"Generations" Combiner Wars Breakdown Toy Review
Release Date: March 2015
Price Point: $18.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Sword
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Breakdown is always worried that he is being watched. The Deceptions take full advantage of his need to remain unseen, and mobilize him as a scout. Paranoia comes in handy when you're trying to avoid detection. Combine and convert for awesome Transformers action! This Breakdown figure wields his mighty sword in robot mode, and he converts fast to sports car mode whenever his fast-driving combat tactics are needed. But he can also become an arm or a leg when the battle calls for you to build a truly hardcore Superion warrior! (Other figures sold separately.) Whatever mode your Breakdown figure is in, he's going to bring maximum carnage to the fight! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
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 serve as weaponry for the combined giants.
The first wave of "Combiner Wars" Deluxes included new team members for the Aerialbots and Stunticons. The second wave "completed" the teams. In the case of the Stunticons this wave included Breakdown, who had been part of the team since the days of "Generation One". It is worth noting that this is the first time in quite some time a mass release of this character has the name "Breakdown" instead of "Brakedown" or some other variant that has been used due to licensing issues. I always like seeing the "original names" return so this made me smile.
The packaging for wave two of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.
For this wave however a lot has changed. The card now features a repeating pattern featuring "Combiner Wars" characters on it. The back of the card has a brief bio of Breakdown with less legal information all over the place. Laid on top of the card is a comic book with Breakdown's package art. Since the comic adds some extra weight and thickness, the bubble put on top of the card actually wraps around the edges and is taped onto the back to hold it in place. A sticker wraps around the edge of the bubble mentioning combining into Menasor. The figure is in a tray inside the bubble in robot mode. There is no more trading card included with the figure.
One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of Breakdown written from the perspective of the Decepticon Soundwave! It really helps give more color to the character's personality and sticks with many G1 elements which is very much appreciated by this old fan. Overall the packaging for wave two of the Combiner Wars Deluxe figures is much more robust than the first wave.
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. Breakdown's main weapon is a short sword. What made me super happy was to see that the weapon could not only be held as a sword (thanks to a 5mm peg at the end) but also a blaster. There is a second peg that allows the figure to hold the weapon horizontally. Even better there is an actual blaster barrel in the front, and in the back there is a chamber for imaginary artillery. You'll also find a tab sticking out of the sword's hilt. This allows you to attach it to the thin groove on Breakdown's arms. After seeing this I found myself wishing all the Stunticon weapons had been designed in a similar fashion. The weapon is cast in black plastic with silver used on the sword blade.
The other weapon included with Breakdown is unique to this set. It also serves as the Menasor fist/foot pieces. The middle of the weapon has an engine on top with tubes coming out the sides. There are also two barrels with each being wide and rectangular with curved edges, making it distinct to this figure. These curved edges are reminiscent of a design feature on the G1 Autobot Sunstreaker, who had similar designs on the back of his head. It has been speculated this sculpt will be given a new head/deco and released as Sunstreaker. Time will tell, but the evidence is strong to support the theory! There is a 5mm peg on top of the weapon allowing you to attach it to any Transformers figure with a compatible port. This piece is cast in purple plastic with no paint applications.
Some of the Stunticons such as Dead End use the G1 design of the character and build on that. In Breakdown's case however, he is more like the Aerialbots in that he has details inspired by his G1 animation/comic book counterpart (who himself was quite different than the action figure from the 80's). Here are some of the details carried over from that G1 design:
- The head sculpt has a distinct flat section in the back, with a section that looks almost like a cap sitting on top of his head (albeit one with an angled top section). He also has panels on the side of his head that extend forward a bit past his face.
- The chest design features a raised bar across the top with a vertical raised section in the center. Under the horizontal bar is a smaller tube design that sits right under the bar on the top of the chest.
- The middle of the torso has a raised grille section.
- Above each knee are two circles on the thighs.
- Right above the feet are sections with rows of three horizontal lines.
There are some details which are different than the G1 version. The G1 Breakdown had wheels on his shoulders, this version does not (though there are some sculpted details that almost resemble the side of a wheel but could also be a gear/cog). The G1 version had very blocky arms while these are more curved and sleek. He also has some additional detailing on his feet that aren't present in the G1 cartoon/comic book model. These details add some nice texture to the character and they look cool. Overall, this is one really cool looking sculpt that evokes the G1 character wonderfully.
Breakdown is cast in off-white, blue and black plastic. The off-white and blue colors are based on his appearance in the G1 animated series (the comic book used more of a purple color on him). Black plastic is seen on the wheels which are visible in this mode. Paint applications are done in dark blue, silver and red. The silver is mostly used on the torso and waist. His face is painted red with metallic grey eyes. Dark blue is concentrated on the front of the lower legs and the middle of the feet are silver. The finishing touch is a Decepticon symbol on the left side of his torso - a touch inspired by his colors design in the G1 cartoon and comic book. The colors come together really nicely and also evoke the G1 version of the character in the same manner as the sculpt itself.
There are fourteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three in each arm and leg. The shoulder, elbow and hip joints are ball joints, so you get a good range of articulation. He also has waist articulation, but it's partly obstructed by the cabin section of the vehicle mode on his back. You can still turn him at the waist, but you can't say, have him completely turned to the side (but you can get really close). To me this isn't a huge deal but other fans may care more than I do.
Breakdown has five attachment points for his weapons. The most obvious are his fists, which can hold 5mm peg weapons. The tab on the sword can slide into the groove on his upper arm as well for storage. Finally, you can attach the had/foot piece on his back thanks to a 5mm peg under the hood of the car. This placement echoes the design of Sunstreaker who also had similar engine design behind his head in G1 lending weight to the theory that this sculpt will be given a new deco as Sunstreaker at some point.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Push up the robot feet against the lower legs.
- Swing back the halves of the spoilers.
- Swing each forearm up against the upper arms.
- Swing the lower legs out to the side and up, collapsing the thighs into them.
- Push the leg sections together.
- Push the arms down at the shoulders, connecting them to the leg sections and forming most of the vehicle mode's body.
- Swing the robot head and the platform it rests on back.
- Swing the car hood forward.
- Swing the windshield piece down.
In the G1 era, Breakdown transformed into a Lamborghini, and the designers had zero issue copying elements of the real life vehicle with abandon. However, in the decades since, licensing laws have prevented Hasbro and Takara from doing this without paying fees. To avoid licensing issues, the designers generally create a vehicle that is close to the real life vehicle in design, but differs just enough so there are no issues. Breakdown's vehicle mode accomplishes this. The overall design has a lot of design elements reminiscent of the Lamborghini. The front end is angled and slopes downward to a thin front end. The hood section has a section that is sunken in a bit. The sides of the vehicle come in with a sharp, angled pattern, the back has a row of panels and the spoiler echoes the spoiler seen on Lamborghinis from the 80's. I love the way the vehicle manages to look modern while giving nods to a classic vehicle all at the same time.
Breakdown mostly shows off his off-white colored plastic in this form. The wheels are cast in black and a bit of the blue plastic from the robot mode peeks out in the front and back. Blue paint is used on the lower part of the vehicle on the sides to give some continuity between the blue plastic on the front and back. Black paint is used to color in his windows. Silver is found on his headlights and rims (a huge plus in my book). It's also used on the front end and it's used to make the words "15Racing" on the top of the windshield. A large red trapezoid is painted onto the hood. A silver and purple Decepticon logo is tampographed on the hood. These last two details are direct callbacks to G1 Breakdown and further enhance the visual connection between the G1 and Combiner Wars versions of the character. The deco looks great both because of the callbacks to G1 but also its attention to detail in making sure the rims are painted. Room for improvement: the rear lights are unpainted, so he looks great until you turn the car around, then it looks rather plain.
The sword/rifle weapon can attach to the sides of the vehicle using the tab on the sword hilt. His hand/foot/weapon piece can attach to the top of the weapon in two ways. First you can just use the peg and attach it to the hole on the top of the vehicle. You can also flip the weapon around and attach the small tabs on top of the car to the grooves at the base of the weapon barrels. Continuing the "Sunstreaker" speculation going, attaching the piece in this manner makes the vehicle look similar to the way G1 Sunstreaker looked with the engine piece facing upward at the back of the vehicle along with the flat weapon barrels - features that are very reminiscent of G1 Sunstreaker. I have to give kudos to how well the piece fits this way. I was afraid the piece would not attach very well but it holds nice and tight (enough that I could flip the vehicle upside down and it's fine).
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.
- Swing the rear halves of the vehicle out then connect them together.
- Swing the windshield/windows panel back.
- Swing the front of the vehicle back.
- Swing the arm connector piece out.
- Rotate the hip around with the spoiler section facing up (so the arm has elbow articulation).
- Attach the hand to the hole at the back of the vehicle (now the forearm).
Like all the Stunticons the width and size of the vehicle mode greatly affect the limb modes. In the case of the arm, Breakdown forms a really brutish looking arm. Both the upper arm and the forearm are really thick and wide which to me, conveys a sense of strength and power. The fist is a good size match to the forearm so nothing looks out of proportion. Unlike some of the other Combiner Wars figures, his only 5mm peg connection point is in the hand itself. You can attach his sword/rifle weapon to the top part of the arm but that's about it. This isn't a big deal to me but it does set him apart from many of the other figures in the line.
The only "newly" revealed deco is the shoulder connection piece, which is cast in purple plastic. This matches up nicely with the fist. All the joints are nice and tight, enough that I was able to put Powerglide in the hand in weapon mode and the arm stayed up with its elbow bent. Hurray for tight joints!
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in Vehicle Mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Make sure the foot piece has the fingers tucked in and the thumb forming the heel in the back.
- Swing the windshield/windows piece back.
- Swing the front of the vehicle up and back.
- Swing the leg connection piece up.
- Attach the foot piece to the back of the car.
The leg mode is really just a variation on the vehicle form. Like the arm mode it's thick and chunky looking, which works for the character of Menasor. Functionally this also adds a good amount of stability to the figure since it's one solid piece and it can't really flop around or fall apart. The foot piece is a tad small looking because of the leg's width, but from a stability standpoint it works just fine, thanks in part to the heel piece, which can be moved in different directions to allow Menasor to stand in various poses.
Breakdown is another successful "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figure. There are a couple rough spots like the hip joints in robot mode (which take a little time to even out) and the lack of deco on the back of the vehicle - but these are minor quibbles. Overall a great figure and recommended!