Cliffbee.com: Kickback Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Kickback
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Espionage
Alternate Mode: Grasshopper



GRASSHOPPER MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 12.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A black mecha grasshopper with purple lower legs and chromed silver vertical wings, Kickback has yellow antennae and a transparent yellow cover on his thorax, which is a hollow die cast metal box (where the Diaclone pilot would have gone). There are wheels on the front and rear feet and a rubsign on the outside of his left wing. Kickback shares his colours with Bombshell and Shrapnel, and he's probably the darkest of the three, since he has the least purple on his insect mode.

   Kickback's legs are easily the most insect-like of the three Diaclone based Insecticons. Whereas the other rely more on rails, he actually has distinct legs and the rear legs are long, barbed and bent as you'd expect of a hopping insect. While he lacks the abdomen that Ransack has, he's still the most insect-like of this trio. His antennae are very organic, with round banded segments rather than angular edges, and it's only really the flat panels of his wings that are out-and-out mechanical. Of course, the wheels also qualify as mechanical, but since Kickback lacks the rails of his teammates, the wheels are more or less irrelevant.

   The wheels are close to non-functional - you have to get the legs in exactly the right configuration for the wheels to roll and frankly it's more fulfilling and logical to go with a hopping motion if you're playing with him. The wings can swing up and down, the head turns and the antennae can lift up and down, while all six legs have some hip rotation, making Kickback easily the most poseable insect of the set. The panel on his thorax of course opens, to reveal a cavity just right for a Diaclone pilot.

   The realism and articulation make this the most realistic insect mode of the trio, and the trailing legs look pretty cool, making this my favourite. He's kind of overshadowed by Ransack - who is easily superior - but that shouldn't take away from a decent little grasshopper.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Kickback's transformation has some elements that are atypical of the Diaclone line - ironically the limb transformation tricks are reminiscent of the Beetras line (which spawned the Deluxe Insecticons), although he's nowhere near as complex as that line.

   Fold the trailing feet under his "thighs" to form the robot legs, swing the front sets of legs together to form his robot arms and swing them up in line with the body. Rotate the head to reveal the robot face and swing his wings up so they sit on top of his shoulders. Stand him up, give him his handgun and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 5.5cm

   Only 9cm tall at the top of his head, Kickback's actually the tallest of the trio thanks to his wings, but would otherwise be the shortest. The relative lack of colour is more noticeable now - the forearms and feet are purple, his antennae are yellow and the chestplate transparent yellow and his wings and face are silver, but otherwise Kickback is black. As a result this robot mode's colour scheme is actually quite boring. It's not _bad_ but needs more colour, since the transparent yellow chestplate is really the only feature doing much to break up the black - we only really see the wings side on.

   The transformation results in a robot mode with surprisingly little animal kibble, compared to the other Insecticons or the Dinobots. But this is a double edged sword - features like the stinger on Bombshell add character yet the tail hanging off Slag doesn't help visually. In Kickback's case I'd lean towards saying it's a good thing, when you consider the mass of limbs that some insect Beast Wars toys transform into. Bland maybe, but not a mess either.

   Since his robot legs are formed from the "thighs" of the grasshopper, Kickback's legs are solid black pieces, which at first glance could be mistaken for boots without thighs. He does actually have thighs, but the transition is lost in the black plastic. He has claws in place of hands, although they do look fairly handlike, anyway. They're two-pronged pincer affairs, and his hand chromed handgun slots over the narrow hand rather than fitting into the claw, since the holes are on the sides.

   Poseability is about what you'd expect - the shoulders rotate, the hips swing and the head rotates, which is a by-product of his transformation and something of a bonus. The effective poseability of his legs is fairly limited without any sort of kneejoints, but then it's not like too many Diaclone toys had poseable legs anyway.

   While it's somewhat boring, this isn't actually a bad robot mode. It's probably my least favourite Diaclone Insecticon robot mode, but that's more because the others are more interesting than because Kickback's robot mode sucks. It's a robot mode for the G1 fans, and is pretty close to his show incarnation.

VARIATIONS

   The 2004 Takara reissue came with a soft pink plastic Energon cube, which Kickback can stow in his chest. This reissue has pointed wingtips, while the original has rounded wingtips. Shot Hole, the eHobby exclusive, is a repaint of Kickback.

OVERALL

   Paradoxically the best insect mode and worst robot mode of the Insecticons, Kickback is probably the worst of a fairly even set. He's worth getting, since the Transformation and grasshopper modes are interesting, and the show version fits this toy quite well. If he had more colour and a more interesting robot mode, I'd be keener. Despite the shortcomings he's got enough going for him that I recommend him to G1 fans - 6.5/10

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