Many times I’ve told you how I’m only interested in the Generation 1 era of Transformers. I have no use for Beastformers, Energon, Generation 2, the live-action movies, or any of the many other variations of my beloved 80s toy line. But there are exceptions. I was out at Walmart a while back with some money burning a hole in my pocket. I was looking to buy something but there were no good Blu-rays available and the action figure aisle was slim pickings. But as I flicked through the lackluster peg warmers I came across this little fella, Hardshell, packaged under the “Beast Hunters” Transformers: PRIME brand. I must admit that the Prime designs have caught my attention a couple of times. I’ve purchased a few of them and have even reviewed a couple for the blog, like Soundwave and Cliffjumper. In the case of those two, they’re at least G1 characters who have been made over to fit into the new aesthetic. Hardshell is a brand new character, with no ties to G1, and yet I wanted him anyway.
The fact that he’s an Insecticon intrigued me. In the old days there were 3 Insecticons: Bombshell, Shrapnel, and Kickback. They were featured heavily in the cartoon and they were some of my favorite characters (well not so much Kickback). I truly only cared about a Transformers alternative mode when they transformed into other living things like Dinosaurs, Monsters, and Insects. I never cared for cars so Bumblebee’s Volkswagon Beetle mode didn’t do much for me, but I found Shrapnel’s Stag Beetle mode totally awesome. Last year I got some really nice updated versions of my two favorite Insecticons via a third-party manufacturer. Check out Bombshell here is you like.
When I saw Hardshell I imagined him as an underling to my G1 Insecticons. In the comics and cartoons the Insecticons are often shown to swarm the Autobots which was something I could never replicate with only 2 figures. My trio of Insecticons are still a far cry from a swarm but they’re getting there. I don’t know how many different Insecticons are featured in the PRIME cartoon but rest assured that I’ll buy as many transforming bugs as I can find.
Hardshell transforms into a Rhinocerous Beetle, so he fits right in with fellow beetles Bombshell and Shrapnel. I actually haven’t transformed mine so I had to steal a promo shot of his beetle mode from another site. It’s a cool alt mode though it actually reminds me more of one of those Starship Trooper bugs than any actual creature.
Hardshell is quite small in either mode which I don’t mind. I like that Transformers come in so many shapes and sizes, and if anyone should be smaller than the others its an Insecticon. The robot mode is solid and has some real bulk to it. His arms, legs, and wings are all ball-joint articulated which allows for lots of posing possibilities. There’s no joint on his neck though which is kind of disappointing. The face is pretty cool and and creepy with a thin visor for an eye and lots of jagged fangs. I also really like the green and yellow with gray color scheme, seems very militaristic. However, he would have been even cooler if he was painted in classic Insecticon black, yellow and purple. A nice little find, well worth the 10 bucks. 6 out of 10.