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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Numbat's review of: Kick Off

Name: Kick-Off
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Security Expert
Sub-Group: Action Masters

Quote: "Draw courage from defeat and you gain more than you lose."

Trained as a gladiator in the grease pits of Polyhex while a Decepticon captive on Cybertron. A specialist in hand-to-hand combat who is without equal. Overheats in anticipation of using his skills on those who once imprisoned him. 'I want to show them what a good student I was,' he says vengefully. His Turbo-Pack can do 450mph while attached to Kick-Off. It also converts to an air-cooled, solar-powered flamethrower with pinpoint accuracy and heat beam attachment.

Action Masters are a somewhat odd blip on the radar of Transformers history. They appeared in 1990, towards the end of the G1 period, and, unlike their predecessors, did not transform. As the story goes, using a new energy source – Nucleon – our friendly (and not so friendly) Robots in Disguise lost their ability to transform. On the plus side, they did become more powerful, and used transforming weapons.

(Note: Another side effect of taking Nucleon is the appearance of your face turning orange! Be warned!)

There were a number of European releases in the Action Master line, which overlapped with the Turbomasters in 1991, but beyond that the line was fairly short-lived.

I still find them to be something of an oddity, and they tend not to rank highly in my collection. That said, I have held on to a handful, including Tracks, Bumblebee, Blaster, and Prime.

Kick-Off, I'm afraid, will be on his way to, or at his new home by the time you read this review...


Alternate Mode:

Erm... None.

The backpack does fold down to be a booster (with orange side fins).


Robot Mode:

The robot mode – or only mode really – is not uninteresting. There are certainly obvious animι influences (Patlabor instantly springs to mind).

The fellow stands just under 4” (10cm) tall, as do all typical Action Masters. He has simplified soft features, which are brought out with a bold colour scheme, consisting of white, grey, red, black and that Action Master orange. Yellow is used to highlight the headlights on his chest, and the bumper.

His face, with a stern expression, is also yellow, with red goggles.

Nobody could ever argue that Action Masters skimped on colour – this guy, like many others, is overloaded with it!

The various 'alternate mode' features around the mold suggest that this original character once transformed into some form of law enforcement vehicle.

Articulation is limited, with only seven points – rather disappointing for a dedicated action figure! He has joints at the shoulders, head, hips and knees. The hip joints use an elastic band, similar to GI Joe / Action Force figures. I have found this tends to snap after time through simple decay, but is easily replaced. Kick-Off, however, has not required this surgery!

Kick-Off did come with an Autobot insignia stuck onto his chest, but mine has worn away.

The Turbo-Pack flips the rather unlikely (from reading the tech-spec) flamethrower over his shoulder when a catch is flicked. This is certainly one of the better of the Action Master weapons, as it is not too ridiculous in appearance.

Kick-Off also comes with a small orange pistol, which in my case has again gone walkies.

To add to the interest of the figure, the Action Masters all came with a technical diagram of themselves, called a 'Power Plan'. Basically this amounts to a photo with lots of lines pointing to nothing, with great component names. In Kick-Off's case, these include 'Cranium Regulation Duct', 'Data-Bus Calibrator' and 'Unidirectional Connector'. You'll also notice if you ever see the thing that the colours are wildly different from those on the final product.

All in all, I'm not a huge fan of Kick-Off, but do see that he is one of the better Action Masters. The problem is, I'm not a huge fan of Action Masters! (I gave Starscream to one of my brothers last New Year. It was either that or sell him... So you maybe get the picture.)


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 0 – There isn't one.
Durability: 7 – The Action Masters are fairly sturdy, other than the elastic band in the groin. Only one of mine ever broke otherwise, and that was an arm snapping off the plastic peg.
Fun: 1 – There's really not a lot of fun to be had with any Action Master.
Price: 5 – You can pick him up without accessories from around £1.60 ($3). If you want the whole shebang, then it'll cost you upwards of £10.80 ($20) most likely, which I'd say he ain't worth.
Overall: 1 – I'd personally say leave this guy alone, unless you collect Action Masters.

 
 
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