This year's theme for Hasbro's SDCC exclusives was "big." And also "really hard to get," because things kept selling out fast. God help you if you wanted the My Little Pony exclusive, but the Marvel Legends set and the various GI Joe offerings weren't much better. And when it came to Transformers, Cliffjumper may have moved slowly, but big bad Bruticus was gone within hours.
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Bruticus comes in big, fancy packaging with a big, fancy bio, but it's all so huge that there's no room for it in the review. So please, go visit the blog
to learn all about the outer layer of this set. The short version: the box is pretty cool, but doesn't overwhelm the figure, and the text paints him as a tremendous monster. Let's get to it!
Out of the package, Bruticus is indeed a tremendous monster. He stands 11⅜" tall, giving him nearly 2" on the Classics Bruticus (but still leaves him shorter than Combat Unit Colossus).
Compared to the game renders, Bruticus is
much skinnier than he should be. You'll have to decide for yourself whether that's a good thing or bad - because honestly, the game makes him look kind of chubby, while the toy seems leaner and meaner. Alternately, the game makes him look strong and beefy, while the toy seems wimpy. It's all a matter of perspective. What really counts is that he looks proportional overall: the entire central body is skinny in the same way, so it's not like "oh, here's a super beefy waist, but then narrow arms that look completely out of place."
Like all the WFC/FOC toys, Bruticus represents a "pre-Earth" version of a character we're familiar with, so the design shares some cues with the toys of yore. The clearest parallel is probably the two large guns that rise up over his back, but we'll get to those in time. For now, we concentrate on the head, which is clearly a stylistic update. He has a central mouthplate, two red eyes, and a "helmet" section with a fin on the top and two long ears that look like antennae... or small blasters.
The shoulder-cannons technically aren't part of the transformation, but they fit back there and make him look more G1-y, so you know you're going to do it. Actually, they do serve more of a purpose than just making fanboys happy: they provide structural support, helping to keep the arms in place. Why, then, do the instructions not mention them? It's weird. He's also got wings coming off his chest and a flared waist-plate, but they're actually built into the figure this time, rather than being separate pieces for you to lose.
Bruticus is, of course, the combined form of the five Combaticons: Onslaught is the torso, Blast Off and Vortex are arms, and Swindle and Brawl are the legs. For information on the individual components, go read their reviews, because we won't be repeating it here. That would be silly. Anyway,
the limbs connect to the central body via large, square pegs. The pegs are on Onslaught's body, while the connectors are hidden away on his four underlings. Basically, they snap on and off, and hold securely. Shortly after Bruticus went on sale, pictures appeared online of figures where the tabs had broken, which would render the combination useless. I've been super paranoid about mine so far, but do be aware that some force is required to get the limbs on or off. Three of the connectors are purple, and then Vortex gets a black one. Huh?
As limbs, the robots all have their own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, a lot of people complain that Blast Off (the right arm) is "too long," despite the fact that it's barely longer than the left arm. They've even tried to come up with their own shorter versions, with varying degrees of success (some even causing actual damage to the figure). Transformed the proper way, there's both a swivel and a hinge at the shoulder, a swivel bicep, and a hinged elbow.
The left arm may be long enough, but the proportions are odd. There are big, bulbous sections connected to exceedingly thin parts -
as one reader commented, it looks like his arm got stung by a bee, then the hand got flattened by an iron. Since any limb can take any position, it has to be versatile: Blast Off managed that by having two thumbs, one on each side of the hand; Vortex does it by having a perfectly flat "karate chop" hand and a thumb that can swing around to either side. It's pretty clever, actually. This arm still gets the swivel/hinge shoulder, but no real elbow.
This isn't much to be said about the legs. There are swivel/hinge joints at the knees, but no ankles or anything. The legs are very solid (as they need to be to support all the weight above them), and logically they're nearly identical in length. The torso section itself has swivel/hinge hips, a swivel waist and a swivel neck, so overall, the big guy moves pretty well. The length of the connectors means that he holds his arms away from his body a bit, but that just ensures there's room for them to move.
All the bots' individual weapons can be combined
into one giant super-gun for Bruticus to wield. According to the instructions you're supposed to include the back-cannons in this monstrosity, which is why they don't tell you to put it on his back. But if you do, there's an alternate construction that leaves it out. The gun can be held in either hand. Any hand. He's got four of them, after all.
Bruticus is really darn cool. He's not ToY material, but he's a lot of fun. Clearly this SDCC version, with the game-inspired (not game-accurate, game-inspired) colorscheme is the best one available, but if you can stand the eye-crime that is the G2 version (exclusive to Amazon and BBTS), or you buy the single-carded Combaticons when they come out later this year, you'll find something good.
Onslaught | Blast Off | Vortex | Swindle | Brawl
Before we leave you today, I want to give a shout-out to Arune Singh. Like we said, Bruticus sold out fast at the show; so fast, in fact, that Rustin couldn't even get one. But Arune had picked up an extra for someone who declined, and he was kind enough to sell it at cost, which is the only reason you're reading these reviews today. So really, he deserves the credit. Or the blame. Thanks, man!