In 1984, Hasbro introduced children to Transformers, a toy franchise that spawned a cartoon series, comic book, and live-action film. The toys were robotic action figures capable of converting into vehicles or other everyday objects. Through the years, several characters and their toy incarnations came and went. Now with the Transformers Universe toy line, Hasbro brings back a few classic characters with updated toy designs.
Brawn of the original 1984 Transformers cartoon and Generation I (G1) toy line is one of those lucky characters that the Transformers Universe toy line revived. The G1 Brawn toy was part of the Mini-Vehicle line, which was a low-end price point Transformers toy line. Hasbro phased Brawn out of production after his character died during the 1986 Transformers animated film. Now in 2009, Brawn is back as part of the Transformers Universe toy line as a Legends Class figure. The Legends Class is the Transformers toy line with a low-end price point between $3.99 to $4.99 in most retail stores. Thanks to advances in toy technology, Universe Brawn features a few cosmetic and functional changes compared with the G1 Brawn.
Universe Brawn comes packaged in his Robot Mode and most of his features from his G1 incarnation are present. Both have green legs and matching green covering their gray arms. Both have yellow chests with the Autobot insignia. Both Brawns have a head shaped like a dome. And both feature most of their Alternate Mode unceremoniously strapped onto their backs.
Most of the upgrades for Universe Brawn are present in his Robot Mode. For one thing, he actually has a face. The G1 Brawn only had a slit for eyes in a gray helmet. It made things easier to animate for the cartoon. Now the Universe Brawn has a stern face while wearing a gray helmet. Universe Brawn now also features articulation and joints in his limbs. His arms and legs rotate thanks to ball joints. He can bend his knees, but they bend in the opposite angle. His elbows do not bend, but at least he can do some poses. While flawed, he is an improvement over the original Brawn.
Like the G1 Brawn, Universe Brawn converts into a small green land cruiser resembling an SUV. All the wheels, including the spare tire in the rear, rotate. He has a detailed gray front grill and some black tinted windows.
While Universe Brawn’s Robot Mode felt like an improvement, his Alternate Mode feels like a step backwards. While G1 Brawn’s Robot Mode was pretty much a tiny brick with legs and even tinier hands, its Alternate Mode convincingly looked like a tiny land cruiser. As long as it was not flipped over, none of G1 Brawn’s Robot Mode parts were exposed. Universe Brawn’s Achilles heel and his entire leg section are the weak points of his Alternate Mode. His feet are exposed behind the rear tires. When viewed from above, the gray parts forming his legs and hip are visible on the roof. They worked hard at painting the windshield and most of the side windows black. But the rear windows, which are part of the legs in Brawn’s Robot Mode, remain green like the rest of the SUV. It is like the painting department forgot to finish doing the legs.
All in all, Universe Brawn is a decent upgrade compared to G1 Brawn. As a robot figure he plays well with other Legends Class figures. While his Alternate Mode could use some improvement, he is still a fun little SUV. He serves his purpose as a reminder to the original G1 Transformers toys.