Sunday, 17 April 2016

A Concise Review of Combiner Wars Trailbreaker In 500 Words Or Less

Pricepoint/Vintage: Deluxe, 2016.
Modes: Robot, Truck, Arm, and Leg.
Transformation Style: CW deluxe limb, Off Road style.
Play Patterns: Robot and vehicle, combiner, 5mm weaponry, HULK HAND, a pack-in comic in the USA.
Points of Interest: Retool of wave 2's Offroad, with a new head, forearms, and modified accessory.

The Good
Trailbreaker's 5mm gun arm allows him to mimic Rook's play pattern' giving him a single hulk hand via his combiner piece. Said accessory is also quite distinctive, functioning as a claw, and a believable shield. The new head is nice too, and the hubcaps painted. Articulation is solid at 14 joints, the truck mode attractive, and the limb modes having just the right amount of bulk. Most importantly, this iteration of the mould has all but eliminated the tabbing issues of Offroad, making the arm mode practical. Offroad was basically fine, but new play features and refinement make Trailbreaker better.

The Bad
While one big problem was fixed, issues with proportions and exposed robot bits due to engineering are still inherited from Offroad. He's a touch skinny in the arms, and the vehicle mode isn't that different from earlier versions. The loss of a regular right hand obviously means some loss in function, and reduces the number of 5mm ports to 3 in truck and limb modes. The pack-in comic has an infamous art error. My example suffers from misapplied door tampographs.

The Mediocre
Trailbreaker comes with that axe that I don't think has suited anybody, including him. They also missed a trick in that it can't plug into the gun arm due to its shape, a crying shame that could have helped with future reuses, as well as add play value. He's also a bit monochrome.

The Alternatives
Its a bit surprising this toy exists, as Trailbreaker got a new unique mould only in 2014. That does not combine, and incorporates a number of design elements this toy can't, although arguably neither is definitive. The other, increasingly numerous, iterations of this toy also come to mind. That said, if you want a combining Autobot with Hulk Hands, why not Rook?


The Verdict
I don't think anyone really wanted to see this mould again, especially as wave 6 was a repeat of wave 4, but Trailbreaker really is something special. The new parts increase the play value, while solving a tabbing issue, and is easy on the eyes. If Hasbro MUST reuse moulds, this really is a good justification, and perhaps the most desirable deluxe since the Protectobots. While not without weaknesses, Trailbreaker is like taking yesterday's cheesecake, and adding toffee sauce. Go get him.

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