Combiner Wars Brake-Neck (Wildrider) Review

  Posted in Reviews, Toys and Collectibles on April 30th, 2015 by JediTricks TF

brake-neck-0213Combiner Wars deluxe Brake-Neck is the current name Hasbro has given to G1 Stunticon Wildrider. It’s a little unusual to have 2 characters in the Stunticons with the word “brake/break” in their names, but when you’re a wild rider, you might just break your neck, I suppose. Brake-Neck/Wildrider didn’t make it out to mass-retail, instead replaced by newcomer Offroad, but Hasbro is releasing Brake-Neck in the US as a shared online exclusive as part of the Transformers’ “May Mayhem” celebration next month. Read on for the full review and photos.

Packaging: Brake-neck ships with a copy of The Transformers comic book from IDW, oddly it’s a reprint of Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2013) issue #16, which doesn’t feature any Stunticons whatsoever, but is an interesting part of a great run; the issue is referred to in publishing details inside as “The Transformers: Combiner Wars #8”. The back of this exclusive edition of the book has an in-universe character evaluation and biography, inside that rear cover is the design desk genesis of this figure. All of this fits with the mass-retail wave 2 figures shipping now. Note that the figure is referred to as 2 of 5 for Menasor, the same number not as Offroad – the character swapped for Brake-Neck – but as Dead End, the figure that shares a mold with Brake-Neck; obviously that is a bit of an error.

Vehicle Mode: Brake-Neck’s vehicle mode is designed to suggest a hybrid of the modern Ferrari 458 Italia and 360 Modena, a pair of Ferrari’s best modern designs. Brake-Neck’s vehicle mode is very attractive, although a lack of painted rear window does taking things down a notch. The hand/foot accessory does pop onto the top a la the G1 Stunticons, but doesn’t look particularly nice doing it (other CW Stunticon molds integrate their hand/foot accessory a little better). The exhaust pipe accessory may not be realistic to this type of car, but it doesn’t look bad at all. Vehicle mode is fairly solid and rolls pretty well.

I would have liked to have seen the red lower stripe executed a little narrower, the seams and mismatched plastic make it look unfinished despite the intention being to be a thick stripe as evident by the painted stripe on the front fender.

Robot Mode: Transformation is a little unique from the other Stunticons (except Dead End, since they share the body design), with the legs opening on a sideways hinge to allow flipping around. The rest is fairly standard, simple but not unsatisfying. The knees can de-transform a little easily of the feet open, but otherwise it’s a solid robot mode.

Brake-Neck’s head sculpt borrows from the G1 cartoon. The limited-tilt ball-jointed head can be fairly expressive for basically only rotating. The body design comes off a bit chunky but has very good range of motion. Detailing is uneven, some areas are smoother than others, but overall he looks decent, and that movable chest plate is very welcome to cover up the combiner joint. On both feet, the figure is very stable, but the angled foot bottom is also hollow so one-footed poses are not possible. While his accessories can’t be stored on his back due to transformation, there are a pair of 5-mm holes on the outside of either shoulder.

Brake-Neck’s accessories are the same molds as Dead End’s. The hand/foot accessory makes an ok gun, but it’s too bad he has stuff below his arms to keep him from holding it under his fist rather than over. The exhaust pipe club is nifty with some great detailing, and in another figure’s hands it could be held as a tonfa as well.

Limb Modes: As Menasor’s left leg, Brake-Neck is a serviceable if uninspiring design, he’s basically the vehicle mode with the hood flipped out of the way. He could face the opposite way for a more G1 look, but you’d lose knee articulation.

As an arm, Brake-Neck doesn’t look too bad, but he’s surprisingly thick for a sports car as an arm. Like all the arm modes, there actually is a place for the robot’s actual arms to go, a small tab under the side windows, the instructions give you a good idea of the placement.

Comparisons: Brake-Neck’s vehicle mode colorscheme gets cribbed a bit by mass-retail Stunticon newcomer Offroad. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, in robot mode they are very different.

Brake-Neck seems to have been planned from the outset since his design calls back to the G1 Wildrider’s Ferrari 308 vehicle mode, while mass-retail Dead End uses the same exact mold and only replaces the head despite Dead End’s G1 figure using a Porsche 928 for its alt mode back in the day. Below compares CW Brake-Neck with Dead End, note both are the Ferrari vehicle mode.

Overall: Brake-Neck is a welcome inclusion to the Stunticons for any G1 purist, and much more sporty than newcomer Offroad. The cartoon-inspired head and paint make him a classic character with new life, and having the true heir to the Ferrari-inspired vehicle mode is no small relief. If you’re not a G1 purist though and you already own Offroad and Dead End, you may not find as much to get excited about with Brake-Neck.

Review sample supplied by Hasbro

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