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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review: Brawn

Name: Brawn
Allegiance: Autobot
Sub-Group: Universe Legends Wave 4

Brawn is a G1 character that has not fared so well with any serious resurrections in subsequent lines. However, I’m sure most of the older fans, who broke in on G1 as kids found this character to be iconic – and he plays a major role in the series, before losing airtime to new toys needing marketing, and then his life in the Movie.

I always thought he was great – a little guy that’s tough as nails and straight in there, no matter what. The Land Rover 110 Defender alternate mode was the perfect choice for his character (although I rather suspect the alternate mode came first…). Plus, I have an affinity for practical 4x4s, and although I prefer a 90 pick-up, any will do!

Although he is making a welcome return in Animated, the Universe Classics series has won the sudden race bring this character back to life. And – what’s more – Brawn has been re-imagined in the contemporary size class equivalent to a Minibot – Legends Class!

Alongside Bumblebee and Beachcomber, the Minibots are well-and-truly back, and their ranks are about to swell with the upcoming Cosmos, Warpath and Wheelie Legends figures.

Does Brawn add the much needed muscle and derring-do to the team of diminutive Autobots?

Alternate Mode:

In this age of flash 4x4s with chrome accessories, absolutely no ground clearance and the fuel economy of a World War II German tank, it’s a huge relief to see Brawn has retained a practical alternate mode. With a design remarkably similar to a Land Rover Discovery (slightly more up-market and with lesser off-road performance than a Defender, perhaps, but still acceptably practical unless you want to explore the real wilds of, say, Scotland on diesel power), Brawn hasn’t even sold out as far as a Freelander.

Measuring 2 ¾” (7cm) bumper to bumper, he’s suitably chunky, and features lots of moulded detail, including bull bar (painted a rough steel colour – not bright silver), roof rack, and headlights (painted blue). The mode even includes a spare wheel on the back door (pinned on and identical to the functional wheels!)!

Unfortunately, the mode is let down a little by the paint job. Whereas some nifty details are picked out, the windows once again suffer. While the windscreen and door windows are painted black, the other rear windows remain unpainted. Similarly, while the front of the vehicle has been carefully painted, the rear lacks colour on the taillights or bumper.

The colour, also, is a little brighter than G1 Brawn – but not nearly so luminous as stock photos suggested. I personally think it works fine – although a darker colour may have looked better, it would not have been in line with a cartoon character aimed at children (if you want to actually shift large quantities…). Plus, the robot mode would actually hurt your eyes if a darker green were used…

Robot Mode:

After a simple yet innovative transformation, you are presented with a bulked up representation of the G1 Brawn character (measuring 3” [7.5cm] tall).

Brawn is fairly stylized, with a cartoonish feel, with angular detail firmly anchoring him in G1 origins. ‘Silver’ plastic forms the crotch, thighs and shoulders, while the steel paint used on the bumper appears on the forearms and hands. Green is dominant, on arms and lower legs. The trademark orange chest is present – almost luminous in its intensity. A silver Autobot insignia is emblazoned on the chest, and almost hidden by the brightness of the base colour!

The head sculpt is superb – capturing the G1 character perfectly whilst adding a dynamism. The helmet is painted silver, eyes blue, and – oddly –face, erm, black?

By my recollection, Brawn has usually had a lighter coloured face than his helmet. Unfortunately, the darkness blends far too well with the black used to disguise the shell of the 4x4, and leaves Brawn looking a little more evil than he should.

Still, this is a minor complaint. Universe Legends Brawn is a massive improvement on his G1 Minibot counterpart (as you’d hope), and is a surprisingly fun figure.

With ball joints at the shoulders and hips, and hinge joints at the knees, couples with the angled feet, Brawn can strike a variety of appropriate power poses, and looks great on display, despite the large amount of Disco hanging from his back.

Brawn is the surprise winner in the latest wave of Legends. Beachcomber is obviously great, and Bumblebee unfortunately fails where you would expect success. Brawn looks to be poor initially, and then pleases all round (more or less).

I’d highly recommend the figure!

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 6 – Simple and intuitive, but innovative at the same time.
Durability: 9 – He seems pretty solid, and lacks many pin joints.
Fun: 9 – Brawn has a cool alternate mode, fun transformation, and is fairly poseable. Top notch (bar the exceedingly dark face…).
Price: 7 – Legends Class figures used to be great value, but this has recently slipped. Prices have recently jumped both in the States and in the UK (if you can find them). $5 or around £5 seems to be the new rule – as opposed to the long-standing price of under £3 that lasted from introduction of the size class in the 2005 Cybertron line, right through to the recent 2007 live action film waves.
Overall: 8 – Brawn clocks in at a fair ‘8’, and is well worth the look-in. This figure marks the return of a great character, and also proves how simple can be both innovative and fun!
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