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Series: Dark of the Moon Mechtech
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Human Alliance
Year: 2011

It was only natural that a robot with as much skill at combat on a crowded road would be paired up with a human specialist in urban warfare. Spike Witwicky and Backfire make the perfect team. Together, they stalk the Decepticons in secret, through some of the earth's most crowded and confusing cities. Backfire and his human ally have much to gain - but even more to lose. Can they trust each other? More importantly - can they afford not to?

Robot Mode: Backfire is a small, compact robot with a relatively small torso, but big limbs. Most of his chest is comprised of his vehicle mode’s engine, which looks pretty cool. At first glance one might think that he lacks proper hands, but these are actually sculpted into the insides of his forearms. Not the greatest arrangement ever, but workable. Look-wise, I find little grounds for complaint. A small but powerful looking fellow.

Posability is a mixed blessing for this figure, though. He has knees, but his thighs are so short that they sit almost at his hip. He has elbows, too, but the strange arrangement of his hands puts those right next to them. Also, his weapons, two large click-on rifles, attach to bars which sit before his hands, which looks a bit strange. I’ve since noticed, though, that you can actually jam the rifles into his hands, too, which looks somewhat better.

All in all Backfire’s robot mode is okay, but his stocky proportions somewhat hinder him. No points deduction in terms of look and detailing, though.

Alternate Modes: Backfire transforms into a Can-Am Spyder bike, which was used by the NEST troopers at the beginning of the Revenge of the Fallen movie. Don’t think it made an appearance in the third movie, but I’m not sure. Now I’ve never seen the real deal, but to me it appears to be a tad too large for the human figure riding on it. Anyway, there are lots of details on the vehicle and I can find little to complain about. The bike has two attachment bars for clip-on weapons on the back, such as Backfire’s own two machine guns. All in all a pretty good vehicle mode.

Like all the Basic HA figures, Backfire has a third mode, which somewhat qualifies him as a Targetmaster. Backfire transforms into kind of huge cannon, which can plug into the Mechtech ports of larger DOTM figures such as Sentinel Prime. It’s still very obviously a wheeled vehicle of some sort, but it does a decent enough job as a weapon, too. Given it’s size, I wouldn’t attach it to anything smaller than a Leader-class figure, though.

Partner: Backfire’s human partner has a very familiar name. Fans who only got to know Transformers through the live-action movies will simply wonder when exactly one of Sam’s relatives joined the military. Those familiar with Transformers lore, however, will recognize the name Spike as that of the original human buddy of the G1 Autobots. Spike appeared throughout all four seasons of the original cartoon, as well as the Japanese Headmaster series.

As a figure Spike is pretty nondescript, though, a man in a uniform with a helmet on and an Autobot symbol on his shoulder. Pretty standard for a Human Alliance partner figure. Noteworthy, though: this is only the second-ever (official) toy incarnation of Spike Witwicky, the first being the Headmaster partner of Fortress Maximus.

Remarks: Seeing as the third live-action Transformers movie didn’t exactly feature a lot of visually distinct Transformers, it’s no big surprise that Backfire didn’t score an appearance. Neither did Spike Witwicky, for that matter. Fans may discuss whether he’s supposed to be the same character as HFTD Backfire, but it doesn’t really make much of a difference. No in-media appearances either way.

Among the Human Alliance Basic figures I’ve seen so far, Backfire is neither the best, nor the worst. He’s good, solid, and probably gains bonus points in some people’s eyes for being partnered with Spike Witwicky, an iconic G1 name. Me, I like him, but he’s certainly not a must have.

Rating: B
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