Previously reissued by Takara alongside Inferno in limited numbers, Grapple makes his way into the main US reissue line with some new decoration, minus some chrome, and some fugly box art. Hopefully, he's learned his lesson this time around and won't team up with Constructicons, bootleg or otherwise.
Autobot Grapple, as he's declared on the packaging, comes in the standard Hasbro reissue box for the Autobot cars, except he's packaged on his side as opposed to on his wheels. It's also interesting to note that the word Autobot is misspelled on the top, bottom, and side panels of the box as "Auotbot". Hopefully, that will be corrected if there are later print runs of this toy. Thanks to Fred's Workshop for pointing this out.
Grapple comes accompanied by three chrome missile attached to a parts tree, two fists (a left and a right thankfully) and his arc-welder rifle. Grapple's front cab opens down to reveal a driver set and some panels along with a functional rub symbol. Just below his windshield is a stamped-on Autobot logo, effectively giving you a spare Autobot logo on the sticker sheet to customize or give to another, less-fortunate warrior.
At just under 5 1/2" long, Grapple is the longest of the reissued Autobot cars thus far. His crane can extend to 8 3/4" from base to tip and features a gray hook that can swing over 180 degrees from its back-most position to its forward-most position. Mostly orange, Grapple does feature some black construction stripes along the base of the crane and on the boom. His front and rear bumpers, stabilizers, and sections of his side panels that become his robot arms feature chrome. The boom stabilizer, like the hook is gray. Both of which were chrome on the original release. Also, the boom now ratchets when moved, giving it 10 stable positions to lock into.
To transform into robot mode, swing out the side sections and swing down. Release the crane base from the rear section and rotate the front cab down. Fold the rear wheels sections down and stand the robot. Swing the crane boom around and down, flip the robot head open and lock the crane base into the back of the cab. Attach fists or rockets to the ends of the arms to your preference and arm him with his rifle if you so desire.
Standing at 5 1/2" to the top of the head, Grapple is ready to build a masterpiece. There is some black sowing now in his waist and upper legs, otherwise, there aren't any changes in his color scheme. His robot head shares the same attributes as the current Takara Inferno reissue; black helmet, silver face, blue eyes, and yellow vents. He also features a fair amount of articulation, mostly in his arms. His shoulders can swivel left and right or up and down. The elbows bend and his hands turn at the wrist. He can also bend at the ankles. The small tabs on the sides of his arms are inoperable, which is nothing new for the US market. Thankfully, the fists do lock in to some extent so they don't just slide out.
I've always enjoyed Grapple's character as well as his toy's mold, so this was a no-brainer choice for purchase for me. The changes made are subtle and I don't find them to take away from the toy at all, though I'm not fond of the ratcheting boom. Still, it's a solid toy with decent articulation and play features.
Final Grade: B+
|Reviewer||Richard C. Mistron|
|Date||December 27th 2003|
|Score||(8 out of 10)|