Name: Dead End
Series: Combiner Wars
Alternate Mode: Sports Car
SPORTS CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 13cm Width: 6cm
A glossy maroon sports car with painted black windows, some gunmetal paint on the doors and front. He sports black plastic tyres with silver hubcaps; the headlights are also silver. There's a bronze racing stripe running down the length of the car, slightly offset to the left. There's a Decepticon logo stamped on his hood - offset to the right to the side of the racing stripe. It's a pretty good deco and its quite clearly Dead End; but there are two minor gripes here. Firstly, the Decepticon logo on the hood is actually on an angle - it's been lined up to a hood seam line. There's a fairly ugly wedge of gunmetal plastic on either side - the robot mode elbows sections. While the sides have gunmetal patches overlapping, these gunmetal pieces are matte and so they stay out against the sheen of the maroon plastic. Overall he still looks good, but the Gunmetal outbursts do detract... and the Decepticon logo should have been aligned properly.
Play value is about what you'd expect of a Combiner Wars car - the wheels turn and there are attachment points for his weaponry. Dead End comes with a purple hand/foot piece that is meant to double as a gun when he's not combined and as usual, it doesn't look very good attached to this car mode. The other weapon he gets is a silver club-like affair which looks like a muffler. It can attach to holes behind the front tyres or onto a hole on his roof... it works best on either side, but it doesn't look like any sort of weapon. I don't so much mind, as he's well sculpted with a lovely sheen; but the accessories do fall flat here.
Despite some flaws, this is still a decent sports car mode. It's attractive and is very much Dead End & those are enough to overcome those outbursts on his sides and accessories that don't really do anything worthwhile in vehicle mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unclip the undersides of the rear, fold out. Swing the back end over to form the boots; separate his boots and fold the undersides back in to form his shins. Press down on the centre of his roof to lift up the windshield and fold back. Unclip the front and pivot down to form his backpack. Fold down the chest plate, pivot up his arms, swing the fists out from within his forearms. Rotate the waist, give him his muffler-club and you're done.
The joint that allows the windshield the windshield to lift out - well more correctly the panel on the roof that you have to press down - can require excessive force to transform from car to robot. It varies from toy to toy. My Dead End will happily transform, but it feels SCARY trying to get the windshield out on my Wildrider, and there are some stress marks on that you from the force I've had to apply (luckily they're only visible if you go looking for them).
Height: 14cm Width: ~8cm (depending on pose)
A maroon and gunmetal robot, Dead End has maroon forearms, shoulders, chest and boots while his hands, elbows, head & thighs are gunmetal. His groin and kneecaps are grey. There's some splashes of that bronze on his ankles and forearms - his mouth plate his also Bronze while his eyestrip is purple. There's a small Decepticon logo on his chest. The colour scheme broadly matches the Cartoon colours of Dead End (less so the toy, which had black rather than grey), but I'm not sue I understand why his chest is maroon when the cartoon was white and the toy silver. It _looks_ good, it just matches neither. The face is very much cartoon Dead End - so this robot is clearly G1 Dead End, thankfully. While the chest colour may be a departure from the expected, it's quite detailed & so this is a rather attractive robot mode.
Poseability is fairly standard for Combiner Wars. Ball joints in the neck, shoulders and hips - the neck joint is somewhat hindered by a transformation joint behind it but still useful. His elbows and knees have hinges and rotators. The feet are fixed in that slightly-spread pose. His ankles and wrists don't move but he gets a waist joint as part of his transformation. The muffler-club weapon can be wielded here and it works well enough as a melee weapon, but a gun (aside from the ridiculous hand/foot piece option) would have been nice. I'm not too critical of the choice of a melee weapon - they were trying for some variation and it works well enough - it's just that a ranged weapon would have been useful. On the other hand, Dead End's already convinced he's going to die, yes? So what does it matter? (8
A good robot mode despite a significant departure from his G1 chest colours. It's clearly Dead End and this is an attractive robot mode with decent poseability and a face that's very much Dead End as seen in the cartoon.
The Unite Warriors version has a different paint job, it's noticeably more G1-cartoon-accurate - it even lacks the racing stripe. There was also a G2 version - only sold in a giftset. He combines with the other Stunticons to form Menasor.
There are quite a few retools of this mould (Dead End came first) - Brake-Neck (aka Wildrider) is closest sculpt wise (and also has a G2 version). More significant retools include Streetwise, Prowl, Smokescreen, Dust Up, Lightspeed, Unit-3 (BotCon 2016), Bluestreak & Flowspade.
Two attractive modes, good colours which work both visually and to make this toy Dead End and useful poseability make this a good toy. Dead End's not without his flaws - the gunmetal outbursts on his car mode are the biggest of those on mine - but it's not enough to really hurt the toy overall. Probably the most interesting character amongst the Stunticons... and this is very much a toy that does him justice. The elephant in the room though is that windshield joint if the tolerance is off - 8/10