So in conclusion…
You know how Bludgeon came out in the tail end of 2009, and it was pretty much voyager toy of the year? Same thing with Highbrow. This guy’s the best voyager figure of 2010 thus far, even beating out Seaspray by just an inch. (and beating Battle Blades Optimus Prime with a honey coated stick covered with fire ants). He looks cool in robot mode, has gimmicks that improve the toy and the love poured into vehicle design puts the vehicle mode on the same plateau as Mindwipe. Transformation’s really neat too. This is a Recommended figure.
An interesting thing about Highbrow’s robot mode. The original G1 Highbrow turned into a futuristic helicopter with rotors on either side, something like Animated Megatron’s earth mode. Or as it relates to this observation, the 2007 movie’s voyager Incinerator‘s alt mode, which was a V-22 Osprey helicopter. Incinerator’s robot mode had no hands, instead, instead it had the rotors for hands. In Highbrow’s case, he’s able to have rotor-hands as an optional gimmick. Considering that Incinerator’s alt mode matches up far better to the original Highbrow’s, one wonders if this might not be a subconscious throwback on the part of the designers. Anyway, let’s go into the review.
I’ll keep this fairly brief. Highbrow isn’t without minuscule nitpicky problems or imperfections. For instance, he has no waist articulation due to his transformation and his hands don’t line up with the rest of his arm in his official transformation. But these are all incredibly minor “problems”. The hand-to-arm alignment thing can simply be fixed by not flipping the hands up unless you need him to hold his gatling guns.
But on the whole, Highbrow is fantastic. The robot mode looks great. I particularly love the head. There’s a gimmick that lets you fold a brown pilot’s hat thingy over his face. Without it, his face looks like your regular movie-traditional hybrid face, like the kind you see on Bludgeon or Mindwipe. Sort of movie-like, yet sort of conventional. When you pull the mask down though, suddenly it looks like he has a huge skull-like grin, which looks awesome.
Also, it looks like they intentionally gave Highbrow clear eyes so that he would have more effective light piping, this is of course, to help illustrate that the light piping works even with the mask and goggles on.
Articulation is very nice. Of particular note are the feet, which are insanely articulated and would put Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line of quad jointed feet to shame.
Transformation is very neat, but due to how tight the joints are, the first time you try to transform him might be pretty tough. Unlike many toys with fiddly transformations though, Highbrow’s conversion into jet mode is one of those where everything falls into place perfectly and solidly. While you don’t feel like you’re defying the laws of physics while you’re transforming him, when you compare the robot and vehicle modes, it’s pretty neat to note the mass shifting that’s gone on.
Vehicle mode is that of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Sort of. It’s what a P-38 Lightning would look like if some alien robot from space scanned it during World War 2 and made a few alterations. It’s still a totally uber jet mode though. Very WWII, yet with a dash of sci-fi. The attention to detail is orgasmic. Not just the tons of rivet details, but little things like the propellers which spin in opposite directions and the sky blue underbelly and a million other details I probably can’t catch.
So yes, Highbrow is awesome. The bio’s also something of a surprise as it talks more about him being an old robot, much akin to RotF Jetfire or RotF Ransack, more than it talks about how he’s a snooty highbrow. It makes me want to put Highbrow with my Universe Ironhide, the upcoming Kup figure, Energon Bulkhead and GTS Brakedown together to form some sort of an Autobots veteran’s brigade. I imagine Highbrow and RotF Ransack would have a rivalry going on.
Pros: Great sculpt for both mode, articulation, transformation and lots of minor details.
Cons: Nothing significant.