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Transformers Legacy
by yo go re

Motormaster still hasn't shown up anywhere, so let's skip ahead to Stunticon #4 of 5. [no, Motormaster will be 5; Dead End is the 3 that got skipped --ed.]

Breakdown is extremely self-conscious, and his paranoia often gets the best of him. He believes that everything - living or not - is watching him.

So, thing I was unaware of when I found Dragstrip and decided on a whim to collect all the parts of Menasor: Breakdown is basically Wild Rider with a few minor retoolings. That's disappointing. I mean, the whole point of "Scramble City" combiners back in the '80s was their interchangeability, so there was a certain level of homogeny to be expected, but I wasn't expecting, like, 85% duplication. Deluxe Class Transformers cost like $25 now, which is already ridiculous when they're new molds, and is nearly inexcusable when you have to double-dip on figures that make up a combiner.

In G1, Scramble City combiners tended to use their heads as the connection points: that meant they needed to be uniformly square, with no real, distinctive features. Breakdown mostly keeps that trend alive, not having the fancy ear-lumps the last two toys have had - the '80s toys were originally planned for more unique noggins, and those designs showed up in the animation models, but even then Breakdown basically looked like he was wearing a cap with a little bill over the eyes.

It's not difficult to see why Hasbro would choose to make Wild Rider and Breakdown from the same molds - even back in the day, they had similar robot designs, with their car hoods behind their backs and their wheels on their shoulders. In this mode, the only difference between the two modern figures is the head (of course) and the upper chest panel. Arms, legs, pelvis, stomach, all identical. Breakdown's chest has one horizontal bar above the two sides of the chest, instead of a pair of vertical bars split between them, but that's as far as differences go. If not for the paint - mostly white with blue on the skins and more silver on the chest - they'd be twinsies.

Unlike the last two Stunticons released, Breakdown only has one rifle. He only had one in the '80s, as well, but Legacy has been doubling them up for whatever reason. If you scan the QR code on top of the box, you'll find out this is a Concussion Blaster that fires beams of energy that cause mechanical failures. He also has a piece of loose kibble from the car, which serves as a shield or sword or boomerang or something. 2023's theme is "Evo-Fusion," so if you plug this thing into the side of the gun, you can pretend they're an axe. The old figures didn't move very well, but today we get a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, a swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged/rocker ankles. The attached kibble on the back is still quite obtrusive.

There are a few problems with the conversion process. It's not complex - straighten the arms, fold the head away, collapse the legs, lower the hood - but some weird design choices were made. Like, you have to fold the hood through part of the windshield, but the tolerances between the notches and the tabs is very precise, so it's not an easy movement. Similarly, when you open up the panels to form the rear of the car, they don't actually fold out wide enough to move the legs through smoothly; and if you try to force them wider (as wide as the instructions imply they go), they can break. The last step of the instructions wants you to use tabs and slots that don't actually exist on the finished toy, and while there are pegs meant to hold the feet up off the ground when they're beneath the car, those pegs don't actually do the job: it's just the friction of the joints themselves.

Breakdown's altmode is some kind of... a Ferrarorghini. You know, exactly the kind of car no one would use to perform stunts. This car is white to Wildrider's black, making them look like bad versions of Runabout and Runamuck when they're next to each other. The only sculptural difference in this mode is the rear of the car: the angled panels here are a straighter shape, and there are different vents. Wow. Exciting. There's also a rear spoiler, which does help change things up, but for whatever reason that's a separate piece you have to plug in, rather than being a permanent part of the mold. That was lazy work when Elita-1 did it, and it's lazy work here. Good thing there's a notch under the hood where you can store the gun, or else you'd be in danger of losing it.

Every time I despair of finishing my Stunticon collection, and begin to think of unloading the ones I have, the next one finally drops. I really hope Motormaster or Dead End get here quickly, though, to wash the bad taste of Breakdown out of my mouth. I also hope they're better than this boring re-do.

-- 03/21/23

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