"Arms Micron" War Breakdown with Zamu Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Arms Micron, Decepticon, Prime, Stunticon, Voyager

Arms Micron

General Information:
Release Date: June 30, 2012
Price Point: $40.00 (Prices varied depending on retailer)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: Zamu Micron Weapon

War Breakdown

In late 2011, the Transformers: Prime toy line kicked off in most markets around the world. However, Japan would go in their own direction, creating a line known as "Arms Micron". Instead of just re-releasing the "Prime" toys, Takara designed an entire campaign revolving around Microns (aka Mini-Cons) that were included with the figures. These Microns were often packaged as small model kits with stickers used for detailing. There were dozens of these Microns released, some designed to combine with each other to form more powerful weapons. "Arms Micron" was also distinguished by using minimal paint applications on the figures and instead providing sticker sheets for them, adding to the "model kit" theme. This line ran until around the end of 2013.

Transformers: Prime featured a core cast of Autobots and Decepticons, adding other characters in over the years. One Decepticon that was part of the cast from the beginning was Breakdown. Instead of a sleek Stunticon transforming into a sports car, this Breakdown was a hulking figure who transformed into a military style vehicle. This character seemed like an obvious character to add to the Hasbro produced "Transformers: Prime" toy line, but he never received the toy treatment outside of smaller scale figures. To fill in this gap, Takara produced and released a Voyager Class figure of Breakdown that was exclusive to Japanese markets. Known as "War Breakdown", this figure was never released as part of Hasbro's "Transformers: Prime" toy line.

Zamu Review

Zamu is War Breakdown's Micron partner. This little guy is a robot rhinoceros in one mode and a hammer weapon in his alt-mode. For this design it feels like Takara started with Breakdown's animation model and worked backwards. In the Transformers: Prime TV Show, Breakdown was shown transforming his forearm so it would have a hammer weapon on it instead of a fist. Taking their cue from that, Zamu's weapon mode being a hammer makes sense. Then, working backwards it makes sense to use a beast mode of a creature that could charge and knock other characters out with its horned head. Zamu also has thick armor all around the top and sides of his body.

There are some fun little details on this figure. For one, he only has a single Cyclops style eye. The tail is formed by the end of the weapon handle and on top there is a "Spark Crystal" style section where a Decepticon symbol sticker has a clear plastic crystal piece on top of it, adding a cool detail to this little figure.

This figure is cast in grey plastic with clear plastic on the Decepticon symbol. The stickers give blue and red line detailing to the figure and the eye has a single red dot on it. The stickers cover enough of the figure that it actually looks good!

Swing down the head and handle, then swing up the legs and you form the hammer mode. The handle is 5mm, allowing Breakdown to hold it in either fist. However, Arms Micron figures were designed to be able to form weapon combinations, so Zamu has 5mm ports on the front, sides and top (four in all) and both sides have a 5mm peg. You could really use Zamu as the "core" of a much larger weapon, especially with the handle, which creates a good, stable way for a larger figure to hold the weapon.

War Breakdown Review

Robot Mode:
Unlike his G1 counterpart, Transformers: Prime Breakdown was a giant, bulky character who looked more like a walking tank than a sleek sports car/robot combination. This figure reflects several of the design elements from the animation model. These include:

  • The head design features almost a diamond shape with a helmet section featuring a thin crest and horn-like designs sticking up at the top.
  • The shoulders feature distinctive "L" shaped armor pieces.
  • The chest is a wide, rectangular piece.
  • The waist, thighs and lower legs feature angled shapes instead of more flat, rectangular shapes seen in other cartoon.
  • The spare tire from the vehicle mode winds up on the back.

It is very impressive how much the designers were able to replicate the look of Breakdown's CG model from the cartoon in this figure. Sure there are some minor parts which take away from that accuracy, but that cannot be helped with a transforming figure. Between his small details and larger design this figure looks great.

Breakdown is cast in metallic blue, light grey, dark grey and black plastic. Blue and light grey make up most of the figure, with the other colors distributed among smaller parts. For the most part, this color distribution matches nicely with the animation model, with the main differences being the arms which feature more light grey in the CG model.

There are some paint applications on this figure including a beautiful combination of silver, blue, orange and yellow on the face. The orange and yellow in particular pays homage to G1 Breakdown. There is also some dark grey on the fists and feet. However, a majority of the deco details come from stickers. These include stickers that look like headlights on his hip area and silver stickers on the knee armor. He also has blue stickers wrapping around the top of his feet. Breakdown was not exactly the most colorful character in the show, and these colors actually do a good job of representing how he looked in the cartoon.

Breakdown has sixteen points of articulation in this mode. This includes the head, waist and four points in each arm. Being part of the "Arms Micron" play pattern, there are a ton of 5mm connection ports. Here's a rundown:

  • To the right of the head is one connection point.
  • Behind the head there are two ports.
  • The back features a port in the middle of the spare tire.
  • Behind each shoulder is another connection point.
  • Each forearm features two ports.
  • Each fist has a port.
  • Each leg has a connection point on the sides.

Thanks in part to the figure behing very stable and solid (no loose joints here) you can attach a lot of weapons and the figure still stands firmly.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach any accessories attached.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the top part of each forearm down and around.
  4. Swing the back armor piece out.
  5. Swing each foot piece back into the lower legs.
  6. Swing the chest piece up (this will also move the arms up).
  7. Swing the vehicle mode grille section up.
  8. On the top of the chest, push the two panels together.
  9. Rotate each arm down.
  10. Swing each arm in (under the chest panel piece).
  11. Swivel the shoulder armor up to form the front wheel wells.
  12. Rotate the forearms so the windows face out to the sides.
  13. Swing each of the forearms up to form the cabin section of the vehicle.
  14. Push the windshield halves together and connect the shoulder armor panels to the sides of the front bumper.
  15. On each lower leg, swing out the inner panel from the rear wheel well sections.
  16. Rotate the waist section around.
  17. Fold each leg forward, tucking it under the middle of the vehicle.
  18. Rotate the rear wheel well panels so they align with the front wheel wells.
  19. Swing the back piece down to form the rear of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Breakdown's vehicle mode aligns with the robot mode nicely. It looks heavyily armored and powerful. Even better, it is very show accurate. A lot of the features from the CG model carry over to this figure including:

  • The front section features a vertical strip for each headlight section with additional headlights on the front wheel well covers.
  • The front grille is thin, featuring several horizontal lines in a row.
  • The hood piece has a round section on the right side sticking up (which is conveniently used as a 5mm port for this figure).
  • The side view mirrors are rectangular and set vertically on the side of each door.
  • The side panels bevel slightly and move up at an angle in the middle.
  • Breakdown features a "spare tire" on the back.

Overall, this sculpt looks fantastic. It is only missing a couple details from the CG model, but other than that it looks just like the vehicle from the TV show.

This mode is mostly metallic blue and black plastic. Grey is used for the front and rear bumpers. Silver paint is found on the grille and the side view mirrors. Stickers wind up making up the rest of the details. This includes the headlights, Decepticon symbols on the sides and blue and red strips on top of the rear wheel wells and silver stickers on top of the rear bumper. The details look fantastic and again they match up nicely with the CG model (though the Decepticon symbols are an embelishment).

In keeping with the "Arms Micron" play pattern, there are plenty of attachment points for Micron weapons:

  • Over each front wheel well is a 5mm port right above the headlights.
  • There is a 5mm port on the top of the hood section towards the right.
  • There is a port right behind each front wheel well.
  • The top of the cabin section has three 5mm ports set in a triangular pattern.
  • The rear features a port in the spare tire and two pegs.

In addition to these points, there is a bar on the rear section to attach a "C Clip" weapon, something that has common in Transformers figures for a little while in the early 2010's. This can also be used in the robot mode.

Overall there is a lot of potential play value here. I am also happy to see the gimmick does not interfere with the aesthetics of the figure.

Final Thoughts:
I really regret that it has taken me this long to get around to reviewing it. It was unfortunate that this figure was never released outside of Japan (however, when it first came out it was hardly difficult to track down at import shops). Getting this figure nowadays will cost you a few times the original import prices so be warned. Recommended if you can find it at a reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpt.
  • Good articulation.
  • Fun play value via the "Arms Micron" system.
  • Show accurate appearance.

Cons:

  • I would prefer painted deco over stickers.