Transformers Prime Dead End Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Deluxe, Generation One, Prime, Robots in Disguise

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: June 2012
Price Point: $12.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Swords x 2


*Images with asterisks and text below in italics are from The Official Transformers Web Site:

Dead EndThe name Dead End has its origins in Generation One, where the original Dead End was a rather pessimistic Decepticon who transformed into a car. He was part of the Stunticons, a team of Decepticons who all transformed into ground vehicles (unusual at the time) and combined to form the giant Decepticon Menasor. In this new incarnation, Dead End is a stand alone character whose figure is a redeco/retool of the "Transformers Prime" Wheeljack figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out my Wheeljack review for details on the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
One of the keys to any successful redeco is to make sure it is easily distinguishable from its predecessors. This is doubly true if the redeco is intended to be a different character altogether. If your deco is different enough, you can make a redeco look like an entirely different sculpt at first glance. That appears to have been the intent behind Dead End.

Starting with his basic plastic colors, Dead End is already quite different than Wheeljack. Whereas Wheeljack was mostly white plastic, Dead End is a dark, metallic grey. His wheels are black and his windows are cast in translucent green. On the top is a touch of yellow plastic on the top of the cabin section and on the rear spoiler. Of the three plastic colors, I'd say the grey is my favorite. It has a deep, metallic shine to it that really makes Dead End look like a machine and not just a plastic toy. This darker set of colors fits a Decepticon but also takes the basic colors into the other end of the spectrum in terms of brightness and it's a good start.

The real fun comes in with the paint deco on this figure. Yellow, orange, neon green and black paint colors are all used to bring some brightness to Dead End's dark canvas. Most of these colors are focused on the top of the vehicle, with the orange making out the sides, yellow in the center and black forming the center details including an arrow shaped point on the hood and painting over the cover over the rear window. Neon green is used for some brighter spots such as the headlights, part of the windshield, the sides of the wheels and a Decepticon symbol on the right side of the vehicle. I was surprised to see the sides of the wheels painted as this is a detail often left out of decos nowadays, but it's most welcome and adds a bit of brightness to the sides of the vehicle that are featured havily on the top. These colors may sound garish, but the orange and yellow tones are subdued enough that the neon green pops nicely off of them. Overall it's a surprising deco in how well the colors work together.

Dead End includes the same sword accessories as Wheeljack, but they are cast in black plastic with the sword blades painted neon green. Each of these can be connected to tabs on the underside of the vehicle's front end. This gives him some extra melee power in vehicle mode, but also makes the vehicle look like a big snake with fangs sticking out in front and "eyes" in the form of the headlights. Part of me gets a Beast Wars Quickstrike vibe from this look (even though the two characters only share a couple colors, any homage is probably coincidental).

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the swords and set them aside for now.
  2. Holding the figure firmly, carefully swing out each half of the vehicle, splitting it at the middle point of the windshield.
  3. Swing the cabin section of the vehicle up on its central hinge.
  4. Split the front end of the vehicle.
  5. On each half of the vehicles front end, swing the black robot foot pieces out by rotating the sections they are attached to forward.
  6. Push the sections with the front wheel wells up.
  7. Swing the sections with the front wheel wells back.
  8. Swing each robot foot up.
  9. Rotate the legs at the point where the hip joint meets the thighs so the feet point forward.
  10. At the knees are thin pieces of knee armor, swing those forward a bit.
  11. Swing the top section of the vehicle forward and push the panel behind it up to reveal the robot head.
  12. Swing the arm sections up.
  13. Align the panels that connect to the arms to the small tabs on the chest piece.
  14. Swing the chest piece down, attaching the tabs from the last step to the appropriate slots on the arm connection pieces. The tab at the bottom of the chest piece should attach to its corresponding slot above the robot waist.
  15. Swing the armor on each shoulder back.
  16. On each forearm, pull out the inner part of the forearm with the hands attached to it, rotate it back then push it back into place to bring the hands forward.
  17. Behind the head is a piece stucking up, split that in half, rotating each half out half way.
  18. Each sword can be placed into one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
Since the days of Generation One, it's been standard practice to utilize a sculpt as many times as possible to get maximum value out of the cost of developing it. Most of the time, redecos are simply that, a new set of colors on a pre-existing sculpt to create a new character or another iteration of an existing character. In other cases, a part (or parts) of a figure are replaced entirely with something new to create a new character. This is the case with Dead End, who uses a different head sculpt than Wheeljcak.

Unlike the distinctive Wheeljack head sculpt with its flaps/ears on the sides, this head sculpt is more oval shaped like a traditional Transformers head, but its design is far from typical. Dead End's head makes him look almost like an animal (maybe that Beast Wars homage wasn't so accidental) with narrow eyes, a rounded helmet section and a gaping open mouth that looks like a snake with its mouth wide open hissing at an enemy. It's a really dramatic head design and I love how purely evil it looks. When you look at this head, you can tell right away this is meant to either be a bad guy, or a seriously unpleasant good guy.

All of the plastic colors seen in vehicle mode appear in this mode, but now yellow takes more of the center stage. The front panel of the torso section and the outer panels of his thighs are both cast in yellow, offering a very bright contrast to the darker sections of metallic grey on his arms and legs. Thanks to his transformation, a lot of the colors on this figure now wind up breaking out with sections of orange appearing on his arms, legs and chest. A new color comes into play in this mode: silver which is used to paint the area round his eyes and wide open mouth section. What's interesting is that the translucent green plastic is used for light piping on his head - but not just for the eyes. Instead, the entire mouth section that looks open is translucent as well, allowing quite a bit of light through if you shine it onto the back of his head. I really like this use of the translucent plastic and I think it looks great!

Dead End's joints are all tight in this mode, not surprising since this is only the second use of this sculpt/tooling. His swords fit perfectly in his hands and even the wings on his back are nice and tight. No mold degradation appears to have occurred yet with this sculpt. Dead End's swords also fit snug in his fists.

Final Thoughts:
Dead End is based on a fantastic sculpt that looks awesome in both modes. His unusual color scheme and new head sculpt really add a lot to the toy and I think he's awesome overall. Highly recommended!