Review by Dkun
One of my favorite combiner teams from Transformers is the Combaticons. To this day, Onslaught, head of the Combaticons, remains one of my favorite Transformers characters. Bruticus was also one of the most striking combiners with a fantastically menacing head and those two giant cannons on his back.
When I first heard that the new Transformers game, Fall of Cybertron, was going to have combiners in it, I was quite ecstatic and hopeful at the possibility of Bruticus being featured in the game. I was more than willing, however, to accept the fact that he would probably be passed over for the much more popular and iconic Devastator. Imagine my surprise when I saw the first trailer for Fall of Cybertron and got to see the Combaticons combine into the mighty Bruticus for the first time! My first thoughts were, “We are NEVER going to get a toy of that.”.
Once again, Hasbro surprised me by showing off at first just a single headshot of Bruticus' head, and I knew from then on that somehow I would have to own him.
Fall of Cybertron Bruticus was first available as an SDCC exclusive in a very nice set sporting game accurate colors. In addition, another version with slightly different colors was going to be released at retail. Hasbro announced another version as an Amazon exclusive, and as soon as I heard about it I knew that this was the version I had to have: G2 Bruticus.
As a child of the 90s, I was not as familiar with Generation 1 Transformers, and their more familiar and accepted “normal” color schemes were something I had little attachment to. For me Generation 2 was the only Generation of Transformers. It didn't help that I couldn't read and I didn't see the giant “GENERATION 2” written over the green and black packaging.
G2 Bruticus is probably most well known for being featured in the G2 Commercials; specifically when they began to decide to add rap songs, which have become rather infamous in how terrible they are. Despite that, I can't help but absolutely love those awful songs.
As an additional homage, G2 Bruticus comes in this disgustingly garrish packaging, with some very nice art of Bruticus. It even features the older Hasbro logos and the G2 Transformers font as well. There's even a tech-spec card! The box only further hammers in how much I love this set as a whole package.
With five toys to talk about, I have a lot of ground to cover so let's start right off with the main member: Onslaught. Onslaught is unfortunately the one who suffers the most from being turned into a toy. His in game model is super thick and chunky, while his actual toy looks rather weedy and unimpressive.
Bruticus' head also doesn't really have anywhere to hide and is exposed if you turn him around.
Right off the bat, one of the first things I noticed was the serious lack of paint on Onslaught's purple head. Compared to the original preview pictures from Amazon his head and weapons are missing a ton of paint apps. This is a common complaint I have about this set and I will be sure to bring it up again.
His articulation is also hindered from having to be the main component of a combiner. His shoulders are just giant swivels, and his arms are attached via a hinge and a ball joint. This makes the number of poses that Onslaught is capable of rather low.
The poor articulation and weedy sculpt, I can accept. What I can't forgive is the fact that Onslaught is unable to have his twin cannons on his back. Because of the giant head in the back there is no room to peg in the cannons in this mode, leaving him to just hold his twin cannons like an unwieldy weapon.
Onslaught's vehicle mode doesn't fare too much better. It looks puny and lacks the major heft and size that the leader of the Combaticons needs. It's unfortunately very limited by the constraints of being at the Deluxe price point.
Although it looks alright from the front, the back and side views are rather concerning. The back of his truck mode is rather empty, clearly needing some sort of trailer or bed to fill the gap. The side view doesn't fare much better. Bruticus' head has no where to hide in this small vehicle mode so it just sticks out of the back. Maybe this was left in as an homage to Energon Bruticus Maximus, but more than likely this was just the best solution they could think of.
As one of my favorite Transformers, Onslaught was originally one of the members I was most excited to get. Now that I have him in hand, it's clear that he is one of the weakest standalone toys, who unfortunately suffers from having to do a whole lot more than just be a truck and a robot.
Swindle is perhaps one of the most well known members of the Combaticons, between the IDW comics, the G1 cartoon, and Transformers Animated. As the sneaky Transformer always trying to make a deal, it's no wonder that he has become one of the more memorable Decepticon characters. Although Fall of Cybertron didn't have any of those familiar traits, that didn't mean he wasn't a really cool robot to play as with a freaking grappling hook!
From the front, Swindle looks pretty spot on compared to his in-game counterpart. His head is the only one of the Combaticons with a mouth, and it's pretty well sculpted. Some additional paint would have really helped make it pop, though. His legs are huge and chunky, and despite some rather thin shoulders his arms are overall effective and look solid. This leaves Swindle as one of the better looking standalone robots.
… As long as you don't look at him from the back, as he is a complete and utter mess from that side.
Despite looking pretty good from the front, Swindle's side and back profiles are rather lacking. His back is just a mess of parts, and he is a very, very thin toy.
On the plus side, his huge feet make him very easy to pose. Although, his feet are almost too big, such that the number of poses you can do with them is a bit limited.
The combination of Swindle's vehicle mode and G2 colors immediately made me think of him as being one of those really really silly original Hot Wheels cars that they make up, and I love it. It's a very solid little car and rolls very well thanks to those giant wheels.
Even though his back side is a mess, Swindle's effective robot mode from the front and his very solid car mode make him a pretty alright toy on his own.
Vortex is the first Combaticon you get to play as in Fall of Cybertron and also has the bonus of being one of the more fun levels in the game. Based on the original pictures from Amazon, Vortex looked to be one of the less desirable toys of the set. After getting him in hand though, I actually like him quite a good bit.
Vortex has one of the best heads amongst the group. It's one of the few heads that actually still looks like the blocky pinhead of the original G1 toys. The angles on the sculpt made him look suitably menacing as well.
His back side also is surprisingly compact and doesn't look too messy. A pretty big plus considering how the other members so far have had some trouble in that area.
Although he does have the helicopter blades right on his left hand, I don't mind it too much. It looks like an effective melee weapon or shield and plays well with his two swords.
His only major problem is that his head cannot turn left or right very well due to the black shoulder posts used to attach his head to his body. That also means his head can looks up very well, however, so I almost don't mind it. You can even put both swords into the same hand to give him a double-saber of sorts. It matches well with his helicopter blade weapons.
Vortex's alt mode is still a helicopter, and a rather odd stumpy looking one. It looks oddly organic in its shape. Personally it reminds me a lot of the caterpillar Zoid, Molga.
He has some of the biggest G2 Decepticon logos and they look rather perfect on either side of his copter.
Despite that, it still is a pretty good helicopter mode that looks good from all sides. Plus the helicopter blade spins pretty damn well.
Vortext was originally one of my least anticipated toys from the set, but he has since become my favorite. His solid robot mode and vehicle mode make him an overall excellent package with two swords to boot.
Brawl was actually in the first Transformers game, War for Cybertron. He was the first glimmer of hope that one day we would get to see all of the Combaticons in this style. He was also one of the coolest robot designs as a short and stocky powerful robot with two giant cannons on his back. He was one of the toys that in the initial pictures looked pretty fantastic, but now that I have him in hand something just seems a bit off.
His head is spot on, and his overall sculpt is fantastic. It's his proportions that are just slightly off. Compared to the rest of his body, his legs are just a bit too long, and a bit too thin.
His back side is rather clean, only being cluttered slightly by the back thrusters of his tank mode and the connector port hanging right down by his crotch.
Brawl has feet that just flip out of his legs, but they are the kind that don't lock at any point, so standing him is a real pain. Once you get him in a good pose though, he looks pretty solid. Having him squatting slightly helps hide his proportions and makes him look much more in place. Perhaps the actual problem is that Brawl doesn't look right when he's calm and just always needs to be in an action pose...?
Brawl also comes with the smallest gun. It's okay because he doesn't need the gun.
Brawl's tank most is super compact and kind of adorable. It's a hover tank so it doesn't actually roll, but it still looks pretty good regardless. That tiny gun that he comes with also pegs in like a glove into his turret. If that gun didn't fit right in there, I would have thought it was someone else's to be honest.
Aside from a single exposed connector port, Brawl's tank is very effective.
Even though he has some funky proportions and legs that do not want to cooperate, Brawl is a very solid toy with two excellent modes. Plus, he's a tank that turns into a robot! Who doesn't like tanks that turn into robots?
Blast-Off is probably the Combaticon with the least amount of exposure. In Fall of Cybertron, he barely has any lines, you never get to play as him, and all you get to see him do on-screen is kind of fly in ahead of you when you're playing as Vortex. With that in mind there's very little sentimental attachment to this particular toy as a member of a familiar team, but thankfully that doesn't effect that he's still a pretty good toy.
Blast-Off has a very interesting design for a robot mode. His torso and shoulders are incredibly large and broad, but the rest of his body is rather lithe. He does have some rather wide hips as well. It's pretty cohesive and neat aesthetic.
His transformation basically means he has rocket engines on the back of his shoulders, which is kind of awesome.
Blast-Off is detailed with plenty of silver paint, including some on his face. Interestingly enough the swirls in the paint make it seem like his lower mouth has shark teeth on it almost, even though there's no sculpted teeth underneath it.
Blast-Off has most of the articulation needed. His hips are universal joints instead of ball joints, but they work just as well. What doesn't work, however, are his shoulders. By virtue of how the toy transforms, his shoulder ball joint is attached at an odd angle, and then his arms swing down via a hinge. It's a bit awkward to pose, but it works decently enough.
Despite having a few arm problems though, Blast-Off still looks quite menacing and awesome while dual-wielding blasters.
Blast-Off's vehicle mode is basically a cockpit attached to a ludicrous engine in the back. It looks rather silly, but manages to still be kind of cool. His two guns are supposed to be able to peg in and lock in via two pegs, but I can not get it to fit for the life of me.
The back side unfortunately lacks a lot of the details that the giant engine piece needed due to transformation.
Blast-Off is one of the weaker robots in this set. He looks fine just standing there, but his awkward arms really make him one of the more forgettable members of this team.
Just don't try to move his arms up. It doesn't work too great.
With all of the individual members covered, there's only one thing left to do: COMBINE!
This is how Bruticus comes packaged out of box, so let's start there. The first thing you notice with Bruticus is just how awful those colors are and how much they clash against each other. I don't particularly mind though, since I think its gawdy nature adds to the charm and draw of this set as a whole.
His proportions are admittedly rather funky. His arms are a bit too long, and his torso section is a little weedy compared to the rest of his body. It isn't too distracting in person, and there are ways to help fix that, too. Bruticus does have the twin cannons I'm so fond of in this mode, even if they are a little bit puny.
My biggest complaint with this toy is the fact that his side profile is so thin and lacking. All of the bulk and heft that this toy appears to have is completely missing when you look at him from this angle.
Despite that, the toy still looks pretty fantastic. Just look at that head sculpt! It's so menacing and evil.
Bruticus has pretty good articulation in this mode. The combination ports are all clicky ratchet joints that can hold their poses pretty well. He also has a waist joint, and when you use Vortex as an arm, he even has an elbow in that one arm!
So yes, you can pose Bruticus if you want. Personally, having him just standing there and looking imposing is all I really need.
All of the Combaticon's various weapons can be combined in order to make the “SONIC CANNON”. Maybe it's just me, but this looks like the combined cannon mode of a Sentai team's weapons just a little bit too much. Plus it also requires you to remove Bruticus' twin cannons from his back, which I am not willing to compromise!
As another neat feature, Bruticus also features the flamethrower that you use in the game to burn Autobots alive. Just swap out Vortex's hand for the alternate piece and enjoy pretending to immolate hundreds of robots.
Between the flamethrower, the twin cannons, and the combined gun Bruticus is armed and ready to destroy anything in his way. Even Pheyden wants to hang out and try and get on his good side.
As another additional bonus to this toy set and a throwback to the original Scramble City toys, each of the Combaticon limbs has an alternate mode as well. You can use the legs as arms and the arms as legs. Here's an example of what Bruticus looks like with swapped limbs. Swindle's arm mode is a solid brick of car with the best set of hands out of the bunch. Brawl's arm mode looks experimental and dangerous, and also lacks thumbs. Vortex's foot mode is basically his copter mode bent, and is surprisingly sturdy. Blast-Off's foot mode appears to be solid, but is unfortunately lacking due to the lack of heel support. It's worth noting that each robot mode can be used for right or left. Swindle has two sets of hands, Vortex's thumb can move for left or right, Blast-Off has two thumbs for either side, and Brawl doesn't have thumbs so he works either way!
This is how I prefer to display my Bruticus, though. I swapped the arms because in their default position there are screws visible from the front, which isn't as aesthetically pleasing. I also tilted the legs in order to make his midsection appear much beefier. Even though in this mode his legs do not peg in, it somehow manages to feel more solid than the intended leg configuration.
G2 Bruticus a throwback toy if ever there was one. These colors are garish, disgusting, and oddly appealing in a nostalgic way. The G2 styled box is also a welcome addition that really helps sell this set as a product aimed at fans of that G2 style. That doesn't mean the toy itself is forgettable. Bruticus is a super ambitious toy that accomplishes a lot, which some people may not be considering: These are five $15 toys that have to fit into a budget, that all need to have a robot, vehicle, foot, and arm mode, and that also need to worry about things like toy safety standards and whatnot.
In addition to that, these toys have also done a very good job of actually feeling like a Combiner team. Although I do like Bruticus in his combined mode a lot, I almost enjoy having them in their individual robot modes as a group more. They really do look like a rough and tough group of Decepticons that get called in when they really need the big guns. They are a very well unified group that looks good even though their colors are so gregarious.
Considering these factors, I think that Hasbro did a pretty good job in accomplishing these goals. It's not perfect by any means, but it has still ultimately succeeded at its goal of making five individual robots that combine into one awesome Dudicus.
|Posted 4 December, 2012 - 14:17 by Dkun|