Topless Toy Chest: Transformers Combiner Wars Brake-Neck and Quickslinger
When I was a kid, Transformers were simply out of my price range. In Irish pounds (approximately $1.50 back then), a Star Wars or Action Force/G.I. Joe figure was 2.99, a Masters of the Universe figure (if you knew the right place to shop) was 4.99, and while a Go-Bot/Robo-Machine was officially 4.99, there were some really good knock-offs that used the same molds which could be had for 1.99.
Transformers? If you wanted a Voyager-size one, you were looking at 12.99, easily. In 1985. So I’ve only indulged as an adult, and without the childhood attachment factor, I’ve focused mostly on Alternators and movie versions – figures that look like actual, real-world vehicles in their alt modes, and genuinely different robots otherwise. So when Hasbro asked if I wanted to review two new ones, of course I was down. And then came the follow-up question: “Which other ones do you need to complete Superion and Menasor?”
Ummm…all of them?
I love my job sometimes.
Ironically, Quickslinger and Brake-Neck specifically aren’t essential to completing the giant combiners Menasor and Superion. Only the central Voyager-class bots are required – the limbs are designed to be interchangeable, so theoretically, all four could be the same robot (there is an optional fifth in each case: Powerglide becomes a gun for Superion, and Blackjack becomes an easily falling-off breastplate for Menasor). Want each limb to be different? Quickslinger and Brake-Neck still aren’t essential, as there are already four Deluxe Aerialbots and Stunticons. They are, instead, online exclusives made from minor resculpt/repaints of existing characters, for the benefit of collectors who want those specific line-ups.
Quickslinger and Firefly differ only in the head and paint-job – both come with the same gun, and the same adaptable hand/foot/cannon piece for Superion.
My camera somehow went to a completely shitty filter indoors and I couldn’t undo it – but here’s Brake-Neck and his body buddy, Dead End, also with the same weapons.
Both came with comic books that featured unique, character specific covers. Brake-Neck’s was one I’d read already from one of the other figures, but Quickslinger’s was new to me – it may well have been a reprint from a comic that simply came with a non-Aerialbot/Stunticon toy, however. The comics, which I luckily seemed to have read in order by sheer chance (they don’t have numbers on them) feature an attempt at a post-partisan Cybertron, with Starscream running for election as ruler, Prowl weirdly turning on his friends, and a revived Megatron showing up to ruin everyone’s plans. The secret to success lies in Gestalt technology (good words for the kids to learn) that will allow the minds of Combiners to properly merge into one, rather than conflict with one another.
The transformations on most of these guys are fairly straightforward. On the planes, you shorten the legs, push in the arms and extend the nose-cone, and you’re pretty much done.
It’s not quite the classic Go-Bot “sit down and lean forward!” but it’s close, and will allow kids to transform them more quickly during play (the ones I usually collect take a LOT longer). To make the larger combiners, you almost complete the vehicle mode, but with head flipped up to expose the joint peg if you want to make a leg; or you make robot mode with legs stuck together and peg flipped halfway up for a side joint if you want an arm. Either way, you stick the multipurpose appendage piece on the bottom, as it can articulate into a hand or foot as needed.
For the cars, you rotate the lower legs to consume the thighs, pull the arms into the body, and flip the hood over. Similar principle, but slightly different. Unfortunately, Brake-Neck’s body is too low to the ground for his car mode to properly roll on wheels.
The robots are held in the blister by annoying plastic tab-things like the kind you find in shirts and plush toys. They can be pulled apart, but that starts to hurt after a while. Scissors are a better bet, but if you have pets, clean up fast unless you want these damn things to show up again in turds or vomit.
I like to display most of my Transformers in robot form, and that’s where these guys truly excel. They have very classic G1 design elements – those faces, that blockiness – but they’re loaded with articulation that wasn’t possible back in the day. These really are action figures.
Did I forget anything? Oh yeah…Time to meet the rest of the gang.
It’s Mergin’ Time!
I haven’t tried mixing and matching car and plane limbs for a truly post-partisan Gestalt, but I think you could with the universal joint system these two have. Anyway, as online exclusives Brake-Neck and Quickslinger aren’t necessarily must-haves – just options if you prefer their heads and color schemes, or character bios. And while I always did covet the Constructicons the most, I’m having a blast with Superion and Menasor. If I could just get that little car to stay on Menasor’s chest…