Combaticons, eh? Who doesn’t love the militaristic lads? Yet as excited as I was for all of Ocular Max’s attempts to deliver the Bruticus crew in fantastic plastic-form, there was one that I had been looking forward to most of all, and that was Probus!
It’s hard for me to say what it is about Brawl as a character that I just love so much. After all, a hulking, monosyllabic bully is not exactly the normal type of persona I admire in any kind of fiction, although I think in this case it’s less about the personality and more the design on offer. There’s just something about his classic cartoon appearance that catches my eye!
Besides, when is a tank Transformer not a load of fun? It’s always struck me as a smart mode-of-choice for any discerning warrior embroiled in a millions-of-years-long conflict. It certainly does the job here too, as Ocular Max have realised this form with aplomb.
If you haven’t seen my recent Unboxing video on Probus, then I’ll give you the TL;DR – it was a major gush fest. He makes quite the strong first impression and comes across as solid, well-designed and above all just a load of fun!
Having had the chance to familiarise myself with him a bit more since, I can honestly say that my enthusiasm for this design hasn’t wavered one bit. He’s awesome. End of.
Of course I’m not going to leave my assessment there, though! After all, there’s more than enough to talk about with this toy, starting with what a bang-up job they’ve done with the alternate form. It’s a handsome affair, chock-full of gorgeous detail, and manages to at-once look suitably real-world in style whilst still bringing to life the character’s animation model.
In fact I was surprised to see just how close to his cartoon likeness Probus comes, with even comparatively minor touches accounted for as well as the overall style and proportions. There is some variance in the very minute details, mind, but on-the-whole it’s fair to say they’ve nailed it.
And whilst some of those flourishes may deviate from the source somewhat, I still find them to be welcome additions overall. Stuff such as the sculpted fabric in the joint of the turret section is a really nice touch indeed, and adds a dash of realism to the proceedings.
In fact the moulded detail all over this thing is just exquisite, meaning that you’re never let-down by a close examination. Also on-point are the paint applications, with areas such as the periscope and wing mirrors all taken care of.
Even the rear view is surprisingly thought-through, with further detailing and paint all applied lovingly to ensure that every angle is taken care of. He’s a visual treat.
I have seen some debate about the leafy shade of green they’ve opted for on Probus, but to my eye it works quite nicely and makes for an attractive tank indeed. I’m happy to see them add a little more vibrance to the animation’s turgid green-brown, let’s put it that way.
So, he’s easy on the eyes, but does Probus prove to be as fun as he looks? Fortunately it’s all good news on that score too, as he’s loaded with little gimmicks that make him an absolute blast (no pun intended)!
The big draw here is the main turret section, which can be moved 360 degrees with the barrel itself moved up and down as you might expect. The turret’s movement is quite tight but is only impeded slightly by the small antenna pieces coming up against the pair of cannons resting behind.
What is interesting to note is the positioning of the turret. This was something I initially missed in my Unboxing video due to the instructions for Probus not mentioning that you can actually reposition this whole section by rotating the piece that connects it to the body of the tank. It means that the turret sits just in the middle of the vehicle form and proportionally looks pretty perfect. Also worth mentioning is that lo-o-o-ong barrel!
This was another thing I missed on first examination of the toy, but it does make quite a difference to the appearance depending on how you position it. I don’t know why but part of me still thinks that the non-extended alternative looks maybe a little better somehow.
To my eye it just seems more befitting of the overall muscular and beefy stylings of the tank form this way, but really it’s up to you how you choose to display your copy.
You could even do a half-extension, should you wish!
Of course there’s more firepower on offer here too, with his robot mode gun slotting into a small peg hole atop the turret and that massive pair of cannons taking up position near the rear. All-in, it looks suitably imposing.
Should you choose not to use those cannons then you will be left with a bit of kibble underneath, so he definitely presents better overall with them in situ. I do also like the added touch of the two little antenna even if one of mine is a little bit bent. Fortunately they’re a very soft and pliable plastic, so no real worries there.
Once you have all of his various weapons in place, there’s no end to how much fun you can have with Probus, and I defy anyone to put him through his paces without making at least one or two cannon noises along the way!
In a final touch, the hatches atop the turret section can also be opened, and even if there’s no interior to speak of it still adds a little bit of appreciated interactivity.
So overall, I have nothing but nice things to say about this tank mode. Every time I thought I’d found something to grumble about, it turned out that it was just me not executing it properly somehow. If anything I would say that it’s so good that this is now *the* bar for Masterpiece-styled tank forms moving forward!
I mean I’ve previously been impressed with stuff like KFC Ditka in his equivalent form (despite that toy’s faults overall), but even then you have to note that Probus has some notable advantages on comparison.
I also think that FansToys did an excellent job with Sheridan, which despite being a rather miniature take, looks exceptionally tidy from every conceivable angle. Yet still I think Probus is better overall.
It does help that he’s a fairly sizeable beast, although of course not as big versus your average Masterpiece Carbot as real-world scale would actually dictate. I don’t mind that personally, because as I said in the last part of this series, robot mode scale is ultimately where the considerations take priority.
In any case, he still manages to create a suitable presence despite not being as ridiculously massive as potentially he could be, and I think fits in well with all kinds of other related toys.
He looks particularly excellent when on the offensive, positioned in a way that poses some immediate threat to those accursed Autobots!
I guess it’s a strong showing of just how good this tank mode is that he somehow manages to present with such personality even in vehicle form – a sure sign of a good all-round transforming toy, in my opinion.
Of course the real pleasure is with seeing Probus as part of the assembled Assaultus crew, which, as I’ve mentioned in the previous parts of this series, is nothing short of astounding. In fact it’s palpable just how much presence he provides in such a line-up, adding a much-needed dash of aggressive posturing to the proceedings!
Ultimately I’m sure most fans will enjoy this set as a whole, with the ultimate objective for many being to complete the full combined mode no doubt. Yet for my money I’m thoroughly enjoying these toys as individuals, and am thrilled to see a set of Combaticons realised so well in their respective forms.
In fact I’m still marvelling at just how much enjoyment I’m managing to wring out of them in their vehicle modes, but when you have a line-up as impressive as this then maybe it isn’t so hard to believe after all!
Join us for the next part when we’ll be taking a look at the next member of the team!