It’s Transformers Thursday and I worked late into the night to spare you all another Armada figure! Yes, I had some
new newish figures arrive in the mail yesterday afternoon and I jumped on the opportunity to get one of these guys ready to go for today’s feature. Skids is from a couple waves ago, but he’s been eluding me for a long while now and I’ve been reluctant to pay scalper prices for him because of many reports that he isn’t all that exceptional. But he’s Skids and I needed him for my Classics/Generations shelf, so I was willing to take a chance. Fortunately an online retailer surprised me and put this wave back up for order a couple weeks back and I was able to pick him up with the rest of the assortment.
Oh god, how I love these comic packs! The presentation is just so superb… from the old school Transformers logo and grid pattern on the card to the way it cleverly uses an actual comic book for the packaging art. Hasbro has used this style with great success for everything from Marvel to GI Joe and Star Wars. I wish they’d bring all of it back because I can’t get enough of it. Also, I gotta say for a figure that I’ve heard a lot of negative things about, he sure looks fine to me in the package. Let me bust this guy open and check him out. But first, I’m going to light up a Hoyo De Monterrey Excalibur Cigarillo and enjoy the comic book. Be back in a few.
And BACK! Yeah, this is More Than Meets The Eye #22, so I’ve already read it. In fact, I believe this is the last issue in Volume 5 of the TPB with Volume 6 not due out for a couple of more months. It’s still a great read, but that goes without saying as I’m on record that MTMTE is not only my favorite piece of Transformers fiction, but one of the best comics I’ve ever read. For those still not blessed with the experience, this issue is a nice way to dip your toe in and get the flavor as it showcases some of the great humor, dialogue and characterization. Although I’m not really sure why they chose it as Skids’ comic because he’s not at all central to the issue. Anywho… let’s start off with Skids’ alt mode.
Gone are the old days of being a mini-van! Skids’ auto mode is a cute and compact blue sports car and not a bad one at that. The first thing that strikes me about him is the deco and that’s worth pointing out because the color and paintwork on Hasbro’s Deluxes these days hasn’t always been the best. Skids bucks that trend with a vibrant blue plastic as the base coloring of the figure and some bright red and white paint to jazz things up. The windows may appear to be painted black, but they’re actually just a really dark tinted clear plastic. The front grill is picked out with some additional gray paint and some gold hits as well and there’s a tiny Autobot emblem stamped right where the hood ornament might go. This car is defintely pleasing to the eye. Just compare Skids’ auto mode to the IDW version of Bumblebee and look at the difference in overall quality and appearance.
Skids does have his share of seams from the transformation, but nothing too bad. It was a little tough for me to close all the gaps and tighten it all up when going into car mode on the first go around. The transformation here is very clever and feels very fresh, but it’s one of those designs that requires you to lock everything up at the end and while there’s certainly a tab for everything to hold it in place, making it happen just right requires precision transformation skills. On the other hand, going to robot mode is pretty intuitive.
There are sockets located just in front of each of Skids’ rear wheels that allow you to peg in his extra weapons. I always enjoy this option. Any time that I can’t store the weapons under the car, I like to have the ability to weaponize the hell out of it. Skids actually looks pretty decent with his guns hanging off his sides. So far so good, we’ve already had a peek at his robot mode, let’s check it out for reals!
So my initial reaction is one of pure love. Skids is a wonderfully intricate design and a fantastic reproduction of his comic character art. The way he wears the front of his car mode instantly reminds me of IDW Trailcutter and Hoist, which ain’t a bad thing at all. But there’s so much else going on with him. To be more specific, he’s positively bristling with weapons! He’s got rocket packs in his shoulders, two double barreled cannon angling up on either side of his head and two more sets of double barreled guns on his arms that can be slung below his fists or worn in a split fashion. So cool!
And check out that portrait! It’s a great likeness to his IDW counterpart. The odd thing here is that he’s decked out on the back of his noggin for light piping, but his eyes appear to be painted over. And yet they have an eerie piercing quality about them. It’s pretty nice work.
As solid as the deco is in car mode, it’s in robot mode that it really shines. Skids carries over all of that brilliant blue plastic and shows off some more of that striking red paint. I’m extremely impressed with the paint apps that went into each of his individual rocket hatches. This stuff may sound like nothing to crow about, but with how stingy Hasbro has been with paint lately, I really want to call it out when it looks this good.
Ok, so with all that having been said, I can certainly see some issues. First and foremost his shoulder articulation is at odds with all his car kibble. His shoulders bump up against the roof and door parts on his back. I can still get a full rotation out of the shoulders by shifting things around, but there’s almost no lateral shoulder articulation. The articulation is there, but the sculpt won’t allow it. He is an amnesiac. I suppose I could just pretend he forgot how his shoulders work.
Two other points worth mentioning occur down south in his legs. First off, those plates that jut off the backs of his lower legs are rather unsightly when viewed from the side. Also, Skids is in dire need of a set of heel spurs. He doesn’t look like he’s back heavy, and yet he’s constantly falling backward. I really dig the way his wheels fold down to form his feet, because you don’t see that a lot, but it’s clear that his footsies aren’t up to the task of holding him vertical. I mention these two things together because if Hasbro had been able to engineer a swivel into those lower leg parts they could have angled downward and solved both problems. I know, it’s easy to say but something like that isn’t simple or cheap to execute. I’m imagine it wouldn’t cost out for a Deluxe. It looks as if they already maxed the budget on this guy with sculpt and paint.
The last thing to talk about is Skids guns, which combine together to form a big rifle. I love the design on these things, especially the pistol, which looks like it has a drum magazine. They look great when combined and they have multiple pegs so you can attach them to any like sized port. I think the pistol works well for my Generations Swerve, at least until I get around to buying that third-party “My First Blaster” for him.
And so, I was tempering myself for disappointment, but in the end, I’m really not seeing why this guy gets such a bad rap by some. Granted, I’ve been told that I’m really forgiving when it comes to my assessment of Hasbro’s Deluxe Transformers and I would tend to agree with that criticism. Anyone who is an articulation whore, and there’s nothing wrong with that, will certainly be frustrated by Skids’ arms, but I really dig the engineering of his transformation and looking at him up on my shelf, I think he’s one of the better looking Deluxes in my Classics/Generations lineup. At one point, I almost laid down $25 for him and in retrospect I probably would have been OK with that. Of course, it was better to get him for $15 as part of the wave assortment.
Next Thursday I’m going to detour to check out Masterpiece Wheeljack and after that I’ll come back to this Generations wave and start looking at the rest of them.