Friday, 8 February 2013

Kicking Back, With Kickback

Fall Of Cybertron kickback

From Fall Of Cybertron.

 

Mmmm, really getting my beasty on at the moment.  At a little toy meet I saw these new Fall of Cybertron characters up for grabs.  So being a mad nut for figures of game characters, I bought some.  Kickback was always on my list, he is my favourite of the Insecticons and the robot mode looks like a good representation of his game model and now I have him in all his six-legged glory!

Pros:

  • Good copy of the game model.
  • Easily fits in with WFC/FOC, Prime and Classics/Universe figures.
  • Nice ‘update’ from the original.
  • AMAZING robot articulation.
  • Dynamic looking robot mode.
  • Comes with game-authentic Gear Shredder weapon.

Cons

  • Awful, awful insect mode.
  • Kibble-tastic minilegs off his back.
  • ?  That’s about it.
  • Over sized weapon.

 

 

 

 

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He is housed on the usual carded bubble packaging.  Nice artwork on the top for the robot mode.  If you have a loo at the front, bottom right of the bubble, you can see an image of his insect mode.  One of my biggest issues with this guy is that his insect mode doesn’t look like a grasshopper very well at all.  However, he is described as a ‘Cybertronian Insect’ and the image there has him looking almost like a cross between a grasshopper and a wasp or something.  While it’s inaccurate to an actual insect, it is accurate to the game model.

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Concept artwork and the box art.

 

The bio is close to the original Kickback’s with his penchant for blackmailing those around still a characteristic.  Considering how he is an Insecticon, it seems his stats are pretty high.  I haven’t actually gone about comparing them to the G1 version, but I just sort of assumed that his strength and endurance would be lower (being and insect and all.). 

I like the FOC boxes.  They are very nice.

 

 

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Once out of the box you can see how nice he actually looks.  The golden pieces of his breast plate are folded down when he is in the box, but I recommend moving them up a bit to suite your liking.  It isn’t exactly clear how they are supposed to go and I think the instructions have them pointing straight up, which looks a bit ridiculous.  Where I have them now, they can get in the way of the shoulders, but it’s easy enough to work around that. 

 

Now that I finally have a home internet connection, I booted up FOC to take a look-see at the model for Kickback, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the robot mode is incredibly accurate to the game model as well.  In that case, I say Bravo Hasbro, you have done well.  It’s still a shame that the beast mode doesn’t hold together well, despite also being close to the game model.

 

He also looks similar enough to G1 Kickback to keep oldernerds like me happy.

 

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As you can see, he is quite a thin little bot, well except for his shins…  Sculpting that is there looks nice and seems themed with the aesthetic the game carries.  A nice by-product of the thin body is that the joints are generally unhindered and he is an incredibly pose-able figure, even being to the point where he can cross his arms quite easily.

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Add to that, he has nice long, pointy fingers.

 

The chest can be configured in different ways depending on you liking.

 

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Oddly his Decepticon insignia has a slight shade of red to it (Shattered Glass Kickback?).  Or that is just the way the purple comes up against the gold.

 

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There is even a little bit of sculpting on the purple arm covers.  Nice.  Speaking of which they can be moved down (due to transformations) to make a ‘weapon’ but it looks stupid and ineffective, especially considering how stabby his fingers look.

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About the only complaint I have for his robot mode is that the insect front legs hang off his back.  This is accurate to the game model though, so it’s nice to see it here.  And yet disappointing, they do get a little in the way.

 

He also comes with a gear shredder which is a nice treat, but it is MASSIVE.  This is most likely due to the disc, which can be ‘fired’ (no springs attached though) and therefore a choking hazard if any smaller.  Sadly though it looks ridiculous not only on Kickback, but on any other deluxe Fall of Cybertron toy…  The wings can be stuck on the side of the gun for some reason.  Make it looks like flames perhaps?  If you stick them on the rear of the gun, it can kind of looks like a little insect.

 

 

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It can also be mounted on the wings for beast mode, but that looks as stupid as you think it sounds.  While I am sort of happy we get another version of one of the weapons from the game, I think I would probably would have also been fine if I had just got a gun that was an updated style from the G1 Kickback’s tommy-gun sort of weapon.

Fall Of Cybertron kickback

 

But that’s enough whinging for today.  Let’s have a look at some poses I came up with.  Oh, before I do though, one cool thing is even though the wing’s claws don’t open and close, they do have a little port for putting weapons in, so you can have them armed.  You can also swing the claws over his shoulders a bit, or under his arms, adding to the insect like influence his robot mode has..

 

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I just love the fact that his large feet hold his body well and it’s really easy to get him standing on one foot.  Best of all, because the feet are attached to a ball joint which is then attached to a hinge he has an amazing range of motion allowing him a solid base in almost any circumstance.

 

Now for the sad part, Beast mode.

 

Cybertronian Insect mode, while retaining the look of the game character is a bit of a crap toy.  The transformation is pretty ingenious, with the legs doing some interesting bends at the hips and the head folding over the torso, as well as the clever way the insect jaw is formed by a cover for the robot head, but it just doesn’t hold together well at all.  And I hate it when a toy doesn’t hold together. 

 

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After having a fairly good look around, I’d say kickback is based more on a wasp than a grasshopper.  Which seems a little strange, but then I suppose the main large legs are there and he is from another planet…

 

The colours work well together and I do like the translucent purple for the wings.  Due to the way  the ball joint for the wings you connects to the back you can’t get a huge amount of movement from them.  I was impressed that he has little moveable covers for where the wings are connected (these are the floating  shoulder pieces of robot mode).

 

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Sadly though that is the most impressive part of the toy.  The back legs don’t hook in anywhere and just flop around, usually unable to support the toys weight.  When transforming him, I usually think he might be misassembled from the factory, but I can’t see how it would fit together any better.  The other issue is that the fore-arms which clip together to form the tail don’t really do it all that securely either. 

 

The front legs are almost a complete waste of time, they are so loose and don’t lock in anywhere that you will spend more time  getting them flat on the ground than he spends standing on them.  Once you have, the body’s weight will cause them to flop out of place pacing his jaw squarely on the ground.

 

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The insect head does have a clever formation using the face of the robot and an extra piece to form the jaw. Or mandibles.

 

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Here is a little side by side shot of Kickback and Kickback.

 

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That’s about all there is to say about the insect mode.  It’s more like a wasp than a Grasshopper, which defeats the purpose of the ‘kickback’ of his namesake.  It’s just a really crappy mode.  Leave him in robot mode I say, it can be made insecty enough if you lean the claws over his shoulder or under then and it’s such a greatly pose-able to that it’s worth having for the robot mode alone.

 

Oh and the gear shredder can be doubled as a frizbee for those father/son moments.  And doubling as a purple version of the golden disk.  “To be, or not to be…”

 

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And now for some action shots!

 

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All done without any balance aids at all!

 

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Oh dear, Optimus is dead…  Stabbed with a wing.

 

 

Say hello to mah leedle frenz…

 

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So to finish this off, I am going to just reiterate my points at the start.  Incredibly fantastic robot mode, only missing a waist swivel really, but all the other joints and slim body parts can cover for this fairly well.  However this is also saddled with and incredibly disappointing and unsatisfying beast mode.  Sure it’s close to the game model and that is probably where the problem lies.  It’s less of a grasshopper, more of a wasp but ten the legs just seem to flop around everywhere is incredibly annoying. However if you can get over the fact that even the game model is less grasshopper and more wasp then it’s a bit more understandable.  Even then, it’s still a bit of a crappy mode.

 

Its seems very irritating that the Beasts of late have been a bit naff in some way Fall Of Cybertron Grimlock was a horribly made toy all around (except for looking nice from the front), Lazerback had a nice beast mode, but a lazy transformation resulting in a boring robot mode that looked much like the beast and Kickback here suffers the opposite, a rubbishy beast mode but a fantastic robot mode.

 

I’d still recommend picking one up if you can, because the robot mode is good enough to make up for the flaws of the beast mode (I’d say this is my favourite figure since the First edition Prime figures!), but it’s still a shame the beast mode is so forgettable. 

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