Thursday, 19 June 2014

Generations Legends Skrapnel & Reflector

Generations Legends Skrapnel & Reflector

You'll probably be surprised to learn that this toy is the first proper reinterpretation of the Insecticon Shrapnel, which seems odd for a toy that was released 29 years ago and was a part of the earliest years of Transformers toy and media line! His colleagues both have newer versions: Bombshell became a European Actionmaster while Kickback featured in Fall of Cybertron. There were a few insects in Beast Wars, notably Waspinator who became the go to character for an insect, plus one in Energon and Prime: Beast Hunters but apart from that it's been a seldom used alt mode type till the 30th Generations line which has five so far .... OK two of those are Waspinator but....

Skrapnel looks pretty good in robot mode straight out the packet but lets concentrate on his insect mode first. Close the mandibles behind his head. Fold the chest upwards so his head is covered. Fold the feet down. Fold the sides of the legs onto the front of the legs. Peg the legs together. Fold the waist back 90 degrees. Turn the legs at the hips so they face forward and then bend the knees. There's a tab on the back of the combined lower legs which fits into the hole on the now exposed top of the waist. The back of the robot is now the bottom of the insect so lay it on it's back. Fold the pairs of insect legs out to the sides. They won't feel like they can fold that far but the base of the legs needs to be parallel in relation to the surface it's on: excessive force may be required the first few times but you'll get a nice satisfying click when they lock. Fold the arms under the toy, bending them slightly, and peg onto the underside of the toy.

Essentially Skrapnel's insect mode is his G1 robotic stag beetle but with better inset legs: job done. Actually there's a nice nod to the very poor legs on the original toy here: each heal has a wheel moulded into it., Due to the size there's not much in the way of poseability here: the mandibles move out to the sides and that's it. The toy's pose in beast mode is on a slant front to back with the front slightly elevated. On the top of the toy is a single 5mm peg hole that can be used to mount Skrapnel's companion.

Whereas Skrapnel has his origins as a Waruder in the Diaclone toyline (he was Kuwagatorer) his companion comes from the other side of the fence: he was originally a Microchange toy. Skrapnel's companion is named Reflector which was originally the name of the combined camera mode of Spectro, Spyglass and Viewfinder. The cartoon and toy designs for these characters differ, and indeed in the cartoon they look very similar, but the presence of a camera lense on his chest suggests he's based on Viewfinder with the colours being close to what was used in the animation. Reflector's articulation is a little limited but his arm do swing up from his sides.

His alternate mode is the combined camera mode of the original Reflector with a MASSIVE telephoto lense: Lay his robot mode on his front with the arms folded down to act as handles for Skrapnel or another toy to hold. Alternately turn Reflector the other way up and use the fold out 5mm peg for Skrapnel to hold him... but it does look more like a canon than a camera this way up.

But we're not done yet: Reflector has a proper weapons mode: from the upside down camera mode fold the camera lense down which will cause the spring loaded front of the robot mode to fold forwards forming a gun to peg into the insect mode or be hand held by Skrapnel. The gun itself is a very similar shape to the Shrapnel's original grenade launcher .

Reflector's a nice package: a character that's not been done before, ok robot (for the size), good alt mode and clever weapons mode. One of the better companions in the Legends line.

To transform back to robot mode unpeg the back of the insect and stretch out to form the legs. Separate and move the top of the back out to the sides. Fold the feet up. Unpeg the arms and fold out to the sides. Fold the rear legs back behind the toy. Fold the chest down, revealing the head, and fold the mandibles out to the sides.

They best way to describe the robot mode is to say "Just like the original, but with more articulation". He's got ball joints at his knees, hips, elbows & shoulders, plus the bending ankle used in the transformation and, unlike his case mate Tailgate, a head that can turn. I've found it hard to get a grip on the head so have ended up turning it by slipping a screw driver into one of the moulding holes on the back. The head matches the original in that both the face and the visor are silver: it's a bit hard to distinguish them so I think some red on the visor to make it match the cartoon version wouldn't go amiss here, but that's an easy change to make if you've got a steady hand. The arms, previously formed from the original Shrapnel's impersonation of insect legs, now have an insect leg hanging off each of them with both rear pairs of legs folded behind the toy. The chest hatch was previously clear and could open to accommodate a Diaclone driver. Now it's just a yellow paint application on the black body.

Verdict: Accurate articulated Shrapnel makes for a good toy, with Reflector being the icing on the cake. It's probably in the cold light of day a better package than Swerve but there's something that's just soooo good about Swerve that he's still my favourite toy this year.

Possible Repaints

The easiest thing to do here would be to paint Shrapnel various shades of green and release him as Beast Wars Insecticon. But if you removed the mandibles and remoulded the chest & head he could make a decent Bombshell: Swap the black and purple colours on Skrapnel and you're most of the way there. Then have Bombshell's antennae formed from his gun that plugs into a peg hole on the under side of the chest armour and can be mounted behind his head.

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