My favourite combiner character by far is Bruticus.
I don’t know why, he has almost no personality, is usually portrayed as equally incompetent and stupid in battle. Maybe it’s that he is made out of kick ass military vehicles and is pretty much a giant walking weapon.
Whatever the reason, I don’t mind owning multiple versions of Bruticus from just about any toy line. I don’t own any of the high end third party ones, but a hodge podge mix of official Hasbro stuff and a couple of naughty knock off’s.
When the Transformers Combiner Wars toyline was announced, I hoped they would do a decent Bruticus. Stupid crappy torso’s and floppy limbs aside (that affect the entire line) I was pleasantly surprised by how damn cool he is. Even with all the various official and third party Bruticus toys around, the look of this CW version is easily my favourite.
Which is why I bought a second set, to be able to have the Combaticons in bot mode alongside the gestalt. Then when a cheap KO turned up, I bought a third version to display them in all three modes at the same time, and fourth version with the cheap knock off of the G2 redeco.
While simple toys, the CW Hasbro toys have some really nice molded in details in the vehicle modes, and the paint is decent if nothing too special.
I really like all the vehicles for the Combaticons except for Onslaught – it looks rather derpy as this long plank thing with kibble all over the top. Hidey hand fists at the front much?
Brawl and Swindle however are beautiful, even if the tanks turret sadly does not rotate. You won’t have time to notice when he runs you over mercilessly like a Boss Bot.
TURNS OUT STARSCREAM IS A BIT OF A WANKER
The Combaticons first appeared in the episode Starscream’s Brigade and were given life by Starscream who traveled to Cybertron first and grabbed some circuit brain module energon kinda thing out of a drawer, and used them to give life to some old war era rusty junkers. I guess he likes his customs. I took my toys outside today despite being over 30 damn degrees / 90 Fahrenheit.
Of all the Special Teams, I’m most pleased with the Combaticons in all three modes. I love the robot modes and combined form, the only let down in vehicle mode is Onslaught, who looks more like a slug or caterpillar than his old flatbed military truck look.
The others I am very happy with, and while many dislike Blast-Off being a jet instead of a space shuttle, a damn space shuttle never made any kind of sense in the team. A jet can provide support to a tank or helicopter, but a shuttle it just ridiculous and stupid, it’s not going to be flying at low altitude into combat.
If you were designing a team of military vehicles from scratch, you would not include a space shuttle. But the Diaclone designs came first, so they had to shoehorn a damn space shuttle into the Transformers show, giving rise to many jokes and memes about Blast Off’s inconsistent scale.
I’m glad we still got a shuttle Blast-Off in the Takara Unite Warriors line, but I’ll be damned if I’m buying an overpriced set or the Hasbro online exclusive single release just to get him. No thanks. He does look lovely though.
I’M PUTTING A TEAM TOGETHER
Lined up, the Combaticons make a great looking military team with some nice contrasting colors, great looking head sculpts, decent weapons, fun transformations and a cool combined mode is the cream on the top.
Onslaught is probably my favourite of the bunch, that head with classic red visor, the chest and shoulders just look excellent and the little circuitry panel on his chest with added detail really pops. His muted navy blue and dark olive color scheme is to die for.
Here you can see I’ve cropped the animation images / model sheets so we can get a look at the team heads and upper bodies.
…and the rather sombre looking motley crew we get in the Combiner Wars versions, with head sculpts and overall looks surprisingly faithful to the animation.
Brawl and Swindle I’ve probably messed about with the most, I don’t know why I just find their vehicle and robot modes so much fun. Plus Swindle has extra ports on him allowing for some crazy fun weapon combinations.
Blast Off and Vortex both look really great in their colors and overall aesthetics. Both are quite fun to transform too. It’s a shame we didn’t get more of the Blast Off jet version recolored into various Seekers.
So many fans wanted those Seekers decos but we just kept getting weird foreign releases like Ghost Starscream instead, and of course we had the Aerialbots, which I totally missed out on at retail. I would have loved to get the jet toy redone as Seekers, Coneheads and Rainmakers, with the Cyclonus/Silverbolt torso redone in Starscream colors to combine with. Seems obvious doesn’t it?
Here is the animated version of Onslaught’s original vehicle mode. Both the cartoon and G1 toy had the flat part at the back where you could have another of the Combaticons in vehicle mode. Too bad you can’t do that with the Combiner Wars version, as it was one of my favourite features of the original. Instead of a cool gun turret, we get stupid combiner kibble as Onslaught is a retool of Hot Spot who is a firetruck – but it’s a small price to pay for a kick-ass looking Bruticus.
I WILL KILL YOU AND TAKE YOUR POWER
Getting these rough and tumble lads combined, there are a few fun options for how you can display him. All the limbs can be swapped around of course, and you can even buy doubles if you want two tank legs or two helicopter arms or anything like that.
Here I’ve got my Hasbro Bruticus (left) with third party chunky feet and my naughty knock off version (right) showing off the standard feet. I’ve also posed the shoulder bits differently, giving him a subtle but different elongated look. Plus clipped on weapons from other toys as well as his proper ones.
I’ve tried out a few different ways of displaying my Hasbro Bruticus, this one is one of favourites with a bunch of weapons clipped together to make a sort of gun-arm like how arms transform in the movies or Transformers Prime. I chucked in some back cannons from another toy, and gave him a kind of short sword / dagger on his other arm, and weapons out the wazoo clipped all over him.
Another thing I added later was the small scale Shockwave that was designed to fit in his hand, just like in the episode where he used Shockwave as a gun.
Then I thought hey, why not add some more until you have Tri-Wielding. And I notice more than a few people in my part of the world copied my idea after I posted this picture online (not that it wasn’t an obvious idea to start with).
With the official toys you got some dodgy pack in comics, which I later gave away to another collector for their kid to read (along with about twenty more other ones). I thought it would be a fun display option, and had them up for a while on the shelf like this.
When I see these free crappy pack in comics for sale on ebay, I swear like really really loud every time in genuine shock. Don’t buy them! Jesus fuck. They’re worthless.
That’s about it for PART#2 of my Combiner Wars / Special Teams series. Coming up we’ll take a look at some stunning fan custom CW toys, and later on I’ll touch on some of my other versions of the Combaticons and Bruticus for shits ‘n giggles.