Last year, Hasbro gave us Kickback and the promise of getting the Insecticon band back together with new versions. I absolutely adore the Insecticons, and so this made me happy. Then Kickback came out and I absolutely loved him, and that made me happy. But as the old saying goes, fool me once! Because the last time Hasbro did the Insecticons, they started strong and we ended up with a team that didn’t really look like they belonged together. I was worried the same thing would happen here, and so I waited with baited breath for the second release, and here he is. Let’s check out Shrapnel.
We’ve seen the Legacy packaging before, and while I admit it’s rather eye catching in all it’s crazy colors, it doesn’t really scream Transformers to me. All I need in my Transformers packaging is a grid pattern, and either some purple or red to denote faction. Also, what’s this Evolution business? I still don’t know. Hasbro is still refusing to put plastic windows on the boxes, because of saving the planet or whatever, but I get my Transformers online, so there aren’t any kids to put their sticky fingers on my toy or wipe boogers on them. Now the Amazon employees do that. I am pleased to see that somehow Hasbro secured Shrapnel’s name again, as last time I think he was called Skrapnel. Also, the packaged shot showcases the thing about this figure that triggers me the most. Can you guess what it is?
Here’s Shrapnel’s beetle mode and it’s pretty good! But let’s get that one thing that triggers me out of the way first. Somewhere along the way, Hasbro decided to not paint the antenna-slash-pincers silver like it is in the solicitation photos. Instead they left them bare gray and it looks positively awful. I understand that if you read the fine print on the package it actually states that final production appearance may vary, but it still pisses me off, particularly when you look at the price hikes on these little Deluxes. I will give Hasbro credit on two points: First, it’s not a fully enclosed box so at least you can see what you’re getting if you buy him in the store. Secondly, they actually reflect the change in the official package shot online. Of course, I pre-ordered, so the first whiff I got of the change was when I took him out of the shipping box and looked at him.
Other than all of that bitching, I think the alt-mode here is fine. It locks together well and I like how the pincers will open and close without revealing the robot head. The translucent yellow chest plate with the silver plastic behind it and the Decepticon logo stamped on top looks fantastic. Plus, you get that most regal of all Decepticon colors: Black and purple. I also appreciate the use of gloss black paint on the body, as it resembles the diecast of the original toy. There’s some nice silver, red, and blue trim here and there and if it weren’t for that gray plastic, this little bug bot would be a total home run.
Shrapnel comes with two weapons, and you can peg them into his back to weaponize the beetle mode. And look, the G1-inspired gun is actually painted silver, making the ugly gray pincers stand out even more. Yeah, I know. I should get over it. Let’s get him transformed into his robot mode.
Hasbro didn’t muck up the rather simple transformation design from the original figures. Sure, it’s a bit more complex, but it’s still in the spirit of the original toy and it’s still quick, easy, and comfy. Like the beetle mode, Shrapnel’s robot form is a pitch perfect homage to the G1 toy only with better proportions and more articulation. Hey, did I mention how bad the pincers look without silver paint? Oh yeah. I did. Everything else here is just superbly done. You get most of the same beautiful colors on display in his bug mode, and that wonderful yellow chest plate is front and center. I could complain that the upper legs aren’t painted silver too, but that really doesn’t bother me at all. Just the pincers. See… I’m reasonable! From the back, he’s pretty well filled out, except for the hollow upper legs and backs of the pincers.
The head sculpt is also spot on perfect from his big red visor to his silver painted face. You had the silver paint out, Hasbro. It was on the table. You just had to use some more of it on those pincers, dammit!
The two guns are pretty cool, but I’ll mainly just be displaying him with the G1-inspired silver weapon. The purple one can be combined with it a couple of different ways, which is fun, but I don’t like how either of them look enough to go with it.
So, I was really pissed when I opened this figure and saw the pincers, but you probably get that from having read the same complaint over and over again. What I did not expect to happen was to get past it, but get past it I eventually did. At some point the rest of the figure’s merits won me over and I was willing to let it go. And since, Hasbro did something different with Kickback’s wings instead of painting them silver, the two figures do pair up pretty well and look great together. So all that’s left is to see what Hasbro is going to do with Bombshell. If they paint his head cannon silver it’ll make Shrapnel look worse, so I guess the only thing to do is to embrace the gray plastic. We’ll see. But for now, I’m actually really happy with these two, although I won’t be retiring my third party bug bots by Bad Cube any time soon.