Saturday, November 17, 2012

Transformers 3rd Party: Toy World - Grind Rod TW-T01

Trying to keep up with all of the new third party Transformer releases can make the head spin of even a veteran collector.  Toy World is still relatively new to the third party Transformers market with only having one release under their belt...that being the awesome G1 inspired Megatron figure, Hegemon.  Oddly enough I thought I'd have Hegemon reviewed here by now, but Toy World's next release is here and it's one I've been highly anticipating since I first saw pictures in April during Botcon.

The popular trend has been taking G1 characters and giving them proper modern day makeovers or upgrades.  Hasbro and Takara started this trend several years ago with the Classics line and now small third party companies are stepping in to continue the trend.  This is where Toy World comes in.  They decided to tackle giving the 6 G1 Throttlebots a proper update.  Now who on the face of the planet saw this coming?!  What an odd, but awesome choice of characters to select.






Grind Rod - better known as Rollbar in G1 comes packaged in a nice green window box that is slightly bigger than an Alternity box.  I hated the packaging Hegemon came in so this is a nice improvement in my book.  The cardboard used for the box is thin, but the quality of the plastic used for the front window is nice and thick and shouldn't crumple or dent very easily.  The bottom of the box showcases the next release, Aurora (Searchlight), which according to Toy World's website is slated for release in 2012.  We'll see about that.

GrindRod006   GrindRod007

I know it's geeky of me to get excited about getting a tech specs style trading card, but I love it!  Similar to iGear's cards these are printed in thick plastic with rounded corners.  Sadly Toy World didn't write a new bio for Grind Rod, but they did give him some number rankings.  These rankings by the way are different (mostly higher) than his G1 counterpart.







Right out of the box the first thing I noticed was how solid this toy feels.  There isn't any die-cast metal parts so the toy isn't necessarily heavy, but it does have some weight to it.  This tells me that the plastic used is of good quality.  Another thing many may first notice is the shade of green.  G1 Rollbar was more of a muted olive green where as Grind Rod has a light metallic brighter green.  Some may be disappointed with the final color, but it's a non-issue for me.

Grind Rod retains his jeep form from his G1 days - this time being a modern hardtop jeep.  By looking at the vehicle head on there is no denying a real world Jeep brand was used as the model.  I wonder if Jeep could go after Toy World for this dead on resemblance? 

The paint apps in vehicle mode are nicely done.  I love the small touches added as well such as the "hinges" molded onto the back of the vehicle that would serve as the swinging bracket for the rear mounted spare tire.  Flip the vehicle over and you've got what appears to be silver shocks and struts on the front axle.  Also of note is most of the robot bits are well concealed.


Before we get to the robot mode let's look at one other thing.  It has been officially confirmed by Toy World that the 6th and final release will come with combiner parts to merge all 6 "not-Throttlebots" together.  I could care less for this feature as the figure itself is more than worth the price of admission, but who knows - Toy World may take this combiner idea and knock it out of the park.  I guess only time will tell.  Looking at Grind Rod there are several possibilities for attachments to make him either a leg or an arm.  The most logical use for him as a limb that I could find is a leg/foot.  As part of the transformation, the front grille lifts up and over on top of the hood.  This would make a fairly solid leg.  We'll have to wait until spring or summer of next year before the 5 are released so let the speculation continue on his this combiner will look.


GrindRod017   GrindRod019


Grind Rod had to have some of the tightest joints I have on a new figure in quite some tight.  There were times during the transformation process that I thought something was going to break.  I've still only transformed in a few times, but I can tell things are starting to loosen up a little bit.  His transformation isn't that hard or complex, but the included instructions aren't a lot of help.  I basically had to just pull and gently tug at the front of the vehicle before it became loose enough to pull down to form the legs.  The arm assemblies and head are hidden underneath the center portion of the vehicle.  These too were a little tough to get separated the first time.


I love this new head sculpt.  Toy World did a pretty good job re-creating his original G1 look.  The flat yellow paint used for the bottom of the face blends in great with the green and gray.  He also features some awesome light piping, but I'll touch on that in more detail as I do have a slight problem with it.



Grind Core features a lot of articulation.  I know this will make a lot of people happy.  As I've mentioned in past reviews I'm not the best at posing my figures, so bare with me and my photography skills!  Starting with the lower section, Grind Core's waist can rotate a full 360 degrees.  It's not part of he transformation so I'm not sure why there is such a range of motion on the waist, but it's better than it being static.  The hips are on ball joints and the thighs have a swivel to them.  The knees are actually double jointed so to speak thanks to the transformation process.  Going to the top half of the figure, the shoulders are on ball joints with the hinge joints for the elbows.  The hands can rotate a full 360 degrees as well, but the doors on his forearms get in the way.  The instructions have you lift the doors up and forward, but then they are covering part of the back of the hands.  This also causes a slight problem when Grind Rod is wielding his spare tire weapon.  There are two notches on the back of the tire, but one of them needs to be ever slightly wider to accommodate the door on the forearm.  Not a big issue at all, but worth pointing out none the less.  The head can also be rotated fully around.


I know a lot of people may be wondering how does he scale with other Transformers.  Grind Rod is full own deluxe size as you can see here with my Henkei! Henkei! Hound figure.


This new size of course is a nice upgrade to his diminutive G1 self.  All I need to make him complete now is some Autobot symbol labels.


If I have one complaint about the toy is the "backpack".  What I mean by that is the roof of the vehicle doesn't fully fold in behind the head.  While I'm guessing this was done to recreate the look of the G1 figure, this piece blocks a lot of the light from entering the translucent plastic used on the back of the robot head.  What good is light piping if the light can't properly enter?  I remedied this by taking the piece and removing it from the figure.  It attaches via two small pegs on a gray connector.  Most will find this piece pops off rather easily and often during transformation as you try to tuck it down behind the rear wheel welds.  By flipping this piece upside down and reattaching it you can then lay it down flat.

I like the results.  It gives the figure a more streamlined look and helps the light piping in the head work properly.

I can't begin to express just how pleased I am with this figure.  If Toy World keeps this up with their subsequent releases then we may have a new third party company on par with the likes of Fans Project or MakeToys.  I have noticed the price has crept up to near $70 before shipping from a lot of retailers, but as of the time of this posting you can still get him from Captured Prey for $60 + shipping.  If you've been on the fence about picking this piece up or not then don't put off your purchase any further.  It's a great figure with good craftmanship and quality and a great update to G1 Rollbar to boot.  We have ourselves a winner here people.






  1. Replies
    1. ...and you won't regret it. Now go give Orson your money...

  2. I've never been a fan of 3rd party stuff. The Devastators that have been released just didn't do it for me. But starting with this guy and the upcoming Superion, I may have to change my mind...

  3. I will for sure be getting Searchlight and Chase when the come out. I'd like to get all of them, but these guys are pretty expensive...though I didn't realize they're bigger than deluxes. Still, as much as he's amazing, I just have no draw to Rollbar, so if I do get him, it'll be near the end.

    Great review though, Toy World is sure doing a great job as a 3rd party producer!