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Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

It seems like we've used the "fun new character" spiel quite a few times lately in regard to Transformers. You may think that makes us lazy - we just think it's a testament to how good Hasbro is doing.

You don't get as old as Highbrow without fighting a lot of desperate, can't-win battles. He's been through his share, and come out on top, every time. The Fallen may be ancient and nearly all-powerful, but Highbrow is pretty old himself, and he's learned a lot of tricks over the years. Paired up with Autobot Ratchet, he's sure The Fallen will be surprised to learn just how tough two determined Autobots can be.

Sounds like Highbrow is the Transformers equivalent of Christopher Lee - old and respected, but with a certified history of unmitigated badassery. The robot mode design is long and lanky, but still bulky enough that he doesn't look weak. The chest is angular, with a lot of kibble right front and center, but it manages to look like he's been built out of spare airplane parts, not like he's a robot wearing airplane parts. Look at the fine rivets on his chest, or the detailed wiring running through his abdomen and crotch. There's more blatant kibble scattered about on the knees, arms and back. The hips are designed to look like large gears or flywheels, and the upper legs have a layered look that suggests depth. Overall this is a righteous design!

Even the head is killer. Matching his body, Highbrow has a long, pointed face with a narrow chin. The face has a mouth, nose and two eyes - not a faceplate and an eyeslit or something. The top of his head is brown, to suggest an old-fashioned aviator's cap, complete with goggles. It's hinged, as well, so you can lower the goggles over his eyes. Brilliant!

Highbrow is really well articulated, too. His neck is just a swivel, but then you've got swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, hinged ankles and swivel feet. Yes, feet: that means he can keep his feet flat on the ground even in extreme poses. He's armed with two Gatling guns, or you can store those on his hips and convert his hands to blades.

Changing Highbrow to his altmode is a fairly complex process, one that I'm still relying on the instructions for. The altmode is some kind of crazy made-up mishmash of WWII fighter planes with a twin-boom construction and a floating cockpit inbetween.

This is a fairly sizeable piece, measuring 7½" wide, 6¼" long and at least 3½" high. The landing gear actually rolls, and can be retracted for flight. The plane is green on the top and pale blue on the underside (for camouflage purposes, naturally), and heavily armed - there are the guns, of course, but also four rockets under each wing. If you press down on the engines, the propellors spin automatically. The interior of the cockpit is highly detailed, as well.

Highbrow is yet another excellent Transformer. With a brand-new altmode, a completely pro robot design and fun play features. He's not an homage to anything before him, he's just a great new Transformer.

-- 02/08/11

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