Pricepoint/Vintage: Voyager, 2014.
Modes: Robot and Spacefighter.
Transformation Style: Standard with Headmaster.
Play Patterns: Robot and aircraft, 5mm weaponry, Headmaster with Tech Spec Gimmick.
Points of interest: Based on the art of Nick Roche, first new, mass market Headmaster in yonks.
Brainstorm's robot mode is basically fantastic. Visually, he's a nearly ideal representation of the MTMTE comic version, and looks nice from all angles. The gaps and hollows that so often afflict Generations are almost unnoticeable. G1 purists will enjoy the tech spec gimmick in his chest as well. Posability is brilliant, with 23 joints, the head being noteworthy for being balljointed and extremely expressive. While ratchet heavy, he has ankle tilts and excellent balance. The skirt armour is even articulated, and there's a port for a figure stand. Play value is also high thanks to his two guns, which can either be duel wielded or left on as shoulder cannons. The vehicle mode meanwhile has a certain R-Type/Thunder Force/Star Fox appeal to it, with an opening cockpit, and front landing gear.
Quality control and testing was utterly abysmal for this toy. The curiously unnamed headmaster pilot has been the subject of many horror stories where it came apart, leaving its own head in the socket due to misapplied paint. My example avoided this, but the spring-loaded tech spec gimmick is on a hair trigger, the left wrist was loose, and the paintwork sloppy. If possible, either handle this toy before purchase, or look for a boxed example where the head is secured with rubber bands, as this supposedly addresses the headmaster problem.
Even assuming the pilot does not disassemble itself, he's not hugely impressive, with some odd proportions and minimal articulation. He can sit in Brainstorm's vehicle mode, which is fun, but the area is undetailed. The spaceship mode is similarly unimpressive, with the robot mode limbs not really going anywhere. Not to say the form is bad, mind you, I still made pew-pew noises, but its not that convincing.
As Brainstorm is unique just now, the only true alternatives involve G1 toys and third parties. However, if all you want is a excellent voyager, look at Sandstorm and Springer from the same line.
Brainstorm is pretty typical of the Generations line and its voyagers. The robot mode is nigh-perfect, but the vehicle mode is rough, and there's some definite QC/design issues going on. While the headmaster gimmick is technically an advancement, as he gets a decent neck joint out of it, I can't help but feel this toy would have been better without it. If you like Brainstorm, you probably won't mind too much, but I don't think you'll be transforming him much either. As for the rest of us? Well, take a good hard look first.