Kickback thumbnail 1
Kickback thumbnail 2
+5
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at Young V&A
Play Gallery, Sound it Out, case 12

Kickback

Transformer
1984-1985 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron. They are divided into two factions: heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons. Autobots and Decepticons have been locked in an apocalyptic civil war for millennia. The line was launched in the United States in 1984 with an accompanying animated television series, it followed in Europe later that same year. Many of the Hasbro-distributed toys were actually rebranded versions of the existing Japanese ‘Microman’ and ‘Diaclone’ toylines made by Takara. The combination of vehicle and robot, and the often complicated series of movements required to change between the two modes, meant Transformers were extremely popular children’s toys during the mid-1980s.

Kickback is part of a sub-group of Decepticons known as the Insecticons, he transforms from a robot into a grasshopper. The Insecticons were introduced in the fifteenth episode of the original animated television series (‘A Plague of Insecticons’), in which their spaceship had crash-landed on Bali in prehistoric times. The three robots had then resided for millions of years in a swamp, emerging occasionally to steal food from local people, who regarded them as legendary beasts. All three Insecticons were killed-off in the 1986 animated feature film, ‘Transformers the Movie’, along with many other members of the original cast. Kickback’s toy was derived from an earlier Takara line, ‘Diaclone’, in which the character was known as Battas.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Titles
  • Kickback (manufacturer's title)
  • Decepticon (generic title)
  • Insecticon (generic title)
  • Transformers (series title)
Materials and techniques
Injection-moulded plastic, metal, printed paper
Brief description
Transformer (Decepticon/Insecticon), 'Kickback'; Takara/Hasbro; Japan; 1985-87
Physical description
Action figure, a humanoid robot that transforms into a robotic grasshopper. The toy is made from injection-moulded plastic and is predominantly black, with purple hands, silver wings, a transparent yellow opening chest compartment and yellow antennae. The face of the robot is painted. It has wheels in grasshopper mode, which have metal axles. It is decorated with paper decals.
Dimensions
  • Height: 95mm (Robot mode)
  • Width: 55mm (Robot mode)
  • Depth: 30mm (Robot mode)
Production typeMass produced
Marks and inscriptions
'Takara Co © 1980-1983'
Credit line
Given by Jermaine Dacas
Object history
Bought by the donor between 1985 and 1987. Mr Dacas was born 17/10/73 and saved his pocket money to buy the toys.
Historical context
Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron, all of them are capable of assuming an alternate form, usually a vehicle, through a series of folding movements. They are typically divided into two factions: Autobots and Decepticons. The Autobots are heroic, peace-loving and curious about humanity, they are led by Optimus Prime, who typically transforms into an articulated truck. The Decepticons are evil, authoritarian and contemptuous of other life-forms, they are led by the maniacal Megatron, who originally transformed into a realistic-looking handgun.

Initially, the franchise was essentially an American rebrand of two toylines already produced by Japanese toy manufacturer Takara Tomy: ‘Diaclone’ and ‘Microman’. Hasbro had purchased the distribution rights to these lines in the early-1980s. Transformers was launched in the United States and Europe in 1984-85. The enormously popular toys inspired many spin-offs, including several animated television series’, a feature-length animated film (1986), multiple comic books series (including by Marvel, who had co-operated with Hasbro to produce GI Joe comics) and, inevitably, subsequent lines of toys. A series of big budget, live-action films have been produced by Warner Brothers since 2007.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron. They are divided into two factions: heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons. Autobots and Decepticons have been locked in an apocalyptic civil war for millennia. The line was launched in the United States in 1984 with an accompanying animated television series, it followed in Europe later that same year. Many of the Hasbro-distributed toys were actually rebranded versions of the existing Japanese ‘Microman’ and ‘Diaclone’ toylines made by Takara. The combination of vehicle and robot, and the often complicated series of movements required to change between the two modes, meant Transformers were extremely popular children’s toys during the mid-1980s.

Kickback is part of a sub-group of Decepticons known as the Insecticons, he transforms from a robot into a grasshopper. The Insecticons were introduced in the fifteenth episode of the original animated television series (‘A Plague of Insecticons’), in which their spaceship had crash-landed on Bali in prehistoric times. The three robots had then resided for millions of years in a swamp, emerging occasionally to steal food from local people, who regarded them as legendary beasts. All three Insecticons were killed-off in the 1986 animated feature film, ‘Transformers the Movie’, along with many other members of the original cast. Kickback’s toy was derived from an earlier Takara line, ‘Diaclone’, in which the character was known as Battas.
Bibliographic references
  • Toy Trader, November 1985
  • Toy Trader, April 1986
  • Toy Trader, August 1986
Collection
Accession number
B.109-1994

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Record createdApril 17, 2000
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