Transformers Trailbreaker
Transformers Trailbreaker
Transformers Trailbreaker
Transformers Trailbreaker

Much like Hound poor Trailbreaker seemed set for franchise stardom in the early days, getting to drive Spike around a bit in the opening episodes as well as giving a facetious explanation of how Transformers, uh, transform (answer: by transforming). Sadly, Bumblebee landed the Spike-driving job full-time, hardly ever letting anyone else have a go. Trailbreaker did have an ace up his Cyber-sleeve, though - Marvel's early, more imaginative character profiles granted him a forcefield and thus even as the show moved onto its' second series, Trailbreaker was still occasionally among the totally random half-dozen Autobots chosen to leave the Ark on various missions. Whenever he was chosen, it just happened to on days when the Autobots needed to use a forcefield, which was nice. He lost the forcefield gig to Defensor, though - well, when Defensor remembered he had one anyway. Trailbreaker had little luck in the Marvel comic either, his most memorable moment probably being when he turned up to help out Jazz's team in "Man of Iron" only to promptly be blown to bits by one of the Decepticon jets.

He's done a bit better of late, being one of the few things Pat Lee ever did right due to a sparkling cameo in Dreamwave's first G1 comic mini-series (Yeh, right, like poor patsy Chris Sarracini had much to do with the actual script) and also getting to save the day in one of the few things IDW ever got right, Spotlight: Kup. So he's sort of become a pinprick of light in the recent cesspit of Transformers comics. No, hang on a minute, he was involved in that stupid Spark-merging bit of 3H's Universe comic, wasn't he? That's that idea knackered, then. Takara released him in the Encore series anyway, as one of the first figures in the series people actually wanted.


I'm generally not mad on 4x4s - they're big, ugly, malformed things. However, Trailbreaker's actually quite a pleasing shape... I've not bothered doing any research, but to the naked eye it looks a little super-deformed. Not in a bad way, they just seem to have cheated in a couple of areas to give the thing a thin, tall appearance that really works. I especially like the wheels in proportion - they're chunky without being oversized.

The colour scheme is killer too, black broken up by blue tinted windows and a subtle but sharp stripe pattern. The only real problem is construction. Most of the inevitable join lines are well placed - along the front of the doors, the underside of the windscreen, around the box on the back and the boot door. However, the side windows are a bit of a mess, with their mixture of transparent plastic and opaque stickers. It's also a bit of a shame the black isn't entirely rendered in the same rich gloss as the diecast bonnet. To be fair, the plastic isn't bad and there have been worse jobs done at Takara in terms of tone matching, but it just would have been nice if all of Trailbreaker was that glossy.


Trailbreaker is blessed with a nice transformation, one that hasn't really passed into Takara's pool of templates and is thus still relatively fresh. It's trouble-free, and quite how you get so many people puling either the head or the rear box off is beyond me. The trickiest bit, and this might be exclusive to the Encore (or, knowing my luck in such matters, exclusive to my Encore) is popping the large round silver cannon into their storage position on the back. You're left with a robot mode that's portly and a little lumbering without being grotesque - in short, a robot with some character and individuality.

The colour scheme works nicely, though Takara have managed to make a wet-brained modification for the reissue - the original figure's visor was red, which fitted the scheme nicely. Now it's blue, like it was on the telly - which is a sensible addition, as the red visor was the only thing stopping the Trailbreaker toy from looking 100% like the animation model. Idiots. The figure, as per usual for the range, has some nifty arm articulation, and that's about it. He has rotating shoulders and bending elbows, but the former are of minimal sure, gravity generally just making them hang there. The figure is armed to the teeth as well - there's a triple-barrelled thing behind his head (which I think becomes the forcefield generator in Transformers parlance), while the wrist sockets can mount either the big chromed cannon or smaller twin-barrel weapons. Or fists - these actually have a nasty hollow palm, which is a shame. He's something of a bruiser, in all, but not in a bad way.


Like Wheeljack, Trailbreaker goes some way towards making up for his lack of elegance through an individual design ethos. Both modes look very nice due to a thoughtful colour scheme, and production values are high - there are more accessories than he can carry in robot mode, lots of chrome and a general solid feel. Highly recommended for a bit of harmless retro Transformers fun, as the Encore seems to be reasonably priced (albeit not as cheap as the 'please, take us!' prices that fellow reissues Jazz and the Amazing Onebox Brothers seem to be fetching).