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A Plague of Insecticons . Okay, so I'm thoroughly into a Lego transformer building craze now, greatly assisted by picking up some old Exo-force sets on e-bay... meet the evil Insecticons, some of the more memorable characters from the original cartoon, and among the first Transformers to turn into creatures rather than vehicles. . 21st Jan 2011 - Now updated with closeups of the heads and some of the trickier joints, at the end, for those interested in building transformers. For anyone only familiar with the Insecticons in the recent Transformers films, these guys are NOT small enough for Shia LeBoeuf to step on. They're great big robots, who on transforming are able to shrink down to the scale of insects if they want to be sneaky. That said their insect modes aren't especially convincing... so from left to right, Bombshell is a boll weevil (possibly), Kickback is a grasshopper (with no tail), while Shrapnel is a, a, oh I dunno, something beetly. Just imagine them crawling up your back and don't worry too much about the details. All the builds are pretty faithful to the original toys except that I added knee and elbow joints to all of them to make them more poseable. Also, I had to play with the colourschemes a bit - they are all supposed to use purple as a highlight colour, but I don't own any purple Lego, so they each got a slightly different paint job. I think they still look the part; let's meet them individually! Shrapnel often acts as leader and spokesman of the trio, and is the master of electricity. When in insect mode, he can use his antennae to interface with and control most electronic devices. In robot mode, they can draw electricity from nearby power sources and release bolts of it through his hands. He's almost unstoppable in a thunderstorm. He also carries a grenade launcher loaded with exploding spheres that shower his targets with, you guessed it, shrapnel. Kickback was definitely at the back of the queue when the cool insecticon powers were handed out. Shrapnel controls electricity, Bombshell controls peoples' minds, and Kickback can.... kick things. Quite hard, mind you. Still, his main skill is convincing humans or Autobots that he's their pal long enough to weasel information out of them which he can then blackmail them with. His preferred sidearm is a sub-machine gun. Bombshell's name may come from the head-mounted mortar that lets him launch artillery shells several miles, but he's most feared for his cerebro-shells. In insect mode he can inject these into humans or Autobots, where they will travel to the cerebral cortex and insert probes into the decision-making neural centres, placing the victim completely under Bombshell's malevolent control. Even fellow Decepticons give him a wide berth, in case he decides to turn his attentions on them. I was in two minds about whether to build Bombshell, because I'd used up most of my black tiles and curves on the other two, and he had the largest amount of purple (here recoloured to two-tone blue). In the end I couldn't leave the trio without it's third member though. Some parts of the build I'm really pleased with, but he is a bit rough around the edges and not as poseable as I would like. I feel a version 2 coming on! Some more group photos to finish. These guys do lend themselves to group shots. Do not adjust your screen, that's still Bombshell on the left there. He's just messing with your head.... Now for the technical photos: Closeups of Kickback's head. Shoulder joint - running from the shoulder through the piece the wing is attached to is a 'technic axle, 3, with stud' (shown here). The stud end is sandwiched between 2 standard technic bricks, which gives enough friction to hold a pose. I use this type of swivel joint a lot - Shrapnel's waist swivels the same way. Ankle joint - you can just see the dark grey stud on the right pressing into a technic brick, providing (barely) enough friction to hold a pose. The other side of the foot is connected to the leg with a half-length technic pin. Shrapnel's head - sorry those antennae don't make for good photographic lighting... Close-up showing the cavity in the side where Shrapnel's hands tuck in insect mode. You can also see the back kibble (this is the second version of the insect legs - some of the photos above show the more realistic six-legged version, but they took SOOO long to to position that I replaced them). Foot connection - in robot mode the technic axle at the back of the ankle is extended to give enough freedom of movement. In insect mode the foot is rotated and the axle pushed in to give a snug fit. Now this was the cleverest bit. Can you see the small fin sticking out of the leg? It's actually holding the knee joint up. It's only attached by a standard hinge brick but the bricks surrounding it make it surprisingly solid. Pull the fin out and the knee slides into the leg. It's more elegant than pulling out a technic pin to achieve the same effect.

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