Release Date: May 2015
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Online exclusive (Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, ToysRUs.com, Entertainment Earth, BigBadToyStore, Diamond Comics and Hasbro Toy Shop)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Exhaust Pipe weapon
The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 is "Combiner Wars". The focus will be on updated versions of Combiners from the past (with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to connect to the giant in some way (either as a body part or weapon).
While a "complete" Stunticon team of Blackjack, Breakdown, Dead End, Motormaster and Offroad was already released, Offroad was a new character (or a homage depending on how you look at it) so folks wondered where the "missing member" Wildrider had gone. In Q2 2015 fans got their answer with the release of "Brake-Neck", the new name for Wildrider (presumably due to trademark issues).
Wave one of the "Combiner Wars" Deluxes were rushed onto shelves due to production issues, so the were largely released without comic books and with a trading card featuring artwork from the "Transformers Legends" game. From wave two forward, the figures now include comic books with the cards removed. Brake-Neck comes with a reprint of "Robots in Disguise" #16 from IDW Publishing. The cover is new artwork (I believe from artist Ken Christiansen) featuring Brake-Neck in a battle scene. The back of the comic has a long form tech spec written from the perspective of Soundwave who comments on both Brake-Neck's name change and how he may wind up leaving the Stunticons. It's a really cool way to work "Marvel Universe" style tech specs into the toy and I really appreciate this addition.
The toy itself sits in a plastic tray with a plastic bubble over it that wraps around to the back of the card. The front of the card has schematics on it for the Aerialbots (oddly enough) while the back has a short bio. The schematic for Menasor oddly leaves out Dead End and includes Offroad, the "new" Stunticon. Given that the Aerialbots showed the five "classic" Aerialbot characters, I was surprised this did not show the five "classic" Stunticons.
For the most part, the Stunticons include melee weapons along with their foot/hand/weapon accessories. My interpretation is that this calls back more to their brutal nature as warriors. Brake-Neck includes the same weapon as Dead End which looks like a nightstick made from an exhaust pipe. The weapon is essentially a tube with a curved end. There are vertical and horizontal 5mm pegs for Brake-Neck to hold the weapon. The curved end of the pipe kind of removes any possibility of it being a blaster but the weapon can be held as if it were one.
The other weapon included with is also the same as Dead End's. It serves a triple purpose as a foot or fist of Menasor while also being a weapon for Brake-Neck. There are nice little details on the weapon including a piston in the center and some vent details on the sides. The weapon has two barrels, each with three smaller barrels extending out a bit from the end. There is a 5mm peg on top of the weapon allowing you to attach it to any Transformers figure with a compatible port.
Brake-Neck uses the same body as Dead End with a brand new head. The head is based on his design from the G1 cartoon, not the G1 toy. This includes details like an angled helmet section with a rim sticking out over the brow sort of like a hat. The sides of his head have small spikes sticking out to the sides. His face is set "inside" the helmet, which surrounds the face even around the chin. The sculpt looks great and really does a nice job of paying homage to the G1 cartoon Wildrider model.
The rest of the body is the same as Dead End's however the color layouts are different. Grey plastic is used for most of the body including the arms, head and lower legs. Silver is used on most of the torso. My favorite color however is a beautiful metallic red plastic used for parts like the fists and thighs. Black plastic is also used for the waist, knee joints and wheels (two of which are visible in this form from the front). The silver on the torso is a nice touch as it pays homage to the silver torso panels on G1 Wildrider.
Paint colors on this figure include red, silver and metallic purple. The red is used on sections of the arms, breaking up the grey color. It's also used on the face, contrasting nicely with the grey helmet. Silver is used on the feet and the center of the chest where the Decepticon symbol is painted on. My favorite color on this mode is the metallic purple which is used for the machinery detail in the chest panel. The color really pops and looks fantastic.
All of the joints on my copy of Brake-Neck are nice and tight. Indeed, some feel tighter than those on my Dead End figure. That said, I think the 5mm holes in his fists may have been made a tad too big. He holds his weapons just fine, but if you move the figure around the hand/foot weapon in particular goes swinging to the sides. The same is not true however for the 5mm holes on his shoulders.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing in each of the fists into the forearms.
- Rotate the waist around.
- Swing the robot arms down at the shoulders, then press the arms into the sides.
- Swing out the front panels of the lower robot legs.
- Swing each leg up against the back of the robot mode and press it into place, then swing the panels back into place.
- Swing down the front part of the car.
- Swing down the windshield.
- You can attach the hand/foot weapon to the top of the vehicle. His exhaust pipe weapon can attach to one of the 5mm ports on the sides.
Brake-Neck's vehicle mode does not have any retooled parts so it is basically a direct redeco of Dead End. Most of the vehicle is grey, with the wheels cast in black. His deco follows G1 Wildrider's pretty closely. The windows are all painted dark red, the middle of the hood section is a beautiful dark silver color (echoing the silver cross hatch sticker on Wildrider) and a Decepticon symbol rests on the front, off set to the left (just like G1 Wildrider). Even better, the sides of the wheels are painted silver mirroring the silver pins that keep the wheels on G1 Wildrider's toy in place. A gorgeous touch added to this figure are bright metallic red paint applications running from the front of the car all the way to the back on both sides. The color looks great and really adds a splash of color to the vehicle.
The weapons all attach to the vehicle firmly, so no issues there. A bonus: if you own Dead End too, you can have an exhaust pipe attached to both doors for a nice balanced appearance!
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 black 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 black piece from step three.
- Swing up the connection piece in the robot torso.
In his arm mode Brake-Neck looks thick. I was a bit surprised because when you think about him being a sports car in vehicle mode you figure his limb mode would be sleek and thin and sure in a way he is but the width of the vehicle mode really makes a strong impression here. The arm mode's deco mostly comes from parts you've already seen so there are no surprises in that department. Overall the arm mode has a powerful appearance that I like a lot.
The arm mode has five points of articulation. The shoulder joint (which connects him to Motormaster) is a ratchet joint that clicks into place every time you move it, giving Menasor good shoulder stability. "Elbow" articulation is done through the robot legs. I am happy to say that thanks to the tighter hip joints on this figure he can hold his arm up just fine (even with a weapon attached) unlike my Dead End who was more loose.
The Menasor fist can hold a 5mm peg weapon. If you want to attach more weapons you may do so via Dead End's shoulders.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in Vehicle 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.
The leg mode on this figure is basically the vehicle mode with the front of the car flipped back. It's rather wide, making the foot piece look a bit small. He has attachment points where the robot shoulders would be so you can add extra weapons to him in this form. While the G1 Stunticons had their robot torso and legs facing front when combined as Menasor, in this case the proper transformation has those parts facing back and the car parts facing forward. Some of this is out of necessity since the piece that connects Dead End to Motormaster's knee joint needs to be able to bend back without the car parts getting in the way. It looks cool either way, and those who did not grow up (and get attached to) G1 Menasor should have no issues with it.
I am very happy with this figure. Some of the color choices are amazing (the metallic red and purple in particular) and the new head sculpt looks fantastic. I'm also glad multiple online shops will be carrying this figure, making him easier to find than a single store exclusive. Of course, the biggest piece of joy here is being able to complete your "classic" Stunticon team! With tighter joints too, I'll bump the grade up for this guy to highly recommended!