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Transformers Generations
by yo go re

Some people boast about never using the instructions to convert their Transformers, which just seems weird; these things have complex engineering, so ignoring the instructions - and being proud of that fact? It's like trying to bake something you've never made before without following a recipe. And in today's review, not following the instructions can cause your Transformer to break.

Wreck-Gar is obsessed with Earth television, and may be just a little bit flaky. He communicates almost exclusively in quotes from commercials and late-night movies, and the grin on his face never fades, even in the heat of battle. Most Autobots have no idea what he's talking about most of the time, but they appreciate having his axe on their side.

In Animated, Wreck-Gar was a garbage truck, but for this release, he's back to his original altmode, a motorcycle. Of course, the G1 version was some kind of blocky Road Warrior style cycle, while this is a more realistic dirt bike. It's got a very skinny frame, sculpted shock absorbers on the front fork and a chain driving the rear wheel. The right side has an exhaust pipe and there's a spot for a license plate beneath the seat. There's a sculpted gascap, a small windshield, and mirrors and brakes attached to the handlebars. The bike is 6½" long, both wheels roll, and there's a kickstand on the left side.

So. Converting Wreck-Gar. It's not terribly difficult, so what's the issue? Well, there's a step that tells you to push the headlight/windshield area up, thus forcing the handlebars to automatically fold back along the sides. It's a nifty little automorph feature, and works decently. However, if you ignore the instructions and try to push the handlebars back yourself, it causes the hinges that attach them to the bike to break. Just snap right in half. Follow the instruction, you'll be fine; try to skip them, you just broke your toy.

The handlebars are soft pvc and have large bumps that supposedly hold them in place - if you really want to be safe, consider cutting them off the first time you change him, because they're not really necessary. The bars will stay in place just fine without them, and their absence will lower chances of a break (slightly). No, you shouldn't have to modify your toy this way to keep it safe, but Hasbro should have done some more quality checks to make sure this wouldn't happen.

Wreck-Gar takes quite a few liberties with his robot mode - while most of the Generations figures try to ape the old animation models, Wreck-Gar just takes a few old elements and incorporates them into a vastly different body. He's skinnier, more organic, and the direct similarities are limited to the placement of the bike's wheels, the grill on his stomach and the guns on his chest. He still looks very "Wreck-Garish," however. The robot body is asymmetrical, with different shapes used for the shoulders, the hands sculpted in different positions, and of course the lower legs are wholly unlike each other. Appropriately, he has the look of a robot cobbled together from various pieces, like he's been damaged and rebuilt from whatever sources were available.

Unlike the body, the head is taken almost directly from the animation models. It's the same overall shape, has identical V patterns on the sides, and is even sculpted to look like a headlight, windshield and handlebars are on the top (care to guess where the old toy's head was located?). He has the Fu Manchu mustache and long pointy beard, too! Hooray! His face is pale tan, he has a big white smile, and his bright red eyes are outlined in black.

Wreck-Gar comes with one accessory, a four-bladed battle axe. The handle taper to a thin point where the figure is meant to hold it, but the change is so gradual that you're almost guaranteed to put it in his hand at the wrong place, thus causing visible stress marks on the inside of his fingers. So far no one has reported any breakage from this, but it's still something to watch out for. The axe is about 4¼" long, and the figure has lots of useful articulation to let him wield it however you like - including that rarest of Transformer joints, a fully functional waist!

As far as updates go, Wreck-Gar is great: he has hints of the original character, but still breaks new ground. But speaking of breaks, the fact that there's such a fragile spot on the toy as the handlebar hinges is a huge disappointment, especially when you conder how rare the figure is. Like Perceptor and G2 Prime, he's in the last series of "Reveal the Shield" figures - the series that most stores never ordered, which means most fans never had a chance of finding him. So you've got a figure that's rare to begin with, and now significant numbers of them are breaking, leaving buyers looking for replacements. Luckily, Hasbro just revealed earlier this week that they'll be re-releasing this mold as a new character later this year, so maybe you'll finally get a chance to own a Junkion - just not necessarily Wreck-Gar himself.

-- 08/23/11

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