Name: Dead End
Series: Beast Wars Neo
Alternate Mode: Ammonite
Height: 9cm Length: 12cm Width: 3.5cm
An off white ammonite with some fluorescent red markings on his shell and purple tentacles around his mouth. Dead end has green eyes and some red and gold on his mouth, while there are some gaps in the shell, revealing purple and white robot bits inside. The bright purple and red work better than these sort of colours usually do, since the off white is a very neutral backdrop. Since ammonites are only known from the fossil records, with preserved shells being rare, I'm going to give Dead End the benefit of the doubt and assume these colours represent an actual ammonite's colours.
Ammonites are related to cephalopods (squids & octopi), and swum around the ocean, using gas in their coiled shells for buoyancy. With those gaps in his shell, Dead End isn't going to stay suspended in the water, but the tentacles are more or less accurate - although the soft tissue is speculation based on modern cephalopods. His shell is flattened - more of a hockey puck shape than the snail-shell shape it should be - since it has to contain a robot inside (and can't whirl into a point). Dead End is roughly hockey puck sized, but no doubt not as sturdy when whacked. I'm not willing to test that theory.
There's no real play value here - he stands there being an ammonite. Which is about all we can expect of this beast mode. There are no gimmicks, but on a basic I don't mind. The simple fact is that this is one of the most unusual and novel beast modes we've seen amongst Transformers, and that alone makes Dead End's ammonite mode interesting.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
The ultimate shellformer. Pressing a purple button on top of the shell will cause the right side to pop off, revealing a rather mangled robot mode folded up inside. Unfold the limbs, unclip the weapon from his mass on tentacles, fold the head over to form his robot chest, reattach the right side of his shell, give Dead End his weapon and you're done.
The shell halves end up as shoulderpads and it's easy to leave the left side attached all the way through, which is nice. Sure, he's a shellformer, but the two modes work well so I don't mind.
Height: 11cm Width: 10cm
A mix of purple and white now, with gigantic white shell-half shoulderpads, a white head with red eyes and mouth and a purple gun. His gun is purple, while the ammonite head forms the chestplate - complete with green eyes and red patch (now central). There are some more gold highlights on his fists and boots. Dead End's colours here are quite nice, with the purple and off white complimenting each other.
There's a distinct cephalopod theme here. The head is designed to mimic that of a squid while the central tentacles of the beast mode form a tunic on his groin. The gun is single barrelled with tentacles either side. The shell halves qualify as kibble, but they look nice hanging off the outsides of his shoulders. The shell halves are a defining feature of this robot mode, and allow the arms some clearance, which is good. There's a purple spark crystal on the support strut of his right shoulderpad, incidentally.
The pop-off right shoulderpad can be launched, acing anyone who dares stand to his side - the packaging actually uses this as a selling point. It's a little bizarre, but I suppose it counts as play value. The real play value here is in his articulation - Dead End's head, elbows, hips, knees and ankles are all ball jointed. While the shoulderpads are quite heavy, dynamic poses are easy, and usually stable with some ankle fidgeting.
While the overwhelming visual element of this toy is the shell on either shoulder, the cephalopod theme on the robot itself proves that the designer was concentrating on more than just a robot that could squish inside a hockey puck. The jointing is really a by product of that squishing process, but the end result is a really poseable robot mode - no matter how it comes, Dead End is poseable and fun. His colour scheme works quite, complimenting his distinctive visual form.
None that I'm aware of, although he was sold either by himself or in a two-pack with Break.
A simple but novel beast mode that was enough for me to want this toy - the ammonite beast mode is unlike any other Transformer ever created - molluscs of any kinda are rare as Transformers. The Transformation itself is little more than cramming a robot inside the shell, but the robot that fits inside is poseable and has a nice cephalopod theme, making Dead End a rewarding toy. Some might be turned off by the shellformer element here, but the novelty of this toy is enough to make him worthwhile - 9/10