Series: Generation 1 A moment of indecision can be your last
A temperamental, twitchy bundle of tightly-wound circuits. Jumps from one Mode to another at the drop of a gasket. Constantly jumping to the wrong conclusions. Headlights equipped with high-intensity heat rays that turn enemy robots into molten steel. Fires 2 independent, targetable, laser-guided proton missile cannons. Able to accelerate up to 400 mph for 60 seconds, using rear rocket thrusters.
In many ways Backstreet is a pretty typical Transformers toy for his time. His robot mode is basically the car mode stood on end and his articulation is restricted to moving his arms at the shoulders. What detailing he has is mostly accomplished via stickers (though the ones on my Backstreet have faded quite a bit) and compared to other Triggerbots/-cons he looks somewhat plain. Still, all in all he’s just your average 1988 Transformer.
Now to the gimmick, because every Transformer from that time has one. In Backstreet’s case it’s two guns with a spring-powered flip-up feature. Pushing the trigger on the back of his backpack, the two chromed guns flip forward, ready to blast Decepticons into shrapnel. The guns look wonderfully oversized compared to the rather little robot that wields them. When not in use the guns point out backwards, which looks a bit strange when looking at him sideways, but I’ve seen much worse backpacks. So bottom line: an average robot with a simple, but pretty cool gimmick.
Backstreet transforms into a pretty generic-looking racing car. By 1988 the notion of realistic-looking alternate modes had pretty much been abandoned, but Backstreet’s car mode looks more realistic than those of most of his peers from that year. For a small Transformer like him the car mode is fully okay, though I wonder why they made the rear wheels from orange plastic and put stickers on them instead of just doing them in black like the front wheels.
The Triggerbot gimmick works in this mode as well and is much better integrated into the overall shape than in robot mode. When pointing backwards, the chromed guns serve as rocket boosters, while a push of the trigger makes them point forward for a truly intimidating attack mode. Again, wonderfully oversized guns compared to the size of the car. So all in all a good vehicle mode for the time.
By 1988 the Transformers cartoon was over and the dreaded “gimmick-years” had begun, when every new Transformers figure was part of a group built around the same gimmick (beyond the gimmick of, you know, transforming into vehicles). In case of the Triggerbots and –cons, the gimmick was flip-out weapons that worked in both robot and vehicle mode and – in my opinion at least – it was one of the better gimmicks of those years. Granted, none of the Triggerbots/-cons had much to offer beyond the gimmick, but at least it was a gimmick that both made sense (not a given, see Throttlebots) and didn’t overwhelm the figure.
So bottom line, Backstreet is on the good side of average for a Transformers figure from that time and personally I’d really like to see updated Generations versions of some of these figures. And Backstreet would be an ideal candidate, if for no other reason than I’d be able to shout “Backstreet’s back, all right!” (if you don’t understand the reference, you’re too young).