- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hasbro’s famed robots in disguise return to the big screen in Michael Bay’s latest blockbuster “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

So of course, the toy company gives children plenty of ways to enjoy the multistory stars of the film, shrunk down to an affordable selection of 3- to 10-inch-tall action figures.

Legends such as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Drift, Lockdown, Roughneck and Crosshairs can be either pulled, flipped, popped, squeezed or twisted into their alter egos through collections sure to please the Transformer smitten child in the family.

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Also, new to the latest movie, is the introduction of the Dinobots, robots that have been on toy shelves since 1996 and turn into mechanized dinosaurs. Its leader’s ferocious alter ego arrives these days with a flip-and-change feature that is one of Hasbro’s more clever Transformer variations.

Figure profile: (paraphrased from packaging) The king of the Dinobots believes you should smash first and ask questions later. He’s one of the most powerful warriors in the universe, especially when in his T-Rex mode, and he likes nothing more than showing off his strength, leaving his enemies stomped, chomped, or turned to ash by a blast of his fire breath.

Accessories: Back in the old days, trying to covert and reconvert a Transformer from its robot to vehicle form required hiring an engineer and Rubik’s Cube specialist to pull off the finger-fumbling miracle.

Now days, Hasbro offers some tricks to quickly perform the conversion.

This version of Grimlock use a “Flip and Change” feature. Owners hold the hard plastic toy with each hand by each half of its tail and flip (spin) it toward them for the robot to emerge and away from them to pop the pieces in place to see Grimlock as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

It actually works and only requires the snapping together of the T-Rex head and tail and pulling its spindly arms out to complete the dinosaur conversion.

The 9-inch-tall figure offers limited points of articulation in its arms and pelvis, and it’s made of hard plastic highlighting its silver, orange and grey armor. I am wondering what happened to Grimlock’s powerful spiked mace/spear weapon. That accessory seems almost mandatory for the figure.

Price: $19.99

Read all about it: Many a comic-book company — including Marvel, Devil’s Due Publishing and Dreamwave Productions — has brought the Transformers to the sequential-art medium since the early 1980s. When it comes to enjoying Grimlock in an illustrated format, I would recommend IDW Publishing’s five-issue miniseries Maximum Dinobots from 2008 available in trade paperback ($19.99) to see the Autobot and his pals Sludge, Slag, Snarl and Swoop in action.

What’s it worth: Hasbro delivers an easy-to-convert and sturdy version of Grimlock. Although the traditional Transformers line-up has entertained kids for decades, there is just something so tantalizing to a tyke when playing with a Dinobot. Watching young male testers eyes light up at the miracle of owning not only a cool robot but a dinosaur in an all-in-one action figure made me wish I was 8 years old again.

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