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with Gort

Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Headmaster
Year: 1987

War is the playground of the ignorant.
To him, warfare is barbaric, worthy of only the most primitive... thinks differences need to be talked about, which he does endlessly. Uses big words no one else understands. A self-righteous snob. Binary-bonded to Gort, a cheerful, courageous young Nebulan. In helicopter mode, maximum speed: 1200mph; equipped with radioactive jammers, target-indicating radar, magnetic, infra-red, and audio sensors. In robot mode, uses 2 corrosive acid rainmaker rifles.

Prelude: Many thanks to fellow TF-Fan BlackZarak, who loaned me Highbrow for this review.

Robot Mode: It’s not hard to see that Highbrow is a Transformer from somewhere between 1986 and 1988. He’s got that blocky science-fiction look that came to define the line once it went away from using existing Diaclone and Microman molds, but hadn’t yet reached that extremely simplified and boring flair that defined pretty much everything after the Pretenders. So yeah, Highbrow is a pretty typical bot for his time.

Articulation is minimal, as expected. Highbrow can swivel his arms at the shoulder and twist his hip, the latter being a transformation requirement. He’s a brick apart from that, but a nicely colored and detailed one, I might add. He comes with two identical rifles (acid sprayers, according to his bio) and has the huge cockpit of the helicopter mode hanging off his back. Thankfully his big feet give him enough stability not to topple over backwards. His head detaches into a separate figure (see below) and when you open his chest plate you see his tec spec ratings (according to which he’s not half as smart as he thinks he is).

So bottom line: a nice robot mode, very typical of his time.

Alternate Mode: Highbrow transforms into a dual-rotor helicopter with a decidedly futuristic / science-fiction flair. The helicopter is basically Highbrow lying down on his stomach with the cockpit flipping forward, but it still looks pretty sleek and cool to me. Gort (see below) can sit in the cockpit and you can mount Highbrow’s two rifles under the wings or one of them directly underneath the copter’s nose. Both rotors can spin. So bottom line: a very basic transformation, resulting in a good looking alternate mode. No complaints.

Partner / Add-On: Highbrow's head detaches and transforms into his Nebulon partner Gort. Gort is a standard 1987 Headmaster figure. He can move his arms at the shoulders and his legs at the hip and knees (only both together). Nicely detailed for such a small figure, but odds are most people will never display him in this mode, as it would leave Highbrow headless.

Remarks: Highbrow might well be the least-prolific of the 1987 Autobot Headmasters. In the original ‘Rebirth’ three-parter and the Japanese Headmaster series he had about as much screen time as the others, but since? I mean, everyone knows Fortress Maximus, while ChromedomeHardhead, and Brainstorm all featured prominently in recent IDW comics, but while Highbrow is also a member of the Lost Light crew in the current More Than Meets the Eye series, he hasn’t gotten more than a brief background appearance here and there.

Highbrow holds a bit of personal nostalgia for me, as he was the only one of the 1987 Autobot Headmasters I had as a kid (not counting Fort Max). I even managed never to lose Gort, so he kept his head all through my childhood. Since then he has successfully eluded me, though, or rather there were always other TFs soaking up my limited budget. So I’m glad that BlackZarak loaned me his Highbrow for this review.

All in all Highbrow is a pretty typical example of the 1987 TF toyline. Lack of articulation, cool look, a defining gimmick, pretty much what you expect from a Transformer of that year. So leaving aside my own nostalgic appreciation I must call Highbrow a slightly above-average figure for his time. Definitely among the better Headmasters (far above Chromedome at the very least), but certainly not an all-time classic.

Rating: B-
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