Name: Brakedown GTS
Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Dragster
Height: 4cm Length: 12cm Width: 6cm
A teal dragster and light grey dragster with black tyres, Brakedown has some red paint highlights and a cobalt blue engine block. He's a repaint of Brakedown (the non GTS version), and while the name is very uninspiring, the colour scheme is pretty cool. Unlike most Speed Planet toys, Brakedown has solid tyres. This is a good thing - transparent plastic against teal would have looked awful. I actually prefer these colours to those of the original, but then there's a Kup tribute here, which helps.
As is the case with dragsters, the front is quite small and the large big and bulky, and the tyres fit this theme. The front tyres are a single piece, which rolls on an axle and is enclosed by the airdam. There's a cockpit in the middle of the car and an engine block just behind the front wheels - along with another tucked away at the back (which is really for the robot mode). There's also a tiny Autobot logo stamped on the back, which is again really for the robot mode.
The engine block at the front doubles as his weapon - and while you can't access the slot, the key gimmick can be left activated in this mode. Basically there's a scimitar that can fold out and protrude from the front of the car - it's not terribly impressive, or logical, but it's a weapon. On mine, this is a little harder to activate without the key compared to my original - which is kind of annoying, since I'd rather not have to remove the thing to plug in the key. Of course accidental activation is less likely - and that's the whole point of this change. The wheels spin fairly wheel, and the front axle seems to work better than on the original - although that may just be mine.
The colours make for a nice - if passing homage to Kup, and are better than those of the original. The paint mask differs, although I wouldn't say it's any better or worse this time. The solid colour of his tyres doesn't quite fit into the Cybertron line, which might bother you (it doesn't bother me). The two engine blocks and a front section that's awfully broken up hold back this car, and while this is an improvement over the original, it's reasonable but nothing special.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Slip out the engine block and set aside. Lift up the rear fenders, swing the legs out from underneath, fold the front of the car up underneath the toy (onto his back). Rotate the shoulders up, position his arms and turn his head around. Flip up the feet and give Brakedown his weapon.
Height: 12cm Width: 6cm
There's a lot more cobalt blue here, on his boots and torso. The thighs and forearms are grey while his arms are teal and his head silver. Brakedown bears a much stronger resemblance to Kup now, thanks to the blue-green pairing. The large black rear tyres sit on his shoulders and his face is painted grey blue a beardlike chin and red eyes. With no transparent plastic around, this figure no longer has the lightpipe of the original version.
Brakedown sports the small Autobot logo on his chest, below to either side are the pipes from the fake engine block that was on the back of the car. I really like this effect, but I'm not so sure I like the tiny Autobot logo - it's something Hasbro added to the mould, and while it's well centred the size doesn't really work.
As much as the car mode was disjointed, this robot looks really good. The head is detailed and the beard works well, the legs and torso are very well proportioned and the arms work very well despite Brakedown having very short forearms. The huge tyres on his shoulders actually look good and the legs look very natural. The airdam sticks up about 3cm (just over an inch) behind his head and it's one of the most obvious pieces of vehicle kibble I've seen in quite a while, but since it doesn't impact on stability I don't mind so much. The rest of the robot works well, and the airdam isn't enough to spoil things. The facial sculpt fits the Kup homage quite well - and since this character is meant to be an old-timer, the homage is a fairly obvious choice.
The red Planet Key (code: s9k1) fits into the back of his handheld weapon, and there's not much point in leaving the weapon folded up - it's simply an engineblock without the blade. It's a somewhat awkward weapon, mind you - it looks like a bayonet without the gun part, since this sword is held like a rifle. You can't really leave it stowed, either, since you need to remove the engineblock to fold up the airdam. The gun works best with the key set aside - otherwise Brakedown can't bend his arm. With nowhere else for the key to go, this is pretty annoying.
Poseability is pretty good here - the head rotates while the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips are ball jointed. The ankles are hinged with heelspurs, and the end result is a pretty poseable robot mode, and one that looks good in most poses. So while the weapon and key gimmick are underwhelming, at least Brakedown's articulation is a success.
Despite the crappy weapon and airdam on his back, Brakedown's robot mode is actually pretty good with some great design elements such as the engine details on his waist. I _really_ get the feeling he was designed around this mode, since it's his better mode by a long way. The colour scheme does a nice tribute, and while the robot mode of the original has a slightly more unified look, the homage makes me prefer this version slightly.
As mentioned, this is a repaint of the original Brakedown toy. While the homage is cool the lack of creativity in the name is disappointing.
A good robot mode with some minor issues and a good colour scheme are enough to save Brakedown from his mediocre dragster mode and poor key gimmick. As lame as the key gimmick is, G1 fans should appreciate the Kup tribute - Kup is one of the most prominent G1 character to have not been revisited in later years, so in a way this toy is long overdue. The transformation is fairly unusual but the resulting dragster mode is a loss. I'm not sure I'd recommend this figure if you have the original, unless the tribute really inspires you - 6.5/10