Height: 13cm to top of head.
Articulation: 14 total points - Ball joint neck; 2 points each arm: Ball joint shoulder, ball joint elbow; Swivel waist; 4 points each leg: Ball joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, ball joint ankle.
Colors: Molded blue, black, silver-grey, red, clear dark blue; Painted red, silver, blue, white, black, yellow.
Accessories: Rifle, pistol
Release Data: Released in the United States in December of 2013 at a retail price of US$12.99
Skids has had more than a little bit of an image facelift since he was adopted in to the main cast of More Than Meets The Eye. Before this, his most notable trait could either be considered as having fought and defeated Ravage in Marvel G1 before disappearing in to limbo for a few years according to the UK continuity, or just largely vanishing without a word in the US issues. Plus his utter unimportance in the cartoon, it's no surprise that the old days of the online fandom made a joke of his functional non-existence.
With no memory of his life before a few cycles ago, Autobot Skids finds himself with a rare opportunity. Not knowing who he is allows him to be anything he wants to be, and the firepower of his mysterious new blaster gives him the strength to follow through on any adventure he pursues.
Skids is a pretty great image of the design currently appearing in the comics. There are some compromises around the vehicle mode design the toy needed to have, but their impact is surprisingly minimal to the overall look. From the front you're going to have a hard time picking out anything that seems unfamiliar because all the shapes hold true. I think the only stand out elements will be on the shoulders which are much bigger and more enclosed, and the calves which have to house some car panels. Everything else comes down to essentially surfacing variances like the backpack being a car skin instead of something more in the line of plain metal panels. The visual design really gives nothing to complain about for a fan of the comic books. The sculpt of the face is pretty fantastic in capturing the characteristics as drawn by Alex Milne, which a lot like an anime character face is not something you're entirely sure how it will look in 3D until it's right there in front of you. It might be off-putting for those who aren't really fans of More Than Meets The Eye, but this Skids can't be mistaken for any other iteration of the character and I'm really impressed they pulled it off so strongly.
The colors are not exactly what I'd hope for in a Skids. The comic is colored in a very particular style that leaves colors more muted, so Skids is typically printed in something close to a sky blue instead of the darker shades the original toy and other media had used previously. The toy uses the comic as a model for the colors so everything's pitched up to a lighter value than it should be. It's not my ideal situation as I'd have preferred coloring consistent with the original Skids toy. There's also some color match difficulty between blue paint and plastic, and some bits of blue plastic not matching others either, which I'm going to guess is where different types of plastic needed to be used in the toy.
Skids does need some work right out of the package. The hips are assembled incorrectly and it prevents the legs from moving forward. Correcting it requires popping both legs off and swapping the hip joint blocks between legs. This needs to be done very carefully, because one or both ball joints can and have snapped during the process. Once they're safely off the fix is very easy to do and you'll end up with full range of movement again. I might as well note here as well that there's a joint mid-shin that needs to be bent until it softly clicks in place, needed to get the feet back under the center of mass. See, Skids is a little bit backheavy, and the feet aren't able to have heel spurs to otherwise compensate, so correctly arranging the lower legs goes some way in to adjusting for that lack. You'll probably need to pitch the legs slightly back as well to get it just right, but it doesn't take too much to make the figure balance acceptably.
The legs have a good bit of articulation, including some stiff ratchets on the knees - stiff enough you'll probably move the shin joint before the knee gives. The knee can bend 90 degrees, which is plenty on this toy. The ankles are ball jointed and get a little bit of tilt. Actually they can tilt a lot, but most all in the wrong direction for posing. That function is more for transformation. Skids has really big feet, which along with the panels off the calves I'm interpreting as being intended to evoke the typical Diaclone car-boots, just in a more visually complex way. But despite being so large the feet help pretty much nothing when it comes to being able to pose the robot. They have an irregular outline, and a few of the edges are rounded off so if you try to put weight there it just rolls. Coupled with the weight on the back it makes really doing much with the figure's jointing difficult. And on top of that, my example of Skids has loose hip ball joints, so there's mild stability problems too.
Then there's the arms. To house part of the loaded-with-guns gimmick the shoulders are big chunks of car fender which rise above the top of the torso and limit the tilt range the shoulder ball joints can get. RAC came up with the comparison quicker than I did, and noted it was a lot like Classics Rodimus, which I unfortunately realized was really accurate. The way the shoulders are designed keeps the arms close in to the body. They're made to pull out a bit so that the shoulders do act as more than just swivels, but it still feels really restricted and can look a little off too. The tall parts of the shoulders will tend to hit the backpack's door-wings too, so you get some limit on how far you can point the arms forward too. With the elbow being a ball joint to take up the action of a bicep swivel and an elbow hinge, the arms just end up feeling under-jointed and I would guess the moving parts that otherwise would have been more poseability ended up as guns and missile racks instead. I am thankful the missile batteries in the shoulders can be hidden since the open-wheel shoulders look is a little more accurate to how Skids usually appears in the comic. The dual cannons on the forearms can't be hidden, but they are given gear teeth so they'll open or close together smoothly.
In a way I'm kind of impressed with the backpack since the pile of car panels assumes a surprisingly flat profile that does away with some extra bits and provides the necessary door-wings. And it's part of the last stage of weaponry for the robot. When you pull down the backpack far enough, it opens a catch holding the spring-loaded shoulder guns down inside the torso and they can flip up on their own. It's a neat extra action feature in concept, though I've found my fingers usually end up in the way of a clean deployment. That might just be my atrociously large hands, though. When you remember to mind where you grip the backpack, it's a pretty fun mechanism to watch.
The backpack sits pretty far behind the robot's natural center line, which does let it give the shoulders space. ...but the shoulders also seem set farther back than they should be. They're noticeably back from the head, as well as being behind the line the thighs and hips indicate. Meanwhile the chest sits forward enough to have an open space between the car hood and the inner torso structure. Some of this is probably making room for the flip-up cannons, but I wonder if the shoulders and backpack couldn't have been pushed more forward while still accommodating that gimmick and making the balance easier while doing so?
There's a surprising complexity to this, but it largely works smoothly. The arms have an inward bend in the bicep to fit them to the outline if the car and that can be a little awkward to get to move, but it's not an unpleasant process. There's even neat bits like the feet coming around to form the rear wheel wells and leaving a little of the red toe visible to fill in some accenting color for the car.
The blue mismatch between paint and the different plastics becomes more readily visible with two places where all three occur right next to each other with nothing else to break them up and minimize the appearance. The car's deco is pretty complete in a way that usually doesn't happen. The hubcaps are all painted, the taillights are done, the robots chest details make the front end of the car so that's all well filled in, and even turn signals are represented. Plus there's race stripes along the bottom of the doors. They aren't super clean in application, but it dresses things up. The windows are a translucent blue so dark that it looks opaque unless you get something especially reflective right behind, such as the shoulder cannons which tend to sit pressed against the windshield in vehicle mode.
The vehicle form is what helps make the accuracy of the robot impressive, since that had to match the comic design while also changing in to a car whose shape was made up entirely for this toy. Skids is a compact sportscar of no particular real type, similar in general shape to Rumble from Transformers Prime. Skids is a hatchback with louvers rather than a surface representing a rear window itself. This is one of the very few places I'd want to see some added paint because I feel the sculpt needs to be made to stand out so you better notice what it's supposed to be. The vehicle is solid enough that you don't worry picking it up, and it's built where (as far as I've experienced so far anyway) it's not possible to get the wheels misaligned. So if you have the same kinds of OCD as me and can't tolerate a car where all four wheels don't touch the ground, have no fear. The only part that's not resoundingly sturdy and locked in are the door panels, and that's good. The doors are pretty much the bridge between the front and rear chunks in terms of keeping everything in place. And they're the necessary first step in transforming back to robot mode, so it's a comfort to see them open with little effort.
As a compact car, Skids somehow ends up looking and feeling huge in this mode, in a way where it seems more at home with the big cars of the 2010 line rather than any of the diminutive vehicles we typically get currently. I'm pretty sure Skids is bigger in most every dimension than Trailcutter or Hoist, though they might have a slight edge on vehicle height. This greater volume makes Skids stand out, and also feel a little like a holdback from an earlier time. Seeming at home with Universe and 2010's Generations in vehicle scale it's a little hard to reconcile that it's made with current economic sensibilities. Skids is still shorter than the IDW Bumblebee mold, for instance, so there's places where it sort of fits in with contemporaries. But Skids is still wider than Bumblebee/Goldfire, so we are grasping a little at straws yet.
Skids comes with two guns. A large rifle is based on the hand weapon from the original Skids toy, and has a grip and side peg for attachment in vehicle mode. ...though why it couldn't mount to the vehicle sideways using the grip peg I couldn't tell you. The other gun is a small pistol, based on a story element weapon from More Than Meets The Eye, dubbed the Binary Gun by Brainstorm. It's a simple, small pistol with what looks like a little ammo drum under the base of the barrel, though in fiction it must have another purpose since the Binary Gun can only hold two rounds. It also has a side peg for vehicle attachment and is more sensible since the disc under the barrel would block the grip peg being used there.
The barrel of the Binary Gun fits a cylinder in the back of the rifle, so you can make one slightly larger rifle using the two weapons. The cylinder is notched on the bottom so the connection is stable and the rifle won't rotate around the barrel. Kind of important considering it's not possible for Skids to two-hand the combined weapon.
There is hypothetical storage for these weapons in robot mode. The door wings end in thinner tabs which can fit slots in either gun. But the rifle doesn't fit very snug, and even if it fit as well as the small gun, the surface of those tabs are painted and I'm sure using them this way will wear the paint off. I hate having spare bits that can't go anywhere, but I'll live with it in favor of preserving the vehicle deco, I think.
Skids is a little hard to love. That comes down mainly to how limited the arms are, having just two joints each and one of them being heavily limited in movement. The difficulty of managing the figure's balance further inhibits posing. It's obvious a lot of love and attention went toward rendering the image of Skids in this toy, but it feels like in that process the functional element fell a little too far aside. I'd easily have traded the cannons hidden in the torso for a more compact torso build and better balance.
I like the way the transformation works and remain impressed at merging the established robot mode look with a new vehicle form, and this makes a great Skids mini-statue. But as an action figure it Could Have Been Better, per the figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale. Maybe I was a bit wrong before. Instead of a crossover between 2008 and 2010's toys, maybe this is more of a 2006-2008 mix. That more fits the general sizing and articulation used, I think...
|Date||December 24th 2013|
|Score||(4 out of 10)|
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