Transformers Badcube Evil Bug Corps (Masterpiece Insecticons)
Since these are Third Party, non-official items, it’s best to get some stickers from Reprolabels/Toyhax.com to make these guys more “toon-accurate”.
To apply, I find the best way to stick the stickers on is to use the tip of a blade, this way you have more control over the application, as compared to using just your fingers. You can also use the blade to help gently peel off a corner of the sticker in case you didn’t center it right and need to re-apply.
His antennae are packed disconnected from the figure. You have to manually attach these yourself. It’s not hard to do, but it is a pain when you have to remove them again to return the figure to the tray.
Shrapnel is the leader of the Insecticons. Like the other Insecticons, he was adapted to feed on organic matter and convert it to Energon to survive after crashing on Earth.
Grenade launcher weapon can be mounted on his back
Alternate “smiling” face included.
Ball-jointed mid-section gives a wide range of motion for this figure.
Claymore has small laser guns under his forearm that can be folded out. I’m not sure if these were ever used like this in the cartoons, but it is a nice added bonus feature for the toy.
Lightning attacks- In the series, Shrapnel can channel lighting attacks in robot mode if there’s a storm over the area by using his large antennae. Striking down his foes with terrifying accuracy, but the attack can be cancelled out if his opponents have insulation (e.g., rolling on rubber tires)
In insect mode, Shrapnel can override and control anything mechanical using his antennae (even Autobots in vehicle modes!).
Bombshell is the Insecticon team’s psychological warfare specialist, often using his Cerebro shells to mind control his enemies and use them to fight for him.
Twin Ion Pulse blaster can be stored on his back.
Cerebro shells are launched from his antennae, once implanted into the heads of his victims, they allow Bombshell to have absolute control. Under his thrall, he can give them any orders to execute. They stay under his control regardless of distance. Cerebro shells can even be used on humans, too, supposedly. His antennae can lob grenade rounds at his opponents as well.
In insect mode, Bombshell can also use his Cerebro Shells and fire grenade rounds from his front horn.
The transformation is also quite clever here, as it “fixes” the problem of Bombshell’s alternating chest panels (violet in insect mode, gray in robot mode) by providing flip out violet panel covers for the insect mode. Something not even the Fans Toys version can do (you have to buy 2 different versions of the Fans Toys Bombshell to get it right).
Kickback is the only Insecticon that doesn’t get any leadership time (Shrapnel and Bombshell sometimes alternate being the leader of the group). He appears charming and friendly (especially to humans) but is actually probing for weaknesses to exploit and uses information for blackmail later on.
Alternate “smiling” face” included.
Electrothermic Blast Tube sub-machine gun mounts on his back in robot mode.
At first, I thought the figure seemed too “barrel-chested”, but it seems that’s how he’s actually drawn in the cartoons. So I guess it does make this figure show-accurate after all.
Electrothermic Blast Tube sub-machine gun can fire up to 300 rounds per minute.
According to his G1 bio, Kickback can kick a hole through 1/4 inch thick steel, he can also jump 40 feet high for a distance of 0.1 miles.
Weight and details:
-Claymore – 7.25 inches (counting tips of antennae) and 107 Grams
-Hypno – 6 inches and 105 Grams
-Kickbutt – 6.75 inches (counting tips of wings) and 85 Grams
Diecast parts include:
-None for all three figures (only Collector’s Edition solo-pack versions have diecast feet).
Introduction for the Collector’s Editions is mentioned in the manual.
The Insecticon team
The set comes with an Energon Cube for each Insecticon team member, these can be stored inside their chest panels.
Overall, it’s a very good set! It would’ve been really nice if Badcube put in diecast, but that’s exclusive to the single-pack “Collector’s Edition” versions (diecast feet), which are harder to come by, which makes them more expensive to get.
The Collector’s Editions also follow the G1 toy aesthetics, meaning, clear plastic chest panels, yellow insect legs (Claymore) and chromed wings and weapons, while the “value pack” versions follow the cartoon models more closely. The Collector’s Edition Hypno/ Bombshell also features only a violet-colored chest in both modes (just like in the G1 toy), so I feel this “value pack” version is more superior overall to the Collector’s Edition.
Strangely, Badcube didn’t release any more “Collector’s Editions” after they announced it in this set. They also stopped making Masterpiece-styled figures after Steamroll (Sideswipe) and Recon (Red Alert). I wonder what happened to them?
One the negative side, I really, really hate how difficult it is to get the guns into the hands. It involves forcing the handle to fit into the slot, but it takes a lot of effort and I always tend to either warp the thumb or the palm of the figures. Very annoying to do and shouldn’t even be an issue.
Admittedly, given the choice between these or the Fans Toys versions, I would go for the Fans Toys versions (slightly taller and heavier I think), but they’ve become so crazy expensive on the secondary markets that one single figure is equivalent to two of the Badcube “value pack” versions. Also, I hear there are some fragility issues with the Fans Toys Kickback (regarding transforming the wings), so there is that to consider as well.
With regards to the other Third Party Insecticons, the MMC Malum Militia set, I would choose this Badcube “value pack” over the MMC Malum Militia, as the design on those leave much of the insect legs exposed on their backs in robot mode and they do seem a bit too slender compared to the other Third Party Insecticons.