Transformers came to its peak in 1986, but Hasbro had nearly exhausted licensable designs from other manufacturers, including old Takara toylines. Hasbro and Takara turned to unused Diaclone concepts and designs, such as the combiners. The Combaticon Brawl, a dark green Bundeswehr Krauss-Maffei Leopard 1A5 main battle tank, was born from this development.
Brawl was originally conceptualized for a Diaclone subseries called “Jizai Gattai”, or Free Combination, which would have included the Stunticons, Combaticons, Aerialbots, Protectobots, and Metroplex. Each team had a theme, each limb figure could combine with any other team leader as any limb, and each leader figure had some sort of base mode, usually, with a spring-loaded vehicle launcher. All the figures could also interact with Metroplex. However, Transformers’ imminent success put Diaclone and Jizai Gattai on ice. It was Transformers’ long term success that saw these designs to completion, however. Brawl was designed by Daishirou Shibukawa and the US Patent titled Reconfigurable toy tank (aka Transformers G1 Brawl) was filed on October 14, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD296913 S).
Brawl transforms into a green Leopard 1A5. His diminutive tank mode bears accurate proportions to his real-life vehicle, although the design eschews many of the detailed mold details enjoyed by some of his peers. The turret can rotate 360 degrees, and features two molded hatches on the roof. The sides are decorated with gray molded tracks and roadwheels. The deep indentations between the wheels make the pieces more convincing than the shallow moldings on his predecessors like Blitzwing. He can mount the large hinged dual cannon onto the rear deck of his tank to form an “Attack Tank”. His transformation is simple, with the legs folding down from the rear of the vehicle, the front treads becoming his arms, and the remaining section of the front tank hull rotating down onto his chest. He can wield his pistol in a hole on top of his arms. The inside of the arm below the hole is decorated with a shallow, flat pictogram of clenched fists. As a “Scramble City”-style combiner, he can also transform into any combiner’s arm or leg by flipping out a gray connector tab from his chest, or rotating the entire front of the tank hull down, and attaching the appropriate accessory. He typically forms Bruticus’ left leg.
Take care when removing Brawl, or any other combiner limb, from a leader figure’s socket.
Brawl has several production variations. The most noticeable was the shift from painted metal rear treads to plastic treads sometime in 1986. A later version does not include a rubsign on the turret, and the indentation has been filled in, corresponding to the 1990 European re-release.
Brawl was available in 1986, individually carded. Due to the popularity of the combiners, he was available again in 1987 with or without a random purple Decepticon Decoy. He was re-released on a new gold colored card in Europe’s G1 as a Classic Combaticon in 1990. A giftset was available in 1986 in Japan.
Redecos & Retools
Brawl&resquo;s mold was redecoed in 1992 in Takara’s Operation Combination as Sandstorm, sold only in the Battle Gaia gift set. The mold was used again in 1994 as G2 Brawl in green and splotches of purple. The mold received minor modifications to the weapons to become Car Robots Dangar in 2000, and the U.S. release Robots in Disguise Armorhide the following year. Armorhide got a gift set-only urban camo deco in 2003’s Wal-Mart Exclusive Ruination, and a desert camo with the same mold the following year in Universe Ruination. The RiD-era retool of Brawl was used in the 2009 Takara Encore Bruticus.