"Generations" Combiner Wars G2 Dead End Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: March 2016
Price Point: $99.99 (in a boxed set with Blackjack, Brake-Neck, Breakdown, Dragstrip and Motormaster, )
Retailer: Limited Release (Toys R Us, Target, Amazon, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Exhaust pipe

Official images and text below in italics are from HasbroToyShop:
Menasor is driven by one thing and one thing only: a desire to obliterate the enemy. He attacks Decepticons – on the ground or in the air – with all-out force.

Convert, attack and destroy with this incredible 7-in-1 Menasor Collection Pack! There’s a whole force of Decepticons in this pack and they’re spoiling for a fight with their Autobot enemies. Whether these sneaky Decepticons are in robot mode or vehicle mode, they’ll attack with everything they’ve got! And when that’s not enough, they’ll combine to form a massive, unstoppable Menasor figure! Maybe the Autobots could defeat Motormaster, Decepticon Dragstrip, or Dead End alone. Maybe Breakdown, Brake-Neck and Blackjack won’t be enough to stop the Autobot advance. But when they combine, Autobots beware! Dominate the Transformers battle with your Menasor Collection Pack!

Includes 6 figures, poster, collector card, poster, accessories, and instructions.

Back in the 90's Hasbro made an attempt to revive the then-failing "Transformers" toy line be re branding it as "Transformers Generation 2". This line took old sculpts and new sculpts and mashed them up into one line of figures. However, "Generation 2" only lasted a few years before Transformers took a sharp left turn and was re imagined as "Beast Wars". Along the way several figures that were solicited were never released. However in some cases the figures did make it to the production sample stage, and that's where the "Generation 2" Stunticons come in. At Botcon 1994 attendees received a carded Breakdown figure from "Generation 2", part of a set that would never see mass release. To illustrate how excited fans have been for this set, a 2015 ebay auction featured a complete set of these Stunticons out of package and wound up earning over $26,000!

For those not looking to spend the price of a car to buy a set of Stunticons, it was announced last summer that the "Combiner Wars" Stunticons would be relased in G2 colors! Retailing around $99.99 this set was most readily available at online retailers such as BWTF sponsor Bigbadtoystore and other stores such as Target and Toys R Us. Some stores such as Toys R Us in Canada had these at physical retail locations as well.

While this set did come in one big boxed set I've decided to divide up my reviews of this set into digestible chunks by team member. I think this is a bit more organized and also keeps you from having to scroll forever through one gigantic review.

This review focuses on Dead End, the sullen and downbeat Stunticon. The base sculpt for this character has been released a few times in different forms. First it was "Combiner Wars" Dead End with a G1 based deco. The figure was then retooled and given a new deco as Dead End's fellow Stunticon Brake-Neck. Later the sculpt would be heavily retooled and given a new deco as Protectobot Streetwise. Towards the end of last year the figure emerged again, this time as Prowl. At the beginning of 2016, the sculpt surfaced again as "Combiner Wars" Smokescreen. That's a lot of reuse of any sculpt, but this time out things come full circle since this figure is meant to be Dead End in new colors. I recommend checking out the original "Combiner Wars" Dead End review. That should fill you in on what you need to know about the figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

The "Menasor Collectors Pack" is a really impressive looking set. The box is large and rectangular, intended to be displayed horizontally. The front uses the black background seen on most "Generations" packaging with the red "Transformers" logo set vertically on the right. The middle section has new artwork featuring Menasor in his G2 colors. This is not the same art used for the first "Combiner Wars" release of this character, it is new art. Overlaid on top of that are small thumbnail images of all six Stunticons and the words "Combiner Wars Menasor" below that. The back of the packaging features a large photos of Menasor fully combined with a brief write up on the character.

Open up the box and you slide out a huge, clear plastic tray with all the Stunticons in vehicle mode. The accessories are all placed near the member they belong to. Also included in the package is a cardboard envelope with the instructions and a print inside. Unlike Superion, the print included for this set does feature the G2 based artwork. I love the presentation of the figures on a big tray and the idea of including a print is really cool.

This G2 themed Dead End comes with the same accessories as the first version of this figure. That includes an exhaust pipe/weapon that he can hold like a baton or a blaster. This piece is cast in metallic red plastic, but it is painted blue to better align with the weapon included with the actual G2 Dead End from the 90's. The original version of this piece was not painted, so it fit nice and snug into a 5mm port. Thanks to the layer of paint, it is now extra tight so I recommend not forcing it too much, just attach it until it holds and that's it.

The other accessory is a hand/foot/weapon piece cast in a metallic teal blue color. The joint between the thumb and palm is silver plastic. This specific piece features two weapon barrels with three smaller extensions at the end. This color is inspired by the teal used on the original G2 Menasor's hand and foot pieces and it looks wonderfully gaudy and bright. The joints on this piece are nice and tight as well.

Vehicle Mode:
In "Generation 2" Dead End was mostly red with silver, blue and yellow tossed in for good measure. The designers did their best to stay true to this original design on this figure. First the base color of the figure is a beautiful metallic red plastic. This makes up almost every part of the vehicle except the wheels, which are cast in black. Some small silver parts stick out in the back, but these will be more important for the other modes.

Silver paint is heavily used in this mode. You'll find it on the headlights, all the windows and the sides of the wheels. The silver on the windows in particular are direct references to the silver on the windows of G2 Dead End. Black paint is used on the hood, painting a pattern that winds up creating a gigantic Generation 2 Decepticon symbol on the center of the hood. This detail calls back directly to the G2 Decepticon symbol on the hood of the G2 Dead End figure.

The finishing touches are tampographs on the sides of the vehicle. There you will see strips of white that lead to yellow flames in the back. Towards the front of each of these tampographs is a small black circle around a silver circle. On top of that is a black G2 Decepticon symbol. This entire set of details are a reference to stickers that were used for the sides of the G2 Dead End figure.

The only detail from G2 Dead End that wasn't replicated was a sticker found on the top of the cabin section, but in this case it's no big deal. The cabin section looks great thanks to the metallic red so I don't even miss it.

You can attach accessories with 5mm pegs such as the ones included with this vehicle on the sides and the top. The exhaust pipe of course looks best on the side. Keep in mind the paint on the exhaust pipe makes it fit especially tight so be careful, don't push it in to much or you might stress the plastic.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the panels with the rear wheel wells on them out.
  3. Swing the rear of the vehicle out and back.
  4. Straighten out the legs formed from the rear section of the vehicle, then swing the panels in to form the front of the lower legs.
  5. Swing the windshield piece back.
  6. Swing the front of the vehicle back.
  7. Swing the sides of the vehicle up to form the arms, then swing them down.
  8. On each arm, swing out the robot hands.
  9. Swing the front section of the car part way up, now swing the car hood section back and down. This will reveal the robot chest panel and head which you swing forward.
  10. Rotate the lower body around.
  11. The weapons can be attached to the hand or the sides of the shoulders.

Robot Mode:
When the "Combiner Wars" figures were created, there was a lot of emphasis placed on using animation models from "Generation One" as a basis for the designs. In some cases, that meant the figures greatly resembled their G1 animated counterparts. This was the case with the Aerialbots, and it just so happened that the G1 animation and toy designs were very similar to each other. Not so with the Stunticons. The G1 Stunticon toys often differed from their animated counterparts which means the "Combiner Wars" sculpts for them really don't match up with the original toys. That also means they don't match up with the G2 toys, so when it came to giving these figures a new deco, it is best to think of this deco as inspired by the original G2 Dead End, but not a one to one match simply because the body designs are different.

Like the vehicle mode, red dominates this form, but now a couple extra colors help break it up and provide contrast. This includes black which you'll find on the fists, thighs and shoulder joints. Blue plastic is used on the head and the panel the head rests on. Silver is used for the hip/waist area and knee armor. This color pattern roughly aligns with G2 Dead End, who had blue on his head and the center of his torso and silver on the waist/hip area.

Black paint is used to paint the inner part of the forearms. Blue is used on the head, chest and lower legs. His face is painted yellow and his eyes are red. The finishing touch is silver on his chest in the center with a red G2 Decepticon symbol over it. Overall the figure looks fantastic, and you can definitely draw some direct lines from the original G2 Dead End's colors to this one, especially on the head and arms.

All the joints on this figure are nice and tight. I was actually surprised at just how tight given that this base tooling has been used so many times already. The weapons also attach without a problem.

Transformation to Arm Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Take the fist/foot piece and fold the section with the thumb down, then swing the thumb up.
  3. On the left leg, swing the silver piece down.
  4. Push the lower legs together.
  5. Rotate the waist piece to the side (either one is fine depending on which arm you are creating).
  6. Swing the robot fists into the forearms.
  7. Swing each robot arm down at the shoulder.
  8. Swing the robot head back into the front section of the car.
  9. Swing the front of the car and the head section back and down (some stock photography has it up at an angle, so feel free to choose for yourself).
  10. Attach the Menasor hand to the silver piece from step three.
  11. Swing up the connection piece in the robot torso.

Arm Mode:
The arm mode is basically a modified version of the robot mode, and that means all the various colors on the figure are given a chance to shine. Dead End is actually one of the more subdued Stunticons in this set from a visual perspective. Functionally Dead End's joints are nice and tight, so he is able to hold up a Legends Class figure in weapon mode. He also has 5mm ports on the sides of the upper arm, so you can give him additional firepower if you wish.

Transformation to Leg mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all the accessories.
  2. Push down a bit on the front of the vehicle.
  3. Swing the windshield piece up and back.
  4. Swing the front of the car up and back.
  5. Swing the robot head up and back so it rests in the piece that forms the front of the car.
  6. Swing the connection piece out from the robot torso.
  7. Attach the foot piece to the back of the car.

Leg Mode:
The leg mode is basically a variation of the vehicle mode so the silver and black colors take a back seat and the metallic red dominates instead. This is not a bad thing. The red is a gorgeous color, and the foot being the teal color clashes with it in a way that only "Generation 2" can deliver. G2 is known for its visually bold style and this mode really shows that off. Functionally the Combiner connection point works fine and the foot piece holds in place without a problem.

Final Thoughts:
Long time readers of my page know that the red/silver/black combination is among my favorites for a Transformers figure so this guy fits the bill. Throw in the bold details like the flames on the sides and the large Decepticon symbol on his hood and this guy is a gorgeous example of retro awesomeness!

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