"Reveal the Shield" Trailcutter Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: January 2011
Price Point: $5.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

*Text below and images from Transformers.com
In the history of the Transformers toy line, there are some characters who get made over and over again in new forms such as Optimus Prime and Starscream. However, there are some characters from the Generation One era who have received relatively little attention over the years. One of these characters is Trailbreaker, who never got a ton of screen time in G1, but his presence was always there fighting alongside the other Autobots. He was one of the original Ark crew as well, and for me, an old skool fan that gives him an extra special place in Transformers history. Sure, there have been several aborted attempts to return Trailbreaker to the toy line (such as his near appearance in "Alternators") but this is the most successful one to date.

Here we are now over two decades after Trailbreaker was first introduced and he is finally reincarnated as "Trailcutter" due to trademark reasons. Whatever name you choose to use, there is no doubt this is based on the Generation One character.

Robot Mode:
In Generation One, Trailbreaker had the cool distinction of being able to generate a powerful force field, but he was also portrayed as rather bulky and his tech specs indicated he consumed quite a bit of fuel. Much of this influence is present in this version of the figure. For a Legends Class figure, Trailcutter is quite bulky, whether you're looking at his bulky chest, thick arms or extra thick legs. This is a guy that looks like he was built for durability, not speed. Indeed, there's almost nothing sleek about Trailcutter, but that is part of his coolness. He may not be flashy, but he definitely looks formidable!

The original Generation One Trailbreaker toy differed from the animation model in many ways. The animation model was made a bit slimmer and taller looking. In addition it was given a face with visor eyes, a nose and mouth instead of the toy's appearance which had visor eyes and a mouthplate. This version of Trailbreaker seems to be designed with both the toy and the animation model in mind. From the original G1 figure, there is a very bulky design as mentioned above. There are also other details such as the two thick bars that wrap around each leg and the very thick torso section. the biggest detail carried over from the G1 animation model is the head design, which has a helmet with a high crest, visor eyes with a nose and mouth instead of a mouthplate. A key detail that is present on the original toy and animation model is a device with three small circles on it over his head. In general, many consider this the generator of his famous force fields. This detail is sculpted into the same plate as the robot head, which alludes to the way this accessory would actually attach to G1 Trailbreaker's head in robot mode.

Trailcutter is cast entirely in black plastic, which is appropriate as the character was primarily black in color. Red, metallic blue and silver make up most of the paint applications in this mode. His eyes and windshield are blue while his force field generator and legs have a lot of silver paint on them (again matching the G1 figure). The aforementioned bands around his legs are painted red. These colors are all influenced by his G1 toy and animation model so the homages are much appreciated. The "Reveal the Shield" aspect comes into play on the side of his right arm where there is a heat sensitive rub symbol.

Trailcutter has seven points of articulation in robot mode. This includes his arms and legs at the hip joint. I am also including the ability for his head to nod back and forth even though it is just part of the transformation. All the joints are very tight.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Push the robot head down.
  2. Swing each foot up, so the toes are pointing down.
  3. Connect the two legs together
  4. Swing the robot arms back.b
  5. Swing the legs back, flattening out the vehicle.
  6. Collapse the figure, connecting the parts formed from the arms connecting together.
  7. Connect the top and bottom parts of the truck.

Vehicle Mode:
In Generation One, Trailbreaker transformed into a Toyota Hilux, a pickup truck that sometimes has an extra module attached to the back as a cover. Since using this truck form would require licensing agreements, the designers modified the look of the Hilux a bit. Trailcutter is still a pickup truck with a module attached to the back, but he is a bit more sleek looking than his G1 predecessor, with the front end sloping down a bit and the cabin section set relatively lower. The sides have some nice lines that curve down up and down again, right over the rear wheel wells. The front end has less elements to clutter things up than many other trucks. Instead, there are headlights, a bold grille and a bumper under it with fog lights on either side. Like G1 Trailbreaker, he has windows on the back cover over the truck bed. To any Generation One fan, this is an instantly recognizable.

The vehicle mode reveals no new plastic, he is still cast completely in black. The windshield is painted metallic blue and silver and gold are used to paint the front end. The heat sensitive rub symbol is now on the top of the vehicle. What makes me a bit sad is that this is all this figure has for deco in this mode. In G1, Trailbreaker had several distinctive lines running across the sides of the vehicle, and having those on this figure would have cemented this as a perfect vehicle mode despite the lack of diversity in terms of paint colors.

Final Thoughts:
I really think the designers did a great job of combining elements of the original Trailbreaker toy and animation model to create Trailcutter. The only significant misstep is the lack of color and deco on the vehicle mode. Since he's only one plastic color, it makes him look quite unfinished, which is the only reason I'm not highly recommending this figure. He is recommended however, and will look nice next to your other G1 inspired Legends Class figures.

Lightbox Gallery