986 Transformers movie.

I’ve always been hesitant to purchase any of the other studio series figures, because frankly, they’ve never appealed to me, having never been a fan of the Michael Bay…attempts at filmmaking, and the Bayformers line of figures look like piles of regurgitated metal. But, the ’86 movie toys all look gorgeous and while I also picked up Kup, Scourge and Hot Rod, Grimlock was the figure I was the most psyched about.

Seeing images and videos online, and being given a leader class tag, I knew he’d be big, but I didn’t realize how massive he was until I got him in hand. We long time G1 fans know all too well how ridiculous, how preposterous those old G1 toys scaled with one another. Galvatron would be twice the height and width of Rodimus Prime, and a character like Blaster would absolutely tower over Optimus Prime in toy form.

Thankfully, in this day and age scale has been taken much more seriously, and Grimlock in both robot mode and dino mode scales perfectly next to his Voyager or Deluxe class counterparts. Hasbro nails the overall look of Grimlock as captured in the ’86 movie. You may say, but he’s missing his sword and his neck isn’t translucent, and you’d be correct because Hasbro and Takara are going for cartoon and movie accuracy rather than replicating the G1 toy. If you’ve ever transformed a Grimlock, whether it be G1 or Power of the Primes, then transforming his Studio Series figure has no surprises in store for you, but it’s a wonderfully fun and satisfying transformation. There are however a couple of minor, minor nitpicks.

The biggest one; and honestly neither of these critiques is going to hurt my overall score too terribly, is Grimlock’s chest plate is tinted way too dark, to the point where you can barely see the Autobot insignia underneath. Like I said, it’s not going to hurt my overall grade too much, because the engineering, articulation, molded detailing, sculpt and paint application are just perfect, but that chest plate could have been a shade or two lighter. The second minor nitpick is the deal with Wheelie. I’m sure many of you are saying, “no one really cares about Wheelie”, which is true, but it was still cool that he was included for ’86 movie accuracy. His head sculpt is good, paint application is good, including a removable sling shot was a nice touch, but WHY ARE HIS LEGS NOT ARTICULATED?!?

I get they wanted his knees in a bent position so he could plug into the pegs on the side of Grimlock’s neck in dino mode as well as on his shoulder in robot mode, but they couldn’t articulate his legs so they could straighten out and he could stand? Instead, he’s forever frozen in a perpetual squat position like he needs to poop or he’s going to tear down Mr. Burns sun blocking machine because he’s had it up to here with these damn rickets. It’s kinda goofy and pretty silly…which now that I think about it, fits Wheelie to a tee. At the end of the day though, it’s Wheelie, so whatever. 

Despite my minor quibbles, Grimlock is an amazing, gorgeous, absolutely awesome purchase, and if Hasbro wants to make the other Dinobots available in the not too distant future (especially my dude Swoop), I’m reaching for my wallet as we speak.

I give Studio Series ’86 Leader Class Grimlock & Autobot Wheelie 4.5/5 Wizard Stars

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