Skyquake87's Review: Combiner Wars Breakdown
“Keep your optical sensors to yourself.”
Decepticon Operational Status Update, reported by Soundwave: Breakdown would be less paranoid if everyone wasn't out to get him. His function as a Decepticon Scout suits him perfectly – allowing him to distance himself from the crowd and spend long hours keeping an eye on other Cyertronians. Unfortunately for Breakdown, he's also a key part of the Stunticon team. This means he's counted on to stay near his teammates as often as possible, keeping their combined power available when called on by Megatron. His engine and concussion rifle both deliver sonic vibrations that cause mechanical failures in other vehicles – a real threat if you happen to be a Cybertronian. With fellow Stunticons forms Menasor.
Conclusion: Combat Approved and endorsed.
History (extracted from compulsory biographical download): Megatron did the always Paranoid Breakdown no favours when building his vehicle form – blinding white sports cars tend to get a lot of attention on Earth, which only fuels his fear. Everyone IS looking at him, giving him plenty of reason to be nervous. His best motivation to fight is to clear the battlefield, if only for his peace of mind. Forms either and arm or leg of Menasor, the combined form of the Stunticons.
The sexy wheeled cheesecake that is Breakdown is tied for joint favourite Stunticon for me with Wildrider. I loved his design and slick alt mode and the colours were just ace. So needless to say, I've a fair amount invested in seeing how this latest Generations Combiner Wars update fares. For the second round of Combiner Wars toys, Hasbro have decided the collector cards are cobblers and have landed us with more pack in comics. As with recent toy pack-ins, the enclosed comic has bugger all to do with the character you've bought or any relevance to the current Combiner Wars story running in the current Transformers comic from IDW. Still, at least they put Breakdown on the cover and used the back for an extended bio, so that's alright then. I think I'd rather have had the collector card.
Now, this new Breakdown didn't really have much to do to beat his 29 year old counterpart. We all know how toy engineering has come on the interim, but somehow this new Breakdown takes the original template and gets it a bit wrong. Just look at him, all wasted arms and fat legs, coupled with this flabby chest made up of flaps and Headmaster-a-like flat backed head. He's got horrible proportions and this ugly chunk of hollow car hood flapping about down his back. He just looks awful. Not even clamping the combiner junk into the bonnet to give him a slightly Sunstreaker-esque silhouette helps. To top it all off he comes with this nonsense of a toothpick that's an awkward compromise between a sword and a gun, which totally fails to capture the 'concussion rifle' of his bio. Looking at all the dismal melee weapons the Decepticons have tended to come with recently, one wonders whether there's some terrible toy mandate to have only the good guys bristling with weaponry – because its the American way – and their enemies are just to be portrayed on a less than technologically equal footing, as little more than crude barbarians with knives and stabbing weapons to be put down by clean and efficient heavy laser fire and / or bombs. Whatever, this dumpy mess is vastly exceeded by his lithe and slightly better proportioned predecessor.
Thankfully, Breakdown pulls it back for his alt-mode which is a lovely wedge of not-Lamborghini. Although Hasbro have spoilt his otherwise sexy ivory tones by pointlessly splodging '15RACING' all over the windscreen for no good reason. Thanks, guys. As with all the current vehicular Transformers, the cheap clip-on plastic wheels mean he doesn't roll well and can't really move any significant distance under his own steam. The combiner fist can clip onto the roof for the daft looking 'Attack Mode', but with a quick switch about, this can be clamped to the grooves in the roof to mimic the sort of turbo-tuning engine intakes previously seen on Sunstreaker (do you think they're trying to tell us something?). For added Attack Mode fun, the sword can slot into the grooves in the doors for drive-by stabbings. Despite Hasbro's best efforts, the quality just about shines through to give a very satisfying alt mode.
Marks Out Of Ten For The Following :
Top marks for trying something different with expected car- robot transition. I like the way the windscreen unclips and folds back and the bonnet folds over the top of this. The chassis unclipping from the bonnet to form the chest and cover the combiner port is a nice touch and adds variety to the current commonplace combiner barrel chest. I also really appreciate that the shoulders securely lock into position, rather than being the sketchy, floaty mess that knackered Generations Scoop and Blitzwing. Which just leaves the legs. To be fair, the engineering here is decent with a sideways movement of the knees into position and the feet/ heels being formed from the back end of the car, but I can't say I'm a fan of hollow robot mode legs. It killed the universally exhalted Classics Sunstreaker/ Sideswipe mould for me and its the same with Breakdown. I just don't like it. It doesn't look good and I'd have much preferred something akin to the Combiner Wars Aerialbots split in half-me-do here instead. 7/10
The plastics on Breakdown are pleasingly solid and he feels good and weighty. There's nothing here that feels like it'd buckle or snap. He's just a solid piece of work. Still has that nasty cheap clattery sound when ever you pick him up though. Raise your game, Hasbro! 8/10
He's got the usual articulation you'd expect for a modern deluxe figure. He can do some decent poses, but sadly his corpulent robot mode means he just looks awful and as dynamic as a cheese triangle in a wind tunnel. 8/10
Despite how bloody awful I've found him, I haven't been able to put Breakdown down since I got him. Whether that's out of pity or slight disappointment and trying to force myself into enjoying him, I don't know. He's just one of those ugly Transformers toys that's got some strange allure. I think its just because, in common with the other Combiner Wars toys, he's just got a great fiddle factor to him and he's boss to muck about with. 8/10
£16.99 from Kapow for the US version with its pack in comic and proper bio. Its only £1 more than European release, and would feel like moderately better value if the comic was any good. It stings a bit on a figure like this, that's just a shade too wibbly for what you have to pay for him. 5/10
After seeing how great the Aerialbots have largely turned out, I can't honestly say I feel anything other than sad about Breakdown. He's just far too ugly for his own good in robot mode, and feels like he really got the short end of the stick. But ever is it so with Transformers, where for the majority of the time, its the Autobots that get all the love, with the cool designs and tight looking robo modes. Generations has been a huge disappointment for the Decepticon contingent, there's been far too many stinkers and not enough care and attention put into them. Is there no one at Hasbro that likes the bad guys and can be bothered to put some effort in? If Combiner Wars Bombshell is the best you can do, well that's no bloody good, is it? 7/10