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 grey, black, dark clear blue; Painted black, red, yellow, silver, orange-yellow, blue.
Accessories: Rifle, pistol
Release Data: Released in the United States in September of 2014 at a retail price of US$14.99
Black Shadow - or rather, Sky Shadow was an obscure entity to appear in Generations, having a fiction appearance in Victory for one or two episodes, limited to Japanese audiences. Crosscut goes a step farther. Crosscut is a Transformers character created by eHobby over a decade ago to facilitate using Diaclone colors for reissued G1 Transformers molds. So using the faceplated Diaclone head sculpt along with the silver deco (Diaclone Skids had a few different color versions besides this silver and the blue that became Skids) we gained a new G1 character. And besides a bio and minor appearances in 3H and Fun Publications fiction, this character has never had any mass-consumable media presence. Thanks to Dark Cybertron, Crosscut is now a crew member of the Lost Light, and has made minor appearances in More Than Meets The Eye following his introduction in the crossover.
Summary version: Mainline US release of a character created specifically for
Japanese mailaway purchase in 2002. What an odd world we exist in right
Crosscut isn't known for his accomplishments in battle, but his role is no less valuable to the Autobot cause. The ambassador's vast knowledge of languages and civilizations enables him to forge alliances across the universe. The Autobots can establish footholds on other worlds without firing a shot.
Crosscut lives up to his origins. The main body color is silver - or at least a vaguely silver-ish grey plastic, and sports a new head based on the Diaclone design, instead of the very Alex Milne derived head Skids featured. It's a nice interpretation of the original design, with really good use of very glossy red paint that pops really nicely against the grey plastic. The eyes are painted yellow, which I typically enjoy seeing. There's a very good range of movement on the head, with plenty of space to turn freely, as well as having space to tilt around the ball joint.
Deco is a strong area for Crosscut. Most of the body is that vaguely silver grey plastic, with black as a secondary and highlighted in the glossy red paint. There's a great simplicity to this, and this combinations plays really well together. As nice as the plastics work, the star here is the red paint. Present on the helmet, hands, pelvis and feet, it stands out really well, but without dominating the toy. It's a great use of accenting color, placed at the center and outer edges, leading your eye around the toy. This toy can't claim all credit for the color layout, but the particular kind of red put to work here brings a lot to what I see as the success of this element of the deco. This is the kind of thing that I always want to see in redecos, where not only is the visual identity changed through being put in different colors, but it feels a lot like it's one-upping the first use. Fall of Cybertron Air Raid is another good example of that. The recolor ends up defining the mold for me, instead of being remembered as just "the other version of [x]". I find it really uncommon for recolors to manage that, but Crosscut has made the jump.
Having been originally portrayed as a diplomat - an ambassador to pursue peaceful relations between Autobots and other lifeforms - the arsenal Skids was designed with is a tiny bit out of place feeling. The G1 toy handwaved this by saying all of that toy's armament was essentially non-lethal, for purposes of self-defense. Handily, things like the shoulder guns and missile batteries can be left hidden, forcing you only to try to reconcile the always-exposed arm guns. But that's a lot more reasonable than to have to justify five dudes' worth of guns all strapped to one guy trying to convince you how the Autobots are peaceful, honest! In IDW, Crosscut is played as a former senator turned playwright, which doesn't so much preclude the possession of weaponry. Though his most notable weapon in that continuity to this point is a shovel, and I don't think anything built-in on the toy can double in that capacity...
So while the head is the only specifically different element physically from
Skids, we do have another important change to go over! Skids, at least in the
original production had the thigh joints reversed. Basically while the
difference was subtle, it was assembled incorrectly in a way that prevented the
legs from moving forward. The pieces could be swapped between sides and correct
the issue, but it wasn't uncommon to have the hip joints break off in the
process. However, Crosscut has been determined to not suffer that assembly
error, and no out of the box fixes are required, nor risk of damage to the toy!
It's a swell thing to grab a toy straight out of the package and not have to
make any corrections for widespread factory errors. Something else, which I'm
not able to attribute to any new factor, Crosscut doesn't seem to want to fall
backwards nearly as much as Skids. I haven't had to pose the legs awkwardly or
hunch the toy or try to counterweight with the accessories. It just seems to
stand a little more stable and I could not tell you why that is so. You can
certainly give it a little push and probably start it rocking back, but under
its own weight it seems to stay up totally fine. Finally, of course the
shoulders behave just the same as on Skids, having some limit to their range of
motion from the fenders/missile racks rising well above the joint. If you
choose to leave these generally concealed, you'll find the same slightly
improved mobility you could achieve with Skids. But no actual changes took
place to improve that (nor should any have been expected), and that was a point
of contention for many with Skids, so please be aware that it still
A running theme I've found in the recolors of this wave are tighter moving
parts. For Crosscut that doesn't become an issue in robot model, but it can be
felt in transformation pretty distinctly. The rotating panel for the head and
neck requires a great deal of push to get moving, and I'd very much recommend
pushing up from below to do this so as not to stress the ball joint stem of the
neck by trying to pull backwards. In general there is a greater stiffness to
the parts that makes moving things around to get to vehicle mode - or back to
robot mode - a little more work and it might feel like the toy is fighting
against it a bit more. Skids didn't have a very bothersome transformation, and
the only thing changing the feel of that for Crosscut is the mildly harder to
It's hard to put my finger on exactly why, but just as with the robot, the car mode just looks really good this plain grey-silver. Most of the red is concealed inside, but some remains in sight, around air intakes, and of course the tail lights. Since Crosscut is intended to be silver, the windows are all paint-bordered in silver paint. For the most part this doesn't present a clash with the plastic most of the vehicle body is made up of. The silver mainly frames the side windows and makes the base of the windshield, and it kind of reads okay. Like it's decorative trim around the windows. The only place it's a problem is on the roof where the hinges to make the door wings are also painted silver, so you get two silver paint rectangles in the sides of the grey roof. That's not so easy to reconcile, but to the toy's credit that is the only standout blemish caused by the paint-to-plastic transition. The deco is simply, but it's very effective. You have not typically painted things like hubcaps, and tail lights as well as turn signals painted in back using two different paint colors! As was the case with Skids, I feel like the scallops in back could do to be painted to differentiate them from the rest of the structure. A little bit of black paint here could have dressed those up nicely and helped them not blend in to the sea of partly glossy grey around them.
Crosscut may be suffering a little with the plastic change. I have the impression that the parts don't fit together quite as tightly, but that might be a mistaken perception: The fit seems poorer because the panel seams look bigger, but that itself might be a product of the lighter color making the gaps more obvious than the darker plastic on Skids did. There are spots where things don't close down as effectively, like the doors which just don't grip in place as snugly as they should and pop back out just enough to interrupt the body lines. Definitely some fittings aren't as good as the original use of the mold, but I do think some is just an illusion from the color difference. Skids was always a solid little car, and Crosscut is no different even with some panels not wanting to settle in all the way.
The main takeaway though should be that Crosscut has a really attractive
vehicle mode and anything else I've noted are only minor annoyances that don't
change that this is really pretty and I want to keep staring at it.
Crosscut does just retain the same pair of guns Skids had. Disappointing, but it seems there may not be alternates designed for this mold as movie Rollbar is also known to carry the same weapons. So you have a weapon in the style of the Binary Gun that doesn't match an original accessory for the G1 toy, and the rifle which in Crosscut's case is now an electromagnetic pulse emitter rifle.
The weapons can combine to form an ...electromagneticker, pulsier rifle? With wings? Anyway, the combined gun or the individual parts can be carried on the sides of the vehicle mode, of course. The black plastic plays very nicely with the deco too, so even though there are guns hanging off this car, they seem to fit visually just a little better.
Incidentally, even though I rarely address the comics that are packed in (being that I've reviewed a lot of them when they were sold normally in shops) since this whole wave is held with weirdness with its Dark Cybertron chapters, I thought I'd note that Crosscut manages to complete the pattern. While Crosscut's own number associates with his having the lowest numbered Dark Cybertron chapter of the group, it also proves that he has been held back from the prior wave, as his issue's pages have been bound out of order, as had happened for Tankor and Rattrap previously. This thing can't catch a break.
I've been interested in having Crosscut for a while. Because I found his role as described by eHobby to be a cool idea, and a little later because I'd picked up Botcon 2012's Shattered Glass Tracks who just happens to double as Road Rage, Crosscut's bodyguard. So I had some concept bias going in, but the toy really grabbed me beyond that as soon as I had some hands-on time with it. I wasn't very happy with how Skids turned out, but some of those issues have somehow disappeared with the recolor, and I feel a lot more positive towards this use of the mold.
Crosscut jumps up a couple steps over Skids, reaching Very Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale. I know some people had trouble getting hold of Skids originally, and a rerelease wave is becoming available to offer another chance. But right now my recommendation for people who only want an example of this mold and not specifically the character Skids is to grab Crosscut. It's a lot prettier in both modes, and doesn't feel as flawed in design despite having no actual physical changes besides a different head. Maybe I just got supremely lucky with the specific instance of the toy I wound up with, but if I could only have one of them, this would be it without hesitation.
|Date||September 26th 2014|
|Score||(8 out of 10)|
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