It’s Saturday and I actually have the weekend off! I’ve got a lot of doing nothing ahead of me and I want to get started, so today’s entry will be a quickie. With all five Combaticons in my possession, I’m finally able to merge them into Bruticus. I should forewarn that based on Hasbro’s own photos of the gestalt mode, I was in no hurry to complete him. I bought the Combaticons strictly for their individual modes and to beef up my Decepticon forces. In short, I wasn’t expecting much at all. The end result was a bit of a pleasant surprise for my low expectations.
I’ll start out by saying that Bruticus is a solid figure that holds together fairly well. He runs into some issues if you try to pose him a lot, but his limbs form a strong lock and his torso is able to carry the weight and stand tall doing it. A gestalt that crumbles when you look at it funny is no fun at all, and Bruticus definitely avoids that issue. Another big plus is that he’s one of the most self-contained combiners that Hasbro has ever produced. If you disregard his gun, he doesn’t require any extra parts to make him work. Each robot transforms into his own component and they lock together. And his gun is rubbish anyway, and I just use that piece to fill out his hollow back. It may seem like a minor thing, but I really respect the engineering required to make him work without a pile of add-on parts. Sure, the Power Core Combiners did it, but their limbs didn’t turn into robots, so they don’t really count.
The shame of Bruticus is that he’s a three out of five. Onslaught, Brawl, and Swindle all hold up their end of the bargain and look great doing it. Onslaught is beautifully proportioned as the torso and the legs are satisfyingly chunky and solid. The problem is with Blast Off and Vortex. Blast Off is more of a solid arm, but he’s too long and too hollow in the forearm. Vortex, on the other hand (har har), well he’s just a mess. And the two of them are terribly mismatched. Blast Off’s arm mode is longer than Vortex and the hands look like they belong on two different robots.
The color scheme isn’t as terrible as I envisioned it. Yes, I would have liked it if Brawl was more military green than neon green, but I can live with it. I think Swindle would have been better if he were more mustard colored rather than bright yellow. The theme here, Hasbro, is just tune down the colors because it isn’t 1993 anymore. Onslaught and Blast Off’s colors are just fine. It’s Vortex that wrecks it for me. Vortex wrecks everything… except for the game… he kicked ass in that. The mix of that red and purple are just as bad in his limb mode as they are in his other modes. Screw you, Vortex! You suck!!!
Let’s face it, Hasbro has not been batting a thousand with their combiners. The Energon line’s attempts were well intentioned but ultimately a mess, saved only by Fanproject’s expensive additional figures and add-on parts. The Power Core Combiners were an interesting experiment, but their use of drones for limbs was a little beyond what we TF fans look for in a true combiner, and most of them were not all that good anyway. With all that being said, Bruticus is definitely one of their better attempts. I’d go so far as to say the torso and legs are quite good, and that ultimately the figure is marred by its unfortunately awkward and mismatched arms. With a little better engineering in Vortex and Blast Off, I think this figure could have been excellent. As it stands, I think it’s just a decent attempt and possibly an instance of lessons learned and a springboard for a better attempt later on down the road.
And that will finish me for the week. I have a lot more Transformers to look at, but in the interest of preventing the tragic condition known as Transformer Fatigue, I’m going to place a one week moratorium on TF features and just to make sure I stick to it, I’m going to make next week a theme and an unconventional one at that. I’ve already promised Monday to another Farscape feature, but after that it’ll be Jabba’s Palace week. That’s right, only Star Wars figures, and only ones connected to Jabba’s Palace. Not only will it keep me off the Transformers features for a week, but it’ll force me to finally open some of the figures I’ve been assembling for my new Jabba display. Catch ya all on Monday.