Cliffbee.com: Highbrow Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Highbrow
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Electronic Warfare
Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Helicopter



JET MODE
Height: 6cm Length: 17cm Width: 19cm

   A mid blue chopper with grey wings, a transparent red canopy and twin off-white rotors mounted on top of either wing. Highbrow is essentially a cross shape, with full sized wings, which looks like giant outriggers. While the colours are good, they're not really outstanding - which is a good thing since the very distinctive shape is allowed to be the dominant aspect of this helicopter.

   There's a pretty good level of detail here, even if this isn't a realistic earthen mode. The rotors are well sculpted with three blades each and the wings are well shaped. There are two Autobot symbols, one on each wing just in front of the rotor bases. The rub symbol lives in an indent behind the canopy, which means it's visible without being obtrusive.

   The play value here is quite good, especially for a Headmaster. There are three small blue plastic wheels underneath - two front ones on a metal axle and a smaller one hidden inside the tail. The canopy opens out to the front, allowing Gort to sit inside the cockpit. The rotors spin, although to spin them both at once, although they tend to collide if you spin them at the same time - getting them to alternate is tricky. Highbrow comes with two grey handguns, which can clip underneath the wings, swinging through around 90, giving him some aiming capability. You can also attach one gun underneath the nose, and this spot allows the gun to swing through 170. I really like this second option, partly because of the versatility and partly because it allows you to arm Highbrow's chopper mode even if you're missing a gun.

   I really like this helicopter mode, the design is interesting, the play value cool and the unusual configuration certainly makes it stand out. I never really though much of it from catalogue photos, so when I finally got this guy I was pleasantly surprised. It's probably the most creative alternate mode amongst the Autobot Headmasters.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the guns and remove Gort from the cockpot. Rotate the tail 90 and extend to form the legs (they separate as they slide). Collapse the rotors, swing up the wingtips, fold back the cockpit. Stand him up, slide out the fists, plug Gort in to form the head and give Highbrow his guns.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 12.5cm

   Again based on blue and grey, Highbrow has a blue chest along with blue fists and boots. The groin, thighs and arms are grey along with the chestplate, while the head is a darker grey with a silver painted face. The different shade of grey used for his head looks a little out of kilter with the rest of the toy, and the Autobot logos have all disappeared, making this colour scheme a little underdone, although it still works.

   The boots are wide and tapering while his arms have wings clearly attached to the outsides. These two traits conspire to make Highbrow look awfully skinny. His groin and thighs are a tad skinny, although it's not actually as bad as it seems. The narrow groin is really the only flaw of this robot mode that annoys me. The tapering legs are a cool feature, and are the most pronounced helicopter feature that carries over here. The folded-up rotors hang behind the arms, but aren't really prominent.

   The poseability is limited to swinging shoulders, which is average for the 1987 -master toys. Again we have two weaponry options. The guns can fit into his fists - of course - while the sockets underwing are now on the forearms, allowing for arm-cannons of sorts. I'm happy to report that both options work equally well. His biggest liability in robot mode is his dependency on Gort - detaching the head looks silly and if you don't have Gort this mode is a write off. When you plug the head into his neck, you can flip open the tech spec meter and click in the head, which will cause his specs to appear (SPD 7, STR 7, INT 7).

   This would count as the weakest of the 1987 Autobot Headmaster robot modes, mainly because of the narrow groin. Still, it's a worthwhile robot mode. I would have liked to see a little more of the chopper carry over here to distract from the proportions, but I'm happy with the weapon options.

Gort
   Gort has a grey torso and head with a silver face - like the giant face on his back. He has royal blue arms and legs while his hips and knees bend, allowing him to sit. While the blue doesn't match that of Highbrow, it's close enough that you won't really notice. His shoulders also swing, giving Gort better poseability than Highbrow himself. The face has tiny eyes, nose and mouth, which is cool. The colours are okay - they work well on their own but I'm not entirely sold on the grey mixed with Highbrow's colours.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Highbrow has an interesting, innovative helicopter mode that's got a lot going for it, with as much play value as I'd hope to see on a toy of this type. The flipside is a flawed robot mode - he has one of the best Headmaster vehicle modes but one of the weakest robot modes - although the latter isn't a bad mode. The helicopter mode is better than I'd expected, and on this mode alone he's a decent toy - 7/10

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