Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Skids Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Skids
Series: Binaltech
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Theoretician
Alternate Mode: Toyota bB



bB MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A very realistic metallic blue Toyota bB, which is a cross between a station wagon and a people mover van. Skids's front section is die cast while his windows are colourless plastic. The wheels are silver with rubberised plastic and you have some sticker options - door flames or red pinstripes similar to those on the original toy. Since they come on a sticker sheet, you can simply leave the stickers off if you prefer. There are also two Japanese "student driver" stickers and a pair of Autobot logos, making this sticker sheet easily the best we've seen in BT.

   The level of detail is what you'd expect of a Binaltech. Skids has colourless front and rear lights, with orange indicators on the headlights, embedded in the bumper, sides and underneath the taillights. There's a false grille and two black real grilles on the bumper, and little bB logos on the false grille and rear door. All four side doors and the rear door have moulded handles and there are two wipers on front and one at the back. There's a petrol cap moulded above the left rear wheelbay. There's a chrome exhaust underneath the rear bumper while the license plate on the back reads "SKIDS" and sports an Autobot logo. The rear vision mirrors are also chromed, of course. The Toyota badge is conspicuous in it's absence.

   There's very little that gives away the robot mode hidden underneath - the robot feet are visible through the back window but don't jump out and ruin things. Of greater concern are the front doors, which don't quite sit flush, rather the back edges pop out slightly. This is also the case on Broadblast (a concurrent BTA repaint), so it's obviously a mould flaw.

   The detail inside the cabin is great. There are black front and rear seats, a right side steering wheel (for Japan), the insides of the doors are also black and are quite well moulded with speaker grilles and doorhandles. There are light & indicator sticks on the steering wheel and a speedo mounted on the black dashboard. The speedo and parts of the radio face are painted silver. There's no gearstick, which we usually see on BTs but being a van this might be one of the steering wheel sticks. Besides, there are seatbelt sockets on the seats, which is something new to Binaltech.

   The play value here is great. The bonnet lifts up to reveal a small black engineblock, while the rear door lifts up and all four side doors open. The wheels roll and there's a limited rack and pinion on the front wheels. I'm really quite disappointed by the front doors not sitting flush, but Skids does have as many movable parts as could be expected, which is a plus. This van seems to be a slightly smaller scale than previous BTs, but the box still claims he's 1:24 like the rest, so I'm giving the benefit of the doubt.

   While this is a very good van mode, the doors bother me, since there's no good reason why they couldn't have been better moulded. The vehicle mode and colour suits the character well, even if this is a bigger vehicle than the Honda City Turbo Skids once was. The detailing leaves nothing to be desired, even if the doors do. Perhaps the most notable aspect of this vehicle mode compared to previous BT moulds is a shift away from sports cars - which for me makes a welcome change.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   As complex as every other Binaltech, and too intricate for me to explain here. The front becomes the chest as one might expect, while the doors become wings and the head is concealed under the bonnet. The black engineblock (which has the toy's only Toyota logo) becomes a handgun of course, much of the rear section becomes his legs. For the most part this transformation layout is faithful to G1, although the arms are concealed under bonnet rather than behind the doors and the rear door becomes a backplate. While arms underneath the hood is a pretty standard Binaltech trick, Skids's front actually rocks forward during the transformation, with a hinge under the bumper connecting it to the rest of the toy, which is something new. The front seat slides up into his back, but has a very annoying tendency to fall off during the transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 15.5cm

   Skids is again mainly metallic blue, with black kneecaps, fists, shoulderblades and upper thighs. His lower thighs and face are silver while his eyes are yellow. There's some red paint on his forearms, part of his upper arms, groin, feet and some splashes on his boots (mine lacks red on one boot, but I plan to paint that area). While there's slightly less red, this colour scheme and layout is quite faithful to the original Skids toy. There are Autobot logos stamped onto both shoulders. The wings will look different depending on what you with the sticker sheets - the flames and stripes will be visible if you've applied them - mine has red stripes, since they appeal to the G1 fan in me.

   The bonnet actually slopes down, so while it forms his chest and the doors are wings, the perspective of the bonnet is more like Hoist than Skids. The rear bumper forms sort of ankleguards and there's a backpack (the roof and rear door) which is quite visible but not too distracting. The head has Ironhide aspects to it, and I've heard conjecture that this toy was meant to represent that character. As much as I want to see BTs of Ironhide and Ratchet, this head is that of Skids, and I'm happy with the character's representation.

   Poseability is typically excellent. The head is on a ball joint, along with the shoulders, wrists and ankles. The elbows are double hinges with rotators above them while the shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides. The knees are hinged while the thighs have swivels and the hips rotate and lift out to the sides. Other than the waist, Skids has everything I could ask for in terms of articulation. The heelspurs are hinged, but I would have liked them _slightly_ longer - the backpack is a tad heavy for some of the more dynamic action poses - although since most of the die cast metal is on his chest there's a counterweight making Skids quite stable. The hands open and close, with the index fingers independent of the other digits, which is a common Binaltech trick. The gun doesn't sit in his hand as snugly as on some BTs since it plugs into a hole on the inside of a hinge, but once you get it right the gun will sit happily.

   I find that the ankles are a little weaker than I'd like, mainly because Skids is quite top heavy. There's more backpack than on most BTs, but then he has an awful lot of roof to stow in this mode. These are my main complaints about what is otherwise a strong robot mode. The poseability is great, the G1 semblance fantastic and the colours good in their own right. Skids has probably the best kneejoints we've seen in Binaltech, and has unusually unrestricted feet.

VARIATIONS

   The Binaltech version, which I have, has Die Cast metal that the Alternator does not.

   Retooled as Broadblast (Blaster) in Binaltech Asterisk (although the two toys were released concurrently).

OVERALL

   Skids brings some new aspects to the Binaltech line, and while it's an excellent line, by this stage the changes are quite welcome. With a different type of vehicle, some new transformation elements and great poseability, Skids is certainly a worthwhile toy. The character was quite obscure for a cartoon era toy (indeed he spoke in only one G1 cartoon episode), but I certainly appreciate a tribute toy. The backpack in robot mode and not-quite-closing doors in van mode do hold back a toy that had even more potential, but Skids is still worthwhile - 8.5/10

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