View Full Version : Generations Shrapnel w/ Reflector [uploaded]

2014-07-28, 04:24 PM
Name: Skrapnel Shrapnel & Reflector
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Legends Class

I have been a big Insecticon fan for years. Granted, the little buggers hardly do anything in fiction, but thanks to playing Shrapnel for overÖ uh, six years in the siteís old RPG you can safely say that he has grown on me. The Insecticons themselves are generally never really defined character-wise. The cartoon portray them more as a group of mercenaries with a chronic backstabbing disorder that happen to command a massive army and a series of rather awesome superpowers. Shrapnel can summon and control lightning bolts and shoot shrapnel grenades, Bombshell has these cerebro-shells that can control peopleís mind and KickbackÖ can kick stuff. Well, his bio paints him as this guy who acts as your friend but is really only being all buddy-buddy to get blackmail on you, but apparently no one cares about that. Shrapnel is further defined in the cartoon by repeating every last word he says, and a speech impediment is like characterization in the cartoon, cartoon. His toy bio also notes that his screams are really loud and deafening, though those havenít been shown anywhere in fiction, fiction.

The comics had Shrapnel be Straxusí personal whipping boy, which is the only scene featuring the Insecticons that really stood out to me. They had some other appearances elsewhere and had some major roles in the Earthforce and Dreamwave and IDW comics but none of them really had them doing all that much other than being a bunch of semi-powerful Decepticons.

Still, I love Shrapnel the dumb thug and his two buddies, and I have been almost obsessively tracking their original toys or a reissue down for years. I ended up getting loose samples of the TRU reissue, minus stickers (which in my opinion actually makes them look better), and I was simply overjoyed. The original Insecticons, other than being personal favourites, are really good toys for Generation Oneís standards.

Come 2014, and as I was browsing the internet looking for toy news, I stumbled upon pictures of the all-new Legends class toys set for release this year. This was after the two-packs featuring mainstays Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee and Starscream are clogging up the shelves, and while other people are flipping out over new MTMTE-based versions of Swerve and Tailgate, I believe I am the only one that had my mind blown away by a new Shrapnel.

(Well, Skrapnel thanks to trademark reasons Ė but Iím not typing that)

Shrapnel comes packaged with Reflector, which is basically the trio of Decepticon camera dudes from season one kind of acted like generics. Reflector never saw release in retail until 1986, where he was a mail-away exclusive, and has kind of been ignored by both Hasbro Ė a rumoured planned retool of 2010ís Perceptor never materialized Ė and even the modern G1 reboots only made a half-hearted attempt to have them cameo in some of their stories. Reflector is another one I rather enjoyed, again, thanks to the siteís old RPG, so having him come with Shrapnel is a rather nice bonus.

Anyway, with the first two waves clogging up every single store I tried to go to, it is extremely disheartening since all the Legends class toys I really wanted came from the latter waves. I really, really wanted a Shrapnel, and after a grueling and exhausting search I finally stumbled upon one. One single Shrapnel upon like a dozen Tailgates. Iím not sure if he was shortpacked, but Iím betting that skinny kid who walked away from the store with three Shrapnels in tow might have something to do with it.

I didnít really expect much from the new Shrapnel other than, yíknow, the old one, but with a better insect mode and elbows and knees. But it is absolutely nice to be able to track him down and have him hanging out with the older Insecticon team on my desk.

Beast Mode:
Shrapnel transforms into a robotic stag beetle. And compared to the original Shrapnel toy, it becomes painfully obvious how dated the old Shrapnelís beetle mode. I mean, I love G1 Shrapnelís inherent boxiness and how his insect mode is basically him lying flat, with his antenna covering his robot face, and a bunch of sticks with wheels pretending to be robotic insect legs. Generations Shrapnel? Well, Generations Shrapnel is a real, honest-to-goodness robotic insect. Itís got jointed legs, itís got angled stag beetle horns, itís got a clearly defined abdomen slightly raised away from where the legs are joined to the thoraxÖ the only real thing missing is an actual beetle head -- insects are supposed to have three distinct parts of their body, and while the abdomen (that big bug-butt) and thorax (the place where the legs meet the body) are evident, Shrapnel's head section is kind of missing. The toy just goes from thorax to antenna. Still, though, it's a minor niggle and it wonít exactly be a proper homage if Shrapnel suddenly sprouted a realistic beetle head. Heís got what passes as fangs on the inner side of the base of his stag beetle horns, though, so I guess that counts for something?

But seriously, Shrapnelís beetle mode impressed me back when I was just looking at pictures, and it impressed me even more in the flesh. Shrapnel is mainly black and purple, with yellow highlights all over his body. Thereís a Decepticon insignia no the center of the yellow bit on his chest. I always thought that the yellow bit on Shrapnelís chest takes up proportionally too much space compared to the traditional Shrapnel, but thatís a problem I am happy to overlook in this mode. Mine appears to be slightly sloppily painted on, though Iím not sure if I just got a dud Shrapnel or if itís a common problem. The yellow paint on his insect abdomen/robot legs, though? Itís kind of washed out, though Iím not sure if itís intentional or not considering that the yellow parts seem to resemble exhaust vents, and it might be a deliberate to make Shrapnel more battle-worn? In any case the original Shrapnel toy doesnít have any details on the abdomen beyond a single rubsign on the original toy, so the extra yellow actually goes a great deal at making him look more Insecticon-like now that his legs are all purple.

Generations Shrapnel takes on a lot of design cues from the original toy, and it surprised me just how much the new toy homages the old one considering that deluxe class Kickback doesnít really resemble G1 Kickback all that much beyond the head-antennae. First up, other than the yellow moving from G1 Shrapnelís bad legs to colour part of his abdomen, the colour layout is practically identical. The general shape? Also identical Ė right down to the location of the purple bit that could once be opened to put in a pilot. Generations Shrapnel even went so far as to include Shrapnelís purple boots pointing straight out from his abdomen with jet booster detailings on them. The shape of the horns? Generations Shrapnel adds a little more three-dimensional curves to make it look more like something an organic beetle would have (which is awesome) but itís nearly identical right down to the little groove inwards around halfway through, and the two cannons on the tip. Generations Shrapnel even has moulded wheel-detailings on the tip of his insectoid legs to homage the original! Shame about the different shade of yellow, though -- the new Shrapnel's yellow is just so light.

Shrapnel is mostly a static bug, though. He can open and close his pincers, but his jointed legs are all static. They hold on his weight pretty well, keeping his main body off the ground, though. I donít have much of a problem with the bug legs being unarticulated Ė I would take stability over posability any day. And besides, considering the disaster that was ROTF Scalpel and his extremely fragile bug legs, I am sorta happy they didnít go that route. Heís got a 5mm peg on the junction between his thorax and abdomen, where you can plug in Reflector if you have the desire to totally ruin what is so far an awesome robot insect.

Overall? I am ridiculously happy with this insect mode. I may be biased being that I am a massive Shrapnel fan, but it is still a pretty majestic-looking stag beetle. It looks like a real stag beetle, but still retains that kooky 80ís sci-fi Japanese insect mecha feel that the original Shrapnel has.

Robot Mode:
Again, Generations Shrapnel homages the original toy to even minute details like the little nubs on his chest. Shrapnelís transformation is quick, simple, and produces an extremely satisfying robot mode. Itís basically G1 Shrapnel given better proportions, more realistic insect kibble and a lot of ball joints and the result is just phenomenal. The Insecticons are some of the best-looking little toys from Generation One, and Generations Shrapnel updates that look perfectly. There are two probelms I was worried about when pictures of Shrapnel first hit the internet Ė the first being that his head is a bit small relative to his body, and the second being that the yellow portion of his chest takes up too much space. The first problem isnít so bad in the flesh, and I personally got used to it relatively quickly. Might be an optical illusion caused by the large yellow portion of the chest. Speaking of which, I wished they hadn't painted so much of Shrapnel's chest yellowÖ or used a slightly more orange shade of yellow, but while it's distracting itís not a deal-breaker.

Like the original Shrapnel toy, the positioning of insect kibble is almost identical. The stag beetle horns split apart to reveal his head, his arms have circular shoulders and have a pair of legs jutting out of them, the rest of the legs jumble up on his back, and the abdomen extends, splits and forms the legs. Generations Shrapnel updates that transformation with a couple extra steps, of course, but the essence of the character is still there. Itís just a beautiful figure all around that captures Shrapnelís silhouette perfectly. It would be ideal for his horns to be painted silver to make them stand out even more, and I still think the head is a little too small, but otherwise? Itís Shrapnel and I love him.

Articulation wise Shrapnel has it in spades. It's rather difficult to turn the head thanks to the massive horns on his shoulders, though. His shoulders and elbows are both double-jointed, and both the thighs and knees are ball jointed as well. The ankles can waggle. Rather embarrassingly Generations Shrapnel loses out to a thirty-year-old toy by not having a waist joint. Thatís right, people Ė G1 Shrapnel, whoís the same size as Generations Shrapnel, has a waist joint! Itís no big loss, though, since Shrapnelís limbs are maneuverable enough and the insect legs surprisingly donít get in their way, and that more than makes up for the lack of a waist joint. The bug legs attached to his arms are a bit distracting, though, but not really that much of a dealbreaker.

Overall, Shrapnel is a toy that blew my expectations of him by being surprisingly good instead of Ďmeh, Iím getting it because itís a Shrapnel toy that turns into an actual bugí. Shrapnelís robot mode is pretty impressive, and you can just imagine him raising his hands up to the sky and summoning lightning to rain down at the enemy, or point his hands forwards all Palpatine-like.

Shame that he comes with this little dude to ruin our day:

I wanted a Reflector. I actually did. I was psyched when it was announced that Shrapnel would come with my favourite crowd-filler generic, but when I scrolled down to the pictures, well, Reflector is pretty weak. Reflector is cast primarily in the same shade of purple as Shrapnelís purple parts, with his arms and parts of his Ďlegsí cast in gray. His visor and the characteristic chestpiece are coloured in lime green. Reflector is partly based on the Reflector character model from the cartoon, specifically the Viewfinder unit with the camera lens in his chest, but his mouthless head seems to draw inspiration from the toy. Though other than his head, torso and stomach, the rest of him is pretty messy. His legs donít even look like actual legs Ė from the waist down itís just a jumbled-up mass of random shapes. He looks like heís gotten stuck in a Dalek and canít get out. Reflector can swing his arms around at the shoulder, but thatís about the extent of what you can do with him in robot mode. I mean, itís cool that I finally own a Reflector toy and I certainly appreciate having Reflector more than, say, random Micromasters like Flanker, Blast Master or Groundpounder, but with him being such a crappy robot I canít see why they bothered at all.

By pushing Reflector down flat on his face, you get something resembling a camera as a homage to Reflectorís original camera alternate mode. Itís not a very convincing camera, though I mean, it sorta looks like those super-professional and super-expensive machines with super-long lens you can rotate, and it does have some moulded grooves suggesting that, plus there are some moulded knobs and whatnot on the black bitÖ but the fact that the handle for Shrapnel is moulded in purple and lies smack dab on top of the control panel or whatever you call that bit of the camera ruins the entire illusion. Considering the arms and the head arenít even trying to hide, it just makes it worse. Also, Shrapnel canít hold the camera unless heís holding it from the top, which ends up looking really idiotic. And if you try to hold him in any other way (or attach him into the peg in bug mode) you can see Reflectorís robot mode, which is just as idiotic.

But while most of the other Legends class dudes have at least one mode they actually look good in Ė Chop Shopís beetle mode, Groundbusterís bulldozer mode, Blaze Masterís helicopter mode to name a few Ė Reflector canít even call his weapon mode that. Itís just him laying splayed out and itís such an ugly-looking thing that exposes all the greebles and groves within, and the fact that itís a cacophony of purples and grays makes Shrapnel look like heís holding a piece of junk, not a weapon! And while Reflector tries his best to hold his hands in a way that mimics G1 Shrapnelís original Diaclone grenade launcher, but the illusion doesnít even materialize thanks to how shit Reflector is.

They couldíve gone a more creative way and eschew the splayed-out-robot mode and have the camera turn into a cannon, but no. They try to do so much, and ended up completely and utterly failing in all three modes.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation Design: 8/10 Shrapnel is relatively intuitive as these things go. Thereís no particular part where I find fault other than the rear legs being a bit difficult to fold out. Reflector, though? He gets 1/10. None of his modes really work, with the robot mode being the only one thatís remotely not ugly.
Durability: 8/10 Neither Shrapnel nor Reflector looks like they have anywhere that is made out of softer plastic. Shrapnelís bug legs all seem sturdy and arenít super-thin like Waspinator or anything.
Aesthetics: 9/10 Shrapnel gets some points cut off for the tiny head and the weird yellow chest (which Iím still pretty ambivalent about). Reflector gets 2/10, because he is just flat out ugly. His robot mode is stillÖ acceptable, and his camera mode is somewhat nice if you squint, but heís really an ugly thing.
Articulation: 9/10 Shrapnel is basically perfect, but loses that one mark for the fact that he doesnít have that one joint present in a thirty-year-old G1 toy Ė the elusive waist joint. Reflector, as you can guess, gets 1/10 because all he can do is swing his hands.
Fun: 8/10 Even the crappy accessory that is Reflector cannot underscore just how much I had fun with Shrapnel. Heís just the right size to tip vehicle-mode Tailgate over! Heís an awesome robot that turns into an awesome metal robot bug!
Price/Value: 5/10 Now hereís the deal Ė the new Legends class charge more than what a Basic or Scout would cost thanks to the addition of the mini partners. And while his compatriots like Groundbuster or whoever are weak enough to make me frown on the price tag, Reflector is just straight-up horrible, making me feel dirty for even owning him. I donít really shed a tear for the loss of these partners in 2015ís Generations line.
Overall: 8/10 Shrapnel himself is pretty much a really awesome little bugger, and really surprised me by just how good he is. However, this review sadly needs to consider Reflector in the same set, and the little Kodak shit just drags the whole score down. Still, Shrapnel is a good enough toy to warrant you checking out.

2014-07-28, 04:33 PM
See how idiotic Shrapnel looks holding the little Kodak shit? Look at his face. He's an unhappy bug.


2014-07-28, 05:11 PM
What's up with him being a headless beetle?

2014-07-28, 06:14 PM
He looks like he doesn't have a head, just a pair of mandibles that are part of his pincer-horn things.


I'm just reciting what I remember from reading bug books, but insects' bodies are divided into three parts: the head, the thorax and the abdomen, three of which can be distinctly seen in this image I stole from Wikipedia. The abdomen is pretty obvious to spot, and the thorax is where all three pairs of legs are connected. Shrapnel goes straight from thorax to antennae/pincers without having a proper head, whereas in the original toy there's this silver bit around his robot head that sorta acts like one... whereas in the Generations toy there's just a big gap.

When I'm more awake I'll probably have to elaborate a bit.

2014-07-29, 03:18 PM
Enjoy the box shot:)

2014-07-29, 07:01 PM
The flat grey mandibles and yellow chest really bother me, especially since Bombshell's chest is the correct "school bus" yellow in the stock photos we saw after BotCon. I'll probably repaint mine if I can find the right colour.

But he's a really cool little toy in spite of that. I don't actually mind the small head, which seems to look a lot better in person than it does in photos. The overly-large yellow section on the chest makes it look smaller than it actually is, I think.

Reflector definitely disappointed me, but so have all the other little Targetmaster guys I've gotten this year. Like you I'm glad that they've seemingly binned them from next year's assortment, but hopefully it means the price will drop by $1 or $2 (or that the figures will come with better, non-transforming accessories instead). Paying the same already-inflated price for less will sting a bit.

2014-07-29, 07:22 PM
I'd forgotten the originals were so small...

2014-07-29, 08:00 PM
The flat grey mandibles and yellow chest really bother me, especially since Bombshell's chest is the correct "school bus" yellow in the stock photos we saw after BotCon. I'll probably repaint mine if I can find the right colour.

Huh, I never noticed that about the Bombshell. That would make the new Insecticons look mismatched, then, especially since Shrapnel's yellow chunk is so big. Will probably drop a line or two about it. The yellow bit really takes up a fair amount of space on Shrapnel's chest.

The flat grey mandibles don't bother me as much as I thought they would, though I would really have preferred them to be painted silver, though.

I don't actually mind the small head, which seems to look a lot better in person than it does in photos.

Definitely looks better in person. I keep bitching about his shrunken head yet didn't notice it after I got it until I actually reviewed him.

Like you I'm glad that they've seemingly binned them from next year's assortment, but hopefully it means the price will drop by $1 or $2 (or that the figures will come with better, non-transforming accessories instead). Paying the same already-inflated price for less will sting a bit.

I just wonder how much better the little guys would be if they just focused on a single alternate mode -- either include little Targetmaster guys that turn into weapons, or have them turn into a vehicle or something. Not both. Hasbro track record for triple-changing is hit and miss anyway on the Voyager scale, what hope have we on getting good triple-changing Minicons? The Power Core Combiners should really have taught them better than that.

Taking out Reflector's weapon mode, for example, and leaving him with the robot and the camera, we might actually get a decent small transformer.

2014-07-30, 05:00 AM
I have Generations Shrapnel too, and I love the figure. I like Reflector too, and his weapon mode looks pretty much just like Shrapnel's old grenade launcher, so I have no problem with that. One correction I need to make on your review though, is that Shrapnel's head is not static. It can rotate from side to side. Just an FYI.

2014-07-30, 07:41 AM
One correction I need to make on your review though, is that Shrapnel's head is not static. It can rotate from side to side. Just an FYI.

Huh, yeah. I didn't notice that on the grounds that his massive antenna are in the way if you try to twist it properly.

Good, good, Shrapnel gets better and better.