Cliffbee.com: X-Brawn Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: X-Brawn
Series: Robots in Disguise
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Mercedes ML320



VEHICLE MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13cm Width: 5cm

   A silver Mercedes ML320 (a wannabe 4x4 for the suburbs) with transparent windows, chrome trim where appropriate and a green wash at the rear, X-Brawn has black sports stripes, doorhandles, window seals and black rubber tyres. There's a big, obvious, Autobot symbol on his hood, which ruins the illusion a little - otherwise this is an excellent facsimile of this common suburban motor vehicle. The colours work well, thanks to the detailed paint job and realistic colours used, especially the chrome on places like his hubcaps and bumper. I'd have preferred him without the modifications Hasbro made when bringing Wildride into the Anglophone markets, but it's still a good paint job.

   With doorhandles, door seams, a moulded sunroof, moulded petrol cap, head and taillights and a front grille, this is a very detailed mould for a deluxe. The vehicle is actually slightly longer than a real ML320, proportionally speaking, and comes without the soccer mum. The only other real blemish is the grey frame around the green spare tyre on the back, which is stylised since it has to serve as X-Brawn's feet. I suppose the "Transformers" brand tyres aren't quite realistic, but those I can deal with, aside from the cheap rubber Hasbro used in RiD (one of the tyres is splitting on mine). Much has been made of re-moulded headlights, with the realistic headlights on Wildride repainted and rounded for X-Brawn. Since this was an attempt to get around copyright issues, I'm hesitant to hold it against the toy, although if you can get yourself a Wildride, the headlights are more realistic (and look better).

   I wouldn't really expect too much play value of such a realistic deluxe, yet this is a car mode with some play value. The wheels roll, the front doors open to reveal robot kibble, including the robot head on the right side - which is actually visible through the front windshield if you look! The hood lifts up to reveal a chrome engine block, which is somewhat stylised, but still has the desired effect.

   Unlike his brother Prowl, X-Brawn can't wield his weapons in this mode. The chrome runners underneath his doors are actually the clubs/missiles for his robot mode, and can be removed from storage, although there's nowhere for him to wield them.

   A great vehicle mode, and since this thing is so damn common in the suburbs (especially St Ives in Sydney), I'm able to make a fairly informed comparison with the real thing. There are some minor issues, including the stylised rear and Autobot logo, that don't really bother me. The only blemish I really dislike is the modified headlights, but as I've mentioned that was a forced change.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the runners and the silver bulbar from the front. Open the doors, extend the rear to form his legs, swing the rear wheels onto his shins and fold out the feet, split the boots. Swing out the right arm from behind his chest, pivot the chest into position. The front of the car unfolds into a giant left arm, with the left fist swinging out from the dashboard, via the front right wheelbay! Rotate the roof of the car so that the windshield is pointing at the floor.

   You have several choices with the weapons. The two missiles can clip into his back, to form wings. You can also load them into the launcher that is his right fist, and attach the other to the right wrist. They can be held as a club in his left fist, which can also hold the bullbar as a sort of blade. The bullbar can remain attached as in car mode, if you prefer.

   This is one of the most asymmetrical transformations we've ever seen in a Transformer, especially considering that the alternate mode is symmetrical.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13.5cm Width: 8cm

   The exact dimension can vary according to arm poses and whether or not the wings are attached. I've given minimums.

   The green which was only hinted at in vehicle mode is now a lot more prevalent, on his head, chest, thighs, right forearm, left upper arm and here and there on his boots. The silver is just as prevalent, on his right upper arm, left forearm, groin and his shins and feet, There is a fair bit of black detailing and some red hints on his chest along with prominent red kneecaps. His eyes are a very shiny gold colour, which almost looks like it's a backlit lightpipe, but isn't. X-Brawn sports a silver face including a silver mouthplate, and a silver scope above his right eye. The colour scheme works better here than vehicle mode, partly because the green is better integrated and partly because the Autobot logo on the outside of his left forearm now makes sense.

   Lanky and very poseable, X-Brawn has long legs, big boots, a small torso and a _huge_ left forearm. When I say huge, it's the entire front of the car, and is reminiscent of a giant boxing glove. You can imagine the punch this guy must pack! The right hand side door sits on his left shoulder while the right door hangs off the elbow, and while both affect the poseability a little, neither get in the way too much. While the left arm is clearly kibble, it's kibble that's deliberately meant to be a defining feature of the robot mode. The right fist is tiny in proportion, and since there's a hole in the front (for the missile launcher), it's not as well defined as I'd like. The missile launcher will shoot the missile a foot or so, although the projectiles are heavy (screws join the grey and chrome parts) to fire more than a metre.

   Aside from the launcher, most of the play value is in his articulation. The shoulders are ball joints along with the right elbow and left wrist. The left elbow has both a hinge and and a swivel, while the thumb is hinged so that X-Brawn's hand can clutch the bullbar. His neck and hips are ball jointed while the knees are double hinged and the ankles also have hinges. The two main impediments to posing are the door hanging off his left shoulder - a minor issue - and the left-heavy nature of the toy, what with that giant arm. The latter isn't so much an impediment as an issue that must be addressed when you pose him - he _will_ stand, you just have to get the weight distribution working. The jointing in the legs is adequate, so you shouldn't have too much trouble tweaking the pose you want to make it stable.

   The sculpting on his head and chest is quite impressive, and on the inside of the giant forearm there's a moulded Autobot symbol, coated in red chrome. The moulding on his arms and thighs is equally impressive yet easy to miss, what with the complex paint mask on the face and chest and the arm that dominates everything anyway.

   While the left arm may not appeal to everyone, the colour scheme works well, there's a _lot_ of play value - that'll put many larger toys to shame. The versatile weaponry is impressive - even moreso when you consider it's all done with parts visible in vehicle mode. While it's not the most attractive of the Car Robots moulds, this is certainly one of the cleverest in terms of engineering.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, Wildride in Japan was done with realistic headlights and no Autobot logo on the hood, Hasbro added the allegiance for X-Brawn, and changed the headlights. Wildride also feature painted taillights. Both X-Brawn and Wildride had "Super" versions, which were white rally repaints. "Autobot Ratchet" of the TFU line is a (bad) repaint of X-Brawn.

OVERALL

   The attention to detail on the vehicle mode is amazing for a deluxe and the engineering in his transformation and robot mode play value is just as impressive. The colours work well and the liberal use of chrome is a nice touch. While he doesn't look quite as elegant as his brother Prowl, this is still an excellent mould that's worth tracking down. I'd recommend Wildride over X-Brawn if you can manage it, but either way this is a must have - 8.5/10

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