Friday, August 6, 2010

Transformers Then and Now: Brawn

The Legends class of figures has often been neglected by retailers.  This is more than a little unfortunate, since it has been a venue for reimagining some of the more obscure characters from the early days of Transformers history.  Cosmos and Warpath were both characters originally used in the 1985, but Brawn goes back to the very first series of Transformers toys from 1984, and the recent 2008 Legends version was the first new-mold use of that character since then (although the name can be argued to have been used in the interim--for what it's worth, I also consider the recent 2010 movie toy to be a different character).

Pictured on the left is the original 1984 toy, while the 2008 version is on the right.  As has been common with many of the "updated" versions of old characters in recent years, the 2008 version transforms into a somewhat different type of vehicle than the 1984 version--more Hummer-like than Jeep/Land Cruiser-fusion.  Even so, the color scheme helps create the basic feel that this indeed the same character (well, mostly.  It is a rather different kind of green).

One can easily see the effort that went into homaging various aspects of Brawn's 1984 toy in the 2008 version.  Not just in the coloration, but also in various molded details.  One significant difference between the toys is the design of the head.  Brawn's 1984 toy was, of course, originally created for the non-Transformers Microman line, and his Transformers character model was heavily modified for the cartoon and comic (as was the case with nearly all of those first couple of years' worth of toys).  Thus, the 1984 toy's head looks much less expressive than the version we came to know as Brawn in most of the fiction.  The 2008 toy attempts to capture the basic look of the character model, yet for some reason gave him a black face and white helmet, where the character model would have been more faithfully represented had they done the reverse.  Oh, well....

One other clear homage in the figure is in the vehicle mode, but it can't really be appreciated in the front-on shots above.  If you turn the 2008 version around, however, you can see that it was given a spare tire, much as the 1984 version has on top of the vehicle.  It's a small touch, to be sure, but I really do appreciate the effort that went into creating these updates.  I just wish that more stores carried them when they were being made.  Despite traveling to every Rite Aid (the only chain that was carrying Legends at this point in time) I could find in the area (I haven't kept count, but this is well over a dozen different stores), I never did find this toy on the shelves, and ultimately got it from eBay using some eBay Bucks I'd saved up.  I'd love it if Hasbro would just straight-out reissue this wave (as they've done for similar figures in the past.  Perhaps through Big Lots?), but I'm not holding my breath.

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