Release Date: August 2010
Price Point: $3.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Specialty Markets (Family Dollar, Hastings etc.)
Transformers are a popular item on toy store shelves nowadays, but not all store chains wind up getting larger and more expensive exclusives like the ones Wal-Mart and Target receive. Smaller store chains such as Family Dollar often need to make alternate arrangements to carry exclusives. These sometimes take the form of repackaged figures from past Transformers lines. Other times they are smaller figures given new decos and repackaged, thus is the case with Brake-neck. Originally released in the United States as part of the "Transformers Cybertron" Recon Mini-Con team, this figure was once known as "Six-Speed". I never did review that particular team, so this will be my first review of this sculpt.
I did have a bit of a think on just where this figure belonged category-wise. While the card the figure is shipped in uses the same basic background as the "Generations" line of Transformers, it does not have the word "Generations" on it. I ultimately decided to put it into my "Generations" section partly based on the card design and the idea that the "Universe/Classics/Generations" line celebrates figures from all different parts of Transformers history. In this case, I take these as paying homage to the Unicron Trilogy aspect of Transformers.
Brake-neck has the distinction of having a somewhat rare vehicle mode: a Le Mans style race car. Even if you don't know the name, you'll probably recognize its specialized form when you see it. The overall shape of the vehicle mode is very thin and sleek looking. The profile is low, with only three sections that raise up out of the rather flat shape: the oval shaped driver's area, curved sections towards the front wheel wells and a spoiler in the back. This sculpt adds a couple of elements, most notably two pods over the rear wheel wells that you can define with your imagination (vents, weapons, lights, it's all good). While there are many styles of Le Mans race cars (every company produces a slightly different one) these basic elements appear on most of them, making Brake-neck instantly recognizable.
Brake-neck shows off white, black and translucent blue plastic in this form. Most of the car is white, with black found on the wheels and in the middle of the front end. The translucent blue piece sits partly on top of this black section and then extends up and back to form the driver's area. Paint applications are done in white, black, copper and silver colors. The white is used most extensively on the translucent blue piece, both on the top and front, helping it blend in with the white plastic that makes up most of the vehicle. The black is used to paint the sculpted Mini-Con symbol on the front. Copper is used on four small circles in the front, presumably the vehicle's headlights. Finally, the silver color is found on the pods in the back and the spoiler. This is a very clean and elegant looking color scheme. It's not everly flashy and works well set against such a sleek vehicle form.
The wheels on this vehicle all roll well, and his Mini-Con connection point still works nicely. Located on the underside of the vehicle, right in the center the port is in the perfect place to allow you to attach Brake-neck to another Transformer without him favoring any particular side.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Swing the rear of the vehicle back to form the robot legs.
- Swing the middle of the vehicle mode's front section down to form the robot chest.
- Swing the robot head up.
- The sides of the vehicle form the robot arms.
Brake-neck's robot mode design is a very classic one. The front of the car forms the chest, the sides form arms and the back form legs. The benefit of this design is that he has a tall and sleek appearance in robot mode. A couple new details show up in this mode, most notably the robot head. The design is a bit different than your typical Transformer. While he does have the standard "helmet and face" sections, his face design has two bands that run across the face horizontally both over and under his mouth. In some ways it resembles the mouth design of Optimus Primal from Beast Wars. His forearms are also revealed in this mode, both sculpted directly into the sides of the vehicle. They're quite blocky and angular, making this guy look like a very traditional G1 style Transformer. His thighs are also revealed in this mode, each with some nice line detail etched into them.
Color-wise, silver plastic is introduced in this form via the thighs. The head is cast in white, with copper and silver paint applications. The forearms are cast in white plastic, but are painted black to distinguish them from the rest of the arms. The color scheme carries over elements of the vehicle mode very well and again, the look is very clean and crisp, I really enjoy its simplicity.
There are six points of articulation in this form, with two in each leg and one in each arm. If you want to be generous, you can include the robot head which can "nod" back and forth thanks to the transformation scheme. The joints on the figure are still nice and tight as well.
Brake-neck is a very cool looking base sculpt in both forms. I like seeing modes like this that don't appear often in the Transformers line, especially on a Mini-Con. I think it is important to keep in mind the price tag of this relatively small figure ($3-5 depending on where you shop). As I said in my Drivetrain and Swashplate reviews, you may not find the price worth it if you already own this sculpt several times over. Recommended with the previous caveats in mind.