Generations San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Bruticus Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $99.99 (included in five pack with Onslaught, Blast-Off, Brawl and Vortex)
Retailer: San Diego Comic-Con/Hasbrotoyshop Exclusive
Accessories: All Combaticon weapons

2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios was due to release "Fall of Cybertron" in August of 2012 so a large portion of the "Generations" toy line became dedicated to characters and designs from the game itself. One of the key characters in the game is Bruticus, the Combiner giant formed by the team known as "The Combaticons". The sum total of the Combation team is the Combiner "Bruticus".

The existence of a new Bruticus figure caused quite a stir among fans. For years we've wanted a new Combiner figure, and lucky for the fandom at large we now have one. Even better? This guy was composed of five Deluxe Class figures, each one with its own unique transformation and identity. Before the initial retail release of this figure, the summer of 2012 saw the release of the entire set in a special box (with different colors)as a San Diegeo Comic-Con exclusive. This guy sold out within minutes of being available on Hasbrotoyshop and by the following week went for easily double the price on ebay. No doubt, this is one figure tons of Transformers fans wanted!

While all the San Diego Comic-Con Combaticons were packaged together, I will be reviewing each individual robot separately for the sake of space (otherwise the review will involve insane amounts of scrolling). Here are links to the other reviews for your reference:

Since Bruticus is a single entity and his "alternate" modes are the Combaticons themselves, I recommend reading the reviews above to really get a good sense of the giant and the parts that comprise him. For those who are reading this review first. below are the transformation steps for each of the parts of Bruticus (pasted from the other reviews):

Onslaught (Torso):

  1.     Swing each lower leg up.
  2.     Swing the panel on the back of the figure out.
  3.     Rotate the upper body around at the waist.
  4.     Push down Onslaught's head to reveal Bruticus' head. Turn Bruticus' head around.
  5.     Rotate the forearms around, then turn them up at angles so the fists hold on to the headlights.
  6.     Swing the triangular shaped panels on the shoulder armor up.
  7.     Swing the waist panel from step two down and up to form the waist armor.
  8.     Other limbs can be attached to the square connection points on the shoulders and legs.
  9.     The dual barreled cannon can be attached to the two pegs on the back of the figure.

Blast Off (Arm or Leg):

Arm Mode:
To form the arm, start in . Push the legs down and then swing them out as if you were forming the robot legs. Rotate the wings so they point downward. On the underside of each wing you'll find a fist and a thumb. One for each side depending on which arm you want to form. Swing out the appropriate fist and thumb pieces. Swing in the outer parts of the wings and connect the two halves together. Then swing the front of the vehicle out a bit to reveal the purple connection point. Swing it down to connect to the connection point on one of Onslaught's shoulders.

Leg Mode:
The leg mode winds up being a much quicker to transform from than the arm mode. All you need to do is swing in the wings to form a solid base for Bruticus to stand on. Then swing the front of the vehicle up to reveal the connection point and plug that into Onslaught's leg connection points.

Leg Mode:
Traditionally Bruticus would transform into Bruticus' leg, so this mode isn't a stretch for him. Start with the and rotate the cannon turret around and swing it up. Swing the cover at the cannon base out. Swing the thruster section at the rear of the vehicle down. Connect the tabs underneath the ends of the cannon barrels to the corresponding slots on the thruster panel. The purple connection point is revealed when you swing the thruster panel up and you connect that to the corresponding connection point on Onslaught's leg section.

Arm Mode:
I'm going to start off this part of the review by stating that nowhere in the instructions for Brawl was his arm mode shown or described. Also, there don't appear to be any official photos out right now showing him in that form. So basically I've had to guess at what his arm mode should be by fiddling with the parts on the figure. You may come up with something different, but this is what I came up with: swing the thruster piece up and then swing the robot legs out and back. Swing the legs down and then rotate each lower leg piece around. Swing the Bruticus hand pieces down and then along with the robot feet/thumbs (depending on the side you are choosing). Connect the lower leg sections together to form Bruticus' forearm. Rotate the double barreled cannon around to point forward. Move the connection piece and attach it to Onslaught's shoulder connection point.

Swindle (Leg or Arm):

Leg Mode:
Start with Swindle in vehicle form and swing up the purple connection point underneath the hood of the jeep. Then flip out the robot feet and connect it to the connection point on Onslaught (he can form either leg). The purple joint has a hinge with a ratchet joint that allows you to "bend" Bruticus' leg at the knees.

Arm Mode:
Start with Swindle in vehicle form and swing the purple connection point up so it's now pointing to the side. Swing the robot legs out. Behind each lower leg is a hand for Bruticus. Depending on which arm you are creating (left or right) you have the choice of swinging out a hand that matches that side. Connect the purple joint to the connection point on Onslaught's shoulder.

Vortex (Arm or Leg):

Arm Mode:
Start with the figure in , then split the cockpit section open and swing in the machine gun. On the left half of the cockpit is the hand. Swing the hand out and move the thumb to the left or right depending on which arm you are going to make Vortex into. Extend the middle section just like you would for the leg mode. Rotate the forearm section around (depending on which side you are forming). On the underside of the 's tail, push the connection piece down, then attach it to Onslaught's shoulder joint.

Leg Mode:
In the Generation One series, Vortex often formed an arm for Bruticus, even though his toy had the ability to form either an or a leg. With this iteration of the character, he can form a leg for the Combiner giant. Start with Vortex in . Split the cockpit section in the middle and swing in the machine gun. On the underside of the vehicle, grab hold if the brown part in the middle and pull it forward on the central hinge, elongating the body of the vehicle. Now swing each of the cockpit halves up and put them together. Push the tail of the vehicle forward to reveal the connection point and plug it into Onslaught (the side doesn't matter).

Weapon Combination
Each of the weapons included with the Combaticons combine with each other to form Bruticus' weapon. The steps below are the "official" combination but since they rely on 5mm pegs and holes, you can combine them however you wish.

  1.     Connect both of Vortex's blade weapons to the underside of the cannon barrels on Onslaught's weapon.
  2.     Attach Blast Off's weapons to the sides of Vortex's blades.
  3.     Attach the peg on the back of Brawl's weapon to the end of Swindle's weapon.
  4.     Attach the combined weapon from the last step to the hole in the center of Onslaught's weapon.
  5.     Use the peg on the underside of Onslaught's weapon and place it in either of Bruticus' hands.

Bruticus Review

In his most traditional (and game accurate) configuration Bruticus is arranged with Vortex and Blast Off forming arms while Swindle and Brawl form his legs. Since Bruticus is a "Scramble City" styled Combiner (meaning each of his limbs an be an arm or a leg) you can choose whichever combination you prefer, but my review will largely focus on this "traditional" combination.

The original Bruticus was composed of four smaller Combaticons forming limbs on a larger figure. In this case however, all the figures are about the same size. The result is a Combiner where the torso looks a bit small when compared to the size of the limbs. This is not so bad with regards to the legs, but when you use Blast Off as an arm he looks really out of proportion. Whereas Vortex reaches down to about the knees in length (which is already a bit long), Blast Off goes right past the knees and looks rather odd. That said, it's not a deal breaker. The arm may be too long, but it's also highly funtional, with a fist that can hold weapons and holes on the top and bottom near the wrists to attach more weapons. What it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in part with play value. You get more weapon attachment points on the sides of Vortex, allowing you to make Bruticus even more deadly.

The one high mark I have to give this figure is its stability. The connection points for the limbs are solid and the joints are ratchet joints, ensuring the arms and legs don't go flopping around all over the place. Add to that the artiulation points on Onslaught himself and you get a Bruticus that generally can bend and/or turn at all the major joints: shoulders, elbows, knees and even waist, which was a big surprise. Bruticus' stability is bolstered by the way his limbs all become very solid legs. Each one has a wide enough base that he can stand on it without a problem. I will say however that this stability doesn't translate directly into posability. Since he's not exactly symmetrical and rather large, you'll need to do quite a bit of fiddling to get him into any type of meaningful pose. Truth be told, the posability is mostly useful as play value (which is not necesarily a bad thing).

In terms of alternate configurations, I appreciate the ability to swap body parts. In this case, Blast Off makes a better leg than arm, and I like using Brawl as an arm because you get to use his cannons as extra weaponry for Bruticus. Swindle is a good arm, but I prefer him as a leg since he's wide and very stable.

Deco wise, this guy is a bit of a mash up. Onslaught is dark, but almost all the other Combaticons are brightly colored, even Brawl who is mostly a bright green color. Overall, this deco is meant to evoke the G1 version of Bruticus, but as you can see in the comparison photo G1 Bruticus is a lot darker in tone overall thanks to the shade of green used on Brawl and the dark colors on Blast Off and Vortex. All that said, the colors used here certainly match up with the video game very well. As I understand it, the mass releases of these figures will feature much brighter colors on all the Combations, so if you want the more "dark" and game accurate version, this is your best bet.

Functionally speaking, some have worried about the tabs that connect the joints to Onslaught potentially breaking, and I can understand this. To really snap into place (and I mean "snap") there are four tabs that attach to the joints on Onslaught. To do this, the tabs bend a bit and I think it goes against the grain to bend the tabs. I can't guarantee the tabs will never break, but during the course of this review (and fiddling around with the toys) I have taken apart and recombined Bruticus about ten times and I don't see any signs of stress on the plastic. Again, in time maybe they will break, but for now they've passed the test of being durable.

One small, but nice feature that I really appreciated was the undocumented ability for you to take Onslaught's dual barreled weapon and attach it to Bruticus' back. This gives him a similar look to G1 Bruticus, who had Onslaught's cannons on his back as well. This also allows you some extra weapon storage on his back via the holes on Onslaught's weapon. Coolness!

Final Thoughts:
While exciting, the combined form of Bruticus is far from a perfect toy. Odd proportions are the main problem. I almost found myself wishing that Onslaught was a Voyager Class figure some of the time. Still, there's no denying the G1 love here and the detail on this figure (both in paint and sculpt) is excellent. I also appreciate the stability and play value. If you can get the set at a reasonable price (meaning, not too far above its original $100 price tag) I'd say it's worth it. Keep in mind however that there are two other versions of Bruticus due out and a redeco/retool of the set so you'll have ample opportunity to own the sculpts. Recommended, with the aforementioned caveats.

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