Bruticus Week: Toy Review Combiner Wars Brawl

Bruticus Week!

Bruticus Week!

Brawl: Always Angry, All the Time

Since his creation in Generation 1, Brawl has been the same in every instance of the Transformers franchise in which he’s appeared: angry, loud, belligerent and ANGRY. Every Brawl across every iteration is grey-green, turns into a tank and likes fighting and stomping stuff. Brawl has been the Angriest of the Combaticons, maybe the angriest of all Decepticons, since 1986.

(Image © 1985 Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions, and Hasbro.)

Screen-cap from The Transformers, ep. 62 Starscream’s Brigade: Brawl has been conscious for all of 10 seconds, and he’s already waving a gun around and issuing death-threats.

As well as appearing as a member of the Combaticon Combiner team, Brawl has appeared solo in the War For Cybertron video game as one of Megatron’s sidekicks (before rejoining his team-mates in Fall of Cybertron), and was one of the advisers who would assist Decepticon players in Transformers Universe, appearing over comm channels to instruct players exploring the Decepticons “Central City” Free Roam map or performing Crisis missions. Brawl was rather amusing as an advisor, constantly complaining about the non-combat missions and whinging about the uselessness of the Vehicons.

On to the toy…

“They call me “The Hammer”!”

Brawl In Pack: he's packed with his rifle/tank-cannon weapon, Bruticus' foot and a comic.

Brawl mounted on card: he’s packed with his rifle/tank-cannon weapon, Bruticus’ foot and a comic. He looks likes he’s straining against the strings that hold him in place in the packet.

Brawl is packed with the comic “Combiner Wars #2“… which appears to be IDW’s Robots In Disguise #9 with a Brawl-centric cover. Unsurprisingly for the Combiner Wars line, Brawl isn’t in the comic at all.

Brawl is a stocky, brutish-looking robot, with a bulky upper body, and thick heavy limbs. He appears to have some sort of void or hole in the middle of his belly, which I’m unsure is supposed to be there. He’s remarkably solid and well-balanced, and passes the one-leg test with ease, even when encumbered with both of his guns. I’ve seen some people online complaining that their Brawl’s torso doesn’t peg together properly (meaning that the top half of his body flops about when you try to pose him) due to some pegs being very slightly too small, but I haven’t had that problem at all. Possibly it’s a quality control problem, and I’m lucky? I can’t tell.

Brawl's Robot mode: The hollow belly is entirely in shadow.

Brawl’s Robot mode: The hollow belly is entirely in shadow.

While I'm taking the One Leg Test, can you write "Your Ass Here" on my foot?

While I’m taking the One Leg Test, can you write “Your Ass Here” on my foot?

Brawl has articulated knees, ankles hips, shoulders, elbows and neck. he has 5mm-tubular fists, and has additional 5mm post-holes in his forearms, allowing you to mount MOAR GUNS!

From the front, Brawl looks pretty good; better from above, where that curious stomach-void is hidden in the shadow of his upper torso. From the back, his gun-turret covers a multitude of sins: nice tidy piece of design.

Brawl From Behind. Does that little holes in his lower back fit the announced, but unreleased, Takara flying stands?

Brawl From Behind. Does that little hole in his lower back fit the announced, but unreleased, Takara flying stands? Note the stress-marks on the back of his feet already.

Generally a very nice robot mode, my only quibble is that belly-void.

“Real Decepticons roll on treads.”

Brawl's Tank mode gets the job done.

Brawl’s Tank mode gets the job done.

Brawl transforms into a tank, and his robot-mode rifle becomes the tank barrel. What alternate mode could be more appropriate for a ‘bot with anger-management issues than a vehicle which just drives over any obstacles it encounters and one which doesn’t require him to hide his weapons?

Brawl’s tank mode isn’t based on any real-world model of tank, as far as I know. It’s simple enough, the usual collection of tank parts: turret, armour plated hull and tracks. The air-con units on the top place him as a fairly modern vehicle… but the placement of the driver’s hatch suggests a modern German Leopard 2, whilst the turret looks very little like Leopard 2’s turret. The original G1 Brawl transformed into a Leopard 1A3, and it would’ve been awesome for tank nerds if new Brawl used a more modern update of this vehicle as his alt-mode. I suspect that for most people a tank is a tank, though, and Brawl has tank-iness in spades.

Brawl's tank mode in War For Cybertron.

Brawl’s tank mode in War For Cybertron.

Brawl’s hand/foot/gun accessory has an extra hole compared to the other such weapons in our collection, which allows it to mount on Brawl’s turret in such a manner that it hinges up and down. It evokes real-world mortars, and also Brawl’s appearance in War For and Fall Of Cybertron. Pleasingly, it has identical barrels to Swindle’s weapon, although the bodies of the two weapons differ, which means that if you build Bruticus with the traditional G1 arrangement of limbs, his feet will look pretty much identical. This is, of course, a very good thing.

Of course, since the tracks split in half to form Brawl’s robot-mode arms, they aren’t real tracks: in fact, the only Transformer I’ve seen with those is Leader-class Megatron. Brawl employs the tried-and-tested “tiny wheels” system. He doesn’t roll terribly well, but, frankly, who cares?

“Megatron, can I rip Starscream’s head off, and boot it into space?… Please?”

Now, given that all the Combiner Wars Deluxes can do arm or leg mode, Brawl could be a big brutish arm, tipped with a stinky big fist… but we’ve chosen to keep the traditional G1 Bruticus arrangement, whereby Brawl and Swindle make up the legs, whilst Vortex and Blast-Off form the arms. As I said above, Brawl and Swindle’s hand/foot/gun accessories have identical toes/barrels so they form a nice pair of feet together.

Brawl’s leg mode is solid and heavy-looking, which is nice. What’s less nice is that the port where the foot fits onto the leg is already showing stress-marks after being transformed only half a dozen times, mostly for the purpose of the photos for this review. That’s a little worrying.

Do you want to build a robot?

Combiner progress so far: 2 legs!

Combiner progress so far: 2 legs

Bruticus has a way to go yet but I still wouldn’t get too close

In conclusion: Brawl looks great but has a few niggling issues in robot mode. For collectors who want to make Bruticus, and probably won’t display their Combaticons in other modes, though, he’s pretty awesome.



Tomorrow: Things get strategic. We’ll be assessing Onslaught.

3 thoughts on “Bruticus Week: Toy Review Combiner Wars Brawl

  1. With a name like that I am not surprised that he isn’t a pacifist. I feel bad for combiner robots. People only ever want to display them as one big bot.


    • True! We’re displaying ours as Bruticus but I do miss Brawl and Swindle who I think are the strongest of the individual bots that comprise him. Of course, the solution for those collectors with MUCH bigger houses and bigger budgets than we have is to buy 2 of each toy and display both ways. Unless we win the lottery (unlikely since we don’t play) I guess we’ll just have to remember periodically switch our guys around a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

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