Saturday, 24 December 2016

Generations Titans Return Kickback

Generations Titans Return Kickback

Since Shrapnel, Bombshell & Kickback first appeared together as the Insecticons in 1985 we've never had all three remade. We had characters called Insecticon in Beast Wars, Energon & Hunt for the Decepticons. Bombshell appeared as an Action Master and Kickback as Fall of Cybertron deluxe but both were missing their colleagues. So when Shrapnel (Skrapnel) was released in the Generations Thrilling 30 line in 2014 as a Legends size figure which worked really well and suited his size hopes were high that all three could be done in this scale. Legends Bombshell followed in Combiner Wars in early 2015 but we've had to wait another 2 years to complete the line up with Kickback who was revealed at Cybertron Con 2016.

There slight variations in tones of colour between Skrapnel & Bombshell, notably the yellow/orange used for their chest panel. Kickback continues the trend by being different again: he has clear yellow plastic for his chest, just like the original, which also makes up his wings which have moved from being mounted between body & arms to the tops of his arms. Kickback's arms were previously formed from his legs. Now his legs hang off the arms, which will form his tail. But his legs, chest and head do a pretty good imitation of the original. Shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are on ball joints making him easy to get decent poses out of. The head turns and looks up, excessive articulation for a Legend but it's used in the transformation. Wings are attached to the arms by a ball joint and are hinged at their base too.

The wings bother me. A lot. They were a weak point on the original, being long and thin. They've tried to compensate here by improving the articulation. Where previously they could only move backwards and forwards they now move round as well thanks to the ball joint. But they're still long & thin and to add top that they're made of clear plastic which is notoriously fragile when use in situations like this. I think we'll see some more broken Kickbacks in years to come. The antennae on the head both me too. They're made of thin rubbery plastic and look like they should rotate at the sides of the head but don't. Another area of potential breakage in the future.

Transformation: the the head to fold back 90° and then rotate 180°. Fold the insect head up off the robot's back to cover the head with the antennae sticking out. Unfold the rear inset legs from the back of the lower legs. Raise the arms straight up then fold the shoulders away from the body and down so the arms are behind the toy. Tab the lower arms together to form the tail and tab that into the robots waist. Fold the legs out to the sides and swing the wings back.

The tail is a nightmare. The arms do not want to tab together and then don't want to tab into the waist. I've managed it twice now so I know it can be done but it's not easy. I opened this toy the same afternoon as Voyager Optimus Prime so neither toy made for a particularly fun experience!

When you get it into insect mode it's pretty much what you'd expect from a new version of Kickback, with the caveat for the now clear wings. Although the articulation in the rear legs is still there, the joints are effectively useless due to needing to keep the legs in the correct position. No articulation is provided by the front legs so all you're left with is the wings which turn on their ball joints and flap back & forth on a hinge at their base.

The clear plastic chest panel opens up to provide a space for a Titanmaster to sit, held firmly in place by two foot pegs. However, unlike the original with a Diaclone pilot, it's impossible to close the hatch on the Titanmaster enclosing it.

Obviously I'm pleased Kickback's been done but the frustration of the arm/tail transformation, the static insect and worries about the wings durability have detracted from my enjoyment of the finished product.

Kickback was released in Titans Return Legends Wave 3 where he was 2 per case, making him slightly harder to find than Gnaw & Bumblebee who were packed at 3 per case.

Future Repaints

Skrapnel was released in his Diaclone colour as a Botcon Exclusive Zaptrap so a Shothole exclusive repaint isn't beyond the grounds of possibility even though Bombshell hasn't yet been done as Salvo.

Since Skrapnell was remoulded as Chopshop, in my opinion not remoulded enough as I'd have given him new mandibles, I could see Kickback being redone as the vaguely similar deluxe Insecticon Ransack.

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