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Sunday, July 22, 2012

SDCC Bruticus and all that Hype

Big Damn Box
I think Hasbro must have some weird rules about when it makes combiner figures. The first rule would have to be "No extra parts in any mode". Okay, I can understand that one. They want to cut down on costs and so there is no need to have extra parts in either the individual or the combined modes. In fact, I'm in favor of this idea when it can be put to good use. The second rule must be "All limbs must be interchangeable, no matter what." And this is the one that really irks me. I don't understand why they just can't commit one limb to one place; some of the best combiners have been made this way: Devestator, Predaking, Liokaiser, and so on. But when they need to make engineering sacrifices to ensure each limb can be both an arm and a leg then the overall figure suffers. And that is the problem with SDCC Bruticus (and all his subsequent repaints). But it does look like they have learned from at least some of their past mistakes and made Bruticus one of the best official modern combiners to date.

First off I must applaud Hasbro for actually taking the time and resources to create a "real" combiner for the Generations line. I don't know if it was the pressure from the Third Party companies or if there was another reason, but I'm glad they've re-entered the arena. In the recent past the best we have gotten from them was either the Power-Core Combiners (in which the individual limbs didn't have robot modes so they didn't really count) or the Energon series combiners (in which there were only three molds per combiner because two were repaints). So now we finally have a combiner with five different members that each have their own robot and alternate modes, not to mention it is an update of a G1 combiner! I'm not sure why it took so long to get back to this point, but I'm thrilled we are here.

That being said, the figure suffers from some interesting problems. My biggest concern was that his arms were much, much too long for his body and I think this stems from the figure trying to be too much by making all the limbs interchangeable. I'm not really sure why they do this, I guess it increases playability? Personally I am only ever going to have him in one configuration, it's the one where Swindle and Brawl are the legs and Blast-Off and Vortex are the arms. In fact, that is the only configuration in which I keep my G1 figure because that is how he was portrayed on the show. Similarly, this Bruticus is portrayed that way in the upcoming video game: Fall Of Cybertron. Why not improve the quality of the overall figure by dedicating the limbs? Aaaarrrggghhh it's frustrating. But I have to let it go. Breathe, just breathe... Fortunately there are a few modifications you can do to Blast-Off and Vortex in order to shorten their length and make him look a little more balanced and a lot less munky.

On the left is how he came out of the box. On the right are my modifications to try and "fix" him.
One of the things I feel like Hasbro got right on this figure was making each member a Deluxe sized robot. Now it does make him a little more lanky than he would be if he had a Voyager sized Onslaught, but I can overlook that because combiner team members are all supposed to be the same sized when in their individual modes. I can't tell you how frustrating it was to have a G1 Onslaught that was four times taller than G1 Swindle when I was little. So I gotta give Hasbro some love for fixing that little problem.

Seriously, we haven't had a five member combiner where all the figures were the same size since Predaking so it is great to finally see this in a modern interpretation. It just shows me how much farther they can go if they eliminate the need to swap limbs! Agh, there I go again! Anyway...

Another great thing about this figure is the inclusion of some awesome articulation. Now once figures are on my shelves I usually don't move them around too much, but it's nice to know I have the option if I so choose. He's also appropriately sized to the other Generations figures due to the size of each figure involved. I know scale is a virtual impossibility in the land of Transformers toys, but it is nice to have a combiner that appropriately towers over his opponents.

So the real question in my mind was, how does this figure stack up to the other Bruticus figures released in the past. Well let's see...

Great update, good homage without going overboard.

Much, much, much improved. In pretty much every area.

Hmm, tough call. Still don't think it's quite there yet.

Hasbro definitely fixed a lot of the problems since their last outing with the Energon Bruticus, but I still feel like the FansProject Third Party upgrades trump this version. But it is still a step in the right direction. So SDCC Bruticus will be going with my WFC and FOC figures while FansProject Bruticus will be staying with the rest of my Generations figures. Keep working on it Hasbro, you're getting better!

Oh and on a final note I know at least two repaints of this figure are coming out; the retail version and the G2 Amazon exclusive version. I'd be willing to be there is going to be at least one more somewhere down the line, probably in his G1 colors. It might even be a Botcon exclusive, who knows?

For more in-depth reviews, check out Pax Cybertron:
SDCC Blast-Off
SDCC Vortex
SDCC Brawl
SDCC Swindle
SDCC Onslaught


  1. I like the individual figures, but not the combined form. Even with your improvements, his legs still look awfully thin. I've read countless glowing reviews about this guy, so I'm going to get him, but those thighs, man.

  2. I also like the individual forms, but not the combined mode. If I decide to get one, I'll keep them displayed as the Combaticons rather than Bruticus.

  3. I see exactly where you guys are coming from and I had the same thoughts before purchasing him. But having him in-hand I feel a lot differently than I thought I would. I too was going to display him in his individual modes but I like the combined mode a lot more than I thought I would. Hasbro's photography team did this gut a real disservice.

  4. Well - this IS the G1 color version. I know it's not spot on, but its considered the G1 colors.

    There's also the Wreckers combiner using the mold coming out. You can check my site, I did a short post on it.

    I for one love both version. I think this line is getting an exceptional amount of heat from fans, but I think it stems from 3rd party production. Keep in mind Hasbro has to be able to produce items for the general public, not just fans, so they have to make sacrifices in features and designs to make these figures cost effective.

    1. You're right, I keep forgetting about that Wreckers version. I love that one too, it will look great no matter how its displayed.

      I know this one is supposed to be the G1 colors version, but I wouldn't put it past Hasbro to release it one more time in the 'exact' G1 colors, both Vortex and Blast Off are way off, the rest are pretty close.

      And you're right about the pressure from fans. Unfortunately Hasbro has to compete with the Third Parties now; I'm hoping it will push them to step up their game and I'd be willing to bet this figure is physical proof of that. I really don't think this figure would have been realized if it weren't for Fansproject and some of the other companies out there. Nothing like a little competition to make one work a little bit harder :)

    2. Ark, when you can, could you either email me, or post on how you do the Blast Off changes for the arm? It looks just amazing, and I'd like to do the same with my Bruticus.

    3. Sure, it's pretty simple; all I did was flip the front of the figure down like you would normally in robot mode and then I turned the chest around 180 degrees so the port sticks out the correct way. Everything else stays the same. Let me know if you need more info!

    4. Got it, thanks! It looks a LOT better that's for sure!

  5. Looks better each time I look at him...but you are right in that Hasbro isn't quite there yet. Did you get 2 orders in for the G2 Amazon version?

    1. Nah, just the one so far. I'm still undecided if I want a second one. It sure is tempting though.

    2. Ok, I went ahead and ordered a second one through BBTS. I just couldn't help it. Hopefully one will be in good enough condition to be graded :)

  6. Hey Ark, just wanted to drop a line to say I read your interview on TFSource - awesome work man! Your collection is AMAZING!

    1. Many thanks my friend! It is a labor of love :)