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Tomopop Review: Transformers Combiner Wars Brake-Neck

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Prepare for a wild ride(r)

Brake-Neck is an interesting name. It's a dual play on words using brake in place of break since he's a car and making it part of a phrase meaning to drive recklessly at high speeds. It isn't a terrible new name for a guy once known as Wildrider; there are certainly worse things they could have called him. In the comics he's still alive and kicking, but disappointment in the failures of the Stunticons lead to him to leaving the team. Hasbro reflected this change in the team's status by replacing him with Offroad when the Combiner Wars series was announced in 2014. 

Now Hasbro is ready to bring the newly redubbed Brake-Neck back into the fold by giving him a new figure based on teammate Dead End with a new head sculpt. He might have a new name, but he's pure Wildrider and they couldn't have picked a better mold for him to double up with. So buckle up as we take an early look at one of the newest and most sought after figures coming to Combiner Wars!

Figure Name: Transformers Generations Combiner Wars Deluxe Brake-Neck
Figure Maker: Hasbro
Retail Price: TBA
Available at: Coming soon!

To start things off we'll take a quick look at the packaging. It's pretty much the same as the other Combiner Wars figures. He's in the North American packaging so it should be interesting to see if there are any sales limits for countries that would normally get their figures in international packaging. He comes with a copy of IDW's Combiner Wars #8 comic, the same as Dead End. 

The back of the package has a strange little oversight on it. Even though it's supposed to feature all five G1 characters they accidentally replaced Dead End with Brake-Neck instead of Offroad. Oops. 

Bot mode is pretty imposing. He's big and bulky and has one neat feature not found on any of the Aerialbots. The molds used for Breakdown and Dead End (and of course Brake-Neck) have an extra part making up the chest that covers the combining peg. It's something unique that really changes up their look compared to other Combiner Wars figures. I do wish he had something that resembled feet, not having feet might be a little too G1. For the most part the Stunticons feature new bot modes while their vehicle modes, heads, and color pallet are the only things that carry over. 

Yeah, he has a bit of a backpack, but it sits in such a way that it doesn't really effect the look of the figure that much I think. It's also light enough that it doesn't throw off his balance at all. His legs open with a hinge on the side to fold them over when transforming. It's not entirely unlike the way these figure would transform in G1. I'm not sure what the story is with the orange paint, it should be dark red. It doesn't even match the red plastic it's supposed to blend in with.  

The head sculpt is like what we used to see in the G1 cartoon and comics with the barbs sticking out of the side of his head rather than the the square head the original figure had. This is a very, very good thing. I'm glad Hasbro stopped using light pipes for the eyes on these figures, but for some reason they've been given really tiny eyes. They're painted, but they're so small it can be hard to tell. Speaking of the eye paint, if you have a choice of figure try to pay attention to the condition of the eyes. I've found a lot of them have chipped paint, probably from their assembly. It seems to be a pretty common problem so I hope they get this fixed for later releases. 

Articulation is good, consisting of a mix of ball and clicking joints. Of all the strange places to put one of those clicking joints is the wrists where they fold in for the transformation. No idea what purpose that serves, maybe they're worried about them becoming floppy?

Each figure comes with two weapons. For the Stunticons their primary is a melee weapon of some sort. In Brake-Neck's (and Dead End's) case it's a pipe. Not sure why they went with a pipe when the others got swords and axes, but it is what it is. The secondary weapon is like the multi tool of Combiner Wars. For the Deluxe class figures it's a gun, but for the combined mode it's either a foot or hand, while some of the Stunticons also have them acting as external engines for their vehicle modes. 

I've got a few complaints about car mode. First, as mentioned before, the orange paint is just strange. It's not a case of them not being able to match the red plastic because the windows are painted red. Also not crazy about the out of place red block under the window, really should have slapped some gray paint on that. On the bright side the tire rims are painted, that's always good. 

I do like the silver patch, the offset Decepticon symbol and that they painted the headlights properly, I have to give them credit on this, he looks very good from the front. 

Unfortunately that's where they stopped. There isn't even the smallest bit of paint on the back so no rear window and no taillights. I suppose not all cars have rear windows, but they could have at least stuck some of that red window paint on the lights. 

See, Dead End got a window. To be fair there isn't a window molded in there and the original Wildrider figure didn't have a rear window while the original Dead End did. Like with Quickslinger and Firefly it's likely this mold was designed with both figures in mind from the start. 

As the story goes, after Wildrider (or Brake-Neck) parts ways with the Stunticons this new guy named Offroad shows up and takes his place. They're uneasy about replacing their departing teammate, and even more so when Offroad appears in Wildrider's colors. When Offroad was first announced and we had only seen his truck mode people thought he was the same character as Wildrider.

 But the similarities end with their vehicle colors. Bot mode shows them with entirely different pallets. In reality Hasbro had intended for Offroad to be an update of Triggercon Ruckus, but that guy is dead in the comics and Hasbro couldn't really justify making him a Stunticon so they turned him into a new character. The head mold is still very much Ruckus'. 

I guess this is why they gave him a pipe for a weapon. If it weren't bent on the end you could say it doubles as a gun, but no, it's just a pipe. The other weapon doesn't serve any other purpose than a gun in car mode. 

Here's the entire team. What was once five is now seven. Five Deluxe class, one Legends class (Blackjack), and one Voyager class. They make for a pretty imposing troop. But it wouldn't be Combiner Wars if they didn't have one more function. 

Menasor is one big bundle of hate and looks the part! Like the individual Stunticons his primary weapon is a giant sword rather than a gun, made by combining Motormaster's weapons. Like Superion he's an action figure in his own right with a full range of articulation. Unfortunately the part of Motormaster that the cars connect to is pretty weak and comes apart easily when you move his arms. Also his hip joints, which are already awkwardly designed, are very stiff and hard to manipulate. Blackjack can just barely stay in his chest as the pegs holding him in are too short and thin. Some people have come up with an alternate method of configuring him in there, but you may just want to keep the chest doors closed, it looks more G1 that way anyway. 

I do love that head sculpt! The horns are new, they weren't quite like bull horns on the original figure or the cartoon, but they kinda work. What I love is the face sculpt. A lot of photos don't really capture the details adequately, but there's a lot of depth and layers to the sculpting. Plus I think the expression is perfect!

Leg mode is a simple matter of folding over the front of the car and adding a foot. It's basically the same idea as the G1 figure, but I wish the front could be folded up to hide the joint the same way the Aerialbots can. Unfortunately this is the only way the front will fold in this form. 

As an arm the transformation is a bit more involved, but it's basically the robot mode with some modifications. I like that Hasbro tried to make Brake-Neck's arms do something different rather than just sitting at his side.

So there you have it. Brake-Neck isn't a bad figure by any means, but I think there are just a couple areas that could have made him a great figure. His transformation is as complex or more-so than some of the other Generations figures we've gotten in recent years and his sculpt is really great. However it's hard to overlook that orange stripe and I rally wish they had put some paint on the back end so it isn't just a blob of gray plastic. As limbs he's very functional, though I wish he could hide the knee joint in leg mode. Weapon could have been better, but it's not that far different from the rest of the Stunticons. In the end only people who will be buying Brake-Neck are people who already own the other members. If you're already that committed you probably already know what to expect and will get Brake-Neck to complete the team regardless anyway. 

[Giant-sized thanks to Hasbro for providing the review samples!]


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reviewed by Jeremy Emerje Crocker

 

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Jeremy Emerje Crocker
Jeremy Emerje CrockerAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Jeremy Crocker here, probably better known around the net as Emerje, I'm an associate editor here at Tomopop. I've been an avid figure collector my entire life. There's no time when I can remembe... more + disclosures


 



Filed under... #action figures #anime #cartoon toys #comic toys #Hasbro #mecha #reviews #robots #Transformers

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