The Transformers Prime series (see the line at TFSource) continues to get better and I’ve gotta say that Dead End here is my favorite of the bunch. A recolor and slight modification of the Transformers Prime Wheeljack, Dead End wears the sculpt far better than Wheeljack ever will. Why? Because Dead End’s colors are obviously fantastic.
Nothing new in the packaging department, with Dead End using the same packaging design as the other Robots in Disguise toys in the Transformers Prime series. The packaging is functional, features nice artwork, and does an excellent job of clearly showing off the toy. So, basically, it’s a success.
Dead End’s vehicle mode really shows off his crazy colors and everything about the vehicle mode is remarkably fun. The translucent green windows, bright green wheels, and the matching bright green just beneath the windshield all pop against the yellow, orange, and dark gray of the vehicle making this one of my favorite Transformers toys that Hasbro has released in the last year or so.
And, as you can see, Dead End’s sleek racer mode makes him look like he’s ready to tear up any track you throw down in front of him. It helps that he stays locked tightly together in vehicle mode so when you roll him across the floor he doesn’t pop apart. And roll he does! Maybe not as fast as Hot Wheels toy cars, but for a “Deluxe” scale Transformers toy from Hasbro he handles rolling across smooth surfaces quite well.
Dead End’s two blades can be mounted to the front of his vehicle mode — see the below photo — but I have to say that while it looks okay the blades do kinda interfere with the speedy “roll across the floor” motion of the toy’s vehicle mode. I’m not a fan of attaching the swords when Dead End is in vehicle mode and would rather just let the weapons sit on the shelf beside the car.
Now we get into the fun. Dead End (available now at TFSource has an incredibly nice transformation that takes the car from vehicle mode into a robot mode that looks ready to destroy. The transformation of the arms and legs is quite slick — I love how the forearms pop out and rotate 180 degrees to reveal the hands — and while the transformation is a little tough in spots it’s not bad at all and can easily be figured out by slowly following the instructions.
In robot mode Dead End stands about 5.5-inches tall, making him a fairly average sized “Deluxe” toy that can go beside just about any of my Classics/Universe/Generations toys without looking too out of place. The animation styling doesn’t fit perfectly with the Classics/Universe/Generations toys, but I wouldn’t be too shocked if someone was already working on a replacement head to give Dead End more of a Transformers Generation One feel.
In a word, excellent. Dead End’s made up of a lot of small parts and everything’s neatly sculpted and comes together nicely to give the toy a deadly, fun look with sleek lines and a head that — while maybe a little more movie-inspired than I like — has a terrifying look totally unlike the Generation One Dead End. The head sculpt is bug-like with an open mouth (with lightpipe that works nicely) while the shape of the rear wing-like bits give the toy a spiky appearance that feels more fitting on Dead End than it does on Wheeljack. (I know the original Wheeljack had its own wing-like bits, but I still think they look better on Dead End than they do Wheeljack.)
The arms are a tad longer than I like, giving Dead End a bit of an ape-like appearance — but other than that the sculpt and robot mode look excellent. I really do love the transformation and how everything neatly locks into place, and when you combine with the colors with the design you get one amazing toy.
Okay, I can honestly say that from the moment I first saw photos of this toy (initial thoughts posted at battlegrip.com) I was excited by the color choices. Yes, these are disgustingly bright. You know what, though? I’ve got multiple pairs of shoes that share a lot in common with these colors — my wife even suggested I photograph Dead End with some of my kicks — and I love the look. Bright and nasty and all once and, as you’ve probably already guessed, exactly why I’m so very happy with Dead End.
And what’s nice is that while a lot of the coloring is from the plastic what paint there is has been neatly applied. There are a few rough spots along the edges of the bright green on his chest, and the orange on the shins is a bit ratty in spots, but overall the paint is incredible and as good as we should ever expect from a mass market toy. A solid A- effort on Hasbro’s part when it comes to Dead End’s paint apps.
While not as poseable as some Transformers toys from modern times, Dead End does okay with:
- Head - A simple ball-jointed neck with plenty of freedom of movement.
- Arms - Ball-jointed shoulders that are hinged where the tire connects to the lower arm, a hinged elbow, and a rotating wrist. The lack of a ball-joint for the elbow restricts poseability a little.
- Legs - Ball-jointed hips, hinged knees, and ball-jointed ankles. To be fair those ankles are pretty heavily restricted by the shins so don’t expect too much movement out of them.
- Torso - Actually, not a single joint. I miss a twisty waist.
Adequate — but not amazing — articulation limits the fun a little, but in the end I’m still very happy.
The Transformers Prime series (see the line at TFSource) isn’t my favorite line from Hasbro at the moment, but with the fun of Dead End (available now at TFSource I’m going to give more of the line a try. Restricted articulation can’t keep the sculpt and color choices from totally making me happy that I bought this toy and I’m already thinking it’s time I pop open the Transformers Prime Vehicon (“Vehicon” search at TFSource) and see if it’s as much fun as Dead End.
Highly recommended to anyone who loves a great sculpt combined with remarkably fun and bright colors. This one’s a winner.
Philip Reed spends his days working away in the game industry and whatever spare time he can steal goes to the toy website, battlegrip.com, where he writes about a lot more than just Transformers.