Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 17, June 1986 / Issue 41, June 1988
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 88, November 22nd 1986 / Issue 279, July 21st 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 15 (Season 1 #15), December 19th 1984 / Episode 70 (Season 3 #5), September 19th 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1985
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - FansProject
Toyline - Causality
- Added a Decepticon symbol to the chest
I always felt sorry for Kickback as he seemed to be somewhat weaker than his fellow Insecticons. You had Shrapnel, who could command electricity, Bombshell, who could command the mind, and Kickback, who could, er, kick things hard. It didn't really compare. Plus, while the other two had alt modes which were menacing (weevil and beetle), the grasshopper never really resonated as a threatening insect to me. Peaceful and zen-like, perhaps, but not particularly evil. It is fitting then, that 3rd-party fandom's leading Origami experts FansProject should accept the challenge of bringing this character 'kicking' and screaming up to date, with a modern twist. Have they managed to endow this guy with some much-needed bite?
Appearance (Robot Mode) 7/10
You look at this figure and instantly know that it is kickback, and FansProject have worked hard to keep him authentic. His colour scheme is perfect, but his proportions are rather skinny, necessarily so because he transforms into a fairly lithe insect. This puts him at odds with his fellow Insecticons - while they convey a lot of bulk, he seems the odd one out. Also, there are some issues I have with him which cannot be attributed to his markedly different build. Firstly, his head is tiny and looks like the jaw is missing, and tapers down to an equally diminutive neck. I really think that FansProject could have done better. I'm not sold on the stock weapons either (which by the way are very sharp!) Luckily the replacement rifle is much better and serves to evoke the G1 figure much more effectively. The insect kibble is dealt with nicely on this figure, and overall the silhouette is impressive (especially when you pose the wings pointing up) There are silly motifs on each shoulder pad which I really disliked, so I swapped the shoulders around, pointing the symbols to the back of the robot.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 7/10
This grasshopper mode is carried off rather nicely but can look rather awkward outside of one particular pose. The wings are a little flat, being cast in grey/silver plastic which is a bit dull if you ask me. I would rather that they had some additional movement, too because as it is, a lot of potential poses are obstructed by the point of articulation and the large back legs. Also, his robot head can still be seen behind the insect one which I am not keen on. It's a shame, because I really like the legs and insectoid head.
This is another transformation which will baffle on initial attempts but you will soon forget how tricky it seemed after a few turns. Firstly, the insect head is moved from the back and slotted alongside the robot head, which has to be turned around to hide the face. Then, it is time to move the limbs around! The arms are pushed down and moved to where the legs are, the legs themselves are split at the crotch (ouch) and then panels are swapped from the lower leg to the upper leg. This locks the angle of the leg necessary for insect mode. The feet slot into the shins and then small insect leg-tips are unfolded. The arms are a bit of a pain to transform at first; they require the fists and all joints to be in the correct position, and they then form the abdomen. Finally the insect legs are bought forward and the wings repositioned. It is easier in practice than in theory!
Kickback really excels in this regard, being blessed with a great sense of balance, and the ability to form some really nice poses. The neck is ball-jointed, although there is no waist swivel (but this is not really missed). There is lateral and side-to-side movement in the shoulder, as well as ball-jointed hips. The shoulders can also be posed in other ways, due to their use in transformation. There is effectively bicep and forearm swivel due to the ball-joints, and there is also wrist swivel. Moving onto the legs and there is thigh swivel, knee joints and ball-jointed ankles, which give this little guy impeccable balance. One-legged poses are very easy with this figure.
A rule that generally has to be heeded with FansProject is to make sure that you transform everything in order, ad with care and attention. This is again true with this figure, with my concerns exacerbated by the amount of components on small pivot points, such as the arms/shoulders and wings. However, nothing should collide provided you are patient, and also be aware that pulling on the groin a bit (!) in order to split the legs out for insect mode will put a lot less pressure on the figure.
Overall - 38/50
While still a decent representation of the character, Kickback is not quite good-looking enough in bot mode for me to really like him. But, he does complement the other 2 Insecticons well. And you really need to get all 3 if you get one! His relative lack of beauty when compared to the other 2 is alleviated somewhat by his ability to pose, and his innovative transformation sequence. He may not have much, but he knows how to work what he has! I'm sure you will get a 'kick' (sorry) out of owning him.