I had 3 favourite Transformer toys when I was little. I don't know why they were my favourites - they certainly weren't my favourite comic or cartoon characters - but I had a special attachment to this trio. The first was Topspin. Yes, the folding in half transformer. As I said, no idea why, but I loved him. The next I don't even know the name of. I do know that he fell apart and I lost all the pieces except the head, part of the body and one arm. I think I took pity on him because of his extreme injuries.
The final one was Rollbar. His transformation was slightly more complicated than Topspin's, but only really involved him going from lying down to standing up. He didn't even have legs, just his car wheels. Maybe it was the pull-back action, I don't know, but he was great. We had many happy years together.
And then my wife and son lost him in the park.
That was the last time I left my wife in charge of anything remotely important.
Thankfully, the Throttlebots aren't particularly loved by anyone else and it was relatively easy (and cheap) to pick up a new one from ebay. Sometimes I even forget, for a brief moment, that he isn't my Rollbar.
Hell, I'm tearing up just thinking about my Rollbar's fate.
It seems I'm not the only one who loved Rollbar, however, as the people at Toyworld have released a not-version of him. They've even given him an amusing name in the hope that everyone else will fall in love with him: Grind Rod.
When Grind Rod was first announced I was as excited as an excited person on a particularly exciting day. It was one of my favourite G1 toys improved. Then Toyworld released additional pictures and something horrible had happened - he'd changed colour to an icky bright green.
Excitement instantly drained away.
It's was only after a lot of reading online that the colour wasn't quite so bright that finally convinced me to buy him. It's true - while not the colour of old, the new green is sortofalmost like the old one. I'm not sure why it was changed from that initially announced, but it's close enough that unless I stand him next to the old Rollbar, I can convince myself that Grind Rod is painted exactly right.
Grind Rod is really nice and solid as a car. He rolls along beautifully, and the plastic is a thousand times better than that currently being used by Hasbro. Paint details are at a minimum, but everything that needs painting is so and very neatly done. The lines on his bodywork (where he comes apart for robot mode) are very neat, well placed and don't ruin the look. Honestly, I find it impossible to actually find fault with anything about the mode.
Transformation is a millions times more complicated that it was for G1 Rollbar, but then this isn't saying much. Grind Rod is easily transformable without the instructions. The only slight problem - if it can actually be counted as a 'problem' - is that the joints are tight, thus needing a bit more effort to more bits about.
As a robot Grind Rod looks like his G1 counterpart. He now has legs, of course, but they have the same sort of 'look' as the non-legs did (and having large feet means that he has zero balance issues). He even retains the little 'hood' from the G1 toy where the rear flipped back to reveal the head. He's articulated in all the right places, and has a nice bit of light-piping for his eyes. I've read concerns about the cavities at the sides of his body, which are present but hidden by his arms. If I hadn't read that there were concerns about his sides, I'd never have noticed.
His gun transforms from his spare tyre. This probably the only weak point of the entire toy as the gun looks like a tyre with added pointy bits. But then his G1 toy didn't have a gun at all, so I guess this is a step up.
This is a very, very impressive and near-flawless figure. I may be biased regarding the G1 toy, but Grind Rod is perfect in almost every way. Apparently when all the not-Throttlebots are all released they'll combine together somehow. Presumably parts to link them together will arrive at some point in the undetermined future. I don't think this will really add any appeal to the figure, but it's a nice touch.
I eagerly look forward to everything Toyworld produces in the future.