"Revenge of the Fallen" Brawn Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: January 2010
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Guns x 2

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
There’s nothing BRAWN loves more than a challenge. Luckily, working with the N.E.S.T. Global Alliance gives him plenty of opportunities to show his strength. He has a new assignment: Track down the DECEPTICON strong-bot RAMPAGE. The DECEPTICON warrior’s strength is legendary, but BRAWN intends to crush both him and his legend with a couple of blows of his indestructible fists. Recreate exciting movie scenes or stage your own living room battles with this AUTOBOT hero! In robot mode, this fierce fighter features dual pistol accessories to fire at his enemies. When you’re ready to send your BRAWN figure chasing after his enemies, convert him to 4x4 truck vehicle mode, mount the “rifle” to the truck’s roof and send him tearing through the “streets” after his opponents! N.E.S.T. ALLIANCE PRODUCT

Brawn is a name carried over from the days of Generation One, where the character was one of the "Mini-Bots", a sub-group of Autobots who were originally advertised as smaller vehicles who could serve as spies and scouts. Brawn's role was changed in both his comic book and cartoon appearances to that of a "tough guy" who didn't let his small size keep him from showing off his great strength and attitude. Since that time, the character has reached the status of a "fan favorite" but except for occasional inspirations here and there over the years, he hasn't appeared all that much. Now in "Revenge of the Fallen", the character has joined the "N.E.S.T." team in the expanded version of the line.

Vehicle Mode:
In "Revenge of the Fallen", several Hummer HX vehicles were used as part of N.E.S.T., and it is from that vehicle that Brawn is supposed to be based. However, when I looked at photos of the vehicle and compared them to the figure, the similarities were almost non-existent. Sure, both are blocky, powerful looking pickup trucks, but the basic design of Brawn's vehicle mode has been changed so much that he could be based almost any concept pickup truck and you'd find superficial similarities. This isn't really a bad thing, but I really won't spend any time trying to point out similarities or differences between the real life vehicle and this figure since they are so dramatically different.

In Generation One, Brawn transformed into a vehicle based on a Land Rover 4x4 vehicle. Taking a cue from that original form, the "tough" form of a pickup truck with heavy modifications was chosen for "Revenge of the Fallen" Brawn. This truck has a military look to its profile, but it is by no means blocky looking. The front end is curved, leading up to an angled windshield. The sides sweep back to the truck bed which has angled panels over the wheel wells and even slightly curved sections in the back where the rear lights are located. Certain details firmly place this as a vehicle meant for rough terrain. The front end has four lights mounted on a frame in addition to the two headlights on the vehicle itself. Four lights are mounted on top of the cabin section and behind each side window is an opening covered with horizontal bars. Mounted in the center of the vehicle is a large gun and off the left side is a small sensor pod. These basic features alone definitely give off a "tough guy" vibe. This is clearly not a vehicle that would be driven by your average joe, nope, this is a vehicle worthy of the name "Brawn".

After so many years spent as a smaller sized figure (including last year's Legends Class figure), getting a higher scale figure also means more detailing. The raised section on the center of the hood has vent lines, as do the side panels on the doors. Small details such as the cover to the gas tank, the rear lights, side view mirrors and door handles are all here. You'll even find some nice detailing on the gun mounted on the top of the truck. The main barrel is actually comprised of three barrels arranged in a triangular shape. There is also a small scope on top and what appears to be a large clip attached to the bottom. The detail on this figure is simply fantastic.

Brawn is primarily cast in a dark, metallic brown color. This makes up most of the vehicle mode. Smaller parts are cast in black, silver, dark green and translucent plastic. The black is used on the front end of the vehicle, the gun mounted on top and his wheels. The silver is used for the cage in the front and his sensor pod by the gun. You'll see the green parts if you look at the back. These are really robot mode parts that are peeking out a bit in this form, and hint at a more G1 inspired color scheme to boot. His windows are cast in translucent plastic, giving them a more authentic feel. I always prefer a translucent set of windows over windows that are painted a flat color, so this adds to an already nicely designed color scheme.

There aren't a lot of paint applications in this form. Silver is used to paint the headlights as well as the N.E.S.T. symbol on the sides. A bit of yellow is used on the lights by the headlights and red is used on the rear lights. Truth be told, while I would have loved to see some spray detail on the sides or front end, he really doesn't need them. In this condition Brawn looks like he just rolled off the assembly line, ready for action!

In vehicle mode, Brawn's main "action" feature is the gun mounted on the top of the vehicle. While it is set low by default, you can pull it up to aim at higher targets. The gun itself is on a hinge so you can angle it up or forward. Sadly, the gun does not turn side to side, but I'm not all that broken up about it. He looks rough and tough and that's what I want from a vehicle mode for Brawn.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the panels that form the sides of the vehicle mode out.
  2. Split the front section of the vehicle down the middle.
  3. Move the parts that form the halves of the hood and windshield to the sides.
  4. Swing the robot legs down from the underside of the vehicles front sections.
  5. Swing the robot feet up and swing out the heel sections.
  6. Rotate the top half of the robot around so the robot head is facing forward.
  7. Swing up the panels that form the top of the cabin section and the truck bed.
  8. Swing up the forearms and rotate the arms around to the sides.
  9. Swing the robot arms down to the sides.
  10. Swing the panels on the upper arms out to the sides.
  11. Rotate the rifle from the vehicle mode on the back around and extend it so it winds up over his head.

Robot Mode:
I can picture it now. A bunch of Hasbro and Tomy guys are sitting around planning figures for "Revenge of the Fallen" out and when the subject of Brawn comes up, everyone mutually agrees that Brawn must have a cool and tough vehicle mode, but then have a badass looking robot mode to match it. Clearly this line of thinking made it to the final stages of this figure since the robot mode looks every bit as tough as the vehicle mode while also integrating a lot of the aesthetic from the movie line into the figure.

Brawn's upper body is wide. His chest is broad and then his arms come out even wider. This then leads to his mid-section which is relatively narrow. This accentuates just how big the upper body is. His legs are rather wide as well, but not quite as wide as the upper body. His overall frame is reminscent of the gorilla-like appearance of Stockade from the 2007 movie line (who was most recently repainted into Gears). His shape is an interesting one, with the arms designed to be out of proportion with the rest of the figure. Point them straight down and they reach behind his knee joint, which combined with their bulk makes them quite powerful looking. His legs are curved back, a design element used in several movie figures with a "chicken walker" type appearance, though Brawn's is not as pronounced as say, Starscream.

Overall shape is one thing, but Brawn has a fantastic set of details sculpted into the figure. It may sound odd, but the detail that captures my eye the most is his head sculpt. Designed to look like a tactical helmet with a mask in front, Brawn looks like he's ready for some hardcore combat.
The helmet portion starts at the top and angles down to a mouthpiece that looks a bit like an advanced gas mask. It's really quite striking and even better, the somewhat rounded shape of the helmet portion is reminiscent of G1 Brawn's head design which also had a curved helmet design. There's another design element that looks like it could have been inspired by G1 Brawn. If you look at the middle of the body, right under the chest the narrow section curves downward and has raised horizontal lines going across. This reminds me of a similar detail on G1 Brawn's torso, where he had a curve going down his body with horizontal lines going across as well. Other cool details include turbine like parts on the insides of his chest, layered armor designs on his arms and legs as well as line and hinge details on his legs. All in all his details are really impressive and show that blending the G1 and Movie aesthetics are possible.

In terms of details, I don't usually comment on the weapons, but Brawn's are too cool not to. Mounted on his back is the gun from the vehicle mode. The hinges allow it to extend slightly over his head. In each hand he has a gun already being held in vehicle mode. The gun design is rectangular with some cool angled lines on the side. The middle has parts that extend down resembling bullet clips. Between this and the rifle on his back the weaponry really completes the whole "tactical team" appearance of this figure.

In this form, we get to see a lot more of the dark green color only hinted at in vehicle mode. It makes up most of his legs, arms and mid-body. The green color alternates with black plastic which you'll find on his lower legs and forearms. You'll also see a lot of silver plastic in this mode on smaller parts such as his soulder joints and hip joints. The silver definitely adds some cool variety to the color scheme. His hand guns are cast in green and translucent grey plastic. The rifle on his back is black, with the handle at the base cast in green. Paint decos are mostly done in gold, along with a bit of silver, black and red. The gold is the most prominent. It's used on his shoulders and torso. This is a nice touch of G1 homage. G1 Brawn's chest piece had a large yellow portion. In this case, yellow would be a bit garish and not quite fit with the darker aesthetic of this figure, so gold is a perfect color substitute. Silver paint is found on the head (which is actually cast in green plastic). The red is a rather bright shade that is used on small details on his arms and the torso. It looks really nice and offers a bit of brightness in a sea of dark colors without being overwhelming. On both his shoulders are small Autobot symbols painted in black.

Brawn has twenty six points of articulation in robot mode. It's a really impressive amount, and they're all meaningful points of articulation. For instance, his shoulders are mounted on a ball joint, but then riht below the shoulder joint is another joint that allows the arm to swing out and in. His legs replicate this, with the hip joints set as ball joints and the joint immediately underneath able to turn out and in. Having this much articulation really allows the figure to feel much more alive and well thought out and it's awesome to see. Want to stow his weapons away? Just attach the blasters to the "wings"!

Brawn doesn't have much of a gimmick per se outside of transformation. However, he doesn't really need them. His back mounted rifle is awesome and I love his hand guns. His hand guns are stashed away in vehicle mode already fit into his hands and I love the idea that as a character, Brawn is so tough that the moment his arms are freed in mid-transformation he wants to be ready to fire his weapons. Conceptually it's really cool and I think it's a fantastic character touch in the design.

Final Thoughts:
"Revenge of the Fallen" Brawn is pure win in a deluxe scale package. The figure suits the legacy of the Brawn character in both modes, has a fantastic design and is highly articulated to boot. Highly recommended!

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