This is a confusing figure. Or, well, not so much "figure" as "character." Most of the Transformers in the 2007 movie went through a few different names before being assigned a final designation. Blackout was going to be called Soundwave, or Vortex, or any number of other potential names. The character we know as Brawl, meanwhile, was possibly going to be called Demolishor or Devastator before "Brawl" won out. We thought. Imagine everyone's surprise when he identified himself as Devastator in the movie.
Brawl is proud to be a big, mean destruction-dealing machine. He's a one-robot wrecking crew,
a mobile mass of mayhem, and a serious problem for Autobots and humans alike. His armored skin is thick enough to shrug off almost anything short of a point-blank blast from a fusion cannon, and his built-in weapon systems are more than adequate to bring down even the toughest enemy. He lives for the thudding roar of his shells bursting among a cluster of enemies and the shrill crackle of his lasers cutting through the armor of an Autobot warrior. He is a fighter through and through, bored and moody during his standby cycles, but happy as can be as soon as he rolls into battle.
If you ask Michael Bay, that's the right name. If you ask Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman,
the writers, they'll tell you that this was a mistake they pointed out in the editing room twice. It was supposed to be fixed for the DVD release, but that didn't happen. So what's this guy's real name? Well, Hasbro owns the character, and they (and all their merchandise) say it's Brawl, so that's what matters.
Brawl was first released as a $10 Deluxe class figure, which failed to properly convey his massive size. That was soon followed by a Leader Class version, which filled the role much better. But like your girlfriend always says when she's taking pity on you, size isn't everything - is the Leader Brawl a better toy than the Deluxe? He's packaged in robot form, so we'll start there.
First of all, this guy is huge.
To the top of his head, he's 8¾" tall, but you can make that an even 12" once you add in all the extra gear on his shoulders and back. Sure, technically he's got a ton of kibble all over the place, but it's actually integrated into the robot form fairly well. He just looks like a big, heavily armored
'bot capable of dishing out or absorbing a hell of a lot of punishment. And frowning a mighty frown.
As a weapon of mass destruction, Brawl is brimming with weaponry, even in robot mode. We'll ignore the two guns sticking up off his back, since they wouldn't be good for anything except shooting at enemies overhead, but he still has two missile batteries poking over his shoulders, telescoping blasters on his right arm, a gattling gun and two blades on his left arm, and a pair of blades that come out of his shins. In a departure from the movie design, the tank's main gun wraps around Brawl's side to point forward - it's a lot like Armada Megatron.
The robot's feet don't really rest flat on the floor, because of the angle of his legs. It's a minor thing, because the particular shape of his feet mans that he's still steady. The ankles are rocker-style, and he also moves at the knees, hips, head, shoulders, elbows, fingers and thumbs. There are more joints to accommodate the transformation, and the weapons on his forearms are supposedly part of his automorph features, but that's a stretch.
Brawl's transformation is fairly complex.
Begin by folding away all the extra weapons, including the tank's main gun and the launchers over his shoulders. Rotate the turrets around, and fold the head down ino the body - an automorph feature will raise the front rakes into place. Pull back the kibble on the legs, and straighten out the tank treads. Fold the treads from his shoulders out to the side, and tilt the entire front half upwards. Fold all his little toes away, and turn his lower legs in to face the middle. Spin the arms around, and fold them back along the sides of the tank, with the weapons pods extended down below the fingers. Then finish by bringing the tank treads into place and wrapping the armor around the sides. It's not an easy process, but it's fun.
The tank mode really looks nice. Brawlvastator is based somewhat on the the M1 Abrams, which is pretty much the single vehicle that most people think of when they think "tank." It's been in use since 1980, and is operated by countries all around the world. If you were a robot looking for a disguise, the Abrams would be a good choice.
Of course, Brawl is just based on the Abrams. This isn't an officially licensed design,
like the cars - it's just "close" to the real thing. But since your average fan will see a fancy sports car more often than an Army tank, that's fine. The added elements inclue angular armor plating on the sides, a mine plow on the front, fuel tanks on the rear and a smaller, secondary turret on top of the main turret. It's this tiny turret that is laden with a lot of the bonus weapons: two main guns, the two missile pods, and a human-sized machine gun, all surrounding an access hatch.
The mine plows can be posed, slightly, and the turrets turn individually. The various guns
have light and sound features activated in different ways: press in on the main gun, and the tip lights up red as you hear it fire a round. The missile pods on the top turret light green when one of two buttons is pushed, or when the turret is turned far enough to the side. Which means yes, the thing will flash and make noise as you transform it. There's definite robot kibble under the tank, but the only thing really visible is an inexplicable gap where Brawl's head retreats into the body. It definitely looks like the top of his head is meant to rest flat with the body of the tank, but the toy doesn't move that way.
If you're going to get a Brawl, the Leader Class version is the one to get. The smaller version is, well, smaller, which doesn't suit the guy that's supposed to be the Decepticons' main muscle. This one doesn't have any rocket-firing action features, and the automorph features work pretty well - on the smaller version, the gears that make them work were molded from clear plastic, and have a tendency to shatter. All Brawl's pieces stay in place well, which is another advantage the small version can't claim.
Yes, Leader Class Brawl costs much more than the Deluxe Class version, but the price is worth it for the amount of toy you get. Unlike Optimus Prime and Megatron, this is one movie TF that's worth the full size representation. Splurge and consider it an expensive gift to yourself. And hey, if your store is out of stock on Brawl, you can probably order one in with no shipping.