Editor's note: Today we're reviewing Hasbro's SDCC Bruticus box set, so we'd normally review all the figures together. However, since they'll soon be available single-carded, it made sense to give the pieces the full reviews they deserve. To save time, we're posting them all at once, so follow the links for the whole story.
It's possible that the rage that drives Decepticon
Bruticus to his untold feats of destruction is contained entirely within Decepticon Brawl. Barely contained at the best of times, this brutal 'bot's anger is unleashed on the battlefield, turning him into the eye of a storm of devastation.
Brawl has always been a little ball of anger and hate, so that's right on target. War for Cybertron apparently depicted him as a troop commander, though, and that doesn't fit his personality at all. That's more like Onslaught, the leader of the Combaticons. Onslaught who had two gun barrels that rose up over his shoulders, like this Brawl figure does. Hmm, is it a conspiracy? Did the game's writers get confused about who was who?
Rather than a small, undetailed cube for a head, FOC Brawl is actually kind of cute. Don't tell him that, though, or he'll likely rip your head of! He has wide cheeks, a single yellow visor for his eyes, and two small ridges at the top of his head. Honestly, it looks like it could belong to a TF with a beast mode, rather than a vehicle.
Brawl's robot mode is nice, but it's encumbered by a whole lot of kibble. The head is sunken between massive shoulders, making him look bulky and strong, and the tank treads run down the outsides of his arms. There are large coils or springs on his chest, and he has surprisingly thin legs. The back of the robot, however, is disappointing. That's where all the kibble lives, and it's mostly just tank parts hanging there unchanged. It's one thing if you have kibble you can't hide; it's quite another if you don't try. Surely part of that is because the designers had to account for three modes instead of just two, but still.
Despite having two massive guns on his back, Brawl's primary weapon
is a small black rifle. Maybe he didn't want to have to bend over to aim? Articulation is fine, but because of his massive back-kibble, he doesn't have a waist. The body is mostly green, just like it was in G1, and he has black and purple accents. The solo-carded release will be an even brighter neon green, while the G2 version is green with purple camouflage.
To convert Brawl, pull down the the legs, fold the hands and feet away, and rotate and raise the arms above the head. Tuck down his head, turn the legs to the inside then fold them up to the sides. Drop the skidplate over the back, twist the gun barrels 90° and you're done.
Brawl's altmode is a tank - but since this is Cybertron, it's a hover tank. Yes, it has treads, but they point out to the sides for some reason, not down at the ground. that seems... not useful. The tank is 4⅜" long, 3" wide and 1⅞" tall. There are no rolling wheels or anything, because all appearances to the contrary, this is basically an aircraft, not a ground vehicle.
While Brawl's nominal place is as the left leg of Bruticus, the design of the combination system means that any figure can become any limb - and so, Hasbro had to design them all
with the capability to be an arm or a leg. Brawl's arm form is really ill-conceived, with a giant chunk of tank just sticking horizontally off the shoulder. A for effort, guys, but D+ for execution. "Fingers" fold down and lock together, and one of the robot's feet becomes the thumb (whichever side is facing forward).
As a standalone figure, Brawl is pretty good, but his massive back-kibble brings down his coolness a little bit. He's not terrible on his own, but there's no question that being part of Bruticus is what will help him sell.
Onslaught | Blast Off | Vortex | Swindle | Brawl