Transformers Brawl
Transformers Brawl
Transformers Brawl
Transformers Brawl

Brawl was involved in one of the first film's centrepiece action sequences, an extended battle sequence on the streets of Mission City where the Decepticon first battled Ironhide, Ratchet and Jazz before taking on Lennox's troops and then finally being taken down by a tow-truck mounted Bumblebee. The onscreen character was actually named Devastator - by all accounts a place-holding character name that someone involved in the film liked enough to keep it. For the toyline the thing was named Brawl, which I'm going for - it keeps things simple (what with a totally different Devastator showing up in Revenge of the Fallen) and suits the tank a little better this way. Plus, y'know, my site and everything.

Brawl was available at two price points - Deluxe and Leader (being the only release from the first film at this size that wasn't an actual leader). There was probably a Legends figure but for the sake of clarity I'm only talking about toys worth the name. Both the Deluxe and the Leader were eventually recoloured in desert tones, and given some spurious biography claiming the character wasn't actually blown apart and then buried at sea as seen by millions of viewers. Instead he somehow drove to the desert and got a new paint job from one of the many respray outlets there that repaint crew-less tanks and then hung around there doing, I dunno, something, just buy the bloody figure, kids.


With the exception of Megatron the film largely stuck to real vehicles as alternate modes. However, for Brawl (as with Bonecrusher) they did cheat a little for dramatic effect. The tank mode is based loosely on an M1 Abrams but is apparently a further modified version fictional Stealth Tank from the (abysmal) film xXx: State of the Nation. Adornments include a secondary turret, minesweeping skirts on the front and auxiliary fuel tanks on the back (that's what the black bits are meant to be, anyway). Thus Brawl is incredibly well-armed, mounting six weapons in this mode. The Leader size class gives the thing a real imposing bulk, too.

The tank mode is pretty solid and secure, most bits clipping firmly into place. The only thing really spoiling the look is the hole just in front of the main turret that contains the head - you can push the head down or even turn it around to de-accentuate this, but it's still a little obvious. However, where Brawl's alternate mode really wins out is the fun factor. Firstly, what with the two rotating turrets and the electronics, there's actually a fair bit to do with the tank mode itself. Best of all though, while the thing might not be in actual scale with the Autobot toys it fought in the film (Deluxe Jazz, Voyager Ratchet, Voyager Ironhide, Deluxe Concept Bumblebee) it's close enough to fool the eye, and makes for some great display or play set-pieces. The mode's only other weak point are the twin guns on the smaller turret. These were made to fall off rather than break - a laudable plan, but they do tend to fall off a little too easily.


Brawl has possibly the best transformation of the whole live action line. It's not as complicated as some but it does have rather a marvellous flow, especially the neat folding of the tracks and sides of the tank, which then compact down onto the back of the robot's legs. It's nicely done - the only slight trick being the weapons packs that mount on the forearms tend to pop off occasionally during transformation, but this isn't a big problem. The robot itself is a big, bulky thuggish thing bristling with weapons and it looks terrific. I especially like the malevolent little head he's got. The colours work well, with enough black and grey parts to break up the green and stop him just being an indistinct mass.

On top of this, there's a lot to do with him in this mode as well. The articulation isn't as expansive as for some smaller figures - the backs of his legs restrict the knees a little, while the head can only move slightly. However in return he's got guns. Lots of guns. The main turret provides a large cannon on Brawl's right hip while the small rocket launchers from the secondary turret move up to point over the shoulders (though they don't really lock into place very well, and tend to slant down). Best of all are the little Automorph packs on the forearms. The right-hand one has a four-barrel cannon, the gunsight for which pops up automatically. On the other side there's a double-blade that flips into position when a panel is slid back. Of course, this would leave Brawl dangerously light on armament, so there's a little chain-gun that can be moved up as well. Between this and his sheer stature, Brawl is great fun for either playing or displaying with a bunch of smaller Autobots mobbed around. So it captures the film character perfectly.


All in all I've yet to find another Movie figure that covers all the bases quite this well. Brawl looks good in both modes, isn't needlessly overcomplicated, has gimmicks that complement rather than compromise the design, is packed with things to do and is just generally a joy to handle. The only slight drawback is that the original was an expensive toy for such a minor character and thus didn't sell that well. So on the second-hand market he can cost a bit - but he's worth it, he really is.