Cliffbee.com: FAB Brawl Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Brawl
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Tank

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Brawl for this review



TANK MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 15cm Width: 7.5cm

   An army green tank with pine green camouflage and some pine green plastic elements such as the mine combs at the front, the treads and the extra set of cannons on top of his turret. The primary green is a tad too bright for my tastes - I prefer the duller army green of the deluxe, but it's not garish. There are two large gunpods on top which hold single grey missiles and some silver paint on the top of the combs - and the links of his treads are black - but otherwise Brawl is all green. There is a silver Decepticon logo stamped between the extra cannons.

   The sculpt here is generally pretty good - and not just for a toy aimed at younger children. The treads are detailed and the hatches and the like we often see on Transformer tanks are well sculpted. However there are a couple of elements which really detract from this. Firstly the gunpods on top are proportionally _huge_ yet low on detail, since they're really just missile launchers. The second aspect is the missiles themselves, which really do make Brawl's tank mode look a little kiddie. You can can always leave the missiles aside of course, but then you take away the main gimmick and leave behind clownshoe-esque gunpods.

   The play value is somewhat mixed. The combs are mounted on ball joints and move around pretty freely, and there are four ridged wheels underneath for Brawl to roll on. Sadly the main turret is fixed - the cannon itself is also fixed - although the extra level that includes the extra pair of cannons and the gunpods rotates - as do the gunpods themselves. This extra level, which is like a secondary turret - is not at all secured, and falls off very easily, which I find really annoying. The missiles operate through a very simple mechanism - you pull them back and release, which means they fire with some momentum but it causes two problems. The first is that the missiles never actually click into place and can just fall out. The second is that the force required to pull the secondary turret off is less that required to pull back one missile, so you have to hold it on, ensuring that your hand isn't in the path of the missile.

   The gimmick is a good idea, but the sloppy engineering ensures that Brawl gets in his own way. The tank is, as Transformer tanks go, quite realistic, and compares favourably to most Transformer tanks down the years despite the gimmicky elements. The green is pretty good and while the Deluxe enjoys a better shade, you only need to look at G2 Megatron (with sunglasses, of course) to realise that it's still a good colour scheme. If the engineering wasn't quite so messy I'd say this is a good tank mode. It's still quite decent despite the flaws relating to the gimmick.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the extra turret and set aside - it comes off and reattaches somewhere else to ensure that the gimmick is available in robot mode, which explains why it detaches from the tank - but there should still be a notch or something offering some resistance. Anyway, split the turret and fold the halves out to the sides, flip the cannon back onto the right half. Split and fold the back half up to form his legs, fold down the feet. Flip the front up to form his chest which sets in motion a rather complex yet elegant automorph - the front sections of the treads slide out to side above his shoulders (as seen in the film), the head pops up and the sides fold the rest of the way out to form arms. Rotate the combs and fold down. Open out the gunpods and attach the secondary turret as a backpack, so that the gunpod missile launchers deploy above his shoulders.

   This transformation is simple in concept - and it's pinched from G2 Megatron - but it's well put together and hence satisfying - unlike G2 Megatron. The loose piece which falls off as soon as you look at it is still annoying, but I don't so much blame the transformation for that as I do the gimmick.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 13cm

   Brawl is a mixture of the two greens now, with grey elbows and missiles. His toes and a claw weapon moulded outside his left forearm are painted silver while his face is painted silver and gold with red eyes. The black treads sit on his shoulders - a trademark of the character and the combs are visible on his protruding chest - also a trademark. There's a black stamped Decepticon logo on his chest, which is quite well sculpted.

   Brawl at once looks very cute and very tough. The dimensions are almost cartoonish, but he's squat with big wide shoulders that make him look powerful. His legs are relatively short and the missilepods above his shoulders are, as I have already mentioned, proportionally large. The pair of smaller cannons protrude behind his head, there's a false Gatling gun moulded onto his right forearm, so along with the missile launchers and the slashing claw Brawl is well armed. Visually he achieves a powerful yet cute look, which I suppose works for a toy aimed at younger children. I'm not so sure he'd last long in their hands before they lose the missiles and/or backpack, mind you.

   The launchers don't work too well since you have to hold the launchers themselves while firing now - the backpack will pull off as soon as you pull on the missiles otherwise. The launchers are on ball jointed arms, so they are targetable, which is visually impressive at least. The poseability is okay - his head turns while his waist will snap back to the left after you turn it to the right and left go - which is a little silly since the slasher is on the wrong side. His shoulders swing and his elbows bend, allowing you to lift his forearms up from within the plates formed by the turret halves. The upper arms are very short and his forearms long, so he looks awkward if you lift the forearms too far. Brawl's hips are ball jointed but the knee joints used in transformation look awful in any pose other than straight since bending them creates a big gap in the knee. His feet move a little but their usefulness is hampered by the futile knees.

   As with the tank mode, Brawl has good colours and a gimmick that works in theory. The extras still fall off for the fun of it and the proportions aren't quite right. I don't really like the simple look here, although I do appreciate the brutish shoulders. The poseability is far worse than the articulation thanks to badly proportioned arms and pre-kneecaped legs.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Desert Blast Brawl is a repaint of this toy.

OVERALL

   A figure riddled with minor problems, Brawl is good in concept but sorely lacking in execution. The removable piece could - and should - have clipped on better, the awkward arms have no good reason for the bad proportions and the missiles fall out of the launchers too easily. The tank mode more or less looks good and the Transformation is well executed, but these aspects aren't really enough to save a disappointing toy for me. Sure he's not awful, but Brawl could easily have been so much better, so I find the end result quite disappointing - 4.5/10

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