"Generations" Kickback Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: December 2012
Price Point: $12.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Disc, Disc launcher, Swords/wings x 2

*Images and text below from The official Transformers web site:
As the leader of his own squad of DECEPTICONS, KICKBACK is more independent than most of those under the command of MEGATRON. He uses his freedom to surround himself with friends, who he then blackmails into becoming his servants. Convert, arm and attack with all the TRANSFORMERS action you can handle! This KICKBACK figure is just the DECEPTICON to create all kinds of trouble for his AUTOBOT enemies (other figures sold separately). In Cybertronian insect mode, your KICKBACK figure is a fierce adversary for the AUTOBOTS. But when you convert him to robot warrior mode, his twin battle blades and disc launcher make him even more dangerous! Awesome KICKBACK figure converts from Cybertronian insect mode to robot mode and back! Twin battle blades! Disc launcher! Figure comes with accessories. Series 01 #009 KICKBACK Ages 5 and up.

Kickback is a character first introduced in the "Generation One" Transformers series. He was part of a team of Decepticons known as the Insecticons. Basing their alternate forms on Earth insects, they were voracious creatures who ate everything in their path for energy. Kickback recently made a return to the spotlight in the "Fall of Cybertron" video game. Based on that appearance, there is now a new version of him in toy form!

Around the time of this figure's release in late 2012, it was a bit difficult to get him. Word was that the figure was only one per case. I personally only found him on shelf once at a Toys R Us in July 2013, over half a year after his initial release. Before that I never saw him on the pegs (even if I saw the other figures from the assortment). If you see him rather high priced on the after market, his limited availability is likely the reason.

Robot Mode:
Kickback's appearance was largely reimagined for his "Fall of Cybertron" appearance. Whereas his G1 form was somewhat angled and blocky in many respects, this one is much more streamlined and sleek looking. Like his CG model from the video game he has sweeping and pointed sections forming his chest and shoulder armor. Two of his insect legs protrude from his back over his shoulders while smaller insect legs stick out the sides from behind his arms. The main aspect of this design that carries over from his G1 counterpart is his head, which has an oval shaped head with two antennae on either side of his head. Even though his body is mostly different than his G1 counterpart, the head really sells him as Kickback and he looks rather creepy all at the same time.

Unlike his G1 counterpart, this Kickback has rather thick body parts that heavily contrast with thinner ones, giving him a very dynamic appearance. The cnter of the body is rather thin, but his lower legs, feet and arms are rather bulky. I like this kind of design. It has a very anime styled appearance and so many points ending sharply give him a deadly appearance.

Kickback is mostly cast in purple and silver plastic, two of the key colors found on the G1 Insecticons. He also has some gunmetal colored parts including his waist, hands and upper arms. There's a bit of translucent purple plastic used on the head, which forms light piping for his visor eyes. Paint colors are mostly done in purple and gold. The gold is used to paint a lot of the details that appeared yellow in the video game. The purple parts include his knee armor and the claws on his large insect feet. There's also some violet paint used on smaller turbine shaped details on the sides of hinges located on his knees and claws. Overall the color scheme is pretty much what I would expect from an Insecticon and it looks cool.

There are nineteen points of articulation on Kickback in this form. This includes three on each arm (two of which are ball joints, allowing for a high range of articulation) and four on each leg. His feet are rather large, giving him solid stability in this form. Kickback includes a large disc launcher weapon. The launcher is tyld almost like two mandibles attached to a cannon. The disc that fits into it is cast in translucent purple. Pushing the silver section on top slides he disc forward. Not a whole lot mind you, but enough to consider it a "launch". There's some paint detail on this weapon including gold and violet on top. Also included with the figure are two blade weapons that resemble wings. You can attach them to the sides of his disc launcher, creating a weapon that looks a bit like a crossbow. This piece can then be attached to his back, giving him the appearance of having wings himself. The same wings can be detached and used as swords thanks to the 5mm pegs on them. I think it's great he has so many options in terms of weaponry. It really adds quite a bit to the play factor of this figure, and I'm impressed that he is able to hold such a large weapon up even though his shoulder and elbow are ball joints.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Rotate the robot head around.
  3. Swing the piece on the back up against the robot head to form the beast mode head.
  4. Swing the center of the chest piece up.
  5. Swing the beast mode head and chest section back.
  6. Swing the arms together and connect the forearms in the middle, sliding the forearm armor up.
  7. Swing each leg back.
  8. Rotate each lowe rleg around then extend the lower part down and rotate the feet to form the beast mode's rear legs.
  9. Swing the front beast mode legs down.
  10. Clip the sword weapons onto each large claw on top.
  11. The launcher can be clipped on to the wings.

Beast Mode:
In the Generation One era, Kickback transformed into a mechanical grasshopper. This time out he does the same, but this grasshopper mode is much more curved and biomechanical looking than his G1 predecessor. The legs and abdomen are both curved and sleek instead of being blocky. The legs all have angled sections on them that look like the "hairs" on a grasshoper's legs. While they're not known for them, grasshoppers can have wings but here they're mutated with spikes and large claws at the end. He's somewhat bulky looking in the middle and on the rear legs. I do wish the front section was a bit less "thick" but oerall it's a cool beast mode.

This mode shares the same colors as the robot mode. However this time a bit more gunmetal grey shows thanks to the rear legs exposing more of that color plastic. His front legs are cast in purple but the ends are painted silver. We also get to see gold used extensively on the abdomen section, forming a nice, curved pattern. I like the look of this beast mode's color scheme for sure.

Kickback has sixteen points of articulation in this form, with six in each of the legs. There's really not much of a way to pose him other than have the robot legs in different poses and move the wings around. The disc launcher attaches to his wings to act as a projectile weapon in this form. It slides nicely onto clips on the wings that are styled to look like large claw like details. The disc firing can still be done in this form, but it's a tad awkward. I prefer him without the launcher on top.

Final Thoughts:
Kickback is a cool toy, but I had hoped the beast mode would be a bit stronger. I think he's got a great robot mode with some really cool accessories, but the beast mode is just "okay". Overall a good toy to add to your collection, but not a "must have".

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