Review: Transformers Generations Brainstorm

If the phrase “… FOR SCIENCE!” was personified in a giant transforming robot, you would effectively get IDW’s Brainstorm. Like pretty much all of the G1 Headmaster Autobots, Brainstorm never had much of a personality and was never really featured much since the Japanese Headmasters cartoon. However, as with many an obscure G1 character, Brainstorm was saved by the God of Character Writing James Roberts and featured in More Than Meets the Eye, which, in case you didn’t know, is a good comic. Brainstorm acted as a darkly comedic supporting character as the resident amoral weapons engineer with a strange one-sided love/hate obsession with Perceptor throughout season 1, but for season 2 he’s shaping up to be a heavy hitter for the plot… just in time for Hasbro to release their Voyager-class update in the Generations line.

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Vehicle Mode

Brainstorm is a funky-looking space jet that harkens back to his original G1 altmode, but a lot sleeker and a lot more 21st-century. Being highly reminiscent of his G1 altmode, it’s also fairly clear that converting him to robot mode is going to be a pretty simple task. It honestly is kind of hard not to see a semi-folded-up robot mode in the jet, but I guess it works pretty well. I do wish the arms could’ve done a bit more, since they throw off the sleek aesthetic of the altmode. Brainstorm also shares a design cue from the AOE line with a particular peghole on the underside of his altmode that can fit with a Tamashii Stage. Please keep doing this, Hasbro, especially for jetformers!

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Headmaster

One of the biggest surprises when this toy was unveiled was the reveal that not only were we getting a Brainstorm, but a brand-new Headmaster toy! Sitting comfortable in Brainstorm’s cockpit is Arcana… or at least, that’s who he looks like. The box never names him, and popular theory is that at least part of the reason is due to potential comic spoilers. I dunno about that, but I do know that Arcana is a pretty decent little headguy. His arms are on limited ball joints and his legs are fused, but he can move his head quite a bit thanks to a lovely ball-jointed neck (spoilers: it also serves as the neck of Brainstorm). He does have Brainstorm’s face just chilling on his back, but from the front, he’s well-sculpted and looks pretty great.

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Transformation

Brainstorm’s conversion is hardly difficult to figure out. It’s pretty much just flip up the jet nose, flip down the legs, flip down the arms, flip out the feet and hands, then pop on the head. Simple, but it works.

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Robot Mode

With Headmaster applied and fully-converted, Brainstorm is a big, teal ‘bot of science. Seriously, though, he is really tall. Taller than the previous recent Voyagers, even without his wings and cannons. Brainstorm in robot mode looks fantastic. His proportions are great, his colors are lovely, and he’s very clearly inspired by Milne’s artwork (though a bit more streamlined overall), especially in the head. This does result in him boasting some pretty huge shoes, but I don’t think they look bad, plus they give him some great stability. One notable aspect of this toy is how downright sinister he can manage to look, which, if you’re up to speed on the comic, may or may not be intentional.

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Brainstorm’s no slouch in the articulation department. Cleverly utilizing the ball-jointed head of Arcana, Brainstorm has a delightfully-expressive neck joint that is a bit loose, but can be easily tightened with floor polish or even just by tightening Arcana’s chest screw (though your results may vary). His shoulders are universal joints with soft ratchets, and his biceps and elbows (double-jointed) have some very solid swivels. Oddly enough, the lower elbow joint on my Brainstorm is ratcheted on his left arm and not ratcheted on the right. Weird. His hips are universal joints with some very strong ratchets, and his thighs and knees both have simple swivels. Oh, and his ankles tilt a bit. Yay!

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As far as accessories go, Brainstorm gets two long-barreled pistol guns that can mount on his back (either directly on his back or on the nosecone of his jet mode) for MTMTE-accuracy, or held in his hand for gunslinger action.

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The Headmaster itself is, of course, an accessory, and has proven to be a bit of a problem with some copies of this toy, specifically the mechanism that attaches him into Brainstorm’s body. It works by plugging Arcana’s head into the neck socket, which is locked in by a small spring-loaded peg docking into a slot on the back of Arcana’s head. Plugging the head in also flips down the seat of the cockpit, revealing some classic tech specs. To remove Arcana, theoretically you push down on the grey piece on Brainstorm’s chest, which unlatches the peg and frees up Arcana’s head. Fairly simple, but a lot can go (and has gone) very wrong: sometimes the tech spec panel will not lock in to become a seat in vehicle mode, sometimes Arcana’s head is just too big for the socket, causing him to get stuck, and, the biggest issue, some cases of this toy have Arcana’s head plugged in backwards in-package, making him incredibly difficult to remove and messing up the entire mechanism. The first in-hand samples of this toy suffered from this problem, causing a fair amount of panic that ALL Brainstorms would suffer this problem. Thankfully, however, it appears that the majority of these issues are limited to the initial early run, as mine is more or less perfect (though Arcana’s head does take a fair amount of wiggling to get out of the neck port).

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Overall

With the exception of Roadbuster and kiiiiiind of Sky-Byte, Generations Voyagers have been pretty much hitting it out of the park, and Brainstorm finishes off the pre-Combiner Wars lineup with a very big bang. He’s a great update to the G1 character and fills a hole in a Lost Light crew collection that grows ever-conspicuous as issues go by. Also, props to Hasbro for giving Headmasters another go, especially since the early problems this toy suffered from seem to be limited to initial runs. Between this and next year’s combiners, I’m honestly really excited to see where the Transformers line is heading in the future. (Pretenders, anyone?) For now, though, Brainstorm is a hella good toy and well worth your time.

Now, can someone please supply me with a proper yellow briefcase?

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Where to Buy

  • Amazon
  • BBTS
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