Review by Laserwave13:
Somehow Takara always finds a way to deliver and give us figures that were canceled before their time or just to squeeze that last drop out of a certain mold. In this case one that has not been used a second time so far and since its supposed toyline has been dropped by now, they created a new one just to bring us even more repaints. Transformers Cloud. Guardians of Time, well whatever. Resembles Kiss Players and stuff like that.
Here we have Cloud Brawn, based on Transformers Prime First Edition Bulkhead
. Announced for the Asian Generations GDO line, but dropped in the end. So ehobby, which is already known for elusive (and pricey) repaints, jumped in. Let us take a look what they have accomplished (or not).
While I guess most Hasbro packages end up in the trash, the ones from Takara are in most cases more pleasing to the eye and will last longer or stay in the collection of most. Even more so because a box allows you to repackage a figure when you see fit or run out of shelf space. A new design here, something like a bookcase, but in case you think buying them all and putting them on the shelves will form a combined picture on the backÖ no, it wonít. So somewhat plain and no more than the usual, but good enough when it comes to boxes and packaging. Included are instructions and a sheet of stickers, as well as a comic book for those who enjoy reading Japanese.
Brawn is packed in vehicle mode, so let us start with that. You might ask yourselves what exactly they recolored here, because he is still green, though a different shade of it. Compared to Bulkhead it is darker, somewhat more realistic. Maybe something like the paintjob of Takara Bulkhead without the metallic effect to it. Otherwise there is nearly no difference. Silver-painted wheels in return for unpainted headlights, but that is basically it. Aside from that he still is that same awesome vehicle that Bulkhead was before him and while he could benefit from a little more color, there is virtually nothing to complain about. Now coherently, semi-realistically painted and still pleasing to the eye. What more could you ask for?
This mode shows a few more differences to Bulkhead, starting with a brand new head sculpt and a somewhat new or at least different color scheme. Still a lot of green, though. Personally I do not have any affiliation to Brawn as a character, but it kind of works as far as I can tell. Mostly because they did a really good job on his new head, which looks really good and fits the body well. Could have used a little more paint to accommodate his lack of light-piping and therefore pretty dark eyes, though, but I like that it is more than just a dome-shaped hemisphere, rather a real head and face.
Biggest problem or mistake they made is that the head and his forearms, too, are actually painted, but in a shade of silver that is almost identical to his gray plastic. So you have to look very closely to notice the paint at all. What is the point of this? In order to break up the grey and mostly green color scheme they used a few yellow bits on his shoulders and chest that let you identify him as Brawn instead of Bulkhead. Could have used a little more paint or at least more painted details, him being the exclusive repaint that he is. Maybe Brawns previous incarnations just did not offer enough characteristics to adopt here, but to me that is no excuse.
As a small compensation they painted his mace silver, at least. Basically Brawn is what Bulkhead already was, a highly articulate, complex marvel of engineering, he really is. Personal note, the plastic they used this time around feels somewhat lighter and not as smooth and handy as before. Also the joints, while not exactly loose, are also not as tight as they once were. So handle him with a certain care, since there are a lot of pins and hinge joints that have to be moved in order to switch modes.
As with the vehicle, Brawn is the same very good-looking and bulky bot that Bulkhead was, although he comes up a bit short of my expectations. You have to decide whether you display him in your Classics or your Prime Collection, but somehow he does not fit in either, really. He is, thanks to his origin figure Bulkhead, not a bad toy or bad figure on your shelf, but also nothing special and I know better exclusive repaints than him.
To be honest, my first and only reason for getting Brawn was because he is a First Edition Bulkhead redeco, a figure I really, really love and still adore for his beauty. Usually you expect that a redeco, even more so when itís an exclusive one, somehow exceeds his previous version, which is not really the case with Brawn. I still love this mold for what he is and therefore I am somewhat satisfied getting him. Thinking of Bulkhead does keep the rating from falling to or even below average. At the very least a better figure than modern day crap like Generations Roadbuster aka Charlie Chaplin. He kind of works as Brawn if you choose that he does, but he is light years away from a must-have.
So for me the Cloud toy line is what I expected it to be. Semi-decent repaints representing characters you do not really need at a price that is almost impudence. May be worth it for the one or other select mold you want personally, but otherwise I recommend skipping those figures and the entire line-up, too. You will be better off investing your hard-earned money into something else. You might want to go Third Party, costs about the same, but you will get much better figures out of it. So hands off Takara Cloud!