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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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ganon578's Review: Insecticons

Name: The Insecticons; Hardshell (Bombshell), Kickback, Sharpshot (Shrapnel)
Function: Decepticon Agents
Sub-group: Universe Commemorative Series
Size Class: G1 'Scout'

“Eat all you can, burn the rest!”

Even in an army full of greedy, sadistic, bizarre individuals, the Insecticons stand out. They fight for nothing other than their own hunger. They are loyal to no one other than themselves. Though they occasionally fight alongside the other Decepticons, betrayal is an inevitable factor. The fact remains, however, that they are simply too powerful and effective to be easily disposed of, and so they remain to plague Autobot and Decepticon alike.

The Insecticons. When I was a kid I didn’t have all three, only Kickback. I always wished I could have all three, and now Hasbro has reissued the Insecticons in the Universe Commemorative Series all in one package, and for a decent price. The downside was their exclusivity at Toys R Us, making them somewhat difficult to track down. Hasbro changed some of their names, most likely to reflect trademark problems. I listed each Insecticon out by their new name, with their old name in parentheses.

The Insecticons seem to be quite the fan favorite characters, though they haven’t had tons of toys over the years. I would imagine it’s difficult to constantly throw insect toys in with a bunch of cars, trucks, and jets all while making the story lines make sense (not that Transformers fiction has ever been rock-solid; is it Bombshell or Skywarp that becomes Cyclonus?). It worked just fine in the 1980’s, but that might not work so well in say, the Movieverse, which has a more realistic flavor.

Hardshell (Bombshell)

“The mind is my playpen.”

Can turn foes into helpless accomplices by injecting cerebro-shells into their heads (robot or human) with his stinger... gives him control of their minds... has a cruel sense of humor... arms himself by having his victims debase themselves. In insect mode this Insecticon can fly 5.7 miles. In robot mode wears head-mounted mortar... throws 50 pound explosive shell 8 miles. Cerebro-shells can be used against him if removed from victims head.

Strength 5
Intelligence 7
Speed 5
Endurance 5
Rank 6
Courage 5
Firepower 6
Skill 9

Alternate Mode:

Hardshell’s alternate mode is a robotic rhinoceros beetle. The main coloration on Hardshell is black and purple, with a hint of chrome here and there. The detailing of the mold is moderate; there isn’t a whole lot going on outside of a few robotic details. The other details on the figure come from stickers that were included in the package, all of which I had to apply myself. While this isn’t terribly bad, it was quite time consuming and tedious, and the adhesive on the back of the stickers leaves a lot to be desired. Several stickers on mine, especially the one by the horn and the one on the feet in robot mode, are peeling off. The stickers in the Insecticon package are a far cry from what Hasbro did with the Perceptor reissue in the same line; all the stickers were pre-applied, and haven’t come loose to date. In my opinion, painted detail or stamping would have been a far superior addition.

On the top of the beetle, there is a yellow compartment that can be opened up. In days long gone, this was a cockpit for a Diaclone driver. In more recent times, there have been third party companies that have made little Energon cubes that fit nicely into these compartments. It would have been nice to see Hasbro do something with these compartments for the reissue, or even given a little history on them. As it is, there is no mention of these compartments, or any sort of bonus item that accompanies the Insecticons.

Hardshell has some small wheels on the bottom of his insect legs, which allow for some rolling on flat surfaces. Overall the alternate mode is neat because it is a quirky insect mode, but there’s really not much else to say about it.

Robot Mode:

After a simple and quick transformation (nothing noteworthy, a G1 TF this small isn’t going to ‘wow’ anyone) Hardshell is in robot mode. The same coloration is here (purple and black) with chrome now also showing up in the thighs. Molded detail is on par with the alternate mode. One nice detail is the molded hands that Hardshell has; there’s even fist holes for him to carry his chrome rifle. His head mold is nice as well, and has some silver paint apps on the eyes and faceplate.

For articulation, Hardshell can move his arms up and down. That’s it. No other movement can be had, which severely limits the fun you can have with him. Not that I expected much more out of a small G1 figure. At least he looks cool standing there. Overall Hardshell has decent molded detail and a cool color scheme.

Kickback (Kickback)

“Friend is another word for fool.”

Charming but cruelly clever... makes friends so he can influence them to do his bidding by digging up facts he can hold against them. Humans particularly susceptible to this Insecticon. In insect mode can jump 40 ft. for a distance of .1 mile... kick a hole in 1/4" steel. In robot mode can fly 30 mph up to 100 miles. Sub-machine gun fires 300 rounds per minute. Very vulnerable as insect and flying in high winds.

Strength 3
Intelligence 9
Speed 4
Endurance 4
Rank 7
Courage 6
Firepower 5
Skill 8


Alternate Mode:

Kickback’s alternate mode is a robotic grasshopper. Other than that, there’s really not that much going on here. Kickback is mostly black with a little bit of purple, chrome, and yellow (on the antennae). Molded detail is the same here as it was with Hardshell, and other detail is again provided by stickers. However, there are quite a bit of stickers in this mode, so Kickback is a touch flashier than Hardshell as an insect. Kickback also has the clear yellow Diaclone cockpit, as well as small wheels on the grasshopper feet. The chrome wings and yellow antennae can move up and down, but overall there isn’t much to do with this mode.

Robot Mode:

Another quick and simple transformation and you have Kickback in robot mode. Kickback’s transformation is rather bland; there are no twists or surprising movements here, and it makes for a lackluster transformation. Once in robot mode, Kickback has the same decent molded detailing and sticker details. The head mold is nice, and you can move around the chrome wings, yellow antennae, and his arms and legs can move a bit. The downside to kickback is the lack of true hands, as his grasshopper feet fold together to make ‘claws’. In a way the claws are kind of neat since you can open and close them; on the other hand he cannot feasibly hold a weapon. Kickback’s chrome rifle has two flat pegs that slide over the claw, but it never feels truly tight and it can be tedious to get it to stay in place. Overall Kickback’s robot mode is pretty decent, though there isn’t really anything special going on.

Sharpshot (Shrapnel)

“Control electricity and you control the world.”

The noise of war and the screams of his foes are music to this loathsome Insecticon's audio-modules... has piercing battle cry... can be heard 8 miles away. In insect mode can use antennae to control almost any electrical device. In robot mode can attract lightning bolts to antennae and shoot them out hands. Grenade launcher shoots 30 pound steel balls that splinter into razor-sharp spikes. Insulation can stop his electrical blasts.

Strength 4
Intelligence 6
Speed 4
Endurance 7
Rank 6
Courage 6
Firepower 8
Skill 9

Alternate Mode:

Sharpshot’s alternate mode is a robotic stag beetle. The main colors are purple and black with some chrome and yellow thrown in. The molded detail is the same here as it is for Kickback and Hardshell; nothing special, but decent. Again, the Diaclone cockpit is here, and a nice feature for Sharpshot is the molded laser cannons in the horns. There are 4 altogether, and they add a little bit of weaponry to the alternate mode, even if it’s not initially noticeable. Sharpshot has wheels on the bottom, just like the other two Insecticons. Overall, it’s a pretty standard alternate mode for an Insecticon.

Robot Mode:

Another quick and easy transformation. Sharpshot has the added feature of twisting at the waist to pull the legs around, as well as the legs sliding out. It’s a little more in depth than the other two; in my opinion it is the most fun transformation. Once Sharpshot is in robot mode, the same articulation holds true as it does for Kickback and Hardshell. Arms move up and down, and the waist twists, but other than that Sharpshot just stands there. He has molded fists, but they do not have fist holes like Hardshell. Sharpshot’s rifle ‘clips’ on in a similar fashion like Kickback’s, and it has the same problems with staying in place. The head mold is well done, sticker detail and poor adhesive is on par with the other two, and the color scheme is your standard Insecticon black and purple. One thing I don’t really care for with Sharpshot’s robot mode is the horns. To reveal his face, they swivel apart, leaving the horns hanging out far wider than his shoulders. Incidentally, you need a decent amount of shelf space for such a small figure. It’s sometimes problematic, but not overly annoying as to detract from the figure itself. Overall I’d say Sharpshot is on par with Hardshell and Kickback in robot mode.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 5. They’re definitely not difficult, as they are G1 era toys, and small ones at that. On the other hand they’re fun to flip back and forth.
Durability: 7. These figures are pretty sturdy, but I worry about the chrome on the plastic. I think over time it will chip away.
Fun: 6. They’re the Insecticons, which is cool to me. They have great weapons for such small figures, but they don’t do much besides stand there. It would have been nice to get some Energon cubes to fit into their chest cavities.
Aesthetics: 7. Nice molded detail for G1 figures. They have great colorization and the chrome stands out well.
Articulation: 4. This is a tough one to rate, especially with newer figures out there. For their time they were appropriate. Currently they have little to no articulation.
Value/Price: 8. These figures are a great blast from the past, and they retail at about $30 US. I don’t know what they fetch at auction sites nowadays.
Overall: 7. They come in cool packaging, all 3 Insecticons are here, and they’re not too expensive if you can get them as MSRP. The Insecticons are about scout class sized, and will fit in nicely with your G1 or Classics collection. Finding them now may be pricey, and their lack of articulation and things to do with them is limited. Let’s hope just Hasbro/Takara feel like updating them in a new Classics style.
 
 
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