The Vault

Masterpiece MP-08 Grimlock; 10 Years On…

The Vault Keeper

The Vault Keeper

Is Masterpiece Grimlock still King or just a Bozo ?

2019 marks 10 years since Takara released Masterpiece Grimlock, it’s also been 10 years of waiting for them to release his fellow Dinobots but we won’t go into that now.

Suffice to say, ‘others’ have capitalised upon Takara’s tardiness.

So, 10 years has gone by quite quickly and the world of collecting and has not stood idly by. In that time it has seen Takara move from the original remit for their Masterpiece line to a more cartoon friendly look. This has seen some re-paints but also some re-do’s, the upcoming MP-44 Optimus Prime for example.

With this being the case will Takara abandon MP-08 in favour of a complete new figure ?

Will they re-paint ? I tend to lean towards the former as not only does MP-08 not fit in aesthetically, it also does not fit in scale wise either. We have to remember that MP-08 Grimlock was one of the first in the course correction regarding scale for the MP line, MP-09 Rodimus Prime being the first if I recall correctly.

This leaves Grimlock potentially on the precipice of obscurity much like MP-10 will be later in the year. Some may argue that he already is considering the release of Fanstoys Grinder and the imminent (that’s a joke) release of Gigapower Superator. I have neither of these figures currently, although I will be obtaining Superator as soon as he is released. So looking back upon Grimlock, the following meanderings are purely based upon where we find him now, himself warts & all. And me thinks…. why not ?

Where were you in 1985 ?

Grimlock is my favourite character, always has and always will be. I say this referring to his portrayals in the 80’s UK Marvel Comics and the first two seasons of the original cartoon, subsequent portrays have been ignored, the exception to this rule is Dreamwave.

I got my Grimlock (G1) in the late summer of 1985 whilst on holiday, from an Argos store in Truro, Cornwall. Heading back to the caravan in Carnon Downs was only 3 miles but it felt like an eternity, waiting to get sat down so I could open him up and bask in all that mechanic dinosaur glory. But wait I did and it was truly worth it, it was the best.

Brining us up to present day and my Grimlock has been lost to time, traded or sold, I cannot remember exactly but the memories remain.

Where were you in 2009 ? (or was it 2010 ?)

I took an early lunch from work one mid week afternoon and headed post haste to the local Toys ‘r’ Us. Intel had informed me that something of interest would be awaiting me on the shelving there. It was, it was there… he was there, looking at me awaiting release from the plastic and cardboard prison. Sorry Grimlock but you’ll have to wait until after work (as it happened he’d end up waiting until the weekend), it was that journey from Truro to Carnon Downs all over again, the wait. History was repeating itself, all this had happened before and will happen again.

At that time I wasn’t reviewing, the site which I’d started in 2005 (Vaults of Iacon has actually been going since 2000) was not much more than a basic blog and wouldn’t receive it’s first re-vamp until late in 2010. Anyway, I recall posting that I’d already obtained Takara’s MP-08 the year prior (2009), that I’d just obtained the TrU version and that I liked it but past that cannot really recall much.

It’s not a review…

Now we are more or less caught up, lets get to talking about the figure.

Grimlock looks best in his robot mode, this is where I feel the designers started their work. His proportions are more or less spot on aside from the forearms & claws, I believe they are a little on the large side. I’d have left out the light up hand gimmick in favour of a more articulated hand, I’m sure the lights could have been built into the sword itself leaving room to make both hands a little bigger also.

Articulation is okay but not great, the weight distribution makes the more dynamic poses difficult without extra support, which is limiting. But do we need Grimlock to do anything other than stand there looking intimidating ? Well, no in all honesty but it’s hard to be intimidating when size isn’t on your side. As mentioned earlier Grimlock is from a soft second phase if you will for the Masterpiece line and as such ends up being the same size as Rodimus (MP-09) and Optimus (MP-10). This emasculates the figure and renders it less special.

Coloured plastic is the majority rule here with paint being used sparingly, a few highlights here and there to break up the monotony. Translucent & smoked plastics are found on the neck and feet. Chroming is used for the chest, teeth, dino arm claws, teeth and tail. The ‘inner workings’ of the neck are also chromed. In a role reversal this is one of the very few times that a Takara product has been less ornate than their Hasbro counterpart. The Hasbro release has far more detailing, in a move which mirrors the G1 toy more closely.

Almost forgot the visor, a little nub at the back of the head allows a choice of blue or red.

With added pointless tat

Accessories include a sword, twin barrel gun and then a split depending on which one you got. Hasbro had a crown, like what was released with MP-08X (I’ll get to him later) and Takara had a glut, nay plethora of additions. These were for the Dino mode and included; mind transfer thingy, apron, bow-tie, drinks tray and drinks canisters for the tray.

All were seen in episodes from the 3rd season, can’t remember the episode names and I couldn’t be bothered looking them up, they were crap anyway.

Me, Grimlock love challenge

Transformation is quite simple, in fact it’s pretty much the same as the G1 toy aside from the collapsing tail section. I did like this at the time but now I see that in doing so it’s what contributed to the figures articulation and posing issues.


Dino mode looks pretty much how we remember it from the cartoon, incorrect stance included.

As we all now know, a T. Rex just could not stand or move like that but at that point in the 80’s we were still blissfully ignorant. It was a cartoon after all and maybe, just ,maybe Wheeljack & Ratchet built him that way.

I don’t have Grimlock in dino mode very often, in fact I could probably count on one hand the times I have. Oh I’ve nothing major against this mode, I’m just not overly fond of the legs, or should I say how the legs attach. You see sitting on those big ball joints makes them protrude a little more than I’d like. This gives him those birthing hips even Arcee would be envious of, were she female and human.

Articulation in this mode is less than in robo mode, twisty head (either manually or by playing with his tail), snappy jaw (either manually or pressing his cheek) … etc. Oh, the eyes can change too, red or blue.

Shiny happy dinosaurs holding hands

Not a mould that readily lends itself to the inevitable re-paint, Grimlock only saw one alternate release. Later in 2009 we were treated to MP-08X from Takara. This saw Grimlock go ultra shiny, in a homage to his look from the Marvel comics. Not really hitting the mark as Grimlock only really appeared in this polished look once to my recollection and that was on the cover of issue 32 (UK Marvel), The Wrath of Grimlock. Aside from this he more or less appeared as per his colours in the cartoon. I think Takara really missed a trick here, a far better redeco would have been the two G2 colours, a turquoise and more common dark blue. Not just a double dip but a triple dip… just not meant to be alas.


Almost at the end now, sensing the passage of time. Grimlock is feeling his age sadly and has been usurped, no denying. 3rd Party have brought us their takes on our favourite Dinobot and they are good and have proven popular. For fans of MP-08 the final nail in the coffin came via 4th Party (Knock Off), with the release of ‘Oversized’ Grimlock. A straight up copy of the MP-08 mold just bigger, like lard arse super size my coke and fries bigger. Or was it ? Some say, and I happen agree with them, that this is the right scale Grimlock for the Masterpiece line. So for fans of this mold they get to have their bucket of fries and large coke with cake and eat it.

But it is a last gasp of air for a dated mold and so we wait now, hoping for an updated Grimlock from Takara….


The light that shines twice as bright burns half as long… revel in your time Masterpiece Grimlock.

Him no Bozo, him King !

When Dinobots Ruled the Earth

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