In order to pad out the end of their Cybertron line, Hasbro came up with any number of repaints of existing molds. Some were new characters, but mostly they were just variations on the existing characters: Cryo Scourge, Galaxy Force Vector Prime... guys like that. Seems like half the population of the Speed Planet got the redeco treatment, including old-timer Brakedown.
It's long been an accepted piece of wisdom on Velocitron that you can't teach an old racer new tricks, but that was before the Autobots came to the Speed Planet. With the help of Coby and the intelligent application of some Earth technology, including dual superchargers, inter-cooled Energon exhaust ports and a diamond-sharp edge to his racing saber, Brakedown is feeling a thousand years younger. Yes sir, this old speed demon is back on the track!
Brakedown's role in the series was that of an aging mentor - much like Kup in G1. His original bio said his pipes were rusting through and his suspension was growing brittle with age. And that he loved robo-Matlock. Okay, just kidding on that last one. This repaint is technically "Brakedown GTS," with an appearance (and a bio) that was never on the show.
The residents of Velocitron all tend to have similar designs: big wide shoulders, tiny head, slender waist and long, thin legs. It makes sense, since they all come from the same planet, and it helps give them a unique visual identity. Brakedown GTS is only about 3½" tall, ignoring the gray kibble that sticks up off his back. Despite his small size (which isn't really in scale with the other toys, if the cartoon is to be believed), he's highly articulated.
He moves at the head, waist, knees and ankles, and has balljoints for the shoulders, elbows and hips.
To help sell the idea that he's an old man, Brakedown GTS has an angular beard. In fact, one of the only other TFs to be shown with facial "hair" was G1's Alpha Trion, a transformer that was already ancient when he performed his greatest feat: rebuilding Orion Pax into Optimus Prime. Brakedown has a shield or something, which is made slightly cooler by a key-activated feature that sees a serrated blade pop out of it. The feature doesn't actually work too well - for some reason, the blade gets stuck. The key is designed nicely, with needles and gauges that suggest a car's interior.
Transformation is easy,
but not simplistic. There's a lot of twisting and double-folding to get everything where it's supposed to be. He changes into an unearthly drag racer with huge wheels in the back and tiny, tiny ones in the front. An oddity among the figures of this line, Brakedown's Cyber Planet Key can't actually fit into the vehicle mode. The weapon thing becomes his engine, I guess, and the keyhole is hidden in the body of the car.
Brakedown is a nice little toy,
but certainly not a must-have. However, Brakedown GTS might be. Can a simple paint app really make that much of a difference? It can when it reveals a hidden truth.
Like we said, Brakedown's personality was somewhat reminscent of G1's crotchety old bastard, Kup. And the Brakedown GTS repaint is mostly teal and blue, in an homage to that old character. Even Hasbro's color guide called the repaint "Kup." However, it was only when the proper colors were applied that anyone noticed the other homage: both forms look almost exactly like Kup's rendition in The War Within. Did the designers look to TWW for Brakedown's inspiration, like they did for Starscream? Couldn't say. But if you want to assemble a collection of War Within figures, Brakedown GTS will fill the Kup role almost perfectly.
Why did Kup, a character who never had an Earth form, need a Cybertronian redesign? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.