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Transformers Generations
by yo go re

When Hasbro has to change a Transformer's name for trademark purposes, their licensors are under no obligation to follow suit - even when the character was called Shockblast, the comics could still call him Shockwave, you know? But sometimes, it makes sense for the books to follow suit.

Few Autobots are as well liked as Trailcutter. He's always ready with a joke or a reassuring word, and when neither of those will do, his impenetrable force field usually serves to improve the situation. He sometimes worries that he uses too much fuel, but the other Autobots are more than happy to take a smaller Energon ration if it means Trailcutter can keep deflecting incoming laser blasts.

You know, it seems like just last year we were talking about how the old Autobot Trailbreaker hadn't had a proper update since 1984, and here we are, with a nice, fancy, new Deluxe-class version of the character thanks to the Generations line and its "Thrilling 30" anniversary scheme (basically the same thing Hasbro did in 2012 for GI Joe, except hopefully this time they won't forget about it halfway through the year). Sure, his name is Trailcutter, now, but it's still the same guy.

In order to blend the designs of the old toy and the old cartoon, the head has the shape of one and the... existence of a face of the other. Seriously, the old toy had no face. They drew him with one on the cartoon, but put it inside a plain box for a head. This mixes the two, and the design is much stronger for it. The blue visor is total toon, though.

This figure is based loosely on the character's appearance in the IDW comics. It's not an exact match, since he doesn't have an Earth mode in the comics (yet), but the parallels are there. When IDW took over the TF license, there was shock and outrage from the fans that the artists dared to redesign these characters to not look identical to their G1 counterparts, but come on, the old toys were crummy - updates are welcome. The new version is looking really good, with a big, powerful chest instead of a chubby gut. His forearms are larger than Popeye's, and the sculpt of the toy is detailed without being excessive.

The silver dealie behind his head (his forcefield projector) is permanently attached to the robot's back, but it can be pointed forward or angled up out of the way. When it's up, you can plug the included shield back there to that the two guns point up over his shoulders, G1 style. The shield itself has a large red handle underneath so the robot can actually hold it naturally. He has a swivel neck, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, and hinged knees.

Hasbro is cutting back on the complexity of their Transformers, so Trailcutter isn't too hard to change between modes. Honestly, it's nice change of pace to have something that's easy to just pick up and convert, without a thousand niggly little steps.

Trailbreaker's classic altmode was a pickup truck with a camper on the back. This one, however, is not that. It's some kind of armored SUV, like the one The Rock drove in Fast 5. It's black and angular, and has armored slats over the windows, and generally looks like it could survive a direct bomb blast with no ill effects.

Like we said, this truck is black, but it's detailed with angled yellow and red stripes similarly to the old toy. The windows are translucent blue, but the back half of the truck is entirely unpainted - maybe we're supposed to be too dazzled by the silver and gold on the grill and headlights to notice? The force field generator sticks up out of the roof of the truck. Unfortunate.

Taking a cue from ToyBiz and Marvel Legends, this figure includes a reprint comicbook. Nice! In this case, it's a modified reprint of Spotlight: Trailcutter. I haven't read any of IDW's Transformers comics, but this one really makes me want to - it's funny and clever, and though it clearly exists in a larger continuity, it's a self-contained, done-in-one story. The original version explains the name change from Trailbreaker to Trailcutter, though this printing edits that out (for some unknown reason). Including a comic was a terrific move on Hasbro's part.

Trailcutter is a nice little toy - not so nice that I feel the need to get his repaint, Hoist, but still nice. Good robot mode, decent vehicle, and fun to transform. What more could you ask?

-- 11/26/13

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