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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

It takes some big ballbearings to declare yourself "king of the road" when you have trouble even driving over railroad crossings.

There was a time when Brimstone was king of the roads on Cybertron. He was meaner, faster and tougher than anything else on wheels, and he made sure everyone knew it. The only rival he ever really had was Hubcap, so it was only natural they ended up on opposite sides in the war. Brimstone may be older now, but he's also meaner, and there's no way he's going down without taking Hubcap with him.

Aww, isn't that cute? He's got a little built-in enemy! Don't pay any attention to the fact that a motorcycle and a hot rod don't really have any basis for a rivalry. Other than the fact that motorcycles are functionally invisible on the road and anyone riding one has nothing but their clothes to protect them when they invariably get into an accident with a much larger, better-designed mode of transportation.

It's always interesting to see how designers work with the limitations of a motorcycle when creating a robot. Brimstone is extremely lanky, but the shoulders are huge due to the halves of the gas tank that end up there. He has one of the bike's wheels embedded in his chest, while the other splits to form blades on his hands. He has the usual movie-style backwards legs, though the feet are larger than most - they're formed from the bike's engine and part of the frame.

Brimstone has a really unique head. It's rather oval in shape, somewhat like a bike helmet but more pointed. He's got itty red eyes and a mouth that looks like he has a huge overbite. That, combined with the wheels in his hands and his overall body shape, really makes him seem like an homage to the Beast Wars character Manterror, but that might be a stretch.

Brimstone's head reaches the 4" mark, but some of his kibble comes up a bit higher. He has a balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel waist, balljointed hips and hinged knee/shin things. Since the feet are so large and flat, he can hold a lot of nice poses. The tire kibble on his arms spins freely, as you'd expect, and the fact that it's slightly pointed makes for some really impressive buzzsaws. He's appeared a little in the comics, where they seem to treat the blades as fingers, but that's not the case. It's nice to see wheels get used as something other than shields or kibble.

Despite being a Scout-class release, Brimstone's instructions include both robot-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-robot instructions. It's not like he's that complicated, after all. Sure, you may want to keep the instructions handy, but he's not a physical abomination like Darkmount was.

Brimstone's altmode is a motorcycle - a chopper, to be precise. It's based on one seen in Mikaela's garage when Wheelie is creeping around, though there are several differences between the toy and the real thing - for instance, the high-backed seat and the "ape hanger" handlebars. Still, the inspiration is clear.

The bike is 5" long and nearly 2¼" tall. Both wheels roll freely, and there's a kickstand to keep it from falling over. The bike's front fork can be positioned slightly, since it contains the robot's shoulder joints - the first one I bought had a broken socket and needed to be replaced, so watch out for that.

There are really nice details in the sculpt. The v-twin engine may be tucked away inside the body of the bike, but it looks real. Exhaust pipes curve along the right side and the crankcase is visible on the left. The rear wheel has a disc brake on one side and a chain drive on the other. The seat even has rivets along the side to hold the leather on. The colors are the same in both modes: lots of gray, lots of blue, and a smattering of metallic green flames. Even the headlight and taillight are painted.

Brimstone is a cool little Transformer. He looks wonderfully weird in robot mode, has an unusual altmode, and it's a decent conversion process. The mold has been repainted as "Chopsaw," but Brimstone's design is better. Looking for a fun Decepticon to add to your movie ranks? Brimstone's a fine choice.

-- 03/22/11

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