Monday, September 10, 2012

Transformers FOC Bruticus

Presenting the Transformers Fall of Cybertron (FOC) Bruticus AKA the Decepticon Combaticons. The Combaticons owe their existence to Starscream and his driving ambition to become the leader of the Decepticons. The Combaticons were built as an army to serve Starscream and hid the fact that they had the gestalt power to form Bruticus until the Constructicons showed up and formed Devastator. Bruticus beat the crap out of Devastator but was taken down from behind by Menosaur - the Stunticons.

Hence you will find animosity between Stunticons and Combaticons. In fact their hatred for each other is supposed to be greater than the hatred the Combaticons have for the Autobot Protectobots - their chief rivals.

What's so interesting about FOC Bruticus is that he's actually built mostly out of some of the most disturbed Decepticons around. They need therapy. Except for their leader Onslaught who is a cunning leader and tactician. It's actually ironic that the Combaticons' gestalt Bruticus is a berserk who has to be told what to do. If he had Onslaught's brain, he would be far, far deadlier.





Fall of Cybertron Combaticon Blast Off

Let's kick things off with the Transformers Fall of Cybertron Decepticon Blast Off. FOC Blast Off's blister card reads "Blast off disguises the horrible loneliness he feels behind utter contempt for anyone who can't reach orbit under their own power. From his isolated position in orbit, he can fry any Autobots his comrades designate with powerful x-ray lasers, or descend to join his fellows in forming the mighty Decepticon Bruticus."

The Combaticon known as Blast Off was originally molded after the NASA Space Shuttle. Today he looks like a steam-punk rocket plane. If I'm right I think I saw something that looked like FOC Blast Off in the movie "Serenity" piloted by the cannibalistic Reavers.

Frankly in Rocket Plane mode I'm not so sure how long something like FOC Blast Off can fly given that he looks like he has a combustion powered engine but not enough room for fuel.

While FOC Blast Off looks solid and colorful as a steam-punk plane, he, sadly, from behind and from the back seriously lacks detailing and looks empty, vulnerable and about to fall apart - actually almost like a squatting frog.

In robot mode, FOC Blast Off is far more solid and has shoulder pauldrons to die for - you wouldn't want to be rammed by something that solid looking especially since it's festooned with blades. He's also extremely flexible which is cool - as are the dual X-Ray pistols he weilds.

The downside is that he can't move his whole arms forward (above the elbow) without the pauldrons moving out of the way and onto his back. The arms are also empty from behind and his solid, rigid legs that lack actual feet make it difficult for FOC Blast Off to be posed.

He also cannot twist at the waist which is typical of most Transformers, but he can kneel.


Fall of Cybertron Combaticon Brawl

Next up is the Transformers Fall of Cybertron Decepticon Brawl. FOC Brawl's blister card reads "It's possible that the rage that drives Decepticon Bruticus to his untold feats of destruction is contained entirely within Decepticon Brawl. Barely contained at the best of times, this brutal 'bot's anger is unleashed on the battlefield, turning him into the eye of a storm of devastation."  Probably one of nicest blister cards I've ever read.

It's so poetic how he's classified as a "the eye of a storm of devastation" especially since the eye of a storm is calm.

Anyway, the Combaticon Brawl now transforms not into the  Leopard Tank into a smaller version of the Cybertronian Hover Tank that Megatron Transforms into in the War of Cybertron video-game.

It's a solid transformation, but kinda small and puny.


Unlike FOC Blast Off, FOC Brawl is far more solid from top to bottom. His cannon may not be as big as Megatron's, but it does - as seen above - rotate, and you can attach his pistol making it a tri-barreled turret versus Megatron's single punch (Though I forgot to attach the pistol)


In robot mode, FOC Brawl's saddest portion is pretty apparent - that tail on his back and the fact that his turret is suddenly useless. It would have been really great if those two cannons could come into play. Instead the big-angry Brawl is left fighting with the smallest weapon that the Combaticons have - a puny pistol. And the "tail" on his back prevents FOC Brawl from kneeling, limits his poseability and constantly gets into the way of his legs - plus his feet are puny and won't take any weight. No wonder he's so angry.

The nicest part about FOC Brawl is that he actually has the ability to move his arms inward towards his torso thanks to the swivels on his chest - even though it seems strange that someone so angry would want to aim.


Fall of Cybertron Combaticon Onslaught

Presenting the Decepticon Combaticon Leader Onslaught. FOC Onslaught's blister card reads "Onslaught believes precision and planning are the keys to success. He spends hours devising battle plans, considering contingencies, deliberating troop disposition before committing his forces to battle. Once the fight is joined, however, no robot is a fiercer fighter."


It's nice to know that Onslaught's personality hasn't changed over the years - though it really is weird how all that calculating and thinking disappears when the gestalt happens and the Bruticus personality takes over. Perhaps because he's the only sane person of the group he's overridden by all the crazy.

Sadly, FOC Onslaught no longer transforms into an anti-aircraft truck, but into a shadow of Optimus Prime with fixed cannons that don't elevate and point down most of the time.



As you can see above, his front is solid, but his back is open and fugly.


That fugliness continues to his back when he transforms into robot mode. When FOC Onslaught transforms into robot mode, he's only slightly taller than the rest of the Combaticons and strangely, his dual cannons cannot be mounted on the back - so he has to hold them instead.

On the plus side, he's solid and highly poseable - he can turn his waist. The bad news is that his chest looks so big that he constantly looks like he's about to keel over and has a really, really tiny waist.

But if you ignore the tiny girlish waist and the missing back, he does come across looking authoritative and in charge - God knows the Combaticons need some stability.




Fall of Cybertron Combaticon Swindle

Presenting the Decepticon Combaticon Swindle. FOC Swindle's blister card reads "To the other Combaticons, the war with the Autobots is an epic clash for the fate of the universe. To Swindle, it' a business opportunity. While his teammates relish the frenzy of destruction they cause as Decepticon Bruticus, Swindle quietly calculates how much he can get for selling all the scrap metal that'll be lying around afterward. 

Well at least not all of the Combaticons are crazy. This one is actually motivated. By Greed, but at least he's motivated.

Swindle no longer transforms into a prototype military FMC XR311 (The Humvee worked out better). And instead transforms into a souped up Cybertronian Troop Transport - why would a race of robots that can transform into vehicles need a troop transport?


 

Happily Combaticon Swindle is pretty solid in transport mode and you can mount his single pistol on top to become a rotating turret.



Sadly that's where all the fun ends. When you transform FOC Swindle into robot mode, don't be deceived by the "Big-Body" All you have to do is turn him around and you'll see he's practically bones behind that armored facade.

True it kinda feels like that's just him being true to his namesake - Swindle (Maybe he sold his parts?). But it also makes me feel cheated. Really cheated and makes FOC Swindle feel cheap.  Of the five figures in this group, he's the one that I really dislike the most.

Articulation is so-so. Didn't really play around much with him because he feels cheap. Plus he's painted in such a bright yellow color it's so... un-Decepticon like.



Fall of Cybertron Combaticon Vortex

Last but not the least, the Combaticon Vortex. FOC Vortex's Blister Card reads "Few Autobots fear a fight against Vortex. What they fear is being captured and at his mercy. He uses magnetic grapples to haul helpless captives high into the sky. There he treats them to a terrifying series of swoops, loops and fives before dropping them to their doom."


Well... I can think of more horrible ways to die. I was thinking that perhaps FOC Vortex liked to cut up Autobots or something, but no, he treats them to a roller-coaster then drops them. Not so bad.

FOC Vortex transforms into a Cybetronian Assault Chopper - which were quite easy to destroy in the War of Cybertron video-game, but I suppose yes, they were irritating. Originally he transformed into a UH-60 Black Hawk.


FOC Vortex's blades unfortunately are quite small. I doubt if they could support him. And he has no tail rotor so if he ever did take off, FOC Vortex would spin in circles.



The ugliest part about FOC Vortex's robot mode is his feet which look like they're about to break at the knees. But his transformation is pretty solid and he's the most gladiatorial looking of the Combaticons thanks to his skirt.

Placing FOC Vortex's sword by the way in both hands creates some awkwardness with the character thanks to his folded rotor blades. But it actually is possible to put both blades into his free hand so that he has a double bladed sword and a pair of claws by which to fight with - which also makes him look far more intimidating and deadly.

As you can see, FOC Vortex's articulation and poseability are excellent:



Which bring us to the Fall of Cybertron Bruticus. 

The Combaticons gestalt to form Bruticus - a slightly mentally challenged berserker who sadly has to be told what to do.
Go! Go! Power Rangers!!!!



This is probably the longest review I've ever done in the Dungeon and in hindsight, maybe breaking up the Combaticons and Bruticus into two reviews would have been more practical, but we're here so we might as well get to it.

I have to say that I agreed a lot with a lot of FOC Bruticus critics when the Combaticons started flooding the market in limited quantities. I even considered reselling him. But the more I got to play with him - actually the second time I assembled him, he started to grow on me. And while I do know that 3rd party manufacturers are probably out there assembling "upgrades" for FOC Bruticus, I still kinda like him - as is. If you're looking for means to "shorten" his arms and legs, this is not where you will find him. It's a popular criticism of him, but I think that his long arms and legs are a part of his charm.

What's to like about the Transformer FOC Bruticus?

He's big. And I mean REALLY big. Here he is with the FOC Shockwave, War of Cybertron Megatron & Soundwave, War of Cybertron Optimus Prime,  and the Powercore Combiner Grimstone and the Dinobots for size comparisons. Standing approximately 1 foot tall, I actually now know why the FOC figures are slightly smaller than their War of Cybertron variants - they all make Bruticus even bigger.


Look behind me? As if I'm going to fall for that!!!!
Now he's not the most stable of Transformers and there are issues with his joint flexibility, the ability of his shoulders and hips to lock into place, but if you can work around these, the Transformers Fall of Cybertron Bruticus looks really good and can be quite poseable (He can twist his waist) and nice to look at:



You can combine all of the Combaticons weapons to create a "Sonic Canon" - though if I remember correctly, Bruticus just liked to smash things with his hands. You can also pull out Vortex's nosegun to replace his rather useless hand.



What's NOT to like about the Transformer FOC Bruticus?


The problem is in the details. I've mentioned that FOC Bruticus has locking issues with his hips and shoulders. His hips are locked in place by small studs and mine are starting to whiten. His shoulders... I'm not sure what locks Onslaught's "shoulders" into place, but the weight is enough to send them spinning.

Further both of FOC Bruticus hands are horrible and useless. I tried to have him lift something and, no, he could not grasp another Transformer. I have a feeling future 3rd party groups will again focus on new hands - especially the one in permanent karate-chop position (Vortex's)

But most of the problem is actually with Onslaught. He's tiny. He should be bigger and if you think about it, FOC Bruticus does not have long arms and legs, he has a small torso. You also see that when his weapons are mounted on his back, you can see the fact that they are hollow, so keeping them there is... fugly.



Another problem - also related to FOC Onslaught and the tiny torso - is that it also makes FOC Bruticus really thin and lanky. Plus he looks horrible from the back. So 3rd Party groups might think about making him a nice back-pack or replacing Onslaught completely.


The last thing that I don't like about this Combaticon set is the packaging. There's something weird and condescending about being told on the front of each Combaticon's packging "Build Giant Robot!" We're not stupid Hasbro. We don't have to be talked down to.

This particular set of Combaticons was purchased from a very lovely sales lady in Toys R' Us in Powerplant Mall in Makati here in the Philippines at the retail price of PhP 699.75 each. It was purchased on a Wednesday days after limited sets were released into the local market. The reason it was available was  because some hoarder came by the store when it was released, reserved it and said he'd be back.

Guess he didn't come back in time.

We should point out that this is NOT the G2 Bruticus available on Amazon for US$ 130 (PhP 5,590 plus shipping), nor is this the SDCC 2012 exclusive that's available for US$ 325 (PhP 13, 975 plus shipping). The Combaticons are currently available on Amazon for US$ 24.95 each (PhP 1,073 plus shipping). Except for FOC Vortex who strangely will set you back US 28.95 (PhP 1,245 plus shipping).

Bruticus grows on you.


3 comments:

  1. Great review! I had high hopes for this, but after seeing several reviews and looking at the first wave of FOC figures on shelves, I decided to cancel my preorder for the G2 version. I think the Combaticons work best as limbs, they seem more solid, but Onslaught really needed to be a Voyager or big Deluxe to make Bruticus look good.

    Ideally, I'd pick these up during a sale (or clearance), but I'm interested to see what a third party company comes up with to improve Bruticus overall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yes I agree. Onslaught is the problem here. He's waaay too small to hold them together. The arms are fine. So yes, I'm sooo looking for a 3rd party improvement to him and to Bruticus in general.

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  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mUGDizA-9s

    that's how my bruticus look like.

    ReplyDelete

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