"Generations" Combiner Wars G2 Brake-Neck Toy Review
Release Date: March 2016
Price Point: $99.99 (in a boxed set with Blackjack, Breakdown, Dead End, Dragstrip and Motormaster, )
Retailer: Limited Release (Toys R Us, Target, Amazon, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Exhaust pipe
Official images and text below in italics are from HasbroToyShop:
Menasor is driven by one thing and one thing only: a desire to obliterate the enemy. He attacks Decepticons – on the ground or in the air – with all-out force.
Convert, attack and destroy with this incredible 7-in-1 Menasor Collection Pack! There’s a whole force of Decepticons in this pack and they’re spoiling for a fight with their Autobot enemies. Whether these sneaky Decepticons are in robot mode or vehicle mode, they’ll attack with everything they’ve got! And when that’s not enough, they’ll combine to form a massive, unstoppable Menasor figure! Maybe the Autobots could defeat Motormaster, Decepticon Dragstrip, or Dead End alone. Maybe Breakdown, Brake-Neck and Blackjack won’t be enough to stop the Autobot advance. But when they combine, Autobots beware! Dominate the Transformers battle with your Menasor Collection Pack!
Includes 6 figures, poster, collector card, poster, accessories, and instructions.
Back in the 90's Hasbro made an attempt to revive the then-failing "Transformers" toy line be re branding it as "Transformers Generation 2". This line took old sculpts and new sculpts and mashed them up into one line of figures. However, "Generation 2" only lasted a few years before Transformers took a sharp left turn and was reimagined as "Beast Wars". Along the way several figures that were solicited were never released. However in some cases the figures did make it to the production sample stage, and that's where the "Generation 2" Stunticons come in. At Botcon 1994 attendees received a carded Breakdown figure from "Generation 2", part of a set that would never see mass release. To illustrate how excited fans have been for this set, a 2015 ebay auction featured a complete set of these Stunticons out of package and wound up earning over $26,000!
For those not looking to spend the price of a car to buy a set of Stunticons, it was announced last summer that the "Combiner Wars" Stunticons would be relased in G2 colors! Retailing around $99.99 this set was most readily available at online retailers such as BWTF sponsor Bigbadtoystore and other stores such as Target and Toys R Us. Some stores such as Toys R Us in Canada had these at physical retail locations as well.
While this set did come in one big boxed set I've decided to divide up my reviews of this set into digestible chunks by team member. I think this is a bit more organized and also keeps you from having to scroll forever through one gigantic review.
This review focuses on Brake-Neck, who is better known among fans as Wildrider. This character is unique in that he was not included as part of the Stunticon team in the early waves of "Combiner Wars" figures. Instead he was later offered as a limited exclusive online. He sold out very quickly making him highly sought after by "Combiner Wars" fans.
The base sculpt for this character has been released a few times in different forms. First it was "Combiner Wars" Dead End with a G1 based deco. The figure was then retooled and given a new deco as the G1 themed Brake-Neck. Later the sculpt would be heavily retooled and given a new deco as Protectobot Streetwise. Towards the end of last year the figure emerged again, this time as Prowl. At the beginning of 2016, the sculpt surfaced again as "Combiner Wars" Smokescreen and of course in this Collector's set as the G2 themed Dead End. That's a lot of reuse of any sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
The "Menasor Collectors Pack" is a really impressive looking set. The box is large and rectangular, intended to be displayed horizontally. The front uses the black background seen on most "Generations" packaging with the red "Transformers" logo set vertically on the right. The middle section has new artwork featuring Menasor in his G2 colors. This is not the same art used for the first "Combiner Wars" release of this character, it is new art. Overlaid on top of that are small thumbnail images of all six Stunticons and the words "Combiner Wars Menasor" below that. The back of the packaging features a large photos of Menasor fully combined with a brief write up on the character.
Open up the box and you slide out a huge, clear plastic tray with all the Stunticons in vehicle mode. The accessories are all placed near the member they belong to. Also included in the package is a cardboard envelope with the instructions and a print inside. Unlike Superion, the print included for this set does feature the G2 based artwork. I love the presentation of the figures on a big tray and the idea of including a print is really cool.
Brake-Neck's larger weapon is a hand/foot/weapon piece using the same sculpt as the one included with his limited edition release in G1 colors. This piece is cast in the same metallic teal blue as most of the other weapons in this set. The hinge piece where the thumb is located is cast in silver, matching up with silver found on Brake-Neck himself. There is no paint on this accessory. Instead it is left as the teal color to better match up with the hands and feet included with the original G2 Menasor.
The other weapon intended for this figure is an exhaust pipe that can do triple duty thanks to two 5mm pegs. In robot mode it can be held as a blaster (although the barrel winds up facing up) or a melee weapon. This piece is cast in red, which is interesting since there is no red on this figure. It is then painted blue with a pretty thick layer of paint. The result is that the exhaust pipe winds up fitting more tightly into the ports on the sides of the vehicle and Brake-Neck's fists in robot mode than say, the original release of Dead End.
The other accessory is a hand/foot/weapon piece cast in a metallic teal blue color. The joint between the thumb and palm is silver plastic. This specific piece features two weapon barrels with three smaller extensions at the end. This color is inspired by the teal used on the original G2 Menasor's hand and foot pieces and it looks wonderfully gaudy and bright. The joints on this piece are nice and tight as well.
"Generation 2" was known for its bold colors and G2 Wildrider was no exception. Moving away from the more pastel or blue/purple colors of the other Stunticons, G2 Wildrider instead focused on the color yellow. With this version of Brake-Neck the same holds true . His base plastic color is bright shade of metallic yellow. It isn't neon, but it definitely isn't a muted yellow either. The wheels are cast in black plastic, offering nice contrast against the yellow. Look at the back of the vehicle and you'll see a bit of the silver plastic peeking through, though most of it is in the robot mode.
Adding detail into this figure are paint colors including metallic black, silver and blue. The metallic black is used on the hood to paint the middle section, leaving enough exposed yellow to form a gigantic G2 Decepticon symbol, reflecting the boldness of the G2 era. This same black can be found as trim on the sides of the vehicle and on the back window. Interestingly, the windshield and side windows are painted blue. It's quite unusual for the windows on one vehicle form to have different colors but there you go. Silver paint is used on the headlights and the sides of the wheels, offering a nice splash of metallic color hinting at Brake-Neck's robotic nature.
The finishing touches to this deco are tampographs on the top and sides of the vehicle. The top one is the most interesting. Based on a sticker from the G2 Wildrider figure, it features a beautiful pattern of black, blue, red and white rectangles. Most of the G2 Stunticons had stickers on the top of the vehicle, but they were largely ignored for this set. I was very happy to see Brake-Neck have this represented. The other tampographs are on the sides, near the front wheel wells featuring a nice orange fading pattern that has a pixelated look to it.
I think this figure has one of the strongest decos out of all the Stunticons in this set. Really the only missing detail is paint on the rear lights, but given how complete everything else is I really don't miss it much.
The attachment points for weapons on the top and sides of the figure hold all his weapons nice and tight and the wheels roll well without falling off. Functionally I have no issues wbith this form.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
- Swing the panels with the rear wheel wells on them out.
- Swing the rear of the vehicle out and back.
- Straighten out the legs formed from the rear section of the vehicle, then swing the panels in to form the front of the lower legs.
- Swing the windshield piece back.
- Swing the front of the vehicle back.
- Swing the sides of the vehicle up to form the arms, then swing them down.
- On each arm, swing out the robot hands.
- Swing the front section of the car part way up, now swing the car hood section back and down. This will reveal the robot chest panel and head which you swing forward.
- Rotate the lower body around.
- The weapons can be attached to the hand or the sides of the shoulders.
Once you get the figure in this mode his color connection to the rest of the team becomes more apparent. On top of the metallic yellow and silver plastic seen in vehicle mode his thighs and fists are revealed to be blue plastic. Silver makes up the waist/hip area and his knee armor. I'm not sure what color the head is cast in, but it is painted gunmetal grey with a purple face and red eyes. The blue and the purple help offer a color connection to the rest of the G2 themed Stunticon team even though his dominant color is still yellow.
Gunmetal grey is used to fill in a lot of the tube detailing on the chest. Silver paint is used on the forearms and lower legs. The center of the chest has a small G2 Decepticon symbol painted in yellow. What surprises me about this figure is how effective only a few points of deco are. Could he have used a dab more paint here and there? Sure, but he doesn't really need it to look good in this mode.
The joints in this mode all feel as tight. Not as tight as some of the other figures in this set, but overall I have no problem posing the figure.
Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):
- Detach all weapons.
- Take the fist/foot piece and fold the section with the thumb down, then swing the thumb up.
- On the left leg, swing the silver piece down.
- Push the lower legs together.
- Rotate the waist piece to the side (either one is fine depending on which arm you are creating).
- Swing the robot fists into the forearms.
- Swing each robot arm down at the shoulder.
- Swing the robot head back into the front section of the car.
- Swing the front of the car and the head section back and down (some stock photography has it up at an angle, so feel free to choose for yourself).
- Attach the Menasor hand to the silver piece from step three.
- Swing up the connection piece in the robot torso.
From a visual standpoint Brake-Neck is the limb that really breaks up the blue and purple mash up that is Menasor in this set. Sure the hand is teal and some blue shows up at the elbow, but the yellow is kind of hard to ignore. Even Dead End's red color is muted just enough that it sort of becomes part of the whole. Brake-Neck on the other hand just screams "Look at me!" and I love it.
The most critical piece of functionality in this mode is the ability for the arm to stay up at the elbow and shoulder. The ratchet joint on the shoulder is nice and tight, so no issues there. Now if I try to have this arm mode hold a Legends figure like Viper up, it does sag a bit. The way to have it hold such a weapon up seems to be to tuck the forearm in, bending it at the elbow to give it more support from the robot mode's hip joints. This is less an issue with the figure than it is a consequence of having ball joints for the hips. Had they been ratchet joints of some sort this may not have been as much of an issue.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in robot mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Push down a bit on the front of the vehicle.
- Swing the windshield piece up and back.
- Swing the front of the car up and back.
- Swing the robot head up and back so it rests in the piece that forms the front of the car.
- Swing the connection piece out from the robot torso.
- Attach the foot piece to the back of the car.
With the Stunticons I mostly see the leg modes as a variation on the vehicle mode. It's also inherently more solid since the ratchet joint at the knee is a strong design and all the weight comes down onto the foot piece. Brake-Neck is no exception. Overall I'm very happy with this mode.
Brake-Neck is one of my favorites in this set. Aside from just being a fun toy, he really embodies the spirit of being a visually bold and unusual looking Transformer calling back to another era.