"Generations" War for Cybertron: Kingdom Vertebreak Toy Review

11/23/20

General Information:
Release Date: Q4 2020/Q1 2021 (Estimated)
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Tail/Sword

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:

  • DISCOVER KINGDOM: Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever
  • BEASTIFY THE BATTLEFIELD: Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Predacon raptor fossil character, called Vertebreak! Figure features the skeletal form of a raptor 3.5-INCH CORE CLASS SCALE: This Verebreak figure stands at the new Core Class scale! The 3.5-inch mini-figure allows fans to collect a mini dinosaur toy!
  • UNLEASH BEAST MODE: This Core Class Predacon fossil toy converts between raptor fossil mode and robot fossil mode in 14 steps
  • COOL BONE WEAPON: Pull off the tail in raptor mode and use in robot mode as a cool bone weapon!

Beastify the battlefield! Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever. Primal power floods the battlefield as the fierce beast modes of the Maximals and Predacons are unleashed! Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Predacon raptor fossil character, called Vertebreak! Figure features the skeletal form of a raptor and stands at the new Core Class scale! The 3.5-inch mini-figure allows fans to collect a mini dinosaur toy! This Core Class Predacon fossil toy converts between raptor fossil mode and robot fossil mode in 14 steps. Pull off the tail in raptor mode and use in robot mode as a cool bone weapon!

Disclosure:
This action figure was provided by Hasbro as part of a Kingdom unboxing event. BWTF thanks Hasbro for its generosity.

Vertebreak is one of the new characters introduced in Kingdom. She (yes, she according to Hasbro at the Kingdom unboxing event) is also one of the first figures in a new class of Transformers known as the "Core Class". This class hovers somwhere in between the "old" Legends Class and the "modern" Legends Class. However, the designers definitely ramped up the detail and articulation resulting in a unique class of figures all its own.

Packaging:
The Core Class is now the only class of figures in Kingdom that are carded with a traditional clear bubble on top of a card. The card itself features gorgeous artwork showing Vertebreak in beast mode roaring against a background that includes a giant vine. Vertebreak's name is printed vertically on the left side while the now familiar vertical Transformers logo is on the right. The insert features the Kingdom logo set at an angle. Right under that is a small image of the Ark on top of an erupting volcano. The artwork is all in a beautiful painted style that evokes the G1/Beast Wars era of packaging.

The back of the card features Vertebreak in both modes and a modern Predacon symbol towards the top. This one has a few more details added in compared to the 90's version. A Transformers logo is found at the top with the classic "More than Meets the Eye" tag line under it. Vertebreak stands on top of graphics that look like a portal which likely plays a role in the story idea of having G1 and Beast Wars characters mix.

Robot Mode:
Vertebreak transforms into a dinosaur skeleton, so as you can imagine a lot of those details carry over into the robot mode. The beast mode head winds up forming much of the torso and her legs look like bones with clawed feet at the end. His head sculpt however is very robotic looking, with round eyes resembling goggles and a crest running up the middle of the forehead. I love the look of all the various bones running along the back. Along with the dark colors the overall design has a very creepy H.R. Giger-esque design that is really unusual in the Transformers line. I love the look of this figure. It's creepy and savage all at the same time.

At first glance it is easy to mistake Vertebreak's colors as nothing but black. However, a closer look reveals that she actually has a combination of dark brown (like, really dark) that looks almost like black and a slightly lighter brown shade. Silver is used to paint the face and part of the torso. The eyes are red and there is a purple Predacon symbol stamped onto the torso. This detail actually made me a bit whistful for the days when Beast Wars ruled the shelves and there were Maximal and Predacon symbols everywhere.

One note on this figure's construction. Fans who get their hands on it will notice that some of the plastic is PVC versus ABS. During the kingdom unboxing event, Hasbro revealed this was a deliberate choice for this specific figure because a lot of the sculpted details (such as the individual vertebrae on the back would be rather brittle (and possibly dangerous) if made of hard plastic. Using the PVC plastic allowed the designers to keep the intricate detailing while keeping the figure safe and intact during play.

There are eleven points of articulation on this figure, which is really nice in a smaller size figure. Most of these joints are ball joints too, allowing for a wide range of articulation. Vertebreak's weapon is a sword formed from the beast mode tail. This weapon has an interesting peg that is 5mm and 3mm. Then at the bottom is a smaller 3mm peg. This allows the weapon to be used across all classes of figures in the line. Vertebreak herself has fists with 5mm ports, which was a surprise given the figure's size. Also, it may not make much sense, but that smaller peg at the bottom also lets you attach a Blast Effect. For some really interesting weapon storage, Vertebreak can store her sword by pressing it into the grooves on her back. This was an unexpected surprise and I really dig it.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the sword and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the back panel out.
  4. Push the robot head back, which will push the beast mode head forward.
  5. Swing the beast mode head up and swing the chest panel piece back.
  6. Swing the back panel back into place.
  7. Swing the robot arms inward.
  8. Swing the legs up and bend them at the knees.
  9. Attach the tail to the back.

Beast Mode:
Calling this the "beast mode" is a stretch, I admit since it is basically meant to represent a skeleton, but in my head canon there is still organic material involved and hey, Vertebreak's Spark is still active in this mode so I'll roll with it!

Vertebreak's beast mode is the skeleton of a Dracorex. The most distinctive feature is the head design, featuring a plate on top and spikes towards the back. Despite what the product description says, Hasbro explained Vertebreak is not a raptor. Much like the robot mode, there is a lot of intricate detail happening here. From the ribs to the vertabrae I love how many lines and ridges the designers worked into this small figure. Also, the head sculpt rocks, featuring the aforementioned spikes as well as bumps on the top of the head.

The colors from the robot mode carry over here, but I would not blame you if you just felt like this figure looked very solid black. Just take a closer look if you get it in hand and I think you'll appreciate the shades of colors used on this figure.

There are eight points of articulation on this figure. Most of these are focused in the legs. The neck can move up and down and the mouth can open and close.

Final Thoughts:
Vertebreak represents some of my favorite things. First, she is a "new" Beast Wars character, something that is exceedingly rare in the Transformers toy line nowadays. The robot mode has a nice, creepy appearance that is uncommon in the line and the beast mode gives me flashbacks to going on school trips to the American Museum of Natural History and marveling at the dinosaur skeletons. I absolutely love this figure. Highly recommended!

Pros:

  • Very interesting and uncommon design in both modes.
  • Beautiful sculpting.
  • Good articulation.

Cons:

  • Could use a bit more paint here and there to help bring out the details. A silver or gunmetal kind of wash would have been nice for instance.