"Generations" Titans Return Kickback Toy Review

in 2016, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Generations, Insecticon, Legends, Titans Return

Generations

Kickback General Information:
Release Date: November 2016
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Transformers Generations Titans Return Legends Class figures are 3.75-inch scale figures. When this Legends Class Kickback figure is in grasshopper mode, Titan Master figures fit inside. Additional figures are each sold separately. Subject to availability. In Titans Return, the Autobots and Decepticons unite with Titan Masters, small bots that carry a power boost. Titan Masters are key to controlling an ancient race of warriors the size of cities: the Titans. With Insecticon Kickback, any bot is vulnerable. The Decepticon has a knack for winning and luring in allies. But like a poisonous sting, Kickback quickly turns on them, blackmailing them into doing his dirty deeds. Character Specs: Kickback: espionage Figure Specs: Legends Class Kickback Modes: robot, grasshopper Converts in 9 Steps Comes with a character card with tech specs Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

In May of 2014, a Legends Class Skrapnel (aka Shrapnel) figure was released as part of the "Generations" line. Then in last year's "Combiner Wars" line Skrapnel was joined by his fellow Insecticon Bombshell. Now at long last the original Insecticon trio is complete with the release of "Titans Return" Kickback!

Packaging:
Kickback is packaged in a blister set against a rectangular backing card. The card features a large segment of his package art in the front with a black bar and the modern "Transformers" logo over the black bar. The "Titans Return" logo is in smaller letters at the top. The back features multiple languages and a brief bio of the character with photos of the toy in both modes. The photography is set against a light colored grid background, evoking Generation One packaging. The bottom features several legal notices and an "Authentic Transformers" symbol.

Robot Mode:
Like Skrapnel and Bombshell, Kickback uses "Generation One" Kickback as its primary design reference. The design elements that call back to G1 Kickback include:

  • The back has the beast mode wings pointing upward, similar to the wings connected to G1 Kickback's shoulder area.
  • The head sculpt features the insect mode antennae and a distinct head sculpt that includes large visor eyes.
  • The torso panel features an asymmetrical design with one side having a raised, vertical rectangle while the other has less pronounced, angled design.
  • The shoulders feature a circle on the sides and two tiny circles next to each other near the elbows.
  • The top of the thighs are sculpted to look like cylinders, resembling hinges even though the actual joints are ball joints.
  • The thighs feature a piston like design that leads to the knees.
  • The sides of the lower legs feature a ridged design based on a similar section on G1 Kickback.
  • The knee sections on the lower legs are raised featuring angled panels.
  • The front of the lower legs have a section with three rectangular shapes on top of one another.
  • Borrowing from G1 Kickback's animation model, his forearms have fists instead of claws.

I am really impressed by how much detail was borrowed from the G1 design, down to the tiny circles on the sides of his arms. I also love the intricate design of his torso plate. Overall this is a fantastic sculpt.

Kickback is cast in four plastic colors: black, purple, yellow and translucent yellow. The black and purple make up most of the figure. These two colors were the key colors of the three individual Insecticons so they work nicely. The translucent yellow plastic is used for the torso plate and the wings. Light, solid yellow plastic is used for the antennae on Kickback's head. Paint colors on this figure include black, silver and yellow. The black is used on the forearms. Silver is used on the head and the sides of the lower legs. Yellow is found on the knee armor sections. The finishing touch is a Decepticon symbol tampographed onto the right side of the chest. This deco is interesting as it retains the "spirit" of the classic Insecticon colors, but it does not necessarily follow the color patterns on either the G1 toy or animation model. The only thing I would have changed with this deco would have been the wings. I would have preferred them in the silver (or even grey) colors used during the G1 era.

There are nine points of articulation in this mode, with two in each arm and leg. This may not sound like a lot, but both arm joints and the hip joints are ball joints, so his range of articulation is pretty good. If you want to count the wings, that adds four more points of articulation. Both fists have 5mm ports in them, allowing the figure to hold weapons with 5mm pegs.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Rotate the robot head around and position it so it is facing upward.
  3. Swing the insect head on the back over the robot head.
  4. Swing each robot arm down.
  5. Rotate the arms outward.
  6. Rotate the forearms around and connect the forearm pieces together.
  7. Push each robot foot up, then swing out the ends of the rear insect legs.
  8. Swing the front insect legs up.
  9. Rotate the wings around.

Beast Mode:
Kickback's beast mode is a mechanical grasshopper. Like the robot mode, this form takes most of its design cues from the G1 version of the character. These include several sculpted hinges on the front insect legs, triangular sections on the rear legs and circles on the sides of the head. I really appreciate how intricate this design is even in this form. The only major difference from G1 Kickback are the wings, which seem to be more based on a real life insect's wings than the more mechanical (and curved) wings on the G1 version. This is not necessarily good or bad, it is more a matter of personal taste.

The colors from the robot mode all carry over here. The only "newly revealed" parts are the beast mode legs and head. The legs are all purple and the head is cast in black. This mode reveals some yellow paint on the sides of the beast mode head and the deco from the robot mode legs of course carry over here as the rear insect legs.

There are twelve points of articulation in this mode, mostly concentrated in the legs and the wings. One word of warning however, the hinges that allow the wings to move up and down are extremely tight, so you may have a bit of trouble moving them at first. One recommendation I would have is to hold the ball joint in place with a finger and then try to move the joint. If that does not work, you may want to warm the joint up a bit (I do this sometimes by spooning some hot water onto the area) and this will help it move. Let that water cool off a bit after you boil it however, you don't want to put scolding hot water on your figure!

In a wonderful nod to the original Kickback figure, the torso panel on the top of the figure can swing up to reveal a cockpit. Inside you will see plenty of sculpted detail. Even better? The cockpit allows a Titan Master to sit in it! Well, the legs anyhow. The Titan Master actually sits on the edge of it, with the torso plate serving as the back of the "chair". I love this functionality and I am very happy the designers worked it into the figure.

Final Thoughts:
Kickback is a fantastic addition to your Insecticon army. It is great to finally have the third member of the original Insecticon team in toy form. The figure looks great and it's fun at the same time. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Fantastic sculpt that pays homage to G1 Kickback.
  • Good deco including the paint and plastic colors.
  • Cockpit feature is a welcome surprise.

Cons:

  • Wing assembly can break if too much pressure is applied, be careful.