Cliffbee.com: Desert Blast Brawl Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Brawl
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Tank



TANK MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 15cm Width: 7.5cm

   A beige tank with brown treads and mine combs, Brawl's turret is a lighter shade than the base of the tank - there are two distinct plastics used here. There are some rust colours painted panels to give this toy some colour - since it lacks the camouflage seen on the original FAB Brawl, of which this is a repaint. There are two large gunpods on top which hold single grey missiles and some white paint on the top of the combs. There is a brown Decepticon logo on the main cannon, which is easy to miss at a glance. It's a good colour scheme both in concept and execution, and unlike many FABs this colour scheme really gives the mould a mature look.

   The sculpt here is generally pretty good - and not just for a toy aimed at younger children. The treads are detailed and the hatches and the like we often see on Transformer tanks are well sculpted. However there are a couple of elements which really detract from this. Firstly the gunpods on top are proportionally _huge_ yet low on detail, since they're really just missile launchers. The second aspect is the missiles themselves, which look odd, especially since they tend to slide out. You can can always leave the missiles aside of course, but then you take away the main gimmick and leave behind clownshoe-esque gunpods.

   The play value is somewhat mixed. The combs are mounted on ball joints and move around pretty freely, and there are four ridged wheels underneath for Brawl to roll on. Sadly the main turret is fixed - the cannon itself is also fixed - although the extra level that includes the extra pair of cannons and the gunpods rotates - as do the gunpods themselves. This extra level, which is like a secondary turret - is not at all secured, and falls off very easily, which I find really annoying. The missiles operate through a very simple mechanism - you pull them back and release, which means they fire with some momentum but it causes two problems. The first is that the missiles never actually click into place and can just fall out. The second is that the force required to pull the secondary turret off is less that required to pull back one missile, so you have to hold it on, ensuring that your hand isn't in the path of the missile.

   The gimmick is a good idea, but the sloppy engineering ensures that Brawl gets in his own way. The tank is, as Transformer tanks go, quite realistic, and compares favourably to most Transformer tanks down the years despite the gimmicky elements. The colour scheme works well and gives this toy something different considering there are two other deluxe Brawl toys in the movie line. If the engineering wasn't quite so messy I'd say this is a good tank mode. It's still quite decent despite the flaws relating to the gimmick.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the extra turret and set aside - it comes off and reattaches somewhere else to ensure that the gimmick is available in robot mode, which explains why it detaches from the tank - but there should still be a notch or something offering some resistance. Anyway, split the turret and fold the halves out to the sides, flip the cannon back onto the right half. Split and fold the back half up to form his legs, fold down the feet. Flip the front up to form his chest which sets in motion a rather complex yet elegant automorph - the front sections of the treads slide out to side above his shoulders (as seen in the film), the head pops up and the sides fold the rest of the way out to form arms. Rotate the combs and fold down. Open out the gunpods and attach the secondary turret as a backpack, so that the gunpod missile launchers deploy above his shoulders.

   This transformation is simple in concept - and it's pinched from G2 Megatron - but it's well put together and hence satisfying - unlike G2 Megatron. The loose piece which falls off as soon as you look at it is still annoying, but I don't so much blame the transformation for that as I do the gimmick.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 13cm

   A misxture of two shades of beige and brown, Brawl has some grey here and there along with rust painted details while his eyes are black and red above a brown face. His toes and a claw weapon moulded outside his left forearm are grey. The brown treads sit on his shoulders - a trademark of the character and the combs are visible on his protruding chest - also a trademark. There's a brown stamped Decepticon logo on his chest, which is quite well sculpted. The colour scheme again works well and provides this repaint with something different.

   Brawl at once looks very cute and very tough. The dimensions are almost cartoonish, but he's squat with big wide shoulders that make him look powerful. The colour scheme here actually masks the proportions, so as in tank mode this repaint feels less kiddie than the original. His legs are relatively short and the missilepods above his shoulders are, as I have already mentioned, proportionally large. The pair of smaller cannons protrude behind his head, there's a false Gatling gun moulded onto his right forearm, so along with the missile launchers and the slashing claw Brawl is well armed. It's a powerful looking robot mode with a nice varied array of weaponry.

   The launchers don't work too well since you have to hold the launchers themselves while firing now - the backpack will pull off as soon as you pull on the missiles otherwise. The launchers are on ball jointed arms, so they are targetable, which is visually impressive at least. The poseability is okay - his head turns while his waist will snap back to the left after you turn it to the right and left go - which is a little silly since the slasher is on the wrong side. His shoulders swing and his elbows bend, allowing you to lift his forearms up from within the plates formed by the turret halves. The upper arms are very short and his forearms long, so he looks awkward if you lift the forearms too far. Brawl's hips are ball jointed but the knee joints used in transformation look awful in any pose other than straight since bending them creates a big gap in the knee. His feet move a little but their usefulness is hampered by the futile knees.

   Again this repaint works well - I much prefer this FAB mould in these brown shades to the original green version. The gimmick is good in theory but the backpack still falls off for fun, but the bodyshape issues are less prominent in these colours. The poseability is far worse than the articulation thanks to badly proportioned arms and pre-kneecaped legs. As FABs go this robot mode is decent, but not memorable.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, he is a repaint of the regular FAB Brawl.

OVERALL

   A mould riddled with minor problems - good in concept but sorely lacking in execution. The removable piece could - and should - have clipped on better, the awkward arms have no good reason for the bad proportions and the missiles fall out of the launchers too easily. The tank mode looks good and the colours are good, but I'm not sure this is enough to save the mould. On the upside, this repaint gives more of a reason to grab this mould - the original is awfully similar to the deluxe version of the character. A good repaint of a disappointing mould, but one of the best FAB repaints - 5.5/10

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