Saturday, 31 January 2015

Microblaze Creations MBC002 Military Titans Review

Microblaze Bruticus

In the midst of a renaissance for combining Transformers, there is one forgotten toy who has sadly drifted to the back of everyone's shelves.

Bruticus was released in 2012 and was a long awaited return to the world of Combiners for Hasbro. Sadly, they chose to release it during a time they were cutting costs so the end result was at best bloody rubbish.
It felt cheap, all of the team members suffered in different ways and Onslaught was a poorly thought out Deluxe class toy when he really needed to be Voyager.

So it sucked, and despite 8 million repaints it did not really capture the fans imagination.
What a shame it was.

So here we are now, in 2015, and Hasbro has returned to combiners with the acclaimed Combiner Wars toyline - and have gotten everything right so far.

Dragging Bruticus destroyed carcass back into the limelight, Microblaze Creations is a new 3rd party company who have decided they needed to fix the Combaticons set.
So did they give us the Bruticus we need, or the one we deserve.

Well, sort of both - so click the button below to read the review.




FOC Vortex Blast Off Microblaze upgrades

Let us start by taking a look at the extra pieces that are part of the set, and are designed to improve each individual Combaticon.

Blast Off and Vortex get....guns.

Fall of Cybertron Vortex

Giant guns.

In this mode there is not much to say about them, beyond they are massive and look cool, but are a bit too big for them.
So that is something to talk about then - box ticked.


FOC Brawl Microblaze military titans upgrades

In stark contrast Brawl gets the most upgrades by far. He gets a new waist piece to bulk him out, brand new hands and even new feet.

The best part of these upgrades is none of them need removing to transform Brawl, and they greatly improve him. The new bigger feet add stability to a figure that was previously quite back heavy, and as they are on ball joints they greatly expand the range of posing you can get out of him.

FOC Brawl tank Microblaze upgrades

The huge back pack gives him an armoury that should be able to crack the planet in half, and gives him two wicked rifles to hold. Yes it does counter the new feets ability to stop him being back heavy, but you can always take the backpack off and use it as ground based weaponry, or there is even a peg so he can hold it in his hands.

FOC Swindle microblaze military titans head

Swindle gets a critical upgrade that manages to add quite a few improvements with just one piece.

He gains a new chest section, which pegs onto what was his back which if you own the figure you know was ridiculous in its hollowness. So that means his original chest now forms a back, correcting this problem, whilst his new chest is far more in proportion and looks tons better.

There is also a brand new head attached to the chest on a ball joint that is so much better than the original with a lovely painted visor and face, the shape is much improved and fits the game and Swindle way better.
No more stupid fat head.

He also gains two rifles which are...less successful but still work better than the one he came with.

microblaze foc swindle

Alt mode gives Swindle a turret section, which is formed by attaching all of the new pieces to the top of the car, by pegging them into the side of his gun.
So the extra pieces don't really replace the original gun, as you need to keep it to form this mode. I

I really like how this mode is improved, as before Swindle looked like a quad bike. This makes him look like a roaming tank unit which is really cool and more befitting a Combaticon.

It is great that Microblaze took the time and effort to make them fit in each mode. They could have just made them add on pieces that only work in the combined mode, and the rest of the time you shove them off to the side but they made a big effort to make them much more than that.

That Swindle and Brawl are upgraded to such a degree is excellent, and transforms (ha!) both figures.

Onslaught

Truck Mode

microblaze military titans onslaught

He does not appear to have a name, beyond "Military Titan" - so I am just going to call him Onslaught. Because that is who he is.

Onslaughts alt mode is that of a Cybertronian tank/truck...thing. To me it kinda resembles a rolling fist.

Microblaze have recreated the version from the game much more accurately than Hasbro did and it does a good job of being that more.

microblaze military titans onslaught vehicle

There is not a great deal more to say about this mode as it doesn't really look like anything, but it holds together fairly well, except for the cannons on the top. The way they peg into to one another is not very secure and if you go to adjust them chances are they will split apart.

What is nice is the Green cannons on the top do face forwards, rather than being forced to point downwards like the ones on the Hasbro toy (that was bloody annoying).

Microblaze have been very successful in creating a game accurate alt mode for Onslaught, and it runs over and crushes Hasbro's attempt.

Of all 3 modes this figure possesses though, this is the one most people will see the least in my opinion, but it does done very well for what it is.

Robot Mode

microblaze military titans onslaught cannons

All of Onslaughts transformations are teeth clenchingly frustrating the first couple of times through. Going from truck to robot (and robot to truck) is an exercise in severe patience.

Parts of it are clever and intuitive, but then there are bits like where you put the shoulders together and they don't sit right so constantly pop apart because of the green flaps.

It is quite an ingenious transformation, to get 3 great looking modes with virtually no compromises, and once it clicks you will be able to do it with ease - because once you are familiar with it, there are surprisingly few moves involved.

Microblaze FOC Onslaught size comparison

Once done, you have a voyager scale representation of Onslaught, which many (myself included) felt the original should have been.

Standing the two side by side, you can see just how much an improvement Microblaze have made, with the figure that shares very little in common beyond that it is supposed to be Onslaught.

I was not a big fan of the Fall of Cybertron redesign, because Onslaught went from being a tall, slim Military mastermind, to having a stocky, bruiser aesthetic that looks like a Space Marine.
It does fit with the idea of the Combaticons as Commandos, there is no doubt about that, but it looks a bit off for Onslaught.
Still, can't blame Microblaze for that as they are just working off the games design and they have done an incredible job of capturing it.

microblaze military titans onslaught fall of cybertron

The only alt mode kibble are the two flaps which cover the wheels in truck and combined mode. It may just be me, but I have yet to find a position where they can fold up neatly in robot mode.

Aside from that everything goes together very tidily, and other than the wheels there are almost no signs of an alt mode.

The only partsforming involved is the sides of lower legs are removed as they later become Bruticus chest shield - but I don't have much of a problem with partsforming anyway.

Much has been made of the colours online, with people complaining they are not game accurate, which is odd as in the game Onslaught appears to change colour and does match this scheme. Instead of matching the Platinum or SDCC Brown versions, it instead goes for the retail release of the toys colours.
This works for me, because it is the correct colours that G1 Onslaught had and I am ultimately a G1 fanboy at heart.

microblaze military titans onslaught head

The head is very nice, and whilst it was the one strong point of the original toy - this version is much nicer. 

The neck joint it sits on is a bit weird though, and the gaping hole behind it does spoil the look a little.


microblaze military titans onslaught fall of cybertron head

Articulation is strange on Onslaught. Not because he lacks it, but because it feels limited despite him having most of the joints you would expect.

The shoulders have quite a few joints, and you can get some strong poses, but they constantly come away from the body. The pegs just do not seem to lock in tight enough.

Onslaughts legs rotate at the waist, and have ankle titles, but due to their size just don't seem to be able to do anything dynamic.

Quality control is mostly excellent, and the only quibble I have is on his right leg where the shin connects to the knee it leaves a big hole.
Much bigger than on the right leg? I don't want to force it as it is quite bendy plastic.

microblaze military titans onslaught weapons

The actual plastic used is quite good. It feels nice to touch, and not at all cheap, but it does feel thin in places and not especially strong.

Microblaze had to strike a balance here though, as they were dealing with Hasbro's limbs so the torso bot could not be too heavy or it would not have worked with the Hasbro legs due to it's weight.
The only thing I had to fix were the green shoulder flaps being too loose, but it all it required was a bit of clear nail polish and now they are perfect (this really helps for the other modes).

Overall this figure is a much needed addition if you have Bruticus, and is miles ahead of what Hasbro did. You get a game accurate looking figure that is huge, and oozes quality.
Really, that is what most of want right?

Bruticus

FOC Bruticus with Microblaze upgrade

Ah, now this is why we all came to the dance, right?

Transforming Onslaught into a torso can be very frustrating. With Combiner Wars, Silverbolt essentially does a hand stand with his arms becoming Superions legs, and whilst Microblazes figure does end up with the bot arms becoming the combined modes legs - they achieve it very differently.
There is no handstand here.

What there is, is a great big hinge that enables the chest to flip op, and lock into place with the most satisfying of clunks. Getting the crotch to stay locked together can be a big problem due to those ridiculous Green flaps (though tightening them really does help) but Microblaze have the mind of super genius ninjas and the spikes that are on the side of Onslaughts bot mode legs rotate down and lock the waist into place.
It is just brilliant.

microblaze military titans bruticus side


The leg bots transform mostly into alt mode, and then you reattach the add on parts to make a foot. What is brilliant with Swindle, is that you can go from car mode without removing the upgrade chest bit, because it stays attached in the same place in foot mode. You just rotate it round, flip up the sides of the guns and you have an articulated foot.

Brawl is a bit different, in that you close up the add on pieces, and then it pegs into holes on the side of the ankles. There is tilt here, and they can sometimes raise up causing it to appear as if Bruticus has one leg longer than the other, so make sure it is pushed all the way down.


microblaze military titans bruticus back

As well as the colours, there have been a lot of complaints about the arms, more specifically having to pull apart the bots to form them.
In my opinion that is brilliantly inventive, because Microblaze have come up with a completely different solution to just having bots stuck on as limbs. There is no issues pulling Blast Off apart, as all his bits slide off easily. Vortex is even easier, as you only have to slide him apart at the mushroom peg that is his waist.
It is that easy, and the figures feel like they were made to come apart.

Next up you take those giant guns the bots struggle to wield, and they transform into armatures that you attach the bots too- giving you arms.

It is incredible, because the Bruticus hands are hidden within the guns and slide out, but both weapons work entirely differently to accomplish the same thing.
There has been so much though gone into making the best arm modes possible, and in my opinion these are far and away the best combiner arms we have ever had.

The way they attach to Bruticus is genius too, with the gun barrels sliding into ports on the side of his chest, then flipping inwards to lock in place - so you have secure arms.

The whole transformation is mind bending and you will come out of it completely baffled by what has happened.

microblaze military titans bruticus head

Ah but the Bruticus you end up is so worth the trials and tribulations of the transformation, because this is the awesome guy of super awesome badassness. TM.

Incredible, that is probably the best buzz word I can use to describe just how good Bruticus looks.

The original Hasbro version was a spindly looking mess that looked like a series of toothpicks for a torso. It was a deluxe figure during a time Hasbro were cutting costs, when they really needed to make it a Voyager class figure.
Microblaze have managed to fix almost every single issue the original had.
The proportions look spot on, it matches up much more closely to the game and most crucially it is a fully functioning toy combiner.

They have even managed to make the back transform and look game accurate.

Bruticus head is also really nicely done and can rotate and look up and down, whilst his back cannons have a joint to allow them to move forwards - though oddly not backwards.

microblaze military titans bruticus flamethrower

He has a lot of articulation, so you really can play with him if you want.

The arms bend, and have shoulder joints that have a great amount of rotation. The new feet give each leg ankle tilts from side to side and even forward and backwards.

This is not without a cost though, as the combiner ports on Swindle and Brawl are not designed for this or the weight of the new Onslaught so have a knack of moving very easily. This can be infuriating when you are posing Bruticus and suddenly the knees flop, which undermine the incredibly strong hip ratchets.

Another odd thing is the legs don't quite want to stand straight next to one another, and I cannot work out why. It is not much of a problem, as it is so easy to pull off good poses, but it is really odd.

Microblaze Bruticus

One other problem, and this is the one that I most have a problem with is the hands. No, it is not the size, I think they look great as they are, but the fingers on mine like to pop out if you touch them.

They really needed a pin at the knuckle to hold them in place, instead they are held in tightly by friction and are bursting to pop out. Fortunately, each finger has a letter on it so you know which way to reassemble them - but it stops you wanting to pose them.
Bit disappointing.

The only accessory, in this mode, is Bruticus flame thrower which in the game transforms out of Blast Off. Here you just slide it over his hand and it is job done.
No gun is included, and whilst he did not have one in the game, it still feels like something that is missing.

microblaze military titans bruticus fall of cybertron

It is hard for me to restrain myself from screaming "this is awesome!EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!" when discussing this set.
Whilst it does have a couple of problems, and the first time you do the transformations will probably give you a negative view of the toy (which is can be hard to recover from, it took me almost a month) , the end result is so spectacular it is hard to repress any excitement.

It is unbelievable to think this is Microblazes first release, and it is so successful in a world where other 3rd parties have been around for years and still struggle to get it right.

At a time when Combiners are at the fore of Hasbro's product lines, it is amazing to think that the one they failed so badly with has risen from the grave in such a stonking manner.

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3 comments:

  1. Awesome review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The way you wrote this makes you sound like Vangelus.

      Delete