Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $99.99 (included in five pack with Blast-Off, Onslaught, Swindle and Vortex)
Retailer: San Diego Comic-Con/Hasbrotoyshop Exclusive
2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios was due to release "Fall of Cybertron" in August of 2012 so a large portion of the "Generations" toy line became dedicated to characters and designs from the game itself. One of the key characters in the game is Bruticus, the Combiner giant formed by the team known as "The Combaticons". Perhaps the loudest member of the Combaticon team is Brawl, who transformed into a tank.
The existence of a new Bruticus figure caused quite a stir among fans. For years we've wanted a new Combiner figure, and lucky for the fandom at large we now have one. Even better? This guy was composed of five Deluxe Class figures, each one with its own unique transformation and identity. Before the initial retail release of this figure, the summer of 2012 saw the release of the entire set in a special box (with different colors)as a San Diegeo Comic-Con exclusive. This guy sold out within minutes of being available on Hasbrotoyshop and by the following week went for easily double the price on ebay. No doubt, this is one figure tons of Transformers fans wanted!
While all the San Diego Comic-Con Combaticons were packaged together, I will be reviewing each individual robot separately for the sake of space (otherwise the review will involve insane amounts of scrolling). Here are links to the other reviews for your reference:
Brawl was a playable character in the first "War for Cybertron" game, so he's not exactly "new" to fans, but this is the first time this version of the character has been made into an action figure. Like his G1 counterpart, Brawl transforms into a tank. However, instead of a bulky tank with a traditional turret on top, here he becomes a sleek looking hovertank. His body is mostly flat with a double barreled cannon mounted on top (you can make it a triple barreled weapon by adding his hand held blaster in between the two larger cannons). The thin main body has a very angled shape when you look at it from above. It starts wide in the front and then quickly angles inward towards the back. On the back of the vehicle are thruster details with a cross hatch pattern sculpted into them (a running theme for the Combaticons). Interestingly enough, even though he's not a ground based vehicle he does have treads sculpted into the sides of the vehicle towards the front. He doesn't have matching details in the back so it's a rather curious choice of design, but it does serve as a nice callback to his G1 incarnation.
Green and black plastic are the primary colors on this figure. Green is the primary plastic color in this form, but if you hold it to bright light you'll note small metallic flakes that give it a really nice shine. Black plastic is used on parts such as the turret barrels, his blaster weapon and some details that show on the sides (which are really the robot feet). A bit of purple plastic also shows on the back of the vehicle where his connection point to form Bruticus is located. At first, it looks like the two large barrels are cast in silver, but if you lift the green turret base piece you'll see they're actually black with the middle to ends of the barrels painted silver. Additional colors include gunmetal grey, purple and black. The grey is found on many of the angled details on the figure and the raised sections on the sides towards the rear of the vehicle. Purple is seen on the top of the barrel and on the thrusters in the back, providing a "glowing" color to indicate where his energy would be expended. Surrounding the purple thruster sections are raised details with horizontal lines etched into them. These sections are all painted black. Black is also found on the "tread" details on the side of the vehicle starting at the front, leading to the middle. The deco on this figure really does a great job of representing Brawl. Most of these colors come right ouf of his Generation One incarnation and he looks great.
Brawl's primary play value in this form centers around his turret. It has two huge cannons and one smaller one in the center. The cannon can swivel in a full circle or if you want you can lift the turret up and have it turn and aim up at the same time. If you really wanted to attach more weapons to Brawl, then you'll need to flip him over where there are two 5mm peg holes underneath.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the center blaster weapon and set it aside for now.
- Swing the front halves of the vehicle down.
- Swing up the rear panel with the thrusters on it.
- Swing the panels that form the rear sides of the vehicle out to begin forming the robot legs.
- Rotate the lower legs and swing the feet down.
- Swing the purple Bruticus connection piece back.
- Rotate the front panels from Step 2 and swing out the fists at the ends.
- Rotate the forearms around.
- Pull the robot head up, then push the lower body section up.
- Attach the blaster to either hand.
When I think of Brawl, I tend to think of a bulky, cantankerous Decepticon who would much prefer destroying things than been a part of a fine tuned mission (as he is in the game at one point). While he is still loud and loves destruction, what he is not is bulky. I was quite surprised actually to see just how thin and sleek Brawl looks in robot mode. Granted, his vehicle mode is already rather thin, but this was still much more sleek than I had expected. Most of his body seems to be a study in sharp angles such as the pattern on his shoulder armor and the triangular pattern on the middle of his chest. His legs are long and relatively thin instead of being bulky. Yet somehow, all this comes together really nicely and it still manages to look like Brawl. His shoulder armor is relatively large, looking like it can offer some good protection. His cannons also wind up on his back, which serves as a callback to the original G1 Brawl whose turret also wound up on his back in robot mode. The final piece which seals the deal is his head sculpt. The top of his head's "helmet" section bears a striking resemblance to the Decepticon symbol with a crest in the center that splays out in a triangular pattern leading to details on either side. His pattern of eyes and mouthplate is reminscent of Brawl as he appeared in the animated series.
Once again, the green plastic makes up most of this form. However, this time out a lot more black plastic gets shown in the form of his shoulder joints, fists, feet and thighs. Some of the grey paint decos from the vehicle mode carry over into this form such as his knee armor and details on the shoulders. Additional grey details can be found on the tubes sculpted into his chest and on the crest at the top of his head as well as his mouthplate. To add some brighter color to this figure purple details are painted onto various sections such as the armor around the top of his legs, the waist and a Decepticon symbol painted right into the middle of his chest. In a nice homage to G1 Brawl, his eyes are painted yellow instead of the traditional red used for Decepticons. Overall, I'm quite happy with the deco on this figure. It has variety and the character is instantly recognizable to any fan familiar with the original Brawl.
Brawl has eleven points of articulation in robot mode. By today's standards, that's not a whole lot, and mostly what he's lost are the extra joints we've gotten used to on the arms, and he has no waist articulation either. In this sense he's not a smashing success, but nor his he an unposable brick. I would say he's "okay" in the articulation department, but not great. Both hands have 5mm peg holes in them to attach standard Transformers weapons and he has holes on the sides of his ankles (which are really part of Bruticus' hands) that you can attach additional weapons. If you want to bring Brawl's primary weapon to bear, you can raise up the dual barreled cannon on his back and have it point over his head. It winds up pointing at an angle, but it still looks cool (and I imagine him taking out enemies in the air or targets up on high with it). He's not the most articulated Combaticon, but he looks great and he's fun to play with.
Traditionally Bruticus would transform into Bruticus' leg, so this mode isn't a stretch for him. Start with the vehicle mode and rotate the cannon turret around and swing it up. Swing the cover at the cannon base out. Swing the thruster section at the rear of the vehicle down. Connect the tabs underneath the ends of the cannon barrels to the corresponding slots on the thruster panel. The purple connection point is revealed when you swing the thruster panel up and you connect that to the corresponding connection point on Onslaught's leg section.
Brawl's leg mode looks very much like an updated version of his G1 leg mode. There, he was blocky and his turret was in front with the cannon barrel pointing up. Here his cannon barrels still point up but they're set at an angle, supporting his foot. The connection piece allows knee articulation for Bruticus and really latches on well. The foot works well with the sides of the tank's front end to support the giant, making Brawl's leg mode quite effective.
I'm going to start off this part of the review by stating that nowhere in the instructions for Brawl was his arm mode shown or described. Also, there don't appear to be any official photos out right now showing him in that form. So basically I've had to guess at what his arm mode should be by fiddling with the parts on the figure. You may come up with something different, but this is what I came up with: swing the thruster piece up and then swing the robot legs out and back. Swing the legs down and then rotate each lower leg piece around. Swing the Bruticus hand pieces down and then along with the robot feet/thumbs (depending on the side you are choosing). Connect the lower leg sections together to form Bruticus' forearm. Rotate the double barreled cannon around to point forward. Move the connection piece and attach it to Onslaught's shoulder connection point.
If indeed this transformation is correct, then it's actually a really neat arm mode. The forearm and upper arm section can actually move back and forth a bit. Having the cannons on top also enhances the limb. Not only is it a limb, it's also a weapon! The connection point also allows the arm to move up and down. To hold weaponry, there are actually four 5mm peg holes on the side of the arm. The hand is in an open palmed position so it's more for show than any particular function.
Overall I think Brawl is one of the more successful Combaticons. He looks fantastic in all modes and he's surprisingly functional and proportional in both his leg and arm modes. Add to that how well he serves as a callback to G1 Brawl and I'm really happy with this guy.