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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Blackjack's review: Dead End / Detour

Name: Dead End
Preliminary/UK Alternate Name: Detour
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Warrior
Sub Group: ROTF Scout Class

This toy had always been on my 'have-to-get' list. When it was announced that Scout class toys would be making a big comeback in RotF, I was so very happy. The first few rumoured toys--Ransack, notably--really impressed me. But above all, Dead End/Detour (name was unconfirmed at that time) caught my attention. The reason being that both Dead End and Detour are two of my all-time favourites.

While the final name for this toy is Dead End, some packaging in UK have the name 'Detour' on them. Or so says TFWiki.

Movieverse Dead End has a very huge identity crisis. Firstly, there are three toys that all referred to as Dead End, but none of them look anything like each other. Worse, their origins conflict. The first is the Walmart-exclusive, Road Hugger-homaging repaint Jolt. Yeah, not exactly Dead End. But the comic Transformers: Defiance refer to the Jolt toy as Dead End, to avoid confusion with the upcoming Autobot Jolt. This Dead End was killed. The second Dead End toy is this one, and his profile describes him as a completely different character, nothing like G1 Dead End (or G1 Detour). Instead, he's a silent, animal-like vampiric thing, which is a Ratbat/Bomb-Burst homage I guess. This Dead End was killed in the novel the Veiled Threat. Another toy in deluxe class, a repaint of Sideways, is also named Dead End. Who knows where he'll be killed. Either these three Dead Ends are the same character or different ones are up to debate.

Hey, the name of Dead End brings bad juju.

Before I go into the review, it's history time again. The name Dead End was first used for one of the Stunticons, who turned into a Porsche 928. This Dead End is sullen and fatalistic, and is always 'we're doomed'. Maybe he's related to Rattrap. He got an alternators toy as well. The second Dead End, a Beast Wars Neo Predacon, is a Japanese exclusive mold. An ammonite. Um. The third Dead End is the Minicon/minion of Unicron in the Unicron trilogy. There are lots of him. Then there's this guy (guys?) in the Movieverse.

ROBOT MODE

Dead End is packaged in robot mode, so I'll start here. The robot mode is very unique. His limbs are slim and he looks very agile. According to his bio, he creeps around on all fours. Excellent articulation allows this to happen, and I must admit, it looks pretty damn cool. His clawed hand is what impressed me the most. Unlike the lame generic molded fists that Dirt Boss has, or worse, 2007's Barricade, Dead End has badass-looking individual claws. Sure, they are stationary, but the hand can move by way of a ball joint.

Speaking of poseability, let's go to that part. Dead End has shoulder joints, elbow joints, arm joints, hip joints and knee joints. And his high-heeled ankle can bend a bit, and his head can move up and down. Not bad for a Scout class toy.

The main colour is red and black, with brown for the head and joints, while silver and orange detail some of the internal mechanisms. A large, black Decepticon insignia sits proudly on Dead End's chest. Dead End has high heels. Why he needs those is anybody's guess, but it does give him support in poses.

Dead End drains fuels from his fellow Decepticons, a la G1 Ratbat. So he's a Stunticon Vampire. It's fitting that he has a unique head sculpt. Sitting proudly atop his nicely-sculpted chest, at first glance Dead End's head seems to be a triangular-shaped thing with two beady red eyes. Looks a bit like G1 Finback's outer shell. Try and lift he head up, though, and you will see a lower jaw molded in. So Dead End has a cleverly hidden mouth! Sneaky vampire.

The sculpted details in robot mode are amazing, and puts some of the larger toys from the 2007 line to shame. There are faux hydraulics in the lower hands, molded details, that gorgeously painted chest...

Overall, a solid robot mode, the designers placed a lot of thought into this toy, and it's a toy-only generic that's killed off in the supporting material (i.e. Novel). Revenge of the Fallen starts looking better and better for me.

VEHICLE MODE

I have no idea what on Earth this is supposed to be. Obviously it's a car, and obviously it is based on G1 Detour's alternate mode (hence the other name). Detour, one of the first Decepticon Micromasters, has been one of my favourites, mostly due to his cool alternate mode. But it has never been realistic. Dead End reinvents Detour's alternate mode, giving it realistic touches that makes me believe there might actually be such a car in the making. There might be, for all I know.

The transformation includes an automorph-esque trick. When you pull down Detour's back/bubble canopy, the chest section is pulled up. In no way this interferes with play value or poseability. A nice afterthought, unlike some earlier movie figures (Ironhide, I'm looking at you).

Regrettably, the 'bubble canopy' needs some shoving for it to latch onto the hood and doors, but it gets easier after the first few transformations. Red and black are the dominant colours, while orangy-brown detailing is present in the wheels (which are given a spinning flame motif), and silvery blue in the headlights. Silver painting is present in the nicely-sculpted internal engine on the back of the car.

On either side of the rear there are two 'lights'. On closer inspection, these are actually the pins used for the joints. An impressive way of utilizing them, by incorporating them into the design. Simply marvelous.

In case you were wondering, there is some sort of them new-fangled 'Cybertronian tribal marking', namely on the doors/arm guards. But these are done to resemble custom-faded flame motif, so it doesn't ruin the vehicle mode's aesthetics.

This looks to be a promising start to the ROTF line. Even better than the first Movie toys.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Durability- 9/10 the claw joints may get loose, and there's the usual problem with ball joints. Other than that, it's as solid as any Scout-class figure. Being compact helps.
Transformation- 6/10 I must admit that the transformation is pretty hard the first time round. Subsequently it becomes easier.
Fun- 10/10 No gun, sure. But this time I'll make an exception. Stunticon reference? Check. Sports Car Patrol reference? Check. Claws? Check. Poseability? Check. Vampiric bio? Check.
Price- 8/10 It doesn't come too cheap, so I was actually wishing for a weapon of sorts. Worth it, though.
Overall- 10/10 Legends and Scout class are the best classes, in my opinion. Cheap, compact and, if properly executed (like this toy), simply fantastic. Dead End has it all. A G1 name, a few G1 references (Detour's alt mode, Dead End's paint job and Ratbat's personality), excellent poseability and those cool claws. Recommended. Between him and the leaked concept arts, ROTF really looks like it's going to be a good line.
 
 
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