Cliffbee.com: BotCon (Animated) Dead End Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Dead End
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Warrior
Alternate Mode: Sports Car



CAR MODE
Height: 3.5cm Length: 12.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A maroon sports car with glossy black windows, Dead End sports grey bumpers and exhausts on the sides along with prominent mustard side mirrors. Similar to the original, there's a mustard and white racing stripe on the left side, running from the front bumper all the way to the rear bumper (with gaps for the windows, of course). He's a repaint of Animated Jazz, and there's a symmetry there (both were Porsches in G1). There's a purple stamped Decepticon logo on the front, over a purple & silver circle (something he shares with the other Animated Stunticons). The headlights, taillights and front indicators are transparent crimson. This is a good colour scheme which uses this co-opted mould well - it's quite easy to pick this toy as Dead End.

   While I've got nothing but praise for the colour scheme, I don't really like the shape of the car much. As with a lot of Animated toys, it's very much a stylised vehicle, and there's not really any Porsche style here - instead we have a very curved car with giant rear fenders. There are odd black covers at the top of his headlights which I suspect are meant to suggest pop-up lights, but they look like eyelids. With the round lines and eyelids, Dead End looks like something from the film Cars, not a real sports car. To be fair, the seams are well done - so the shape works as intended. There's not a lot of actual detail here outside the well done hubcaps - doorhandles and the grille are (relative) highlights. I do find that this mode works better in Dead End's darker colours.

   There's no play value here aside from the rolling wheels, although his ground (okay, table) clearance is minimal, so he has trouble rolling properly. There are no gimmicks here, nor any opening doors. Not that I expect anything along those lines at this size.

   A decent car for what it is, and the colours make this repaint work well as Dead End. The paint job is focussed although the sculpt is a little simple in places. The darker colours suit the mould a lot better than those of Jazz, so this vehicle mode works well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Pull the doors out to the sides to form the arms. Lift up the centre of the rear bumper, fold out the roof and rear as his boots. Flip out his feet and split the legs. Fold down the front to form his chest and reveal the head, fold down his collar. Position the arms, rotate the door panels and detach the exhausts as hand-held weapons, if desired.

   While this is a fairly simple transformation, it's elegant and is clearly inspired by that of G1 Jazz. The reverse isn't quite as good - there's not much clearance for the legs underneath the windshield, and you have to be careful you don't place too much pressure on the windshield. Ironically, this also harks back to G1 Jazz - in a bad way.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 10cm

   A maroon robot with black on his collar, upper arms, and hands, Dead End's head is also black while his face is mustard yellow and his eyestrip is transparent crimson. The chest is the front of the car, complete with Decepticon logo & stripe, while the roof becomes his shins. In these colours this toy is very much Dead End, despite the layout not being faithful to G1. A nice couch on this repaint is the dull purple used on his groin & waist, to simulate the die cast metal on the original toy. One feature that's very much new to this version of the character is a black moustache on his face. It's a good colour scheme overall, with colours that very much suit Dead End, and some nice finer details (such as the stripe extending down onto his left boot).

   As with most Animated toys, Dead End has rather unusual proportions. His head is very narrow, which works better there than on Jazz, since Dead End had that fairly small square peg head originally anyway. The waist is also very narrow, and this carries over to his thighs which are close together. While he doesn't suffer from out of balance stylised proportions like some Animated toys, I can't really say this is a very robotic shape.

   Dead End's poseability is impressive, albeit with a few minor issues. The head turns on a restricted ball joint, but the chin guides it into unnatural positions if you try and turn it. The shoulders are hinges with rotators below them to assist the double hinges in the elbows. His wrists are ball jointed and his waist turns, even though it doesn't look like it can, at a glance. His hips are hinged while his knees are hinged with rotators just above them while his ankles are hinged and there are well designed heelspurs which really anchor this toy well. The rotators above his knees suffer from a similar problem to the neck - you can't turn them very far before it just looks unnatural - this isn't helped by the narrow gap between them since you struggle to move the boots into positions that keep them out of each other's way.

   There are no gimmicks here, but Dead End's weapons are really clever. The twin pipes of his exhausts unplug and form nun-chucks! There's a white cord holding them together, so you can place one pipe in his hand and let the other dangle. It looks really good, although the cord is too loose for action poses - Dead End can hold them ready to strike, but not in a mid-move pose. Well, you can place the pipes from a single nun-chuck in either hand, but that's about it. The nun-chucks are both really unusual and so simple it's amazing. They work so well that I'd expect to see more in the future.

   This is a very playable robot mode, even if the design style won't suit everyone. While the layout is all Jazz, the unusual head shape works better for Dead End, so I much prefer this robot mode to that of Jazz, despite this being a co-opted repaint. The stripe on his chest & boot really sell this mode as Dead End for me. The nun-chucks are 15 shades of awesome, and prove that you don't need silly electronic gimmicks or missile launchers to make a robot mode fun.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned he is a repaint of Animated Jazz. Being a limited exclusive, Dead End was likely produced in a single production run, making variants unlikely.

OVERALL

   A good mould despite some polarising Animated aspects with fun weapons, and now with a much better colour scheme. The darker colours suit the mould better and the narrow head in his robot mode suits Dead End better than it does Jazz. So here we have a co-opted repaint which works better than the original! I'm always a sucker for combiner characters revisited as stand alone toys (yes, he comes with the other Stunticons, but they don't combine), so I really enjoy the tribute here. If you can appreciate Animated's distinct style & have the means, this is a repaint that's worthy of picking up - 9/10

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