Revenge of the Fallen Robot Replicas Autobot Skids Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Revenge of the Fallen

Revenge of the Fallen

General Information:
Release Date: May 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:
AUTOBOT SKIDS is so star-struck by the older AUTOBOTS, and so desperate to impress them, that he almost never shuts his mouth when they’re around. It’s impossible to launch any kind of stealth attack with him chattering away. Most of the time, he and his brother MUDFLAP are assigned to causing a diversion, somewhere far away from IRONHIDE and his team.

Recreate exciting movie scenes with this awesomely detailed figure – or just add him to your collection! For play or display, this fierce-looking figure is a must-have for AUTOBOT and DECEPTICON fans alike!

Fully posable figure is movie-accurate to the finest detail! Figure does not convert.

The concept of Transformers who are "brothers" has existed in the mythology since Generation One. The classic Autobots Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were "twin brothers" and the concept would later be taken to an extreme with the Autobot Clones Fastlane and Cloudraker. The concept appears again in "Revenge of the Fallen" with Autobot Skids and Mudflap, two Autobots who share several characteristics, but actually transform into two different vehicles and have similar, but different robot modes. For the Robot Replicas line, Autobot Skids was given the highly detailed and articulated treatment.

I don't think it would be fair for me to say I'm going into this review (or any reviews of the "brothers" down the road) completely unbiased. The press has made much ado about the portrayal of these two characters. Criticisms range from calling them stupid to downright racist. However, my review of this figure will approach it from a more aesthetic point of view, but it doesn't mean I'm crazy about the character.

A car of any sort is a fairly smoothly designed piece of machinery. Generally panels are smooth and even if they have breaks they are worked into the curvature of the various parts of the car. When the Autobots transform in the Transformers movie universe, they generally wind up breaking a lot of these parts up and revealing mechanical detail underneath. The result is a combination of nicely smooth parts with a lot of machinery underneath. It is that aesthetic that dominates Autobot Skids. There are several curved and angled panels on his body form, the most distinctive being two that raise on either sid eof his head as "collars" and two panels on his chest that curve upward. He also has curved wheel covers on his shoulders and some thin armor parts on his legs distributed between both the upper and lower legs.

Look past all the panels described above and you will find details ranging from hinges and pistons on his arms to springs and brake discs on his legs. A couple details I find interesting are some line details on his back with tire halves right above them. In most CGI renderings I have seen of the character he has wheels prominantly attached to his ankles, but here you only see hints of brake discs on his ankles and mysterious tires on his back (the other tires are on his shoulders) making me wonder if there were a couple iterations of the robot mode design before the one on film was finalized.

Other cool details include his headlights on the chest and the grille in the center, evoking classic G1 Autobot design with an updated touch. Perhaps my favorite detail on this figure is the huge gun mounted on his right arm. I totally dig the look of this thing. Its barrel isn't huge, but with the big line of artillery sticking out of it you can tell it's made to do some serious damage! The gun has some really nice grooves and lines sculpted into it along with individually segmented bullets on the artillery band. Very nicely done.

So you can probably tell by now that for the most part I really dig this figure. It is really well detailed and matches up well with the CGI model, and that's part of the problem when it comes to the head. The head is one of the most atrocious designs to ever come out of the Transformers line - ever. I remember once seeing some concept drawings in a Japanese book for a Transformer that would become an aerial vehicle and (I'm not kidding), a vampire like Count Dracula. Its head reminded me of "the Count" from Sesame Street and that head would have been a million times more elegant and refined than this head. And what amazes me is that for the first time ever in a Transformers toy, I find myself absoluely despising one element of design so much that it colors my perception of the rest of the figure. The head has two large, uneven "Garfield" type eyeballs with odd "Gremlins" like ears dangling on the side. There are two crests on the top of the head but they're uneven and bent to the sides. And then...ugh...he has two huge buck teeth. All I can keep thinking is "What on this Green Earth were they thinking with this design?!". After years of seeing the amazing and diverse range of heads the designers from Hasbro and Tomy have come up with, this is absolutely shocking and sad. I know that this head is mant to look "funny" but that never came across in the film and on a purely aesthetic level it looks like Skids fell out of the Ugly Tree and hit every branch on the way down - with his face.

Skids is cast in grey plastic. Neon green, silver, gold, red and two shades of blue are used for detailing. Most of the detail is done in silver, which is used on his arms, legs and for the gun on his arm. Gold is used for alternate details including the artillery band on his gun and the sides of his hips. His eyes and headlights are light blue whereas small details on his chest are a darker metallic blue. Somehow the designers resisted the urge to paint on of his buck teeth gold, which I think we can thank the benefits of cost savings for rather than anything resembling good taste.

Skids has twenty points of articulation, including four in each arm and leg. The articulation also includes the ability for the two halves of his chest to move on ball joints, allowing his arms to be positioned a bit wider than you would otherwise.

Final Thoughts:
The sad part about the way I'm rating this figure is that for the most part, it's actually a really good figure. But then you take the head sculpt into account and it feels like someone got to the last detail of this toy and just threw their hands up and gave up. I'm so disappointed that I really can't recommend anyone spending $11.99 or more on this, especially when the thing doesn't even transform. If you must own Skids, I'd recommend the transforming deluxe version instead. One caveat I will throw out there is that if you are a kitbasher and want to replace the head, this is a cool body to do it with and the head pops off easily since it's on a ball joint. If that's why you want this figure, then I do recommend it.