Cliffbee.com: ROTF Skids Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Skids
Series: Movie Tie-ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Chevy Beat



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 12cm Width: 6cm

   A lime green subcompact car with a black hood (unlike the green on on Hasbro's promo pictures) and black patterns on either side. The wheels, side window frames and grille are black while the headlights are colourless plastic and the taillights painted red. His windows are transparent blue while there's a blue license plate at the back which will read either "BEAT" or "SKIDS" (mine says Skids). There are silver Chevrolet logos on both the front and back. It's quite a bright colour scheme and while it's distinctive, the black patterns on either side aren't especially realistic. Sure, he's based on a concept car, but his brother Mudflap manages a simpler colour scheme. I guess the black helps offset the bright green, but while I'm fine with the hood I would have prefer the markings on the side left off, for the sake of realism. The colour scheme still works, aesthetically, mind you.

   Paint job aside this is a pretty realistic car mode, with a lot of fine sculpted details, including side mirrors, a rear window wiper (although no windshield wipers), grille lattice and (unpainted) indicators on the front. There's even a small spoiler on the back of the roof. As is often the case with ROTF toys, Skids is something of a shellformer, and this manifests itself here - it's quite difficult (if not impossible) to line up all the panels on the side of the car correctly, which detracts from the realism here.

   I like the fact that Skids is a subcompact car (along with Mudflap) - amongst the plethora of sports cars we've seen down the years there have been relatively few passenger cars, and while he's based on a concept, this concept will see production, so Skids is a lot more like what we see (and drive) everyday than most Transformers. The weird black markings on the side mean he's not as realistic as his brother, but he's still fairly realistic as Transformers go. The light blue transparent windows look nice, but the panel to which the robot head attaches is awfully visible under the windshield. Granted, the head itself is not visible, but a slightly darker plastic would have masked this one a _lot_ better. As with most realistic ROTF vehicles, Skids has little play value. his tyres roll and that's it.

   A decent vehicle mode and a nice idea, but Skids has some problems. He forgoes play value for realism, but then this realism is hampered by panels which are very difficult to line up and the weird markings on either side. This is still a good vehicle mode, but not quite up to the standard of most licensed Transformer vehicle modes. The sculpted detail is good and unlike his brother (also a concept), Skids will see production, albeit in a 4 door form rather than the 2 door form of this toy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There's a lot of panel shifting so I'll summarise. The front of the car becomes his chest while the hood, roof and rear end up as a backpack which sits close to the torso. His arms fold out from behind the rear fenders, which end up as shoulderpads. The legs are hidden behind the front fenders, which wrap around the boots (along with the doors). There's a lot of panel work here and most of it is actually very clever - Skids ends up with almost no obtrusive kibble. Getting him back into car mode isn't all that difficult, but getting his panels flush is.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 10cm

   Again skids is based on lime green, with the addition of some silver and some grass green plastics. The head, shoulders, forearms, boots, thighs and groin are grass green. His collarbone, elbows, knees, feet and hands are silver. He has silver and gold buck teeth, one silver and one black eye on his off-kilter face. The colour scheme is essentially based around green - the two shades give some depth while the silver is just there for support. The black isn't as prominent now, although those markings wouldn't have been as out of place here. It's a nice colour scheme and not garish thanks to the blending of the two green and clever use of silver for definition. Curiously, Skids bears no Autobot logos in either mode.

   Skids has a very distinct bodyshape, with shortish legs and a short torso, shoulders above his head and a huge hunchback (the backpack). Combined with the uneven head the overall look is that of a very simple creature. I'm not going to go into the controversy around the character, but the shape is something we've not really seen before on a Transformer (aside from his brother, of course). I don't mind it, but I'm not really a fan of the concept. Rounding out the unusual features, Skids's right arm is significantly longer than his right, and the hand bigger. It's not as pronounced as on Mudflap, but it's quite noticeable.

   Skids lacks any true gimmicks, but his right hand can fire (well, extend) at the push of a silver button on his elbow. It extends maybe 2cm, adding to the lopsidedness of his arms. Skids doesn't carry a lot of kibble despite his panelformer nature, partly because the backpack is tight against his body and partly because the panels wrapped around his legs are done so quite cleverly. The rear fenders on his shoulders are the only real protrusions, and work well as shoulderpads anyway. Along with the front of the car on his chest, they provide this robot mode with some vehicle elements.

   Poseability is good with one caveat. His head is on a restricted ball joint while his waist is fixed. The shoulders are ball jointed while his elbows are hinged with rotators. Skids's left wrist rotate while the curled fingers on his larger right hand can open a little on a single hinge. The hips and ankles are ball jointed while his knees are double hinged with rotators. I found my Skids had loose knees out of the packaging, the weight of his backpack combined with loose knees (it's mainly the latter) caused him to fall backwards far too easily. Thankfully tightening the screws in his knees has drastically improved this. The heelspurs are fairly small, but are enough to support more conservative action poses. With two open hands, Skids lacks a weapon. He does have a "Mech Alive" feature - pressing in the grille on his chest causes the headlights to splay slightly and his head to tilt forward a little.

   While the robot mode has problems this is a well executed robot mode. Granted the shape won't please everyone - nor will the head - but the designer has achieved what they set out to do. The colours work, both action features, while peripheral, both work and don't get in the way. His poseability is good if the knees are right. A weapon would have been nice (his brother got one!), but this is still a satisfying robot mode if you can deal with the shape.

VARIATIONS

   The license plate text can read either "BEAT" or "SKIDS".

OVERALL

   An interesting Transformer with an unusual choice of vehicle mode, but that vehicle mode has some problems. Skids has an unusual robot mode will be the aspect that polarises opinion. His hunchback and uneven face are what dominates the toy, although his colour scheme works better here than in vehicle mode. If you don't like the robot shape and his head you'll find Skids isn't to your liking. The poseability is robot mode is good despite the lack of a weapon. I'd place Mudflap slightly ahead of Skids, thanks to the panel issues in car mode - 7/10 /10

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