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 78, September 13th 1986 / Issue 276, June 30th 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
And so we come to the last of the original Insecticons (alphabetically, that is) and we also come to my favourite. In the cartoon and US comic, the Insecticons were portrayed as brainless lackeys, seemingly sharing a (defective) hive mind. In the UK comic, they are portrayed as something more sinister. Shrapnel is particularly nasty, using his electrical powers to execute an informant. He also nearly shreds Prowl to bits in one of the early annual strips. So my impression of shrapnel was that he is a serious force to be reckoned with. With this in mind, I was therefore anxious that FansProject capture this side of his personality rather than the farcical character from the cartoons. What way did FansProject go?
Appearance (Robot Mode) 9/10
Shrapnel looks like a tough little bot that you would not want to mess with. He is extremely stocky, with a pin head that only emphasises his bulk. His kibble can be displayed as you see fit - I tend to have the legs on his torso hanging down but you can mess around with some more dramatic shapes if you wish. His badassness is generously augmented by what must be the most ostentatious weapons I have ever seen on a TF. This guy looks like wolverine on steroids, with blades which can be as long as his legs protuding from his forearms. I, for one, do not particularly care for this look, so I have positioned the blades either side of his head. Yes it looks a bit bonkers but is very much in keeping with the silhouette of the G1 figure. Think of them as his electrical conductors. He is also equipped with a nice gun, courtesy of the Deluxe Insecticons box set. Again his colour scheme is spot on, but let down by a daft tampograph which I have covered up. All the Insecticons have a signature logo like this, they remind me of Battle Beasts for some reason and are incongruous.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 8/10
There's no getting away from the fact this figure is essentially an oblong box with little legs on it, but it is pulled off so well. The pincers look particularly menacing, although I'm not sure why there seems to be a cockpit on this insect mode, when Bombshell and Kickback are notably more insectoid. Still, the overall impact is not diminished and this figure looks more coherent than the other two, with it also being easier to pose and play with.
This is my least enjoyable of the Insecticons to transform, which is a shame. Firstly, I find it difficult to align the arms up just so to enable them to slide through the lower legs. And the robot feet? you have to flip and swivel them to the side for the alt mode and I have real difficulty doing this without colliding them into the adjoining surface. There is a 'sweet spot' but as can be typical with FansProject, there is more drama than there needs to be. Elswhere, there are some innovative features, such as the hips which are slid back before the waist is rotated. OK, it is vaguely similar to Hot Rod, but it is nice to see different things from time to time. Also, don't forget that the shoulder piece rotates for the robot mode, I have seen loads of pictures that has this part mis-transformed.
My one gripe with this figure is that his hip joints are very stiff. Other than this though, he can do just about anything. He has a ball-jointed neck, swivel waist, and ball-jointed shoulders/hips. He has bicep swivel and double ball-joints at the elbow, which is handy because this negates the need for wrist swivel. He also has thigh swivel, knee joints and a very decent range of movement in his feet, which are also large enough to hold a variety of poses.
I feel that the transformation sequence puts the plastic under unnecessary strain, which always makes me annoyed. I really like this guy and would not let anyone else attempt to transform him, for the spectre of gouged plastic is all too real! It's a shame because this is otherwise a decent quality, stocky little figure.
Overall - 38/50
Aesthetically this figure is very successful, looking great in both modes. He also offers a plethora of poses, and options regarding how you set him up with his weaponry. However, I have some concerns regarding his transformation which is why Shrapnel is probably the least recommended of the 3 Insecticon moulds. That said, in his own right, he is still a very decent figure.