Better Transformation – ROTF Universe Bruticus

I wasn’t sure what to put for the title of this post, other than the obvious bits about Bruticus and the transformation. According to the tfwiki it’s a Universe release, but complicating things further it’s pretty much a restock of the ROTF version, right down to the box being done in ROTF style.

I think I’ll go with OAFE on this one and consider it part of the Classics series. (Check out that link for Yo Go Re’s review, and check out TFW2005’s feedback thread too.) It’s a direct repaint of Bruticus Maximus from the Energon line, but the color scheme’s been improved- all the homage with none of the clash!

But this site’s not known for tf reviews, so lets get down to it!

I rarely bought tfs during the AEC days, and though it was Classics that brought me back to buying toys, I did catch a quick glance at the Energon combiners. A quick glance and little else, as they didn’t really impress me. They doubled up on the limbs, they were in garish colors, and they had crappy articulation.

While I realized later that each of them did have knees, that didn’t change the lack of elbows, and on some of them, it’s like they weren’t even trying. Take Bruticus Maximus, his arm is a tank. Not a twisted up and transformed vaguely tankish arm, or even a vaguely armish tank, but simply a tank attached at his shoulder. The helicopter at least transformed a bit, but not the tank. Same thing for the tank that forms the leg…

Am I being nitpicky? Perhaps, but that’s what separates the bought from the shelfwarmers. I think it’s fine to be nitpicky about what you collect, but nobody likes an angsty, bitter nerd.

Not having a vested interest in the combiners, it didn’t really bother me. I was glad and so was the wallet, and when classics Devastator was shelfwarming Walmart I thought about it but eventually passed, calling forth a similar argument involving it having no elbows. I wouldn’t mind having one now, but I’m not paying upwards of $100 for a set.

You see, that was back before I fixed transformers. Back before I really thought about custom transformations and the elbow goodness it would bring.

I was tempted by Superion, but knew I’d want the custom upgrade set. So, that avoided, I took a chance on Bruticus. His more subdued colors are surprisingly well done, and the paint apps go to extra effort to set the duplicates apart.

Although I’d prefer actual hands, I’m even okay with the candy colored energon cannon claws.

Although it seems with Devastator there’s one main variation (crane arms), Bruticus has thus far proved to get lots of variations out of people. I glanced around a bit, and while it’s fun to see I just didn’t end up doing their suggestions.

Some people put both the tanks as his legs, but they have two stiff helicopter arms because of it. Others would have two tank arms, and though fan transformations allow elbows the two helicopter feet force his legs into a wide stance. While he’s doesn’t have as bad a problem as Superion, the helicopters as is are just too wide for Bruticus to stand up correctly. You could move the arms of the helicopter bots around, but then you’ve got stability problems in the leg since the bot’s arms peg into the legs.

In addition, I really like the asymmetric look on him. I’d be fine with Devastator being even, but Bruticus seems more like he should be a hodgepodge of armored vehicles, and bristling with cannons to boot!

So, here’s my variation on the Bruticus transformation.

First up is Brawl…

Transform him into alt mode but rotate the waist around so it’s facing the opposite of where it is usually. (Towards his back if he were in bot mode.) Next you’ll want to swivel the base of the turret up so it’s in the same position it would be during bot mode (putting the cannon near the back of the tank.) Then just fold the feet back as far as they will go and put the front guns (Brawl’s heels) up against the Decepticon crystal at the front of the turret. You’ll want the guns on each side of that indentation, but feel free to adjust accordingly. After that, just angle the inner tread back a bit and have the outer tread locked in place as if it were in alt mode.

I’ve seen a few people put the treads out completely behind the leg by folding them completely around. It results in a kind of right triangle effect that helps prop him up a bit, but you loose the knee articulation and it looks really out of place from the side. In addition, several of those transformations shorten Bruticus’s legs. So, I’ll take a tighter transformation and a taller Bruticus over one that’s greatest threat is a stiff breeze.

I can plunk him down on just about any flat surface and he stands just fine. In addition, you can angle and adjust the ‘toes’ thanks to the great range of motion on Brawl’s legs.


The other difficulty in finding a good leg transformation is making sure he’s not only stable, but untilted. Bruticus seems a bit less imposing if he’s leaning.

That brings us to Swindle!

The transformation is similar, but the cockpit section is moved back to allow the arms to sit between it and the legs. Normally the arms peg into the legs to add some stability, but that problem is easily solved by pushing the legs up against the small fins on the tail section of the helicopter and putting the fins on the arms into the hollow area of the leg.  I also have the feet just below the full position used for robot mode. This gives them a bit of an angle and because they’re not tightly in position it lets Bruticus have a bit more positioning with his toes.

As you can see, it angles the leg forward a bit. It looks much worse in that picture than it does when attached, because Swindle’s connection joint naturally has a bit of play to it and the angle is right at the edge of that. Also, since the base of the foot now has the cockpit as part of it’s back end, that puts the middle of the foot around Swindle’s fists, which is just below Bruticus’s knee.


Next up is Blast Off, and is transformed in pretty much the usual way. It’s the tank arm with elbows, done by separating the treads from his waist and legs, giving you an extra swivel and an elbow joint. I’d recommend swiveling the tank turret’s bottom most swivel so the base ends up near the shoulder (at the back of the tank, like for bot mode but not for tank mode) and then turning the turret to the side so Bruticus has a shoulder cannon.


Onslaught uses the official transformation (aside from keeping the ears back), so that brings us to Vortex!

As previously mentioned, the thing I don’t like about the official helicopter arm is that it has no elbows, and aside from keeping the cockpit flopping around it won’t. At least not if you use the shoulder joint as the actual shoulder joint…

Go from bot mode and flip the head forward into the cockpit, then twist his waist around so it’s almost backwards and reverse the lower legs. Put a gun in his hand and make him hug himself with the gun hand forward and the other hand around back.

When you attach Vortex to Bruticus like this, you get a shorter arm but I actually like the look. The arm length isn’t that obvious when the other arm is angled up a bit, the waist now becomes the shoulder joint, the cockpit is rotated up at an angle so it’s mostly out of the way of arm articulation, and he’s got a huge shoulder cannon.

A cannon that looks like his hand, but it still looks cool.

The angle of the cockpit also solves the issue of his helicopter blades. Just flip them around like in that picture and they’ll rest against his back.

Put them all together and they form Bruticus!


Also, as you can see in that picture, Bruticus has a better range of motion in his legs if you swivel Onslaught’s legs so the toes point out to the sides. I don’t usually have them this way because the legs are less detailed that way.


All in all, Bruticus makes a good update for the Classics line, and can be much better than Hasbro intended. Shoulder cannons, thigh missile launchers, propeller knee, cannon knee, some kind of massive chest cannon, shoulder… propeller, and cannon… hands? Okay, so he could use some actual, non candy colored hands. But other than that? He’s a big bad battlin dudicus. :D

It’s good to see people coming up with so many fan transformations for Bruticus, and they’re pretty much all better than the official mode. How do you transform yours?

~Matt Booker

15 thoughts on “Better Transformation – ROTF Universe Bruticus

  1. Now, if you would just get Superion and figure out the same thing for him so I don’t have to buy the Fansproject kit…

    Unless someone’s already figured this stuff out?

  2. Looking at the pictures, I’m not sure I could get Superion in a way that I’d like him, at least without the kit.

    ~Matt Booker

  3. just wait for hasbro to make a better one with all new molds these duplicates are kind of a rip off you make them look good though.

  4. My Fruit Brute can now stand without support thanks to you.

    And Phantaman… do you seriously, honestly think Hasbro is in ANY hurry to make five new molds devoted to a single Combiner? These are the guys who consistently make red Bumblebees and call them Cliffjumper, and white Optimus Primes and call them Ultra Magnus.

    (yes, there’s Animated, but it was the exception, not the rule)

    They’ve also made a Classics AND a Universe Springer, neither of them being Triple Changers. Also consider that Universe already gave us several combiner leaders AND a few limbs… non-combining, of course.

    Things can and do change and we may very well see five-man combiner teams that are each a unique mold… but I really don’t think it’ll be anytime soon, and I for one will absolutely take the next best thing in the meantime.

  5. Fruit Brute what? luke you have a point but they might actually do it look at animated ultra magnus and what about the city commander armor? dont forget activators clifjumper.

  6. city commander armor i meant it was good of hasbro to make a product that can be compatable with something liek that, that people can take and make better. cliffjumper is bumblebee with a new head but luke said they don’t do that and i know they dont always but sometimes they do. like with prime and animated ultra magnus how he wasnt just a repaint.

    whats the fruit brute thing? i get the dudicus thing its from the old commercial.

    yeah they might not make a new combiner with all new molds but they could maybe they didnt with these because they were all repaints. like if they had a series that had new ones on it theyd have to make new molds.

    not trying to argue just seems like a bit of a rip off. bruticus does seem worth it after doing this to him.

  7. (I apologize to Matt in advance…)

    “city commander armor i meant it was good of hasbro to make a product that can be compatable with something liek that, that people can take and make better.”

    You say that like it was intentional. It’s not like FansProject said “Hey Hasbro, we have this thing sitting here… wanna make an Ultra Magnus to fit inside it?” No, FP made City Commander because Hasbro made a cheap-ass Prime repaint (AGAIN) and thumbed their noses at the fans who said that wasn’t good enough. Everything about it had to fit AROUND what Hasbro did, which involved no consideration whatsoever that someone might try to improve/add-on to the figure later.

    “cliffjumper is bumblebee with a new head but luke said they don’t do that and i know they dont always but sometimes they do. like with prime and animated ultra magnus how he wasnt just a repaint.”

    You read the part where I said they don’t do that, but you didn’t read the part where I addressed Animated and said that was an exception. The toys were based on show models, and Hasbro made new molds so that the characters would be recognizable to children. Everything outside it, like Classics, Universe, Masterpiece… this is where Hasbro knows it should be different, but doesn’t care because the audience is collectors, most of whom will buy it even if it’s “wrong” or “incomplete”. Sad fact, but it’s true; the history will bear me out on this one.

    “whats the fruit brute thing? i get the dudicus thing its from the old commercial.”

    It’s me having fun with Bruticus’ name and the crazy colors (which really aren’t that crazy this time around). Nothing to see here, move along.

    “yeah they might not make a new combiner with all new molds but they could maybe they didnt with these because they were all repaints. like if they had a series that had new ones on it theyd have to make new molds.”

    Yes. And that’s probably the only time we’d see it… assuming they don’t tell the animators to just copy the Energon design again. Let’s be honest–if you know that people will buy three molds (multiple times, for some fans), why make five?

    “not trying to argue just seems like a bit of a rip off. bruticus does seem worth it after doing this to him.”

    I’m not saying you’re wrong. There is ALWAYS a chance that Hasbro will make Scramble City style new-mold combiners, and I would happily buy them. What I’m saying is that when you take the track record of Hasbro into account, the odds on them doing it –and doing it any time soon– are damn slim.

    Since we have no idea when, why, or even what Hasbro might make later on… well, remember when I said most collectors will buy things even when they’re “wrong” or “incomplete”? I’m one of them. Sure it’s half-assed, but it could be years before we see even this much effort again. It’s not the best reason to buy it, but I think it’s a justifiable reason at least.

  8. Takara’s even worse with the repaints. All the Alternity figures have some random repaint, they’ve repainted every Convoy toy into Magnus, and about 50% of what they produce is new Convoys.

    Hell, they had an entire line during the Beast Wars years that was pretty much just repaints.

  9. wow you rant luke calm down its just the internet lol. but you have good points but maybe hasbro will do it look at all the cool stuff theyve done with stuff lately.

  10. “all the cool stuff they’ve done with stuff”?

    Has it occurred to you that perhaps I feel ranting is a way to counter comments that are consistently and repetitively ignorant, misinformed, and sometimes outright silly?

    Please consider your history here and understand that you sir, are no one to coach me in being calm because it’s “just the internet”.

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