Review: Transformers Combiner Wars Brake-Neck

I’ve never been particularly attached to any individual combiner characters (outside of Swindle; everyone loves Swindle), so when the initial Combiner Wars lineup replaced Slingshot and Wildrider with two original characters with different altmodes, it didn’t bother me one bit. Elsewhere in the fandom, however, there was a great gnashing of teeth at the exclusion of the two apparently beloved characters. I get the desire for G1 accuracy, but does anyone really care about Wildrider? His character is pretty much just “the crazy one” and just being a gray car makes him one of the more visually-uninteresting Stunticons. Anyway, Hasbro delivered on the fandom’s wishes and delivered Menasor’s proper leg in the form of Brake-Neck.

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Vehicle Mode

Like his online wavemate Quickslinger, Brake-Neck (why the hyphen, really?) is a straight redeco of one of his teammates, in this case being Dead End. Since CW Dead End’s altmode is based on a Ferrari and G1 Wildrider was a Ferrari, this redeco actually works really well for Brake-Neck.

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However, even with the fairly drastic change in deco, Brake-Neck and Dead End are still very obviously the same mold. I don’t know if anything could have been done to help distinguish Brake-Neck from his moldmate, so I won’t count it against him. At least Quickslinger is able to stand out compared to Firefly thanks to his solid white colors. Speaking of colors, the strip of unpainted red plastic bothers me more on Brake-Neck than it does on Dead End, mostly because the red plastic does not match the red paint. Bother.

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Robot Mode

Brake-Neck really shines in robot mode, mostly thanks to the lovely proportions and bulk of the Dead End mold. The red and grey make for a really gorgeous color palate, and the light grey chest doesn’t bother me near as much as I expected it to. Like Quickslinger (and the rest of the CW line, to be honest), Brake-Neck’s headsculpt is sublime and full of character– in this case, he looks like a really angry dude who is about to beat you into a bloody pulp with his lead pipe.

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Also like Quickslinger, Brake-Neck shares the weapons of the mold’s original user. Unlike Quickslinger, I have absolutely no problem with Brake-Neck having Dead End’s exhaust pipe because it’s my favorite Transformers melee weapon ever. This weapon alone really sells the Stunticons as a group of nasty thugs who cruise the streets beating people up. He also shares the same HFG, which is totally fine.

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When assuming his rightful place as the left leg of Menasor, my feelings here are a bit mixed, but not due to Brake-Neck himself; the Dead End mold works fine as a leg and compliments Breakdown just fine. On the other hand, swapping out Offroad means that Menasor loses his best-looking arm in exchange for the somewhat-“meh” and slightly limited Dead End arm. On the upside, it’s not inherently obvious that Brake-Neck and Dead End are the same mold when combined, and the fact that you can give Menasor two shoulder-mounted exhaust pipe/smokestacks is so damn awesome that it overshadows Dead End’s lackluster arm performance.

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Overall

Like I said with Quickslinger, Brake-Neck is a nice bonus figure for anyone who just can’t accept Wildrider’s absence in their Classics Stunticon lineup. Neither figure is anything particularly special, being straight redecos of one of their teammates, but the excellently-sculpted new heads help a lot, plus the molds chosen are arguably the best from their respective teams. Besides, one of the biggest draws of Combiner Wars is looking to be the wide variety of combiner torsos and limbs to choose from, especially with torso figures like Optimus and Cyclonus. The more limbs, the better!

Where to Buy

Both Brake-Neck and Quickslinger are set for a May 22nd online release. BBTS has confirmed that their orders are going up at midnight on the date, and presumably other retailers like Amazon and Hasbrotoyshop will follow suit. It doesn’t seem like the pair will be hard to find, but if you’re itching to get the two, I’d say act fast, just in case.

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