Cliffbee.com: Birdbrain Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Birdbrain
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Aerial Attack Trooper
Alternate Mode: Warthog Monster



MONSTER MODE
Height: 4.5cm Width: 3.5cm

   A purple and black quadrupedal robotic monster, Birdbrain's front section and head are purple while the rear half and all four limbs are black. His eyes are painted yellow, which stands out easily against the purple and black backdrop. This is a pretty simple colour scheme - unremarkable but clearly a Decepticon with all that purple. As with all the Pretender Monsters, Birdbrain shares his colours with two teammates - Scowl (purple) and Slog (black).

   Someone hit the guy who named this toy for me. Okay, so most of the Pretender Monsters have badly defined animal modes, but birds do _not_ look like this. If you're going to name a toy Birdbrain, make it turn into a bird rather than a Warthog, please...

   Ignoring the inappropriate name, Birdbrain is a very blocky animal with legs that are little more than bricks on hinges. There are two small tusks on either side of his head, making him a warthog. He has no tail, and this stocky beast could pass for a Rhino or Hippo (and probably other ungulates) if not for the tusks.

   A boring monster, the most interesting feature is the tusks, which is saying something. The legs are all hinged, but without knees there aren't that many stable poses. When it comes down to it, this monster drags Birdbrain down by not being avian.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Flip the back half up to form his robot boots and swing the hindlegs back to form heelspurs. Fold back the warthog head to reveal the robot head. The forelegs simply become his arms without any manipulation, but you might like to swing them down from pointing forward. You can't swing them right down to his sides since they're moulded with bent elbows. Lastly, give Birdbrain his lilac handgun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 6cm Width: 2.5cm

   Now a purple robot with black boots and arms and a yellow face, Birdbrain's colours work better now, but I'd be more impressed if he had a decent head sculpt - the yellow would have been great for bringing out his facial sculpt, but all he has is a mouthplate. Again he's clearly a Decepticon, and if anything it's more obvious now since there's more purple.

   The colours are probably the best thing here. It's quite a small robot mode, and like Stranglehold the hindlegs hang off the boots, but unlike his fellow ungulate Pretender, Birdbrain's boots are a single piece and there's very little shaping to this blocky robot. When I say blocky, this guy looks like he could have been assembled out of Lego blocks!

   The only poseability here is the swinging shoulders, which would have been great for wielding his gun if it wasn't so big. Why they gave the smallest member of this set the widest gun is beyond me. I suppose the upside is that the gun has wings - not that it really makes up for the monster mode's lack of wings. This is the only set of wings on the Transformer itself.

   Craptacular, yes, but this robot mode has more going for it than the warthog mode. The colours work better, the blockiness is a little less awkward here and this mode has wings - sort of. It still rates as one of the worse robot modes in this set, although it's not the worst.

The Pretender Shell

   As with all the Pretender Monster shells, Birdbrain's shell is a soft plastic case with a hard lilac plate on the back, and he fits inside underneath this plate. The plastic of the plate is a lighter lilac than on Birdbrain himself, and his pistol is made of this lighter lilac also. The shell itself is black with a beige head and orange feet.

   This shell is obviously where they got the name from. The feet are clearly bird feet and he has a beak, which is hooked - making him a bird of prey (or a parrot...). Red eyes on the beige head give this black beast a suitably evil look. I find it ironic that the bird stands upright when some of the other, more humanoid, shells, are lumps with feet. The arms are moulded onto the front of the wings - which look like a cape. Yes, I know, birds don't have arms, but at least it's not a warthog. Rather than hands, the arms end in three pronged claws.

   If you're thinking this shell mode is the saviour of an otherwise bad Transformer, don't get too carried away. There's moulded texture on the body of the shell while the wings are smooth. Birds don't have smooth wings, and since the texture is fur rather than feathers, the end result is a bird with the body and wings of a bat! Still, the moulded fur is a nice touch, even if they messed it up.

   One of the better shells in the group, and while it's a weird hybrid, Birdbrain's shell is kind of cool. The colours work and you can really imagine this thing swooping down to terrorise flightless creatures (like warthogs!).

VARIATIONS

   None I'm aware of. Rairyu of the Japanese Dinoforce is a repaint (with a different shell).

OVERALL

   With a hybrid bat-bird shell and a warthog monster mode, Birdbrain should really make been called something else. The warthog and robot modes are forgettable, especially since the whole non-avian monster mode thing is just plain dumb. The shell is actually decent, and if you like Pretenders it's almost enough to recommend Birdbrain. Get it for the shell, and leave the robot inside if you're not forming Monstructor - 4/10

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