Cliffbee.com: ROTF Highbrow Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: ROTF Highbrow
Series: Movie Tie-ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: WWII Fighter Plane

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Highbrow for this review (I have since acquired Higbrow).



PLANE MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 17cm Width: 19cm

   An army green twin boom propellor aircraft, similar to the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Highbrow has a central cockpit between the two booms, hanging off the wing at the front. The two propellors are dark brown along with gatling guns & missile racks on the wings. There are gold painted engines behind either prop, white markings on the tailwings and "P+10" on either side of the cockpit. The canopy is colourless with a grey seat inside. Much of the underside is grey, and there's some silver paint on the nose. It's a subtle but detailed colour scheme which works well for the vehicle.

   Highbrow's plane mode is one we've never seen on a Transformer before. The twin booms and central cockpit certainly offer a fresh take on the well trodden fighter plane, and he's well executed too. There's a bar connection the tailfins at the back, no real kibble and it looks realistic enough despite being an amalgam of various WWII era fighter plane elements. As you'd expect of a movie toy, the sculpt is excellent with seams & rivets all over. There are also other elements such as detailed gatling guns on the wings, missileracks under the wings and a seat inside the cockpit.

   The play value here is pretty good - and downright impressive for a realistic movie toy. If you press down on the gold engines, the propellors in front will spin. The gatling guns rotate - in fact they can detach - and the wheels all roll. The wheels can fold away, although this will prevent Highbrow from laying flat since the propellors will hit the table.

   A good plane mode as well as a refreshingly different one. Okay, in some ways it's solid but not spectacular - the play value is understated but it's effective. The colours are functional, but that's all we can really expect (and it works). The sculpt is good and the unusual vehicle choice brings something here.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I wont go through all the contortions here - instead I'll summarise. The booms become his legs and the tail splits and folds up to form feet. The engines end up as his arms while the underside is his chest (complete with the undercarriage). The cockpit ends up on his back and the wings hang off his hips. The gatling guns become handguns and the propellors fold up and sit on the outsides of his forearms. It's fairly complex but not difficult once you get the hang of it.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 13cm

   An army green robot with slate blue on his chest and shins, Highbrow has "Hasbro grey" on his thighs and groin while his face is silver with a brown aviator's helmet and transparent eyes (with a useful lightpipe. The dark brown of his guns and propellors is still visible, and there's some black visible in places here. It's a s somewhat confused colour scheme but he manages to get away with this for the most part - all the colours used are dull colours. Unusually, Highbrow lacks any allegiance symbol - in either mode.

   While it's pretty clever how the designer managed to get a robot out of such an unusual plane, the arms are pretty messy. Highbrow's forearms are a weird dogleg - his fists don't line up with his elbows and there are propellers hanging awkwardly out to the sides. The legs are well formed as is the torso, which uses the landing gear as a sort of ribcage quite cleverly. There's some kibble on his back and the wingtips hang on the outsides of his hips, although with the missileracks underneath they're more of a feature than kibble.

   There's quite a bot of detail here, and much of it fits into the WWII theme of his vehicle mode, with mechanical detailing such as rivets on his thighs & groin. There's a brown false flight helmet on his head as well. Highbrow even sports false wheels on his chest.

   The play value is minimal for a toy this size. The propellors can still be spun, but this isn't that successful here since the engineblocks are under his forearms - you've pretty much got to stick your hand in the way of the actual blade to reach it. And then there's the fact that spinning rotors on his forearms just isn't the same as in plane mode. The gatling guns sit in his hands now and work well as handguns. His head turns while the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides. His elbows are hinged with rotators and there are extra hinges below them that swing the forearms out to the sides - not especially useful, really. His waist is fixed while the hips swing and lift out to the sides. The knees and ankles are hinged (thanks to Matt Edwards for this info). So overall the poseability is decent.

   While he has bad forearms, Highbrow looks pretty good thanks to a good sculpt with clever features that tie into his vehicle mode well and some nice visual elements such as the gatling guns and missileracks on his hips. It's a decent robot mode, really, but not a strong one.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Generations Powerdive is a retooling of Highbrow.

OVERALL

   A toy that stands out thanks to the unique vehicle mode, and Highbrow is pretty much worth the price of admission just for his unusual plane plane mode. The transformation is clever by necessity, making this a good Transformer despite a limited robot mode. The vehicle mode is well executed with good colours and a good sculpt - in both modes actually. I can't say he's excellent, but he's different enough to make him worthwhile despite the flaws of his robot mode - 8.5/10

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