Friday, 21 March 2014

Fall of Cybertron Kickback

Series: Transformers Generations

Year: 2012
Company: Hasbro


Typically, my Transformers preferences lean toward vehicles. Imaginary or “realistic”, it doesn’t matter. I’m more ambivalent to Transformers that change into animals (except dinosaurs) and insects. But every now and then one will catch my eye. Kickback is one such character – his bot mode looks incredibly cool, and his alt mode isn’t too shabby either. Best of all, he is purple – though I don’t much care for the colour in real life, it always looks particularly cool on Decepticons.

My local Target was clearing out Generations figures for $16 each – presumably due to the new movie on the way – so after having my eye on Kickback for some months, it was time to pull the trigger on the purchase. Is he a fitting addition to my growing Transformers collection? Read on to see.

Even in bot mode, Kickback looks quite insect-like. His long, stalky limbs and his clawed hands make him look less humanoid than many Transformers, which I feel is a good thing. They’re robots after all – they don’t need to have “human” features at all, in theory. On the negative side, he has a light-piped “eye”, but it seems to have been painted over, blocking the effect. Still, he’s an excellent looking robot.

His alt mode -- a Cybertronian Insect  that looks a lot like a grasshopper -- by comparison, is okay but not great. I feel it looks better on the box than in real life. His arms join together to create the “tail” of the insect, and the join on mine is a little fragile. So it’s quite easy to pop it open, rendering you with a dismembered-looking bug.   
Articulation-wise on the main body, we’re looking at:

*ball-jointed head
*swivel-hinged shoulders

*ball-jointed elbows
*cut wrists

*ball-jointed hips
*swivel thighs

*hinged knees
*ball jointed ankles

The arms on his back have two joints as well – a balljoint where they connect to the back and a hinge in their middle.
The transformation process is one of the most convoluted I’ve seen. The first time I attempted it, I raced ahead a little, got a couple of steps wrong in subtle ways, and the whole thing just looked a little off as a result. But I gave it another try, and fortunately it worked properly then (though I did pop off a balljointed leg in the process). The instructions are in that horrible black, white and purple colour scheme again, making things needlessly difficult. They need to either include words and/or use properly coloured illustrations/photos.

One of my co-workers commented that he thought Kickback looked a bit fragile, and though I argued the point at the time, I’m now inclined to agree. I would be hesitant giving this to a kid for rough play – but hey, how many kids are actually buying this particular Transformers series?

The paint on Kickback is probably the best I’ve seen of the three Generations figures I’ve picked up. Most of him is moulded in the appropriate colours, but the areas with paint are quite clean and neat. The others were all a bit sloppy and fuzzy at the edges, but there’s a lot less of that here.

Kickback comes with a disc-shooter. Despite the stern warning on the back to not aim it at people’s eyes (as there should be), it seems to only shoot a couple of centimetres. It’s an okay gun, but it’s far too big and makes him overbalance unless you’re careful. So I’ll probably display him without it most of the time. 

As I’ve said in my previous two Transformers: Generations reviews, Hasbro has stumbled onto a good thing with these toys – and this time, the price was definitely right! If they were $16 all the time I’d probably buy the whole range. Though of course, that’s wishful thinking.

I’m still looking to pick up a Skywarp (another purple Decepticon!) and Scoop, though time will tell whether we actually see that wave get released in Australia. With these ones on clearance at Target, and some of them having been round for quite a while, I’m nursing some doubts about it. But hope springs eternal.

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