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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review of: Beast Wars Insecticon

Name: Insecticon
Allegiance: Predacon
Function: Surveillance
Sub-Group: Insecticon (ironically)

Sonar-sensitive antennae locate and track enemy Maximals infiltrating Predacon battle perimeters. Internal radar beacon emits low-frequency signal to alert others. When hungry for battle himself, this insidious insect uses his crossbow to cripple enemies then drags 'em to their doom with his monstrous mandibles!

To begin this review with my standard Beast Wars mantra: I have very few Beast Wars figures, partly due to my age at their release, and partly due to the fact that I prefer my Transformers to turn into vehicles and other machines.

Still, I love Transformers that turn into good inverts – and that’s a vague category that the Beast Wars line delivered well. The very nature of invertebrates makes them ideal candidates for Transformer adaptations.

Insecticon is an early attempt at this, and obviously takes his name from the general G1 group (a name which has seen a return to its previous use in recent years – at least amongst collectors). I say ‘early attempt’ merely as a statement of fact. He was among the first of the Transformers to have a life-realistic invertebrate mode. But that’s not to say it pales by modern standards. This figure is a near perfect Transformer, and, as you’ll see, is far superior to a lot of the later BW Transformers with invert alternate modes.

Alternate Mode:

Insecticon’s alternate mode is a rather nice 13.5cm (5”) stag beetle. The detailing is very good, and the whole affair is almost zoologically accurate. But, hey, we’re all into the fun and display-ability of a figure, aren’t we? And Insecticon does not disappoint in his beetle mode! The colour scheme of grass green and blue, with just a hint of a metallic sheen, works exceptionally well, while the robot arm articulation allows great leg poseability (I have him sit nicely crawling over the edge of my computer monitor at work…), but, let’s face it, his articulated mandibles are the coup de grace!

There’s very little wrong with this alternate mode. The feet out the back can easily be explained away as the abdomen showing beyond the elytra – which is common in beetles. The robot mode’s hands are a little more awkward, but are hardly the end of the world. The light weight allows the figure to balance happily on the tips of his toes! And, the test of a truly excellent Transformer – people who enter my office comment on the great model of a beetle, without realizing that it’s a Transformer – and these people are environmentally oriented! It’s by no means a replica of a real species, but it is good as far as toys go!

Robot Mode:

The transformation is exceptionally simple. Pull on the robot’s legs, and the whole robot mode comes together, ‘as if by magic’! This is by no means a negative point. This is a beautiful transformation to watch. It’s exceedingly well thought out.

Furthermore, open up the elytra, and you have the two halves of a crossbow that can be combined and placed in Insecticon’s hand! An arguably useful weapon, but it surely stands up against swords… And, hey, it looks good (aided by the ingeniously angled handle peg).

Standing at 10cm (4”), Insecticon is a little fellow, but perfectly proportioned. The colour scheme is largely the same as that of his alternate mode, but some beige is revealed. Detailing is great, and the articulation and balance is phenomenal.

His head is very well sculpted, with menacing teeth and red eyes. It does remind me of some of the monstrous Gobots of yesteryear, but, thankfully, less childish and part of an excellent ensemble.

The only negatives that can be conjured for the robot mode are the slightly annoying pieces of kibble that are the beetle’s legs. But, other than this, Insecticon is a very respectable robot, and, all in all, not a bad addition to a Transformer collection.

Transformation: 1 – It cannot get any easier than this without removing the whole Transformation thing (like the game pieces in the MB Transformers [G1] Game). Still, it is very well thought out, and should not be seen as a negative.
Durability: 10 – Very well put together. You’d have to try to break this guy.
Fun: 8 – He’s a great beetle, and a great robot, with a fun transformation and superb articulation. You can’t go wrong here!
Price: 4 – Although he’s not too pricey, I would say that he goes for a little more than he’s worth at times. I’ve seen him for sale between £6 ($11.30) and £9 ($17), in various conditions, but would expect he could be found cheaper. I was lucky enough to get mine as a present when he was released.
Overall: 6 – Not an essential piece for your collection, but certainly not a bad one to pick up at a good price!
 
 
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