Transformers Legacy: Knock-Out by Hasbro

Today I’m checking out another Transformer from the current Legacy line, and one that I actually bought entirely by mistake. This guy went up for pre-order along with some of the Legacy Stunticons, and I guess I just went Decpti-Car mad and slapped that pre-order button one too many times. But that’s OK, because ever since the Stunticons were first introduced, I’ve always had a thing for Decepticon cars and I’m always happy to add another to the collection.

So, it looks like Legacy is just drawing characters from all over the Transformers Universe? Or was that already widely known and I’m just now figuring it out? Either way, Knock-Out here is a reimagining of a character that was introduced in Transformers: Prime. I liked the show well enough, and I collected the toys, but the designs always struck me as being sort of like a weird cross between Animated and Bayformer. Oh yeah, and the package even states “Prime Universe” so my dumb ass has no excuses for buying him by mistake. Let’s open him up and start with the alt mode!

I’ll get to some comparison shots in a bit, but other than being a red car, this alt-mode doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the original toy. But that’s fine because I’m prepared to treat this figure as its own thing for now. This car is a little boxier and less streamlined, but it looks really nice. You get some clear windows, silver decos on the doors, and some gold bling on the wheels. The rather aggressive looking front bumper is a nice mix of dark gray and silver, the headlamps are blacked out, and the hood has some stylish grills sculpted into them. You also get a understated Decepticon emblem front and center. This car holds together well and rolls perfectly.

Alas, there’s one big QC issue on mine, and that’s this mess on the rear driver-side quarter panel. Yeesh! What the hell is this? It doesn’t come off, and it almost looks like spilled adhesive that has melted into the plastic surface. I’d like to blame the lack of a window on the box for this, but I’m pretty sure whatever this is happened at the factory and should have been caught. Yeah, there’s also some gold paint spray on the tire below it. Not cool, Hasbro! I’ll also throw out here that the plastic in general has a grain to it, almost like you get with 3D printing, but not nearly as bad. Very odd!

Knock-Out comes with a two-piece weapon, which can be plugged into the vehicle on the various ports. I went with what the package suggested and it’s not bad. It basically gives the car a long cannon on the hood and a smaller gun-blade-thingy on the side. I do enjoy weaponizing my Decepti-Cars, so I like it! OK, so how about them comparison shots?

Yup, Legacy Knock-Out is bigger and beefier, and I’d say even a bit more aggressive in his design. He looks like he’d be more at home trading paint with Autobots on the highway than his somewhat fragile looking predecessor. The silver deco on the doors pays homage to the original toy’s design, but I wish Hasbro had included the darker maroon coloring on the Legacy version, as I find it pretty distinctive, and it would have helped to drive home the homage a bit more. I didn’t think original Knock-Out had gold rims, and when I dug him out I saw that I remembered correctly. They do look nice, though! On to the robot mode!

Getting Legacy Knock-Out into and out of his robot mode sure is a lot easier than it is with his fidgety predecessor. Indeed, the robot mode here conforms pretty close to the tried and true designs of the Autobot Datsuns, Hound, or Jazz, with the hood making up the chest, the back of the car making up the feet, and the top of the car worn as a backpack. If you’re looking for anything clever or fresh here in terms of engineering or design, you won’t find it. But, if you like this design trope as much as I do, you’ll be happy to see it’s done quite well here. I especially love how the aggressive front bumper makes for a powerful and intimidating chest, and the way the front wheels are concealed inside the shoulders. The deco keeps a lot of the red from the auto mode and throws a lot of black and gray into the mix. You also get some nice, sharp looking silver on his abs. It’s a great looking robot mode!

The head sculpt definitely draws from Prime Knock-Out, and while it’s certainly a good sculpt, it does lose a lot of the personality of the Prime figure. The helmet is toned down a lot with the central comb not nearly as stylized. He’s got a nose now, which is worth noting because TF: Prime Transformers didn’t seem to ever have noses. It’s pretty obvious, this portrait is made to conform to the G1 style and sensibilities and I can dig that. I do wish they let him keep his smirk, though.

When assembled together, Knock-Out’s weapon is meant to pay respects to the original toy’s trident. To be honest, I was never a big fan of that weapon in the first place, and this one doesn’t do much for me either. It looks good, but the way he’s meant to hold it doesn’t make any sense. And the peg at the base of the shaft is too small for him to grasp tightly. You can split it up into two weapons, and that works better for me. I particularly like the rifle. The blade-thing works as a pistol, I guess, but I wish he could hold it like a dagger. I just don’t think a lot of thought went into this thing.

In the end, Knock-Out is an interesting figure, that is at best only inspired by the Knock-Out of Transformers: Prime. His design allegiances clearly lie with the G1 aesthetic, and I actually dig that very much. But fans that were hoping for something a lot more faithful to the source material may very well be disappointed with this guy. Now at the risk of pissing some people off, I’ll say that I was pretty shocked when I dug up Prime Knock-Out for this review and transformed him. I have very fond memories of these toys, but this is one that has not aged well, and I fear that may be the case with the rest of my Prime figures, most of which I haven’t laid hands on in a while. He’s kind of ugly and not very stable, and while Legacy Knock-Out is a lot more homogenized, and maybe even a little generic, I’d still say he looks better on the shelf and he’s a much more fun toy to play around with. I dig him!

Transformers Legacy: Kickback by Hasbro

Well, it looks like a Hasbro trifecta this week, as I’ve gone from Marvel Legends to GI JOE Classified, and now to Transformers Legacy. But hey, I do collect an awful lot of Hasbro properties, so that’s bound to happen from time to time. Today I’m dipping back into Hasbro’s new(ish) line called Legacy, which has been keeping a lot of the G1 love rolling, and this time it’s with a brand new version of an old favorite Insecticon of mine!

Here he is in the rather colorful Legacy packaging…. We last saw Kickback released in the Titan Returns line as a Legends Class in about five years ago. HOLY CRAP, THAT WAS FIVE YEARS AGO!?! He was the final release in that Insecticon trio, and while I liked that figure a lot, Hasbro took too long to release all three and by the time we got to Kickback, they all had annoying differences in their colors and aesthetics. When I finally got to put them on the shelf together and they just didn’t feel like a cohesive team. Later that same year, I picked up Bad Cube’s unofficial Insecticon Trinity, known as the Evil Bug Corps. Soon thereafter Hasbro’s little bugs went into a tote and I haven’t seen them since. But I absolutely adore the Insecticons ever since they made their first appearance in the old cartoon, and I’m ready to see Hasbro take another crack at these bug bots, so let’s start with Kickback and his cyber-locust mode.

Just from handling this guy, you don’t have to see the robot mode, to tell that Hasbro remained VERY faithful to the design and engineering of the original toy. That could be good or bad, depending on your opinion of overly simple transformations. For me, one of the reasons I Loved the G1 Kickback figure so much was that he looked exactly like his Sunbow animated counterpart, he actually had decent articulation and felt like a real action figure, and he was quick to get from robot to bug and back, which made playing with him a lot of fun. And all that certainly applies here! Sure, the way his legs work has been tweaked, but in spirit everything here is the same as the original. The deco is simple and gorgeous, and black and purple one-two punch to the eyeballs is to die for, and the added yellow brings it to new heights. And while his yellow chest plate is perfectly visible on his back here, I’ll wait to talk about it until we get him transformed.

The only thing I am torn on here are those wings. Oh, they look really nice with their intricate sculpted patterns set upon clear plastic canvases. But, I really miss the silver, because it’s just such an iconic part of the original toy. The chrome present on the original toy is very noticeably absent here. I’ve decided that it’s not a deal breaker for me, and that’s probably just because these do look so nice. The gun storage, on the other hand, is such a wonderful bonus on this update. It plugs right up into his undercarriage and adds some nice firepower to locust mode. If you’re a fan of asymmetry, you can also mount it on either leg.

Kickback also comes with two energy sword-gun-things, which are designed to tab into his wings in the locust mode. These are cast in translucent purple plastic and they’re OK. I’ll never complain about some nice bonus accessories, but I’m never going to display him with them, so they’re pretty much lost on me. Actually, I’ll probably loan them out to other figures. Maybe two of the Legacy Stunticons. But, yeah I wish Hasbro had saved the plastic to give us two sets of wings and the ability to swap them out for two different display options. That would have been really cool. Let’s move on to his robot mode…

Awww, yeah! It takes only a few seconds to get him into robot mode, and what a killer mode it is! Kickback is a tad on the stout side, but apart from that this is just a beautiful homage to his original G1 toy. He has actual fists now, instead of claws cobbled from his insect legs, and while I didn’t realize it in time for most of these pictures, he actually has ankle tilts hidden up in them feets. But what I absolutely have to uncontrollably gush over is that yellow chest plate. It’s yellow-tinted clear plastic over what I assume is a silver painted plate under it, and it creates a gorgeous radiant glow, like he’s practically pulsating with energon. Holy shit, it’s just gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see Bombshell and Shrapnel get the same treatment. I imagine the only people who could gripe about the execution here is that it doesn’t open up as an homage to the diaclone pilot compartment from the original toy. The Decepticon insignia on his upper chest looks great, and I dig the addition of some red panels and yellow striping on his lower legs. Kickback even looks all closed up and polished from the back! What an amazing robot mode!

And the head sculpt is pure money! Hasbro went with the Sunbow style face, as opposed to that of the G1 toy, and I’m always happier when they go this route! He’s got some beautiful silver paint on his face and forehead, and his black “helmet” is flanked by his glorious yellow bug antenna. Yes, there’s a little silver overspray at the top of his bright red visor, but thanks to his pronounced brow, you have to get down low to really notice it. Thankfully, the rest of the paint is fine, but sometimes I worry about these silver faces exposed to the elements with no window to protect them in the packaging. I’ve been lucky so far, but I do buy most of these online and sight unseen, so it’s always a gamble now.

Kickback comes with a wonderful update to his original Electrothermic Blast Tube weapon, which is mostly silver, but also has some metallic purple on the muzzle and on the drum-style magazine. It’s a great looking gun and a very distinctive design!

And the sword-gun-thingies that we saw attached to his locust mode, can also be wielded as weapons in his robot mode. You can attach these to his arms as guns, or he can wield them like energon swords. Again, these are cool bonus accessories, but I don’t plan on using them. I would have much preferred Hasbro include some Energon Cubes instead of these.

Here are some comparison shots of Legacy Kickback with the Commemorative Collection G1 Reissue figure, and boy do I think he represents well! He’s a little bit bigger in locust mode and A LOT bigger in robot mode. Sure, the legacy version is missing a little of the pop from the stickers on the G1 toy, but still an absolutely great representation of one of my favorite G1 figures.

A few petty nitpicks aside, I am absolutely thrilled with how great Legacy Kickback came out. This is just another example of me retiring an older Transformers figure in favor of a newer update. He’s so much fun to zip in and out of locust mode, and to just play around with on my downtime. He’ll likely be on my desk for a while, before finding a home on the display shelves. Yeah, I may buy a second Kickback and have a go at coloring those wings, but we’ll see if the clear set grows on me. My only hope now is that Hasbro doesn’t wait a a couple years to finish the trio off, and that Bombshell and Shrapnel both show up with the same style chests, and an overall cohesive look for the team!

Transformers Legacy: Dragstrip by Hasbro

Lately collecting Transformers for me has become a cycle of conflict. It goes something like this. Oh no, they’re doing him again. We just got him and I don’t need to buy another. Oh, but look at how much better he looks than the last one. Oh, and it’s actually been five to ten years since we last got him. Huh, seems like it was more recent. Oh, what the hell, I’ll buy him anyway because he really is a big improvement. Transformers is the only line I collect, where it feels like I’m constantly upgrading to a better version of an existing character, and yet I’m a sucker for convertorobots, so I usually do it.

And here we go again, because it’s Dragstrip! A character that last saw release in aptly named Combiner Wars back around 2015. And while it feels like that was just yesterday, it really was quite a while ago. As with Hasbro’s last crack at the Stunticons, Dragstrip and the other limbs are Deluxes, but this time it looks like Motormaster will be a Commander Class, which I think is the new Leader Class. That classification makes sense, since those figures have been getting smaller, but coming with more stuff. And, unlike the Combiner Wars version, this Motormaster will have a trailer. Anyway, we’ve seen the Legacy packaging before. I dig the deco, but I’ll continue to complain about the toy being exposed to the elements, not to mention the disgusting booger-mining fingers of children. Just put them in closed boxes, Hasbro. Let’s start with the alt-mode…

Nice! One of my many issues with CW Dragstrip was that the mold was obviously intended to double as Mirage. And so, while we did get an F-1 racer, it wasn’t really the Dragstrip I knew from the G1 toy or the Sunbow cartoon. This version fixes that very well, most notably giving him his distinctive double wheels on the front and the exposed engine on the back. The vehicle is very compact and boxy, and I absolutely love it. I particularly dig what they did with the front scoop, giving him what looks a bit like a cow-catcher on a locomotive, perfect for ramming Autobots off the road!

The colors here are also spectacular! Hasbro took the basic yellow and red stripes from the original toy, but added in some of the brownish-gold from the Sunbow animated model. Toss in the beautiful silver paint on the engine, and the black wheels, and you’ve got a striking color scheme, that manages to pay respects to both G1 versions that I love so much! The large Decepticon insignia on the front is a great touch as well!

Dragstrip comes with a pair of guns, which can be pegged into the holes on the top sides of the vehicle if you like to weaponize your racecars!

Transforming Dragstrip is just complex enough to be satisfying, but not annoying. The result is an absolutely stellar looking robot mode, which again pays respects to the character’s roots. Gone is the f’ugly combiner port chest, and in its place is the open cockpit with the silver exposed engine block, just like the toy and Sunbow versions. Other great call-outs are the spoilers making up the feet, and the position of the wheels, with the backs landing on his lower legs, and the double fronts on his shoulders. Here, Hasbro went with the Sunbow look of having the shoulder wheels line up front to back, rather than on top of each other like the toy. He even has the shoulder ridges, which remind me of the ridges armor sometimes had to prevent decapitation in battle. Even from the back, he’s pretty damn clean and tight.

The head sculpt is a welcome departure from whatever the hell it was that we got with the Combiner Wars figure. While, I eventually warmed up to that figure, I never stopped hating the portrait. Here, we get a very Sunbow looking head sculpt, featuring the bold red visor, red plates on the sides of the “helmet” as well as the little “ears” jutting out the sides.

The color scheme in robot mode is pretty much identical to the alt mode. It’s dominated by thes ame bright yellow and brown-gold accents. I do like how the red stripes land on his arms. Really, the only thing missing here is a little Decepticon insignia near his left shoulder. Indeed, there’s no faction symbol in this mode at all, but I suppose that can be easily fixed with a repro-sticker.

As we saw while looking at the alt-mode, Dragstrip comes with a pair of pistols, which can be combined into one gun, as well as wielded separately. It definitely references the Sunbow gun over the original toy’s, particularly with the inclusion of the scope. The guns look OK when combined, but it does give them two sets of grips, which is a bit weird. I will likely display him with just one pistol and set the other aside, or peg it into his back for storage. The black and purple deco on the guns is excellent!

Almost everything about CW Dragstrip felt like a compromise, whereas the Legacy version is 100% its own thing, and I absolutely love that! Hasbro executed this figure with style and precision, and apart from the bot mode missing a faction symbol, I can’t find anything bad to say about him! Indeed, it’s especially interesting how there’s virtually nothing about him that advertises the figure as doubling as a Combiner limb. No obvious ports or connectors, no extra parts, nothing! Only a tiny graphic on the box suggests he’s part of a Combiner team, and I suspect that’s because all the Combiner stuff will be found in Motormaster.

Transformers Legacy: Blaster & Eject by Hasbro

The hot newness around the Transformers world is the Legacy series, but it really just seems to be a continuation of the previous lines, with a heavy lean in to the old favorite Generation 1 designs and a smattering of Beast Wars here and there. And in keeping with their sometimes irritating habit of recent redos, Hasbro is taking another crack at everyone’s favorite Autobot boombox, Blaster!

I say recent redos, but to be fair we last saw Blaster about five years ago in the Titans Return line, and it was about four years before that when he was released in Generations. Now, I wouldn’t call three Blasters in the course of about a decade overkill, but there are still other characters who are overdue for their time in the spotlight. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t I see this figure released in Kingdom packaging as well? To be honest, it’s getting hard for me to keep track of some of Hasbro’s releases these days. Anywho, Blaster comes in the colorful new packaging we last saw with Skids, and there’s still a big open window so kids can stick their disgusting little peanut butter fingers all over my toy. Also billed in this package is Eject, which is thankfully a cassette tape and not a Headmaster head, like we got with Twin Cast. Let’s check out the alt modes…

For a long while, Hasbro seemed to be ashamed of the old tape player modes. That was especially the case with Soundwave, but Hasbro seems to have gotten over it, as the last Blaster we got was a boombox, and so is this one. And because we aren’t dealing with any third base mode, this one looks pretty damn good. You get the red body with gray side speakers, a yellow tape door, and a carry bar up top. There are some non-working knobs, and a row of buttons, which can be pressed to open the tape door. There’s not much happening on the flipside, although as you can see, I have a few pieces that aren’t aligned perfectly, which just goes to show this is a fairly forgiving transformation. Colors aside, this looks a lot like the Emerson boombox I used to record songs off the radio with when I was a kid!

The tape deck is pretty small, but I still think it scales pretty well with the Netflix War For Cyberton Soundwave release. A figure, which I never got around to reviewing, but here’s a comparison, nonetheless. Personally, I think they look good together.

As I mentioned earlier, the tape door is spring loaded, and pops open when you press the row of buttons under it. At which point you can pull out Eject in his cassette mode. Eject is mostly cast in this beautiful blue transparent plastic, with some gray parts and gold trim. They didn’t really go overboard with any cassette tape markings, but you can clearly see the two tape reels as part of the sculpt. I wan’t a big fan of the days when Hasbro was turning the cassettes into bombs or data pads, or data discs. It’s nice to see them as cassettes again. The flipside isn’t very polished, and if you’re a goofball like i am and don’t turn the head around, you can see Eject peeking back at you. Let’s check out his robot mode, before getting back to Blaster.

Eject is a pretty cool little guy, and while some may have issue with the use of translucent plastic, I actually like it a lot. It looks gorgeous with the gold paint, and Eject’s proportions aren’t too bad for a little cassette bot. And thanks to some ball joints and rotating hinges, he’s got plenty of articulation too.

Blaster’s transformation is a bit more complex than his old G1 toy, but the principle is pretty much the same. The robot mode is clean and well-proportioned and looks great. You still get the tape door on his chest, the speakers on his lower legs, and I dig the way the carry bar splits and locks into the outside of his legs. Those hollow forearms are a shame, but nothing that’s going to ruin the toy for me, and he even looks surprisingly polished from the back, and includes a whole slew of ports back there so he can store his gun and a bunch of other stuff. They even hit a homerun with the head sculpt here.

Hasbro sculpted Blaster’s right hand so that he has a pointing index finger to allow him to push his own buttons and eject a tape while in robot mode. Seriously, can these guys not just activate eject internally? Why they gotta push their own buttons? Either way, it’s worth mentioning that Blaster has some serious ankle tilts, to keep them feets flat on the floor even in dynamic wide stances, and I sure do appreciate that!

Blaster comes with his very distinctive sniper-rifle style gun. There are plenty of Transformers out there who could get away with any old weapon design, but you can’t mess with this design. It just wouldn’t be Blaster without it!

And if you were playing with Transformers back in the 80’s, you know what a triumph it is to have a Blaster and a Soundwave that actually scale well together. Blaster is just a tad taller than that Netflix Soundwave. Just enough to keep with tradition, but not enough to make it awkward when you want to have them fight. And boy do they look fantastic together!

What’s one of the things that bug me the most about Transformers in the last ten years or so? Hasbro puts out a figure and I really like it. Then four or five years later, they put out a new version and it makes the previous figure, the one I was perfectly happy with, look like poop. That’s probably why my Transformers toys are the only aspect of my collection that I purge with some regularity. There are some older favorites that I keep, but even though the Titans Return Blaster is a distinctive figure with its own charms, now that this new Blaster has come along, I really have no need to keep him in the collection anymore.

Transformers Legacy: Skids by Hasbro

What’s this? A new main line of Transformers? Well, at least that’s my assumption, that Legacy will be replacing the Trilogy of Siege, Earthrise, and Kingdom as the new Generations line, and what better character to launch this Legacy series than… Oh, it’s Skids. Ok, then…

Well, I do like the art design! Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, I like it better than what we’ve been getting. The character art has been phenomenal, but some derivation of the boring black package with generic font Transformers running up the side has been with us for a while. This is colorful and trippy and while the Legacy logo doesn’t really scream Transformers brand to me, I can get behind this. Unfortunately, like the packaging we saw in my Buzzworthy Bumblebee review, Hasbro has stopped using plastic windows to save the planet and now leaves the toy exposed to the elements, as well as the sticky fingers of children. I would much rather they just use a completely enclosed box, but whatever. Let’s start with Skids alt mode.

Ah, the Honda City Turbo. It’s a car I never heard of before meeting Skids, and one that I haven’t heard of since. I should go on record here by saying that I’ve never been a fan of Skids. He was kind of a non-entity in the Sunbow cartoon. Indeed, off-hand I can only remember him being in two episodes: Quest for Survival and Triple Takeover. Both are great episodes, but certainly not because Skids happened to be in them. His toy was released too late to be part of the original Class of 84 Autobots, but too early to be included with the hot newness of the 1985 roster. I do distinctly remember finding him in Sears and my Dad saying, “oh, a new Transformer?” You want him? And I said nah, and wound up getting something else instead. At the time, there was just nothing about him that made him desirable to me and he was one of the only Autobots in the 1984-85 line up that I never owned.

Skids is a box on wheels, and certainly doesn’t share the stylish contours of the vintage Datsuns or sexy Lamborghinis. But with that being said, this is a fantastic new version of the original car form. Hasbro didn’t go too far off the page with this one, keeping the same midnight blue body and the same red and white striping on the sides. The front grill is gray with yellow headlamps, and there’s an Autobot emblem on the hood. The windshield and front windows are tinted blue, and you get lots of nice sculpted detail, including quad exhaust, a gas cap, and the screen on the front and back bumpers. The back is a little bland, but all in all, this is a nice alt mode for what it is.

Skids comes with a few weapons, and these can be attached using any of the three ports (one up top, and two on the sides), if you want to weaponize this mode.

Transforming Skids is pretty intuitive and the resulting robot looks surprisingly nice. The front bumper chest and door-wings has always been my favorite look for an Autobot, and Skids wears them quite well. Yeah, the chest is sharply squared off, and reminds me a bit of Armada Red Alert, but I ain’t hating it. The rest of the figure is nicely proportioned, and adds some more red to the deco, both down on his feet, and smack dab in the middle of his robot cod piece. And when viewed from behind, he’s all closed up and polished to a shine.

The head sculpt is very close to what I remember the original toy looking like, although I’m remembering him with yellow eyes instead of blue. The silver face paint looks sharp, and he wears a slight expression of disapproval on his lips, like he just saw that Spike’s report card and he got a C- in Algebra.

For an Autobot who’s primary function is a theoretician, Skids does come with a lot of weapons. You get two silver blasters, one is a stout single barrel pistol, and the other is a dual barreled gun, which can combine together to form a pretty formidable looking piece of hardware.

You also get what I think is supposed to be some kind of Energon Ax, which can also combine with the guns in a number of ways to make, well… I don’t know what. The ax replaces the rocket launcher that came with the original toy, and I’m cool with that!

The only reason I picked up Skids was because he was a new figure in a new line, and I was excited. But in reality, Legacy appears to just be an extension of what we’ve been getting in the War For Cybertron stuff, which is pretty much what I’m looking for in my Transformers anyway. Change the packaging all you want, Hasbro, but you’ve been batting a thousand with your Generations Transformers lately, and I don’t want to see that change. As for the figure itself, Skids if great! I’m legitimately surprised at how happy I am with this pick up, and he’s going to look fantastic on my Autobot shelf!