Like Thunderwing, Skullgrin is also an oft-used Decepticon Pretender from the old Marvel Comics stuff. Skullgrin didn't ever lead the Decepticons or anything, nor did he get to run around eating people with the Matrix, but he was still a memorable grunt.
Skullgrin got his biggest spotlight in a one-off story that featured him almost exclusively, in which he becomes a famous movie star. I am serious. Scorponok had sent him on a fuel-gathering mission, and when he's discovered by famous movie director Rollie Friendly, who offers to pay him in fuel to star in his sci-fi flicks, well, that's a win-win! Rollie doesn't even know he's a Decepticon, what with his Pretender shell disguise. Of course, there's some King Kong undertones, especially since Skullgrin has trouble controlling his rage in front of flashing cameras, plus his friendship with the film's leading lady, Carissa Carr. Anyway, long story short, Circuit Breaker finds him, the end.
What makes the story for me is that it's mentioned in later issues. The other Decepticons make fun of Skullgrin for, y'know, having been a movie star. It doesn't help his credibility an evil bad guy, especially with all those humans he befriended! I do wish we'd gotten to see more of that, especially since poor Skullgrin was casually killed off a few years later in the Generation 2 comics.
So, fuck yeah, Skullgrin! He's Straxus with a new ram skull-like head, courtesy of the new "everybody gets a head retool" policy. Though choosing Skullgrin is kind of a left-field kind of thing, it does kind of make sense. Both Straxus's toy and Skullgrin's original toy transformed into half-track tanks. Skullgrin also carried a bladed weapon, so that's kind of analogous to Straxus's Pick-Axe Of Deathtiny. The robot mode proportions also remind me of the build of the old Pretender shells. They were all big chunks of thing. Straxus's toy with a new head makes a pretty damn good Skullgrin, all things considered.
There were some color shifts, of course. The original Skullgrin came out in a period when pink on a kid's toy wasn't something you did if you wanted to lose lots of money. 1988 Skullgrin's shell was white, gray, and pink. Basically, he was Arcee's colors. The inside robot was gray and purple. He was a giant evil ram monster from Hell decoed like a Barbie doll. Oh, 1988.
But this is 2010, so new Skullgrin shifts that pink more towards the red side. There's a hint of magenta, but for the most part, his pink is now red. And, hey, though I dig bright terrible colors, I'm not complaining here. It's a beautiful color scheme. If Straxus weren't Straxus, then I'd like this version of the mold more, just from the colors. He looks very nice.
Skullgrin should return to action movies. I bet there's room for him in a sequel of the Expendables!