Friday, October 8, 2021

The Bruticus Wars Part 2: A Collector’s Dilemma

In 2017, two 3rd party companies battled it out on who would make the better Bruticus. Both companies seemed to be taking different approaches to their sets. Unique Toys focused more on aesthetically superior individual Combaticon, while Zeta Toys was banking on their larger and more solid combined mode. And as impressed as I was with Zeta’s Bruticus, at the end of the day, I decided to go with Unique Toys.

By this time, my Masterpiece combiner collection was shaping out quite nicely. I already had Toy World’s Constructor and was halfway done building Zeta’s version of Superion, which was going to match Constructor’s height at 20”. I was also close to finishing up X-Transbot’s Menasor who was supposedly going to be smaller than the latter two. So basically I rationalized my decision to go with a smaller Bruticus as such. It was OK for Devastator (Constructor) to be bigger because he was the first combiner. In my head, I could go with a smaller Menasor and Bruticus because they were more advanced and efficient combiners. And as for Superion, he was the same size as Devastator because he was made out of jets...and he was the sole Autobot combiner I had so he had to be big. And that was that.

But then all of a sudden, midway through production, X-Transbots went back to the drawing board to rework the design of the trailer section of their leader Motormaster’s truck mode which was designed to form the main torso of Menasor. They basically decided to go for a bigger Menasor in order to match the height of the Zeta combiners. And just like that, all my reasoning and rationalizations for having a smaller Bruticus went out the window. All of a sudden, my Unique Toys set was the odd team out of my combiners collection and I had to think long and hard on what to do next.

Again, the main reason why I went with Unique Toys was that I preferred their individual modes over Zeta. And while the other members of the Unique Toys crew weren’t as great as Swindle and Brawl, collectively I still felt they looked infinitely better than the individual Zeta Combaticons. But as great as the individual bots were, at the end of the day they were gonna be displayed as Bruticus. And as far as Bruticus went, height-wise, Zeta’s Armageddon fit better with what I had in my collection. So yeah it was quite the collector’s dilemma.

Initially I planned to go the custom route. See the main problem with the Unique Toys Bruticus was their torso bot, Onslaught. Fortunately, there was a customizer who made 3D printed pieces that allowed people to use the Zeta Onslaught (along with the more stable parts forming torso, hands and feet) and use the limb bots of the Unique Toys set This basically would give me a bigger Bruticus without having to sacrifice most of my Unique Toys individual bots that I really loved. It was basically the best of both worlds. All I had to do was get myself the 3D printed custom conversion set and a Zeta Onslaught who conveniently came with all the partsforming pieces and that would solve everything.

Unfortunately, I found out that it would be quite costly to go this route. First of all, the 3D pieces were being produced by a customizer in South America. Unfortunately, he was not open to selling his 3D designs that I could have produced locally here. He was selling printed out and painted pieces with the entire set costing around USD100.00, add international shipping to Manila and that would be quite a lot. The next issue would be Onslaught himself. Since he was released individually a few years back, he was no longer in stock with most local and online sellers. I did eventually find a seller in Hong Kong who still had stock but again, this would be quite expensive to obtain as well.

Factoring all the costs involved, it didn’t make any sense financially to go this route, especially since I would spend a mere fraction of that cost if I just outright sold my Unique Toys set and bought myself a new re-issued Zeta set. So ultimately this was the route I decided to go. As much as it pained me to part with my Unique Toys Combaticons, common sense...and a bigger Bruticus won out.

As luck would have it, I was able to find a local collector and more importantly a Bruticus collector, who was specifically looking for a Unique Toys. And as if fated in the stars, he also had a spare brand new Zeta set in hand. And so we basically made a straight up trade with some additional (about USD20) cash to make up the difference in value. As an added bonus, the guy literally brought the Zeta set outside my house which was a Godsend as I was dreading having to possibly do a meet up anywhere else given the Covid situation.

Anyway, initially I was rather lukewarm on actually making the trade as I really loved my Unique Toys Combaticons and doing this felt more like something I HAD to do rather than something I wanted to do for some piece of mind. It took me over 2 weeks to finally mess around with the Zeta Combaticons, and I have to say….maybe it was due to my lowered expectations, I was quite impressed with the set...especially the individual robot modes.

So basically as I mentioned earlier, what I got was a newer re-issued set by Zeta. Now while I obviously didn’t have the original one to compare, this one seems to have fixed most of the issues with the first release that I heard about from online reviews. Admittedly yes the designs still look complicated and overthought, but they are all very solid toys. And the updated metallic paint on these guys is just gorgeous. At the end of the day this set completely won me over….and of course, the piece de resistance...Bruticus himself….the reason I decided to go this route is simply amazing. He’s large, hulking and completely stable.

So yeah there you have it. It took a few years….but eventually, it’s pretty obvious for me who won The Bruticus Wars!