"Generations" Combiner Wars Trailbreaker Toy Review
Release Date: January 2016
Price Point: $18.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Axe
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
A veteran of many battles, Trailbeaker specializes in protecting his allies with near-indestructible force fields. While incredibly valuable in combat, his shields require massive amounts of energy to maintain, forcing him to manage his reserves carefully. He combines with his fellow Autobots to form Sky Reign. Sky Lynx forms the torso, Autobot Hound and Wheeljack form the arms, Trailbreaker and Smokescreen form the legs, and Wreck-Gar becomes Combiner armor. Collect all 6 figures to build a giant Sky Reign Combiner robot. (Figures are each sold separately.) The Combiner Wars universal connection system makes this Trailbreaker figure compatible with Voyager Class Combiner Wars figures, so there are numerous combinations that can be created. Sky Reign 5 of 5. This Trailbreaker figure changes from robot to truck and back in 10 steps and, with an arm-mount cannon accessory and an axe accessory, comes ready for battle. It also comes with a collectible Combiner Wars comic book featuring a Hasbro-exclusive Trailbreaker cover, specially created character content, and a look inside the Transformers design desk. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
Kicking off the second year of "Combiner Wars" toys was an assortment of Autobots in early 2016 that included the likes of Hound and Smokescreen. One of these Autobots was Trailbreaker. Notice the name. In recent incarnations he had been called Trailcutter due to trademark issues. This is the first time in a while the charracter has been called by his G1 name. Like all the other Autobots in this wave Trailbreaker is a redeco of a sculpt released in 2015. He also features retooled parts. The base sculpt for this figure was originally released as Offroad. Later it was given a heavy retool as First Aid. More recently the figure was released with a new head and deco as Ironhide. Check out those reviews as they will cover a lot of details on this sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
For most of its run, the packaging of "Combiner Wars" featured the figure in robot mode inside a bubble. This bubble wrapped around the backing card partly to keep the comic book and action figure inside contained. The back of the card features a CG render of the figure (not actual toy photography) with a brief bio above it. To the right is a diagram of Sky Reign, showing Trailbreaker as a leg. The comic book included with this figure has an exclusive cover and a bio on the back told from the perspective of the Autobot psychiatrist Rung. The bio notes both his force field and general unhappiness. Interestingly enough it also references his name change though it does not say "Trailcutter". This is one of my favorite aspects of the "Combiner Wars" packaging and I hope it continues in the future.
Trailbreaker includes two accessories. The first is an axe weapon, using the same sculpt as the axes included with all previous incarnations of this sculpt. The axe is cast in black plastic, with the blade painted silver.
The other accessory is a hand/foot/weapon piece. However, it is not just a redeco of the one included with Offroad. Instead, it uses that piece as a base, but all the fingers are new parts. The thumb is a bit more thick and angled than the previous version and the four fingers that are connected together feature rectangular details with small circles inside of them. This is meant to represent the force field generator that has traditionally been mounted on the back of G1 Trailbreaker's head. The accessory is cast in black, with red plastic used for the hinge on the thumb. The "force field generators" are painted silver. This piece comes into play later in the robot mode where it fits into the slot behind the robot head and chest. I was very excited to see this change made to this piece as the accessories in this line have largely been ignored in that respect. Kudos to the designers for making a change that fits the character.
To turn the Offroad sculpt into Trailbreaker, the designers changed three parts to differentiate it from its predecessors:
- The head is a new piece, based on G1 Trailbreaker's animation model. It features a rectangular shape from the helmet all the way down to the chin. He has thick visor eyes and a distinctive set of lines running from the cheeks down to the bottom of the face.
- The left forearm is a newly sculpted piece featuring a flat design with a ridged line in the middle. This mostly reflects the appearance of the cartoon model which had a very plan, rectangular pair of forearms. This arm features a fist with a 5mm port.
- The right forearm is also a new piece, but it features a weapon barrel at the end instead of a hand. Interestingly on the G1 animation model this piece was usually shown on the left side.
These three pieces go a long way in helping to differentiate this figure from its predecessors and they help make the figure instantly identifiable as Trailbreaker. In particular I really appreciate the head sculpt and the "blaster forearm".
Trailbreaker is mostly cast in black plastic, with some red parts used on the upper arms and thighs. The red is a flat color, which works well since it is acting as a bit of a substitute for the red knee armor featured on the G1 character model. Silver paint is used on the forearms and lower legs, calling back to similar colors in those areas on the G1 animation model and toy. His eyes are painted blue and there is a small Autobot symbol tampographed on the right side of the chest.
Outside of the deco from the vehicle mode, this is pretty much it for the robot mode but I'm totally okay with that. Aside from perhaps a strip of silver somewhere in the middle of the body, this deco actually matches up pretty well with G1 Trailbreaker.
The joints on my copy of this figure range from tight to "a bit more loose than I prefer". The latter category goes to the hip and knee joints, which are definitely tighter on my copy of Offroad. Other than that I have no complaints. The new forearms are on ratchet joints so they work great and his hip joints can easily be tightened up by applying some clear nail polish to the ball joints, letting them dry and reattaching the legs. In an additional bit of functionality, the hand/foot/weapon piece can be put into the slot behind the head and chest to resemble the force field generator from G1 Trailbreaker! I love this touch and it really shows the designers tried to make this figure distinctive from previous releases.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the front of the lower legs down.
- Swing the back panels of the lower legs forward.
- Swing the robot arms down. I find the best way to do this is put your finger under the silver shoulder connection piece to brace it as you push down to prevent stress on the shoulder ball joint.
- Swing the front panels of the lower legs up.
- Swing the front of the truck and the windshield piece down.
- The weapons can attach to the holes on the sides of the truck towards the back.
The robot mode of this figure had a good amount of deco, but nothing extraordinary. I feel like a lot of it was held back for this mode, and it works out beautifully. This mode is all black plastic, which sounds dull until you realize the black is used as a backdrop for the deco. All the deco on this mode can be traced back to G1 Trailbreaker. These include:
- The windows are all painted light blue. The original G1 Trailbreaker toy had translucent blue plastic on the windows, but the animated version had light blue ones. This sort of pays homage to both.
- The front grille and headlights are painted silver, calling back to the G1 Trailbreaker toy which had vacuum metallized silver on those parts.
- The sides of the wheels are painted silver. Not only is this a rarity nowadays, but it also serves as a callback to G1 Trailbreaker who had vacuum metallized silver on his wheels.
- The hood has an Autobot symbol tampographed onto the driver's side of the air intake. This is similar placement to the Autobot symbol on G1 Trailbreaker's hood, except that was in the middle.
- There are distinctive, angled lines on the sides with a colors going from yellow, to light orange to a darker orange-red color. Running horizontally with these are white lines. These are details borrowed directly from G1 Trailbreaker. You'll see them on other incarnations of the character like his recent "Generations" Trailcutter incarnation.
Taken as a whole the deco looks awesome. There's only one missing deco: the rear lights, but given that many other vehicles in this line don't even have this much detail it's extraordinary how much was put onto this figure. I'm also very happy that they borrowed heavily from G1 Trailbreaker.
The hand/foot/weapon piece still slots nicely onto the tab in the truck bed. Attaching the weapon here also gives him more of the appearance of having a "cover" on the truck bed similar to G1 Trailbreaker's vehicle form. The axe weapon can attach to either side using the 5mm port.
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 forearms back at the elbows. There are grooves on the inside of each forearm, attach them to the tabs in between the two side windows from the vehicle mode.
- Connect the two robot legs together.
- Rotate the robot legs at the waist. Turn it to the right to form a right arm for Menasor and vice versa.
- Attach the hand piece to the hole on the bottom of the robot feet.
- Swing the center section of the torso out so the connection point for Menasor faces out.
Due to the relatively loose hip joints on my copy of this figure, Trailbreaker's arm mode isn't very strong at the elbow. It's not floppy mind you, but don't expect that arm to hold up a Legends Class figure in weapon mode without some tightening up. He can be posed just fine and the Combiner connector piece has no trouble sliding into place (I tested it on Silverbolt). This mode is a nice combination of black and red colors, so it doesn't visually overwhelm any other figure you might combine it with. The fist piece is nice and tight. I'm guessing this is partly due to two of the parts being new.
Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in Vehicle Mode):
- Detach all the accessories.
- Swing the front of the vehicle and the windshield up.
- Swing the center section of the robot torso up.
- Attach the foot piece to the hole on the bottom of the robot feet.
This is my preferred limb mode for Trailbreaker. It's thick, solid and looks great as a leg. The black color gets some nice detailing from the vehicle mode deco. The foot piece attaches nice and tight, so no worries there.
Trailbreaker is one of my favorite redeco/retools to come out of "Combiner Wars". I really appreciate how much of a homage this figure is to the original and the animated version from G1. I really appreciate the retooling of the hand/foot/weapon piece as well. Recommended!