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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
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Brendocon's review of: Shrapnel

Faction: Decepticon z
Function: Electronic Warfare
Sub-Group: Insecticons
"Control electricity and you control the world"

"The noise of war and the screams of his foes are music to this loathsome Insecticon's audio modules...has piercing battle cry...can be heard 8 miles away. In insect mode can use antennae to control almost any electrical device. In Robot Mode can attract lightning bolts to antennae and shoot them out hands. Grenade launcher shoots 30 pound steel balls that splinter into razor-sharp spikes. Insulation can stop his electrical blasts"

Alternate Mode: I'm fairly certain Shrapnel came packed in this mode, its where the instructions start, and I have memories of staring at him on the shelves in Toys R' Us thinking 'want', and sure enough, 13 years later, I have (And my parents always said that want doesn't get- showed them), so we'll start there. Shrapnel's alternate mode is a lamellicorn. A what? Did I hear you say? Well, I looked it up. The word 'lamellicorn' means "having extended antennae flattened into plates." So now you know. So, strictly speaking, Shrapnel is a lamellicorn BEETLE. Anyway, is this a biology and grammar class? Or is it a toy review? (An education doesn't hurt y'know).
Looking at his beetle mode, it's fairly obvious that there's a robot in there. This is true with the other Insecticons also, so the whole 'Robots in Disguise' ethos suffers from a case of Object:Defeated. The structure of Shrapnel is very faithful to the standard insect design, he has areas that are discernable as head, abdomen, and thorax. The head consists of two silver 'faceplates' connected to the lamellicorn antennae, the antennae being approximately the same length as the abdomen and thorax. The black coloured thorax, as is bug-standard, is higher and larger than the abdomen; it has a split running along the middle, with two small fins on either side. Looking from aboveand behind, the rubsign is located on the right side of the split, and takes up roughly a quarter of the thorax space (this will give you a vague idea as to his size, the overall length from tail to antenna tip is just under 5.5"). The tail end of the thorax consists of two purple rectangular 'boosters' about half an inch long.
The abdomen section is black, with the exception of the mid portion. This portion is clear yellow plastic, with a Decepticon logo central, and lifts up to reveal a cockpit (?!). The abdomen is flanked by two purple beams (that look uncannily like arms). Extending down from these beams are short pieces which connect to similarly small rods (running parallel to the 'arms' creating an 'H' effect) with wheels (?!) on. These rods create the effect of a runner when aligned to the yellow tracks mounted below the abdomen. These also have wheels on.
Lets review the evidence. A cockpit. Wheels. Yes, it can mean only one thing: Shrapnel was once a Diaclone (or Diakron dependant on preference, I go for the latter as its got less letters in).

Robot Mode: Right, so transforming him before we start the robo-review. First of all, make sure that the purple 'boosters' are lined up straight, then slide the thorax away from the abdomen. Then flip the purple boosters to point downwards, to make the feet. Stand him up and rotate the hips so the feet point in the opposite direction. It may not surprise you to know that the 'arms' from the alternate mode now form his robot arms (If it does, go to the back of the class!). Rotate the yellow runners around to fold in behind his back, and seperate the antennae by pulling them to the sides to reveal his face.
Raise an arm (any arm) and slot on the 'gamma ray detonator' (that's what his gun is called. Seriously). Shrapnel is now complete.
His robot mode pretty much resembles the cartoon character based on him. His body is black with a yellow chest plate, thighs are chrome, shins black, arms and feet purple. All the detailing is done by stickers- bar his painted face- and adds to the overall effect. The two main sources of contention I have are the presence of two yellow railings running up his back, and that the antennae are two far apart in robot mode. In theory these antennae need tilting so as they point upwards (instead of diagonally away from his head), however this would cause the covers to obscure his face. The only other problem is that his gun is longer than his arm.
From ground to head, Shrapnel stands at just over 3.5" tall. Incorporating the antennae, his highest point is almost 4.75".

Transformation:6 - quick and simple, but leaves you feeling oddly cheating
Durability: 7 - His size makes him feel very brittle, and the antennae look as if they could become detached easily. He's survived a couple of big falls without any noticable damage though.
Fun:7 - He looks cool, the character controls electricity, and he turns into a big bug.
Price: Loose, about $10 to $20 in good condition. Boxed? Seller's prerogative. I got all three Insecticons c9 for about $50.
Overall 7 - Seen better, seen much worse.
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