Friday, 15 March 2013

Fall of Cyberton: Bruticus

Bruticus

And now we come to the crescendo of the Combaticons.  Yes, it’s BRUTICUS!!  The wonderful combined mode of the team.  It has been a while since we saw a decent combiner form of more than a couple of Transformers.   Sure there was Energon, where the entire Autobot line was based on combining, but they were pretty bad.  Power Core Combiners only had drones and they didn’t transform.  Off the top of my head, (not counting re-issued G1s) the last one would be Railracer from the Robots In Disguise line. (I don’t think Minicons from Armada count…).

 

Hasbro used a type of connection port previously seen on the Power Core Combiners and adapted them to suit these larger deluxe sized figures.  It’s an interesting idea and has worked fairly successfully.  I acquired the amazon.com ‘exclusive’ version which also ended up on Toys R Us as well, but it has the lovely looking G2 colours on it.

 

 

Enough Blabber, we’ve looked at the individual components, let’s see how they go when we smash them all together.

FOC Bruticus (1)FOC Bruticus (2)

Pretty well, I will say.  Even the box looks good.  I love the classic styled artwork for Bruticus.

 

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They even went to the effort of putting on that little bit of blurb for them as well.  Nice!  It’s a blast from the past!  Speaking of which, they have added stats and a bio.  Hmm, nostalgia.

 

FOC Bruticus (2)BruticusBruticusBruticusBruticusBruticus

 

And that’s the box.  Awesome gaudy G2 colours, tech spec and a decently written bio.  “No force in the universe can stop him.”  Except maybe a Jazz and Jetfire Combo I guess.  Let’s move on to the toy.

 

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There we have him.  The first thing I will say about this combined toy is this, experiment with the limbs and arrangements.  I found that the instructions create a lanky, out of proportion abomination of a toy, but with a bit of intentional ‘mis-transforming’ you can change the look enough to make him look bulkier, proportioned and better.  Blast off is by far the worst, his official mode has his legs (being the arms of Bruticus) fully extended and it just looks awful.  They are skinny and far too long, so definitely spend a bit of time with him arranging until he looks more  kick ass robot like and less goofy.

 

As I have it now, I quite like him.  As with the original toy the limbs are interchangeable, so Vortex can be either a left or right foot/arm, which is very clever.  All the others can do this too aside from Onslaught.  Please note that I forgot to transform Brawl properly for most of these photos, which explains why I had so much trouble balancing him.   Silly me.  Brawl should have some better heels going on.

 

Like this:

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Moving on.  I found that my main complaint of the individuals (crappy plastic) kind of pays off for this mode, as the light, thin plastic means that the combined mode isn’t too heavy.  This and the adapted PCC joint system allows for an incredibly dynamic Bruticus.  It’s actually so much better than I thought (but I did think it was going to be horrific).  Another tip, don’t lock in Brawl’s cannons into the “knee cap” (also the back cover piece of Brawl).  Leaving the cannon free allows the ‘toe’ area of the foot the ability to swivel and twist, adding to poses as well as providing a better knee cap!  If you lock the cannons in, they by default lock the toe into a flat stance and limit options.  The leg is still remarkably stable if left with loose toes.

 

The legs which are very open to posing is contrasted somewhat by the arms.  They have articulation there, but the bulk does hinder them a little.  Still they do the trick nicely.

 

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The karate chop hand of Vortex I find can be covered up by the rifle.  I added Vortex’s blade/guns to the cannon of Onslaught and slapped them on the back to increase their size.  You can configure the weapons in many different ways which is cool.  It’s just a shame the colours clash somewhat when all the weapons are combined as there just isn’t any cohesion between them.

 

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You can simulate the blade shield a bit.  Sadly though they don’t fold up nice and neatly like they do in the game when not in use.

 

Blast-Off and Vortex, while having been designed for use as arms and legs don’t make very convincing legs.  The instructions only supply info on them becoming one type of limb, so you kind of have to experiment to get them going.   Sadly what I could come up with was leg modes that were, well, crap.

 

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Yup, that’s right, they are pretty much their vehicle modes.  No actual toes anywhere.  Vortex even looks a bit like a peg-leg!!

 

On the other hand though, Brawl and Swindle make pretty good arms.

 

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Sure, Brawl is chunky and has no elbow, but you can’t deny the fact that it looks acceptable and just imagine that his tanks parts are a heavy shield AND he has a cannon mounted on it.  NICE!  Swindle is ok, from the side it just looks like his vehicle mode.  It’s pretty big, but once again looks well armoured.

 

Originally I thought I wouldn’t like this toy so much, the official photos made it look horrible and I will admit then when I first had it I was underwhelmed, but after spending some quality time with him and fiddling and trying out various configurations, I actually like this combined mode quite a lot.  Much more so than a number of other Transformers I have played with recently.  It is flawed in that I still think that Onslaught should have been a larger class figure (the swivel joints in his thighs can’t hold up the body in some poses, but this is also partly due to my deliberate mis-transformation to add bulk) and it would have increased the bulk as he looks very thing from the side, but overall it’s a good little toy.

 

As a proof of concept, (i.e the re-emergence of combining teams) it works really well and with a little more refinement, a bit of thought, some better quality figures and instructions that are handy this new connection system could work well.  Perhaps a more standard vehicle mode for each member would aid too.  I’d hate to see this gimmick abandoned at the Combaticons alone, as  I think that an interpretation of Menasor and the Stunticons would simplify issues (as they could all be fairly similar vehicle modes) and allow a bit of experimentation and refinement to go on, as well as perhaps supplying the opportunity to make a larger leader figure.

 

There is an incredible amount of potential in these guys and even though the individual members are flawed (sometime quite severely) they make up for it by Bruticus being quite good.  Even the clashing colours are nice and just reek of G2 stench. The flawed individual ‘bots, when they are all together, just seem to blend very nicely.  So essentially your enjoyment from this set comes down to the team.  Really none of the separate figures are excellent on their own, but Bruticus is good. 

 

So, um, well…  The Combaticons suck, but Bruticus is good.  Does that make sense?

 

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Just for fun:

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4 comments:

  1. This combiner ain't too much of a thing of beauty.

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  2. you can turn Vortex into a better leg by turning him first to arm form then flipping up the cockpit to form a toe it looks better than this form if you ask me, and he can flip out the gun to have a shooting thing.

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  3. Oh OK I see. thanks Westen. Might give it a crack next time try.

    It certainly needs a bit of work. But I still think there is potential there.

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  4. yeah oh and i have created a sweet arm form for Kreon Bruticus' Brawl, and leg out of Vortex, to create an alt style. i got pretty upset this weekend though because my TF Prime Dreadwing's knee broke. POR QUEEEEEEEEEEE?

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