Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Titans Return Legends Brawn

Titans Return Legends Brawn

Brawn is the last of the original six Mini Autobots to get a Legends toy and the journey to his release has been a long one. He first appeared on a Computer Listing in November 2013 which appeared in between the second Legends wave, Megatron & Starscream, and the third, Swerve & Cosmos. These listings contain a Hasbro product number, which can be found on a toy's packaging and frequently their instructions too, and the name of the product, often abbreviated to fit a limited length field. Generally, but not always, a similar product number indicates a toy will be released at the same time. There's lots of information in there but the sections we want cover the last two T30 Generations Legends Assortments. This section appears second, but we can assume it's earlier information because it's more divergent from what happened:


Already there's some confusion as to who A6686 is: is it Brawn, who could either be a new toy or a repaint of Swerve, or is it Cliffjumper, a likely repaint of Bumblebee? The Thundercracker listed here is probably a repaint of the Starscream which was on the shelves at the time. Lower down the list is Gears, who is likely to be a repaint of Swerve, and Gnaw, who is almost certainly a new toy.

However in the other block of listing things seem to have changed:



Brawn's gone as has Gnaw. Gears has swapped places with Cliffjumper and Nemesis Prime, an obvious Optimus Prime repaint replaces it. Thundercracker remains exactly where he was.

By the time these waves reached the shelves things had changed AGAIN with Thundercracker replaced by another Starscream repaint:

A6685 Acid Storm & Venin
A6686 Gears & Eclipse

A7804 Nemesis Prime & Spinister
A7805 Cliffjumper & Suppressor

We didn't have to wait long for Thundercracker, who was released without a Minicon companion in the first wave of Combiner Wars toys, but Gnaw & Brawn became legendary lost toys with each toy show or online toy reveal being greeted with disappointment when they didn't show up.

On the 5th February 2016 The Transmissions Podcast broadcast leaked information that Sharkticon Gnaw was coming. On the 25th of that month they leaked that a Titanmaster version of Brawn was coming, to much wailing and gnashing of teeth that that meant the end of the road for Legends Brawn. The Titanmaster Brawn was revealed on Saturday 9th March 2016 at Botcon 2016 but a couple of weeks later Transmission claimed that Legends Brawn was happening. Legends Sharkticon Gnaw was revealed on 21st July 2016 at SDCC 2016 and released as a Wave 3 Titans Return Legend in December that year. The Legends Brawn rumours rumbled on in the background, aided by a new computer listing, till he was finally revealed on October 5th 2016 at NYCC 2016 to much rejoicing from Transformers fans! Because we talked about them earlier I can show you that this Tweet from Radio Free Cybertron confirms Brawn's actual product number to be C1103 - click on the photo in the tweet and look at the bottom of the card above the Autobot logo.

Straight from the package Brawn looks exactly like his comic and cartoon appearance, mainly green, short and stocky. His chest is yellow, as are the lower arms but they're covered with silver paint so it's less obvious at first look but if you peak into the 5mm holes in his hands and on the outside of the arms it becomes obvious. The head is large and round, with a vaguely human face, again like the cartoon, instead of the visored & faceplated look the original Brawn toy had.

Brawn comes with a weapon in the form of something which looks like a shield, which comes mounted on the side of his arm. However check the details on it and there's 3 round marks moulded into one end, either gun barrels or missile tubes. There's a 5mm peg hole on the underside of it which means it can be hand held, mounted on his arm or, thanks to another hole on his back, worn as a backpack. The shield is a bit of an oddity as he's never used one before but while we're talking odd parts I draw your attention to the lower legs which are sloped from knee down to foot, not a feature commonly associated with Brawns. I suspect both these features are related and I'll explain why later.

Brawn's articulation is excellent, quite possibly the best for a toy of his size: his head turns, his knees bend and there's ball joints at the hips, shoulder and elbow. However it's the upper legs which really drew my attention because they have a thigh swivel joint. Yes, the action has been seen before on the toys with ball jointed knees, which turn as well as bend, but a purpose designed joint of this nature is I believe a first for the size class.

Transformation: Effectively the original Gears/Windcharger transformation: Bring the legs together and fold the lower legs over the back of the upper legs. Straighten the arms to the side, rotate each arm in 90° at the elbow then move them up & in at the shoulder. Put the vehicle down on it's wheels and put the shield over the very un Brawn like sloped rear.

The resulting vehicle toy looks just like the original Brawn, albeit with slightly more detailing. The tyre is still present on the roof and is now jointed by a 5mm hole, presumably to mount a gun on an Outback repaint. Like the other Legends toys this year he can have a Titanmaster drive him and it's a lot easier to access this feature on him than on Titans Return Legends Bumblebee: Simply lift the top of the vehicle up & forward and place the Titanmaster inside. I've found there's some clearance issues with the peg hole & Titanmaster's head but that's easily solved by tipping the toy upside down with the top just open, getting the Titanmaster's head behind the peg hole's shaft and closing the roof. Since there's already been a Titanmaster Brawn that makes him the ideal driver for this vehicle, as this picture shows. Titanmaster Brawn's Gun accessory can then be mounted on the roof. Since the Titanmaster's compartment is a solid unit, unlike those on Bumblebee or Wheelie which fold up during transformation, you can leave the Titanmaster in the toy in robot and give him the Titanmaster gun accessory to wield in this mode too.

Love this toy. Easily the best Legend since 2014's Swerve and enhanced by it's interactivity with the previously released Titanmaster. You want to buy this toy.

Brawn was released in Titans Return Legends Wave 5 at 3 per case alongside 3 lots of Titans Returns Roadburn, Bumblebee's repaint, and, somewhat inexplicably, 2 more of Bumblebee himself who most people thought was overpacked in the previous wave and should have been replaced by more of the massively in demand army builder Gnaw.

Future Repaints

If you've done Brawn you should automatically do his original repaint Outback even if you have to call him Fallback for copyright reasons.

However Brawn's removable shield bring to our attention some interesting possibilities. As highlighted above the shield piece is a bit odd and the only reason I can think it's there as a removable item would be if you want to remove it later. This gallery in the TFW2005 review thread provides a hint in this photo which shows the shield removed. With the shield gone the rear of the vehicle looks like a pickup truck with a sloped load in it. These piece translate themselves into his sloped leg fronts, not a feature commonly associated with Brawn. However both the pickup truck with load and sloped legs are associated with his Minibot colleague Gears who, as we saw earlier, took Brawn's original Legends product number. There was some supposition at the time that that Brawn, like Gears, would be a Swerve repaint - is this Brawn returning the favour? Although virtually everyone loves Swerve I can remember that there was some dissatisfaction with the head on Gears for being far too small. Is this an opportunity to sort that problem and give us a Gears with a decent head that a Titanmaster can ride in?

The release of Titans Returns Roadburn, a new version of Chase, has started modern remakes of the Throttlebots. Could Brawn be remade as Rollbar, who looks to me to effectively be a 1987 replacement version of the original Brawn anyway!

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