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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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HotShot81's Review: Vertebreak

Name: Vertebreak
Allegiance: Predacon
Class Size: Deluxe
Function: Jungle Warrior
Accessories: Tail Whip and Hyena Cannon
First Appearance: Tales of the Beast Hunters Part 21

Vertebreak is another completely newly named character. There has never been a character named Vertebreak. Consider this a groundbreaking moment as I introduce you to him. Off the box here: "The powerful Vertebreak wants nothing more than to smash the Autobots and all who stand with them!"

Clearly Vertebreak is another one of Shockwave's clones. A clone who will be recruited by Predaking to join the army of Predacons who plan to stand against both Autobot and Decepticon, looking to claim their own little piece of Cybertron for themselves.

Robot Mode

Let's work him down from the ground up so to speak. Each leg has 6 joints in them, about half of them have screws. I feel in some cases there was an effort to hide the screws in question. He does lack the detailing I've seen in other characters, but the upside is there is a nice well done paint job on his upper legs. I've fooled a bit with him when it comes to posing him. Thanks to his big feet, he's like a rock. He does the splits, he can do the long/slow walk, and he doesn't fall over. He's what people have come to expect of a transformer.

He has a nice big chest, about a 1/3d of it is part of his beast head. You see more detail work here than the legs I find. A Predacon logo is on his left chest. Because he lasts a waist, he can't turn around. To be honest the back is UGLY. You see every screw, ever bit of exposed plastic. Think of it like seeing the underside of an amusement park ride, you want to see it, but you don't. Moving on.

His arms are mounted on ball joints so he has complete 360 degree movement there. A little hidden feature is the yellow tops of the shoulders can be flipped up. Sadly this does expose the rather drab orange upper arms. Extended yellow barbs on his lower arms make it hard for them to do complete 360s, while the upside is they do make him look tougher. I guess he took some lessons from Arnold to get buff because his lower arms can only go from the 180 to 90 degree position.

His hands can hold both his rocket launcher, and his tail. Underneath his hands with no attempt to hid them are his paws. I've got to give Hasbro some marks on the hands, since they look almost normal, not robotic aggressive, not human soft.

Now to finish off our tour of Vertebreak we have the head, and the rocket pod holder. You know that look on fat guys, where they have small short heads? Well that is Vertebreak's humanoid head. He's got some horns up there, red eyes, and a brown goatee. I couldn't help but see him grabbing some little bot, and saying with a snort, "You going to give me your energon cubes you louse!" He has that tough guy appeal, and his head fits his body.

If he had made it onto Transformers Prime the show, I could see him grabbing some poor Transformer with his whip like tail, flipping the bot off to never-never land with it, while his rocket launcher prevented others from interfering from the beat down he was giving to his victim. I think when a bot can speak to this capacity and be new, he's got something working for him.

Let's transform him. Remove all the accessories that are mounted on him. Flip the hands so they face inwards. Pull the 2 sides of his chest down to the left and right side accordingly. Flip the beast head up, insert his humanoid face into it. This will give him some red hair. Close up the chest again. Fold the rear legs so they are balanced with the front ones. Attach the tail, nice big easy hole to do that, and return the rocket launcher to his back.

Beast Mode

If I didn't know he was a Transformer. I'd swear he's a combination of a Tiger and an Alligator. He's got the stripes of a Tiger, while he has the head of an Alligator. Let's give him a work down from back to front so to speak.

Because his humanoid legs take on the roles of his back ones he's got some grade a potential here. The ball joins connecting the feet to the legs give you a lot of possibilities to work it, and the fact they are so large means he will fulfill them. I think if his feet were a bit bigger he could hang upside down in a very Beast-like moment a la X-Men.
Now sadly when you closed him up, his chest has a BIG EMPTY HOLE there. There seemed to be no attempt to hide this hole. The only upside is that because of the fact that it's in his chest, you really can't see it in beast mode.

Let's remember here for a moment that all Predacons are clones from a more savage time in Cyberton's history, and are clones from that era. His front legs in beast mode reflect this era. His humanoid hands are decently hidden in his arms thanks to the fact they are the same shade of brown as his beast paws. The paws have 180 degree arc of moment on the horizontal front, while vertically it's under 10 degrees. To help pose him you are going to depend more on his arms.

Ah, the head. As part of his head assembly is a pair of neon orange tufts of fur, and honestly they look tacked on, and not as integrated as other parts of him. The jaws of the beast open up, nicely. I am assuming from the gray tip on the end of his beak that it's mean for smashing. The purple eyes scream predator from their slim look. They continue the tiger motive even on his head because of the yellow stripes on orange background. He'd look fearsome like this, if it wasn't for those orange tufts of fur.

There is no way one can break down a Transformer without having to do clean up. Vertebreak does have some of that coming. His Hyena Cannon can transform. There is a seam in the middle of it that opens up. Not complex, doesn't add much value either.

As a BIG, BIG, BIG warning here, because of how his heads (both Beast and Bot) are connected to his body. As you try to pose the beast head you might pull it past a bar in the back, and unplug his neck connection to his body. At which point you have one of two ways to fix it from suffering floppy head syndrome. A) Pull the missile holder back, and use brute force to pull it back, or B) Unscrew the back, reset the piece, and then rescrew it. I will note that the tab connecting his head/back assembly to his body is easy to put back in, but getting it to stick is hard.

Final Call

Transformer Design 4/10: Vertrebreak suffers from what I consider a lack of imagination on Hasbro's part. It's not just the fact he's a recoloring of Lazerback, it's the fact that they rate him intermediate, and he's easy to transform. Most people could look at him for less than 5 minutes, and figure out how to transform him.

Durability 3/10: Vertrebreak has his pros and cons. He does have a lot of ball joints that always make sense with Transformers. However, the difficulty in repairing/resetting his head is a major point killer in durability. I mean I can see a kid pulling the head completely out and loosing it before someone fixes it.

Fun 7/10: Because of how good his beast mode is, I can see a kid having fun as he jumps from Autobot to Decepticon crushing them, and ripping them to pieces. As a robot, he doesn't have that much fun potential sadly. Still rates above average as far as I am concerned.

Aesthetics 6/10: I love how he looks. He pulls off the savage beast look perfectly, I can see him stalking some jungle hunting down his pray. I just hate how bad his back looks if it doesn't have something like his Hyena Cannon to cover that space up.

Articulation 5/10: He's a Transformer who has a great alt mode, and not so great bot mode. As a beast, he can move all over the place. As a robot, he's a brick from the waist up. I mean nether one of his heads can move.

Value 7/10: I paid $10 for him, I've seen him on sale for $5, and the original price was $15. Three price points to cover. I think $10 is a fair price for him. He's got a good amount of plastic in him. He's got solid marks for fun, and looks. It's not like what breaks on him will be broken

Overall 6/10: I love how Vetrebreak looks in both beast and bot form. As a beast he looks like a snarling monster from another era. As a robot, he looks like a tough guy who can be hell on wheels if you provoke him enough, not the lighting fast 1001 fists of fury, but the slow, hard pounding kind of tough guy. As a Transformer for a kid, I'd be concerned given his durability issues. As a Transformer for a collector, I'd say he deserves a good home, your home.

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