Revenge of the Fallen Autobot Skids Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Movie (2007), Revenge of the Fallen

Revenge of the Fallen

General Information:
Release Date: June 2009
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Because he is slightly less hyperactive than his brother MUDFLAP, AUTOBOT SKIDS has always thought of himself as “the smart one.” He likes to point this out at every opportunity. While MUDFLAP zips around like a maniac, AUTOBOT SKIDS prefers to impress his superiors among the AUTOBOT high command by behaving in a way he thinks of as mature, which usually involves talking nonstop about anything that occurs to him.

Team up with this faithful ally and get ready to take on DECEPTICON forces! With a few twists and turns, change the robot figure to flashy car mode and show off a fun vehicle that’s ready to flatten the competition!

When I wrote my review for the Robot Replicas figure based on the character of Skids, I was rather harsh and I stand by that review. However, it may surprise you to learn that during Toy Fair 2009, I was actually quite fascinated by the deluxe figure of Skids that was on display in the Hasbro "Revenge of the Fallen" display. Sure back then I already hated the horrible head sculpt, but the rest of the figure struck me as interesting and I looked forward to having it to review more carefully.

Vehicle Mode:
Like many of the vehicles in the Transformers movie universe, Skids transforms into a real life car. In this case he has taken on the alternate form of the Chevrolet Beat. This compact and rather hip looking vehicle is actually a concept vehicle that originally debuted in 2007. Its target demographic were young car buyers in urban environments, making it ideal to feature for promotional purposes in "Revenge of the Fallen". The Beat is also known as the "Spark", which I found a fun coincidence.

This figure is a really nice approximation of the Chevy Beat in toy form. It has the general shape where the back is high and then slopes down towards the front. Among the other signature characteristics carried over to this figure from the real life vehicle are its distinctive headlights that start at the base of the grille and angle all the way up the side of the front to the base of the windshield. This is very distinctive and looks really nice, almost like a pair of narrow set eyes on the front of the vehicle. Chevrolet logos are sculpted into both the front and back of the vehicle. The front end is quite distinctive, with a grille that appears divided into a section right under the hood and another towards the bottom of the front section. Both grille sections feature the distinctive "arrow shapes" pointing downward found on the real life vehicle. Each wheel sports the five spokes spanning out from the center featured on the real life Beat and the sideview mirrors are the same curved, rectangular shape as the Beat. Also found on the figure is the hex shaped window in the back and a rear windshield wiper. Seeing such "real life" detail in Transformers is always fun as it harkens back to the very roots of the line, when the first Transformers were all essentially toy versions of real life vehicles full of detail (and long before licensing issues got in the way of making a good toy based on a real life vehicle).

Skids is cast primarily in a metallic green color officially known as "Vertigo Green". It borders on a neon color but is dark enough that it isn't offensive to the eyes. His windows are cast in translucent blue plastic and black plastic makes up the wheels. A bit of clear plastic is used to form the headlights. Silver, black, red and gold colors are all used for detailing in this form. The black is the most prominant. The hood is painted black and on the sides of the vehicles are striking looking designs that look like a series of tears revealing a layer of detail underneath the vehicle. These decos match those found on the real life Beat. Black is also found on the sideview mirrors and the grille sections on the front and back of the vehicle. Silver is mostly used as trim on the front portion of the car and the gold paint is used to color both Chevy logos. The distinctive red color is used for the taillights, and while it looks nice and bold I would have preferred clear plastic in those sections to highlight the two different lights on each side that the real life Beat has. Skids' license plate is painted blue with the word "SKIDS" printed on it. I really like how faithful this deco is to the real life vehicle with a couple exceptions. I'm also a sucker for using metallic and translucent plastic together, something Skids has in spades.

Due to his transformation scheme you can't open Skids' doors outward or really even lift the hood in this form. He does however roll on all four wheels well on a hard surface so you get your play value from that.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Separate the door panels from the panels at the rear of the vehicle.
  2. Swing the rear section with the lower wheels down.
  3. Rotate the front wheel sections down. This will swing the car doors down as well. These sections will become the robot legs.
  4. Move the robot feet down and rotate them around so they point forward.
  5. Swing the doors in on their hinges, forming the panels around each lower leg and snapping it into place using the peg on the legs and the holes on the door panels.
  6. Swing the robot arms out.
  7. Lift the hood panel from the front of the car, then swing the robot head up.
  8. Swing the arms up on the central hinge, then rotate the entire section with the top of the car and the arms around.
  9. Push the bottom brille piece on the robot chest down and tuck it back. This will cause the panels in the front of the vehicle to separate out and make the waist piece visible.
  10. Angle the robot arms on their hinges in a V shape so they line up with the pegs on the back behind and under the robot head, connect the holes on the robot arm posts to these pegs.
  11. Attach the rectangular piece on the back panel from the vehicle to the rectangular hole right behind the robot head.
  12. Swing the hood piece up behind the windshield. You can hunch up the back a bit to tuck the back panel so it's not in the way of the lower legs.
  13. Push in the rectangular panel on the back to help brace the robot mode.
  14. Straighten out the legs and arms.
  15. Rotate the wheel panels on the shoulders so they are out of the way.

I don't often comment on the transformations of most figures since they are for the most part straightforward and not too difficult to manage, but I have to say that Skids' transform is one of the most unique and difficult I've seen in a deluxe figure in quite some time. I can honestly say there are Voyager Class figures that aren't this complicated! It's interesting to see this unique transformation scheme and I would like to see a variant of it improved in the future so the kibbly bits are dealt with a bit better, especially the back piece.

Robot Mode:
I often hold CGI model accuracy as one of the primary goals of any movie based figure, but there are times when you have to make some allowances for inaccuracies, and this is certainly one of them. Even as I watched "Revenge of the Fallen" I knew that there was no way the transforming figure would duplicate the on-screen robot mode close to say 90% accuracy. Instead, I figured I'd content myself with roughly 75-85% and in that respect I would say the designers have succeeded. In particular, the many panels from the car mode virtually disappear in the CGI model, but here they make up huge chunks of the robot mode including his shoulder armor, leg armor and the large panel on the back. The most problematic (if you want to call it that) piece is the section of the car that winds up on his back. You can push it up but it causes him to hunch over a bit. I'm not 100% sure this section could have been done better without escalating cost as the only solution I can think of would have been to add more hinges to allow it to fold in more - which would ultimately cost more money. My biggest gripe is that this piece can get in the way of the posability of the legs.

Despite kibbly bits here and there, Skids does have quite a few CGI model accurate parts. The robot head has all the primary features of the CGI model's head including the uneven eyes, the big "ears", the bits of armor swept to one side on top (resembling hair) and his buck teeth in front. The chest section breaks out into several panels, giving the "armor on machinery" look the CGI model has. He also sports the asymmetrical arm design, with the right arm made up of a large fist and a cannon on the forearm while the left arm is smaller and more in proportion to the rest of his body. The arm designs are close to those in the movie, complete with bits of machinery sculpted into the arms with armor panels covering the top of the forearms. His legs are quite detailed, including details such as raised circles and tubes. "Strips" of armor are sculpted on the legs, forming a layer over the machinery underneath.

In this mode, new colors are revealed. A darker shade of green, silver and dark silver all make up the robot mode. Instead of having each color uniformly make up parts of his body, the colors alternate. For instance, his right arm has green on top, then dark silver leading to a silver elbow joint, which then leads to a green forearm with a dark silver fist and cannon attached. I like the use of color in this manner since it adds visual complexity to the figure.

Paint applications are done in black, silver and gold. The black is used for detailing on the head. Silver is also found on the head as well as the waist where his Autobot symbol is painted. Gold is used on one of his teeth, a feature that was present in the CGI model as well.

Skids has twenty four points of articulation in this form. This includes five in each leg and a hinge on his giant right fist allowing the fist to open and close. Push the trigger on his right arm and his fist pops out in a "punching" action. This also raises his cannon, making it a nice dual action feature. I was impressed by how many points of articulation the figure has. What it may lack in grace it certainly makes up for a bit in posability. Kudos to the designers on that count.

Final Thoughts:
I have to say that I really, really still detest the head sculpt on this figure. It deserves kudos for being accurate to the CGI model, but it's just an ugly design. However, I do like the vehicle form a lot and the robot mode has some really nice features. This is also one of those reviews where I had to set aside my feelings about the character himself to take a good, objective look at the figure since I am still not oa fan of "The Twins". Going back to Toy Fair 2009, my impression upon leaving the event was that this figure would be fantastic if you just took the head off and gave it a new one, and now I stand by that assertion. With a new head sculpt I'd actually highly recommend this, but as it stands I will only put it down as recommended.