Friday, 3 April 2015

Transformers Combiner Wars Breakdown Review

Generations Dead End and Breakdown

Rolling in as part of the next wave of Combiner Wars figures we have Breakdown. Most people on Earth probably had the original G1 Breakdown toy, and I imagine that there are millions down the backs of peoples sofas as we speak.

Hasbro have updated him in a more modern form, ready to be a leg for the discerning Menasor fan of 2015.

Hit the button below to read the rest of the review

Car Mode

Breakdowns alt mode

Breakdown is instantly recognisable as a Lamborghini Countach, though somewhat updated and fudged to look more generic so those fine folk at Hasbro don't have to pay a licensing fee.

What this means is that there are extra touches and flourishes to make it look like a Countach, but not enough to keep a lawyer in a job. Changes such as the front lights being long and strip lighting-esque, and the car looking more stretched than Breakdowns original form all serve to modernise him a little and in terms of Generations toys Breakdown is definitely one of the closest to his original G1 toy.

The side of Breakdowns car mode

Breakdown does still look like a Milky Bar on wheels, as Hasbro have gone with faithfully taking his off white colour palette from 1985 and transplanting it into a 2015 Combiner Wars car.

The red triangle has made the journey too, only looking a lot larger due to the much longer car hood. Sadly, the Decepticon badge is no longer off centre and yes - it kills me.
Breakdown is already paranoid as it is, centring his badge will no doubt only increase his paranoia that someone is watching him.

In the grand scheme of things, it is not that big a change and most people probably won't care, but I always quite liked that on the original toy.
Just looked cool I guess.

The other thing I don't like is the "15RACING" logo that adorns the windscreen as I can't think of any relevance to it? It attracts your attention when looking at Breakdown, but not in a good way. If the car had other decals and logos on it, something like this might feel like it belongs, but here on the rolling Milky Bar it just looks like an annoyingly watermarked photo.

No doubt Breakdown is staring at constantly and pondering the mystery of "what does it mean?".

The familiar blue finishes off the paint, and surprising everyone the wheel rims are also painted. Hasbro are really pushing the boat out.

The silver on the lights is subtle, and nicely highlights their step like features, whilst some bonus silver paint is applied to the to two rectangles on the bumped just to break up the blue.

A hint at the sunstreaker remold of Breakdown

Breakdowns combiner piece is clearly designed with the upcoming Sunstreaker repaint in mind, and you can catch a glimpse of how it is going to look in how it attaches to the roof. Instead of the peg going into a hole, there are two small clips which slot into the bottom of the combiner piece.

So you get Sunstreaker's unmistakable engine block, and it is more successful that the majority of these pieces in the various alt modes. Actually, saying that, the Stunticon's (except Dead End) all seem to store their pieces quite well and in some way that references something. Breakdown is clearly Sunstreaker in all but name like this, Dragstrip's homages his original dual cannon attachment and Off Roads becomes an engine block.

Breakdowns car mode is a really nice update, with some cool features. It does not stray too far from the Breakdown you know, and it is a smart move as he had one of the more iconic alt modes of all the Stunticons being as the Countach is probably the most famous Super car of the 1980s.

Robot Mode

Transformers Generations Breakdown

Hasbro have give Breakdown arguably the most unique transformation of all of the Combiner Wars deluxes thus far. Whilst most share elements of their transformation, Breakdowns legs and arms transform in  way that is completely his own.
You pull the rear of the car apart, which allows you to then fold Breakdowns legs down on a hinge, and unfold the feet. Yes, he has transformable feet, which makes him special as all of the other CW figures tend to have molded feet, or fudged feet in the case of Dragstrip whos spoiler flips up.
But his don't look like feet.

The arms are pretty cool, as the unfold from a block and then hinge upwards to lock the chest panel in place. The head is on this panel which like Deadend flips over to cover the combiner peg.

the head sculpt of Breakdow

We will start with Breakdowns head and chest, as they set the tone for the toys aesthetic as a whole. Basically, it is inspired entirely by the G1 cartoon animation model.

It is a really nice facesculpt, and the painting is excellent as the eyes are a different colour but the paint has been applied very neatly.

The face is a little at odds with Dragstrip and Dead End, who's headsculpt's have been exaggerated to be a bit more monstrous, but then it fits with Off Road who's head looks very traditional (and awesome).

It plays into the theme of the Stunticons all being a conflicted mish-mash of a group, who even when combined into Menasor can't unify or function as a group.

More than any other combiner team, the Stunticons gain a ton of character as a result.

The chest is also directly taken from the cartoon, and does a nice job of covering the combiner peg. I love that some of the figures have this feature as it stops them all looking samey with exposed combiner pegs.

Variety is the spice of life and all that.

Breakdowns kibble

Kibble is evident in Breakdown's robot mode with the front of the car just hanging around there. But in a funny way, it homages his original toy, so you can more easily overlook it.

In terms of looks, Breakdown is a great interpretation of the animation model (which is always my personal preference) but there a couple of areas where he does suffer.

First are those enormous lower legs, your eyes can't help but be drawn to them. They make the rest of his body look really slim (especially those arms), then there are these massive legs.
He looks a little like someone trying to sneak booze into a music festival, by hiding it down their trouser legs.

The legs are also massively hollow, which upsets the look quite a bit.

This is not helped by the off white colour washing out a lot of the detail, to the point he almost looks like he is wearing a onesie.

The last weird feature is the hips, which...well....I don't even know what is going on. Breakdowns legs are attached to the groin by what looks like a c clip, and so they tend to rotate around the peg. It can be really tough getting them straight, as when you move him, they move too.

Really weird design choice that one.

Combiner Wars Breakdown

Articulation on this guy is pretty good. The previously bemoaned hips  can allow for a bit of leeway in getting some poses,  there's hinges and ball joints all over the place and the feet are on a hinge due to the transformation.

So you can pose him well, but those huge lower legs can hinder him.

Breakdown comes with a gun blade that marks him out as a fan of Final Fantasy 8. Of all the Stunticons, his is the only weapon that does a good job of also doubling as a rifle.
It is actually pretty cool, and I love the sculpted bullet chamber that just adds to the Final Fantasy vibe.

Wonder if on his car stereo his constantly loops the Final Fantasy battle theme?

breakdown wearing the menasor piece like Sunstreaker

You can tell more thought has gone into Breakdowns combiner piece, as it stores in a manner clearly intended for Sunstreaker.
At first glance you may be tempted to peg it into the peg hole, but then you would be missing an undocumented feature that makes it sit flush and snug within the backpack.

There are some tiny  slots cut out of the side of the combiner piece, that correspond with with some thin rails on the inside of Breakdowns backpack. You can slide the piece in, and they give you Sunstreaker's familiar silhouette.

breakdown in leg mode

Breakdown is the figure I expected to like the most from the Stunticons, along with Dead End, but ended up surprisingly liking the least. That is not to say he is a bad figure, he is pretty good and just as fun as the rest of the line, but there are some little things that don't quite work.

The huge lower legs probably being his biggest problem, and in fairness it is not a big gripe but when Off Road and Dead End are so fun to play with, it leaves Breakdown lagging at the back of the pack.

With the Stunticons all being different, having different transformations, and different aesthetics, it is lovely to see when put up against the almost uniform look of the Aerialbots. That alone brings out more character in the Stunticons than anything else.

So yeah, Breakdown is good figure, but with a few tweaks could have stolen the show.

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