Sunday, 25 July 2010

Revenge of the Fallen Brakedown

Or Breakdown, to give him his true name. Not quite sure why the name change - for some strange reason, I thought it was due to the particular car alternate mode 'Brakedown' had been applied to in one toy line or another but, after G1 Breakdown, the next character to use the name was Brakedown from Cybertron (named Autolander in Galaxy Force)... I thought there had been some kind of deliberate avoidance of the suggestion that whatever type of car would 'break down'... but it seems I made that up!

Out of all the Generation 1 references thrown into the Revenge of the Fallen toyline, Breakdown - yes, I'm going to settle on using his real name - is the most blatant. He's approximately the same type of car (just a little squashed), with an almost identical colour scheme to the original. Thankfully, his transformation has moved on in the last 25-odd years, the better to keep to the movie series aesthetic.

Vehicle Mode:
It's obviously referencing the Lamborghini Countach but, in much the same way as Classics Sunstreaker/Sideswipe, its different enough that there aren't any licensing issues, since almost all of the cars from RotF were made by GM, and no permissions were sought from the other manufacturers, like Audi - hence Sideways' toy only being similar to the car used in the movie. What will strike you immediately is that it's almost a Super Deformed Lamborghini. Not in the G1 Mini Autobot sense, clearly, but there's something very squashed about Breakdown. Going by the car it's meant to represent, it's squashed sideways - definitely not as wide as it should be, and it's gained a lot of height, throwing the proportions off quite a bit.

Nevertheless, it retains the style and character of the car it represents, and looks suitably sporty for a character who was, in the days of Generation 1, one of the Stunticons - the first team of Decepticons that transformed into cars, as part of Megatron's plans to... er... confuse Earthlings into thinking they might have been wrong to think "Car Robots Good, Plane Robots Bad".

The shell of the car is molded entirely in white plastic, with windows and other details like headlights, tail lights, and the characteristic red bonnet painted in red, blue, or one of two metallic colours.
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Robot Mode:
The first thing that struck me about movie Breakdown was that his face reminds me very much of Rattrap. Not the head as a whole, but certainly the face... Very strange.

And while his transformation is a far cry from the simplicity of G1 Stunticon Breakdown, there are certain cues taken from that model, the most obvious being that the arms are still formed from the sides of the car, and feature wheels on each shoulder.

The less obvious design cue is in the legs. G1 Breakdown split the rear of the car and rotated each half out and round sideways to form the lower legs. RotF Breakdown does a similar thing, but with the front of the car, and the whole leg rotates to put the bonnet halves at his heels, rather than facing inward.

I can't quite decide whether the bonnet halves are meant to be part of the robot mode by design, or whether they're meant to be taken to be 'absorbed' into the legs or body somewhere. If so, he has the very animal-like legs that are common to movie Decepticons, and very small feet... if not, he just has very large heels...

Were it not for the massive door panels on his forearms, Breakdown's arms would appear quite spindly. These panels do get in the way a bit, so it's a shame they don't fold up a bit smaller, perhaps wtih the windows closing in over the blue forearms...
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Transformation is as a good Scout should be - simple, but not as simple as a G1 Mini Autobot or gestalt limb - and the way this character has been adapted to the movie aesthetic without losing any of its recognisable G1-ness is very impressive. The legs are a little awkward, difficult to put in a stable pose, and yet I was able to balance him on one leg. Impressively, he does have independently articulated hands, thanks to ball joints, but their range of movement is quite limited. The only real downside to this model is that large panel stuck on his back, which is made up of most of the top of the vehicle mode, from the spoiler all the way to the windshield.

Considering Dead End was a repaint of the Deluxe Sideways model, it seems a shame that Breakdown isn't also a Deluxe... but there isn't really an appropriate mold in that size class.

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