Badcube’s Grump & Slick are the newest releases in their mini bot line. You may recall that the last mini bot we had was the fairly big Warpath and prior to that we had Brawny and Backland. Of course we mustn’t forget Cubex’s Huff, which was Badcube before they became Badcube.
I don’t know about you guys but I really enjoy this mini bot line, it feels as though Badcube really try to design them with as many nostalgic cues as possible. Based on Gears and Swerve I can safely say that I have very little knowledge of these two characters as they simply didn’t feature very high up on my favourites list. I mean, how can they possibly compete with the likes of Bumblebee, Brawn or Grimlock? Well, let me tell you, they really can compete, at least with these new designs.
Top drawer work from start to finish, I am not saying they are perfect but they are brilliant to pose and mostly fun to transform. They incorporate some intuitive transformation steps when it comes to the legs and arms as well as some more difficult, or at least awkward steps that have really irritated some people! But this is trademark Badcube, most know what they are getting into before they buy and so it should come as no surprise to find that there are indeed some divisive transformation steps, however, the question is why do they have to be there at all? I admit, each time I buy a Badcube product, I still hold on to some semblance of hope that there won’t be any difficult steps but alas, it never happens.
That said, let’s address one of the main issues which are the chest areas. The side panels are attached to the bonnet in two places and the chest piece in two places which are very easy to seat. But the wheels have to be attached to a small grey piece that seems to want to shift out of the way all the time. Some bright sparks have mentioned that if you loosen up the wheels slightly and tighten the grey pieces a bit, that this all helps to make the process easier. I have not bothered with mine yet but there seem to be some positive reactions to this recommendation. It really depends on whether you want to vroom the cars around or not! It is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination but for me it isn’t an issue.
Grump first then.
Third party companies usually come up with some great alternative names for their figures and most strike a cord with the character they are based on. According to his bio, Gears is a miserable git, a grump if you will!
I think most will agree that the G1 mini bots are ever so slightly basic so thank goodness we don’t have updated versions that pay close homage to them. Instead we have the modern day comics, with IDW to refer to instead and for me they really are the character designs I most enjoy. However, where the Generations toy line steered away from the oversized and frankly cumbersome looking head, Badcube went full throttle on it. Grump looks very much like the cartoon and G1 comic and because of this he really does come up looking very clean and tidy and I have to say that I am a fan of this and there is a backpack but I think it is well done.
Transformation and accessories.
These bots don’t come with very much in the way of accessories which is in keeping with the previous small bot releases such as Huff and Brawny. We get a lovely metallic blue gun, a welding torch and a circuit card which is from the ‘Changing Gears’ episode where if you remember, Gears has this circuit removed and suddenly becomes very pleasant and acquiescent. To accompany this sunnier disposition you can turn his face around to show a face with a smile although hencame packaged with the smile as I forgot about this! The welding torch simply slots over the wrist by popping the fist back inside the forearm. The data drive can actually be slotted into Grump’s chest by lifting it up. It won’t fall out and it doesn’t like to come out at all but you can store it in there during bot mode which is handy considering how small the drive actually is. Incidentally the clam shell is not very tightly fitting so the drive may be floating around in the shell somewhere.
When it comes to transformation, everyone’s experience differs and frankly any opinion I give in respect of how difficult the transformation is, is purely subjective. Apart from the issue raised above, I found the transformation process pretty easy and pain free. Instructions are useful but it was fairly intuitive. I will say it helped me that they came in robot mode.
Grump has decent articulation with a very good foot design enabling some deep stances to be had. Head articulation is significantly hindered due to the head design. It is basically a semi circle of boxiness! It twists but that is it, essentially he always looks as though he has had some sort of neck injury. But I didn’t expect much because of this so I can’t complain.
Slick and Grump are essentially the same design and turn into the same alt mode. I find it very interesting that Badcube have managed to remould parts and jiggle how things connect and incorporate the duel function leg transformation.
Where Grump has his big head, Slick has a normal sized head that can be moved fairly well, if you have small fingers that is. Those who are blessed with sausage-like fingers will not be happy about it. Where Grump has his rear wheels in his legs, Slick has them outside which leaves the calves looking hollow, unfortunately but because they share the same design you can have wheels outside or inside, depending on your preference. Grump hides the front wheels in his back pack which makes for a tidy silhouette whereas Slick wears them as massive shoulder pads.
Slick is up.
Swerve….Slick? Ah well, can’t always be perfect!
What a cop out this is from me, but the above paragraph explains the main differences between the two. The paint job is of course different and as a pair I think they compliment each other rather well. Slick does come with a neat little gun and a spare head. The spate head shows Swerve screaming or shouting, and refers to when Trypticon stepped on him in the cartoon and I believe this was his only appearance! Now, I tend not to change heads on my figures especially when, like Slick, you have to get your screwdriver out. It isn’t a difficult job but I prefer the head that comes preinstalled. Like Grump, Slick can actually store his gun in vehicle mode, underneath the rear section.
One of the niggles that I do have is to do with Slick’s shoulder pads. They get in the way a little bit, although they can be moved quite freely.
Originally based on a generic 4×4 the vehicles are now based, as far as I can tell, on a Land Rover Defender. Petrol heads out there will be able to set me straight on that.
When compared with the other mini bots I feel a big sense of achievement, I finally feel like the full set of mini bots can be a thing. Between Badcube, X-Transbots, Fanstoys and Toyworld, I may finally be able to complete that part of my collection.
Do I recommend these bots, well yes, as a matter of fact I think they are the business. The bots look great and feel neat, tidy and solid with some excellent articulation. The vehicles look colourful and mostly in keeping with previous similar releases. Although an update for Brawny and Huff is sorely needed.
Downside is definitely the connection of the wheels to the chest piece. I can see no real need for it to be like that and I can totally understand why this has and will put people off from buying or keeping it.