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Insecticon

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

Transformers 2 was a movie of extremes: extremely bad plotting and extremely murky fight scenes; extremely dull characters and extremely insulting characters; extremely big robots and extremely small robots.

Insecticon has teamed up with Ravage to hunt and destroy Autobots before, but never with as much satisfaction as he feels this time. Bumblebee has been an annoyance to them both. It will be a pleasure to sink his pincers into the soft internal wiring of the Autobot warrior.

Hey, look at that! Dinobot isn't alone anymore - he's no longer the only weirdo who's turned a group name into a singular. The original Insecticons were three black-and-purple bugbots back in G1, and it was they (along with the Dinobots, coincidentally enough) that introduced the idea of Transformers with beast modes. You like Beast Wars? You have the Insecticons to thank for that.

All the movie Transformers have a sort of bestial, insectoid look to them, so any of those elements that have carried over to Insecticon's robot mode look right at home in the line. He has two legs with pointy, arched feet, and four jabby arms. Lots of limbs = lots of articulation, and this is no exception. Each arm has three points of articulation (hinge elbows, swivel biceps, balljoint shoulders), so we're already up to 12 POA, putting Insecticon ahead of most Scout Class toys. Then the two arms on each side are connected to a large swivel shoulder - you can imagine him swirling his arms around to confuse his enemies as he fights. The head is on a balljoint, and there's a hinge at the bottom of the neck, but he still can't look around very well. The legs have the same joints as the arms, with the addition of hinge ankles. That's 26 joints altogether, plus another two balljoints for his wings, should you choose to pose them. He's only about 3½" tall, and is covered in all sorts of tiny spikes.

The head is undeniably sinister, with an angular faceplate that looks more like a saw than a mouth. More plates cover his cheeks and end up looking like an insect's mandibles, and his bright red eyes peek out from a "helmet" that angles down to a point over the nose, and splits in two over the top of the head. The head doesn't actually rise above the shoulders at all, but the massive hump on his back makes it look natural.

The instructions for converting Insecticon (seriously, it's still weird to use the name that way) aren't entirely clear. We get a three-step breakdown (with two additional insets) on how to turn the arms, but you have to figure out for yourself how to position his head so that it's A) not visible and 2) doesn't keep the wings from folding in. (Hint: turn it around backwards and tip it all the way up before folding it away.)

Insecticon's altmode is, of course, an insect. In fact, he may be the only movieverse TF with a beast mode (remember, Ravage may be a cat, but that's his normal form). He's based on the scene in Cairo where Sam is hiding from the hunting Decepticons, and they send a little buggy probe after him. It's not an identical design - he's missing the tiny radar dish, for one thing - but the connection is plain to see. Like any good bug, he has six legs sprouting from his thorax and a clearly defined abdomen. His head has a single camera eye, and two pincers come forward on either side of his "face."

The six legs retain all their articulation, and the insect head has two hinges. The wings are translucent blue, with flat, angular planes that are clearly mechanical rather than organic. The connection ports look more like transistors or capacitors, furthering the connection. There's a section of butt that's supposed to rotate down in insect mode, but it's hard to get hold of - there's a small notch on one side that you can use to move it, but it's easy to overlook.

Usually Transformers have to be scaled down to become toys. Even the Real Gear Robots were smaller than the real-life items they represented. And while Insecticon is far from being a big figure, if he's really meant to be the creepy crawler that came after Sam Witwicky, he may well be the first TF that's actually bigger than he should be! How about that! Converting him is pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and although he's fairly straightforward, all those joints make him fun.

-- 10/19/10


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