Since we got a tiny Titan Masters toy last year, it seemed unlikely that Titans ReturnBrawn would arrive so soon - if at all. We had a much smaller Legends-class toy (Legion-class by modern standards) almost 10 years ago, back when that seemed like it would be the standard "minibot" scale. Since 2014, Hasbro shifted the likes of Swerve, Bumblebee, Warpath, and the rest to this larger 4-inch robot size - and they've done a good job updating most of them. (I'd argue no to Warpath, Huffer, and Pipes.) Brawn is one of the better ones, if not the best one - it's a bigger toy than the G1 original, easier to transform, and basically more fun. Unfortunately it's also a toy with kibble that you can lose, which I see as a nasty flaw on an otherwise perfect toy. But yeah, you need this one.
As always, the Legends-class Brawn clocks in at about 4-inches tall - but the head sculpt and deco are inspired by the cartoon. Hasbro generally teeters between the toy and the TV show for inspiration, but sometimes we see comic art or other inspirations creep in along the edges. With a dark grey helmet and silver face, it's a picture right out of 1984. The robot deco is closer in line to the original toy with a yellow chest and dark green vehicle shell. The original G1 toy had these weird bent spindly claw chrome arms, and while distinctive I never really cared for them. The new toy has big silver fists and forearms, just like on the TV show. A bright Autobot symbol in the middle of his body almost looks like a sticker, and the legs are basically just green plastic. It's good. It's not going to "wow" you, but there's nothing to disappoint a long-time fan with its 13 points of articulation. The one thing I don't like about it is that there's a panel with a spare tire that has to go somewhere. By default, it's pegged to the forearm. You can also mount it on the robot back. You can't pretend it's a weapon, and it'd be easy to lose. It's more of a liability here, I wish they could have made a panel that flipped out of the leg instead.
The range of motion is fantastic, as Brawn can easily look like he's punching somebody or put his hands on his hips. As this kind of robot toy goes, it's almost infuriatingly fantastic - it's not like Bumblebee who has slightly awkward arms, or Wheelie where getting the robot chest to hold together can be fiddly. This is just so simple and perfect, you wish they could all be just like him.
Transformation is easily the easiest I've seen in ages. The legs fold into the back of the car, with a panel that rests over it. The arms fold up next to the head, but don't do that until you've rotated the fists in. And that's it. It's basically the easiest transformation I may have seen in years.
The vehicle mode is very good, but it's a departure from previous takes. The colors are right and the basic elements are all there, but it's not quite as boxy or tall as the original toy. The weird spare tire panel fits snuggly over the back of the off-road vehicle, and if I didn't know better I'd say this toy could potentially be a stealth pre-sculpt for a new Swerve, Outback, or someone else - there's enough of a formed, different vehicle under the panel. The wheels spin adequately, unpainted and as good as wheels can get on a toy of this size these days. A couple of boxes are painted, as are some silver bits and most of the windows. I'm willing to bet someone ran the abacus and decided against painting the window parts that wound up on the feet.
Just to have a complete collection of Minibots the same size, Brawn (and Seaspray) are required purchases this year. We'll still need a new Beachcomber and Outback, but on the whole Hasbro has done a fine job replicating these in a new, modern size. I'd plotz if they gave us a new set based on the e-Hobby Minibots, which I've been lobbying for the few times I get a chance, but have failed consistently. So you people go ask. In the meantime, go buy Brawn - it may be the best Legends Minibot remake yet, plus I didn't even mention the fact that you can have a Titan Masters mini robot sit inside him. You can have Brawn inside Brawn - and the best part is that technically, it's not really cheating. Go spend the $10 (or more), it's perfect.
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