I’ve never been a proponent or supporter of knock off toys and third party brands, so I usually stick to authentic products. Third parties can be useful for some spare accessories or missing parts and whatnot, but very rarely have I ever actually taken interest in actual non-brand items. Given those facts, it should be unsurprising that this is my first time experiencing a third-party Transformer toy.
This Hench figure from iGear (a very well-known third party Transformers producer) is basically Brawn from G1. I only got him in a big ‘ol Transformers bundle set recently that came with two third party figures and the actual Masterpieces in the batch that I wanted.
While I’ve never owned or even touched an iGear figure before, I’ve read and seen enough good things about them to respect them as a competent third party figure producer. Some of their Masterpiece-esque stuff (Weapons and Medical Specialists) have caught my eye before, but never actually tempted me into buying them.
Hench is clearly recognizable as the Autobot’s demolition expert Brawn from G1. As far as character look goes, they got it down nigh-perfectly. It was Brawn the moment I saw his jeep-like vehicle mode.
His actual robot mode however, leaves a bit to be desired. While I appreciate the aesthetics, I’m not appreciating the leg design. My biggest gripe with it is how the legs are generally incapable of balancing Brawn in anything except a static standing pose. Even the more “dynamic” poses taken in this ‘shoot didn’t last long before he tipped over.
I’m pretty sure the main problem stems from the lack of any real ankles, making it difficult for those block feet to balance well. I can see where iGear tried to remedy this, as the blocks on the actual bottom of the feet are designed to swivel on a metal pin, but they don’t actually accomplish that very well.
Beyond the leg issues though, everything else is pretty great. Ball joints are used for almost everything to allow for the most movement in the arms and head, and even the vehicle kibble is kept compact on the back and out of the way. All in all it makes Hench a very compact and simple little figure, hence the “Mini Warriors” title.
His only accessory is a little stun gun that’s actually quite nicely detailed. Hench wields it effortlessly, and it plugs into the hands snugly. Couldn’t ask for more.
An interesting and very nice feature that this figure also sports is a second face – that’s actually located on the back of his normal face. As a reference to Brawn’s original G1 toy, the faceplate is revealed by just rotating his head all the way around, negating the need for parts swapping. I would’ve never noticed this feature had it not been pointed out in the instructions.
Jeep mode. At least, I think it’s a Jeep. Or based off one, at any rate.
Hench’s vehicle mode is actually well detailed, but with very a very toony feel; it’s a far cry from the realistic vehicle forms of most modern Transformers that turn into actual real-world land transport.
The transformation itself is also very simple, though it can get a bit awkward to get things into their final place because of some parts getting in each others way.
A rather plain looking grille and unpainted headlights. No Autobot insignia on a third party figure of course, though that can easily be remedied with a decal or a sticker. The vehicle form doesn’t sport any crazy gimmicks or special features – it looks like your average toy car.
The tire on the top does have a peg hole though, which allows Hench’s gun to be attached in traditional Transformer gun-on-the-roof fashion.
Size comparison with MP-10 Optimus Prime, which actually came in the same batch I got recently that I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Hench certainly is a Mini Warrior, but I’m pretty sure he’s just about in scale with the rest of the Masterpieces, given his tiny size in the canon to begin with.
Overall, this isn’t too bad of a third party figure. I’ve never had any better or worse, so I can’t say how well it does in comparison, but it certainly isn’t any worse than what Hasbro usually puts out. It’s a very simple little thing; I’ve seen it juxtaposed to the original G1 toy and it certainly does its job extraordinarily well of being a modern upgrade. For the usual price that this little guy fetches however, I’d be less inclined to pay in full for it.