Name: Brave Maximus
Series: Car Robots
Function: Cybertron City
Alternate Mode: City
Height: 30cm Length: 55cm Width: 42cm
Easily the most massive Transformer ever made (along with Fortress & Grand Maximi who share the mould), Brave Maximus weighs in at 5 kilograms/11 pounds. The back of the city is mainly navy blue with yellow windows, there's some mid blue in the middle while the front is predominantly silver and red. The sheer scale of this thing is impressive, leaving Metroplex in its dust. The colours work very well, and I feel that the navy with yellow windows gives a "City at night" feel, making this the best of the three colour schemes we've seen on the Maximus mould.
There are three blue towers at the back, the central one being the tallest at 30cm, sporting a silver sticker that has an Autobot symbol on the middle. There are three ramps at the front and lots of flat spaces for smaller Transformers to park - we're not talking Minicars, either, this guy scales with the Car Brothers. The SpyChangers also scale well, and since there were twice as many of those in Car Robots, they make better accessories (they also work with his action features, which I'll get to in a moment).
Brave, which is the head module (think Cerebros), plugs into a large socket on the left side next to one of the city's ramps, forming a smallish building. There's a cockpit at the back of the large tower where Plasma, the Headmaster for Brave (think Spike), can sit. The transparent green canopy is garish, but the idea that he has his own control console is nice. There's actually an intermediate Flying Fortress mode, which was dreamed up for Fortress Maximus but not officially used here, and in this mode Plasma is very much the pilot. I'm not going to go into too much detail since it's now an unofficial mode, and it's pretty much the robot lying on its back with the main tower up and the feet down. The city mode is more impressive and more fun to play with.
The two larger, silver ramps, have red sliders at the back, if you grab hold of tabs on the outsides and push one of the sliders forward, you'll send whoever is on top of the slider rolling down the ramps - the SpyChangers work really well here. There's a little elevator at the base of the main tower, which is wound up and down by a little knob behind the tower itself. Once you've wound the elevator up, pressing a button next to Brave down will cause the payload (again a SpyChanger is ideal) out of the little garage and down the central ramp. And it doesn't end with the ramps. There's a series of black platforms and cavity at the base of the left side tower while the right side has a red staircase leading up to a holding cell, complete with a red, barred, door. A SpyChanger or similar sized Decepticon can be held in this cell, and the door closes quite firmly, which I appreciate. There's a red radar array above the central garage, which can rotate through 360° thanks to a dial at its base, and two red guns on the right side that can lift up, or swing out to form part of a gunpod, complete with pilot's seat which is (you guessed it) perfect for a SpyChanger. Rounding things off, there are two parking bays, at the back of the city in which you can stow two more SpyChangers.
Brave Maximus lacks some of the accessories that came with Fortress Maximus fifteen years earlier, and I would have appreciated the two gigantic guns that can plug into either side of the main tower. There are websites that sell replicas (in red), mind you, although I've not gotten around to grabbing a set myself. Gasket & Grommet, two vehicles that were scaled to work with the ramps, have also been left out, but I don't mind since the concurrently released SpyChangers work so well (which is almost freaky, really).
This is a great city mode. The colours work very well and there's a _lot_ of play value - only Omega Supreme has comparable play value amongst the base-sized Transformers. While the loss of some accessories is a setback, Brave Maximus's city mode is still really nice. The simple fact is that the mass and dimensions alone are enough to make the city impressive - that it has so much play value is icing on the cake.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold away the side ramps, close the holding cell and fold away the stairs and various platforms. The central ramp actually folds underneath itself while the garage door lifts up from within the ramp. Detach Brave and the radar array, close Brave's cavity and swing the gunpod out to the side. Close the transparent green door up to form a box, fold the entire central ramp underneath the toy and lift it up.
Swing the smaller towers out to the sides and then back to form his legs. The leg joints are very stiff ratcheting joints, and with a toy this heavy tight joints are a good thing. Split the main tower, fold the halves back to form his waist, swing the silver ramps down to his sides, revealing the arms. At this stage we have a headless Brave Maximus.
Transforming Brave into the head more or less involves rolling him up into a ball, with the legs on either side of the torso and the arms tucked away. You plug him head first into the socket (and there's even a cavity for Plasma), which gives him somewhere to stow). The radar array and Brave's gun have nowhere to go now, although they'll easily store inside one of two large cavities in Brave Maximus's chest.
The transformation is satisfying enough - there are lots of little things making it complex. The major pieces don't move all that much, but then at this scale simply holding him above the table takes some energy (for an adult), so you want to be able to do most of this without having to suspend him in the air.
Height: 54.5cm Width: 35cm
A hugely impressive robot no matter who he's standing next to, Brave Maximus is a mix of navy, mid blue, red and grey. The feet are black, the boots, groin, shoulders and fists are navy while the thighs and forearms are red. There's silver panelling on the chest and waist while the head is red and black with a painted silver face. The right side of the chest is a silver panel while the left is a taller block, that also protrudes further with a transparent green door. The centre of the waist is die cast metal, along with the connecting hinge of the gunpod (which now attaches to his left boot, and folds behind his leg). The eyes are yellow with blue borders while his face is probably the most well sculpted face we'll ever see on a Transformer. There's a large Autobot logo on a sticker just below the face. The various stickers on this robot are silver with black, red and blue details. This is for the most part a great colour scheme - the transparent green is the weak link. Personally, I think the overall colour scheme is strong enough to counteract the green.
While the waist has some die-cast metal, this is hidden within the main tower in city mode. At first it might seem strange that such an expensive toy contains so little die cast metal, but when you think about it, it's quite logical. Despite being mostly plastic, Brave Maximus weighs five kilograms - die cast could easily double that weight, making transforming him more awkward than it is, and lifting the thing impossible for many children. I'm perfectly happy with the plastic in this toy - he certainly feels solid in this mode.
The robot itself is tall, blocky and imposing. When I say imposing, I mean that the bodyshape is quite solid and powerful looking, rather than imposing because of scale (although the latter is also true). The boots are huge - almost the size of Prime's trailer, and most G1 gestalts can't headbutt him in the groin.
Brave Maximus has an attack mode, which bears a total of sixteen red barrels. I've already mentioned the gunpod, which swings out from behind the left boot. There are twin-barrelled guns that lift from his shins, the backs of his fists rotate to reveal twin-blasters while red panels on his forearms open to reveal another set of twin-barrelled guns. The last two are my favourite - giant red barrels swing out from his hips (they're concealed in the large tower), forming big hip-blasters. The barrels are actually detachable and resemble cigars at 12cm (4") long. Sadly, the giant handguns aren't included - they would have been a welcome addition and would have justified the giant holes in his fists. Mind you, even without them, the armoury on this robot is impressive.
There's not really much play value here aside from the attack mode. The sheer weight of the toy makes leg posing impractical, although with the gunpod deployed Brave Maximus can actually sit down. The shoulders rotate, the elbows lift up 90° and the wrists rotate, giving Brave Maximus good poseability for either a Headmaster or a base. To be honest the articulation exceeds my expectations at this scale, without causing any problems.
My only real complaint about this mode is that the little winding knob for the elevator is now on his groin and looks rather phallic. There are a lot of pieces that can be lost, including the forearm covers, hip barrels, silver ramps (which can detach from behind the shoulders for some reason) and of course the head - which is probably the most crucial. There are lots of Cerebros-lacking Fortress Maximus toys out there, although I've never been able to work out how you lose an accessory the size of a Rubik's Cube.
As with the city mode, the sheer mass and scale make this an impressive robot - it towers over pretty much anything you put near it - including most pets and small children (in fact, it weighs more than our dog!). The colour scheme is for the most part great - the green door is annoying but isn't enough to ruin things, while the large die cast belt buckle and huge, detailed face look good. Articulation is surprisingly good for such an enormously heavy toy, and the attack mode gives him a total of sixteen guns, which is impressive for a robot with no handheld weapons. I really would have liked to see those weapons retained for this version of the mould, but at roughly 1/3 the price of a complete Fortress Maximus, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.
Height: 14.5cm Width: 6.5cm
A red and black robot with a silver face, Brave has a red torso, red fists, black arms and legs and a black head. Like Brave Maximus, he has yellow eyes and a sticker on the chest bearing an Autobot logo. There's a giant face on his back, which is covered by Brave Max's forehead, that can swing up and down. The stickers on this boots, which are the "crown" of Brave Maximus, are mimicked on his own head, although his crown is painted. The colour scheme is simple but black and red usually work together. Of course, this robot mode is only really a sideshow to the main event anyway, so as long as it doesn't stand out, the colours do their job.
While his head is the same size as other "large" Headmasters (Chromedome etc), the body is smaller, meaning Brave's head is larger than it really should be. While the proportions aren't horrible, his head doesn't quite feel right. The arms sit slightly in front of his chest, which looks a little strange.
As with other large Headmasters, there's a tech spec meter in his chest, tucked away underneath a black chestplate. When you plug in Plasma, three barrels rotate revealing blue, yellow and pink bars that tell us that Brave Maximus has strength speed and intelligence ratings of ten. This is probably the most notable play value here - the shoulders rotate so he can aim his red gun, providing some poseability.
There's not really much to this robot in truth, but for an accessory Brave is pretty good, and he easily beats the other psuedo Transformers that come with the G1 bases. His building and head modes are meaningless without something to attach to, but the robot is decent and he combines well, which is all he really needs to do.
Height: 5.5cm Width: 2cm
A black and dark red figure, with red limbs and a black torso, Plasma is a pretty standard large Headmaster head. His chest and face are silver, the face has a mouth and eyes, although mine at least isn't all that well moulded. He has tiny moulded fingers and a face on his back that conceals thanks to a fold-up forehead. The colours are okay, although I'm not sure why Plasma needs to introduce a new, darker red, plastic.
His hips and knees bend, allowing him to sit while his shoulders swing. The poseability beats that of Brave, which isn't really difficult. As with Brave, the main point of this figure is to be an accessory for a larger figure, and he does a decent job of being a humanoid, which is all he needs to do.
I've already covered the heritage of this mould to some extent. Basically Brave Maximus is a repaint of Fortress Maximus with some accessories left out. Grand Maximus, another Japanese-only toy, also shares the mould, and came with a pretender shell for the intermediate figure - another accessory Brave Maximus lacks. Brave Maximus lacks the rubsign indent underneath the chin - the panel sporting the Autobot logo is the only retooling I have picked up.
Brave Maximus himself was sold initially in Japan and then in Korea - the Korean version (which seems to be slightly more common in the Anglophone sphere - mine is Japanese) has the sticker on the central tower factory applied upside-down. This toy was slated to be released in the USA (and I guess in other countries) as Fortress Maximus, however those plans didn't come to fruition. This makes Brave Maximus the only Car Robots show character who's RiD equivalent was not released as a toy.
I mainly bought this toy since I figured that at Japanese retail plus postage, I'd never find the mould any cheaper - at least not with all three figures accounted for. Brave Maximus actually exceeded my expectations - the city mode is a lot better than I had anticipated, the city at night thing really helps sell this mode for me. The overall play value of the set is great, the robot mode is fun despite being a huge statue in many ways. Other than the green door, I prefer this colour scheme to the relatively dull colours of Fortress Maximus. The sheer mass and scale of this toy are impressive on their own, no other Transformer comes close to this mould. The smaller figures are really just along for the ride, but they do what they have to. While I would have liked to see the two big handguns included, this is still a great set. At the prices this guy fetches, I wouldn't really recommend him - you can either afford it or you can't. If you do have the funds and you're considering the mould, I'd recommend going ahead, since Brave Maximus is a good toy - 8/10