Dark of the Moon Deluxe Autobot Skids Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, MechTech, Revenge of the Fallen

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand blaster/Double-barreled cannon

Images:

*Images and text in italics from the Official Transformers web site:
AUTOBOT SKIDS has learned a lot in the last few years. Frequent battle has hardened him, and partnership with humans has made him more sensitive to the value of life. Now, though he is still an eager warrior, his first priority is always the defense of those under his protection. Rush into battle with this vehicle-to-robot hero!

This mighty AUTOBOT SKIDS figure changes from Chevy Spark concept mode to battle-ready robot mode. Convert him back to vehicle mode so he can chase down his enemies, complete with double-barreled cannon atop the vehicle. As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth, so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him! Weapons work with any MECHTECH TRANSFORMERS figure! Ages 5 and up.

While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures.

It's no exaggeration to say that Autobot Skids is one of the more reviled characters in recent Transformers movie history. Indeed, his role (and that of his brother Mudflap) was so controversial that the rumor mill states that they have been all but excised from "Dark of the Moon" in the editing room despite sightings of their respective vehicle modes on set during filming of the movie and their cross promotional, licensing potential. Whether or not they appear in the third Transformers film, both brothers are appearing in the toy line in their updated forms. The first wave of "Dark of the Moon" deluxe figures features Autobot Skids as a member of the Mech Tech assortment.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support (this could change).

Is this disappointing? Absolutely. However, it must be stressed that this seems to only apply to the deluxe wave one so far. Larger figures do have weapons that can "stay" transformed and who knows? A future deluxe wave may have figures that can stay in their alternate form. Also please note that in my photos, I had to use various tricks to make the weapon stay in its alternate form (including liberal use of paper and paper clips to keep them in place).

In its default mode, Skids' weapon is a blaster with two barrels of different sizes. One is on top, with sculpted circles on the sides such as those found on the barrel ends of machine guns. Underneath that is another, much smaller barrel. Sitting on top is a flat piece with curves on the sides that looks almost like an engine powering the weapon. Behind that section is a round targeting scope in the center complete with crosshairs sculpted in the center. The bottom section is rectangular in shape with some great details sculpted along the sides including rectangles, vertical lines and tubes.

Pull the targeting scope back and the flat, front section swings forward and the barrels swing down. In their place appear twin weapon barrels with raised vertical and horizontal lines sculpted on top of the barrels. The way the weapon extends, it makes the overall shape longer and a bit more sleek looking. Overall the weapon looks really cool in both modes, though I do prefer the transformed mode.

Skids' blaster is cast in grey and dark yellow color. The targeting scope is painted red in the center while the twin, dual barrels are painted silver. This is one of the few Mech Tech weapons thus far that actually has paint applications and it looks really nice. It's definitely a great case for more paint applications on other Mech Tech weapons.

Vehicle Mode:
Autobot Skids' updated vehicle mode is that of the Chevrolet Spark. This is the natural form for Skids to take on as the "Spark" is actually the updated version of the Chevrolet Beat, which was Skids' vehicle mode in "Revenge of the Fallen". Like the Beat, this form is a very stylish, sleek yet compact vehicle that has a distinctive look with a sleek front end and a slightly boxy back section. Skids' vehicle mode has many of the features found on the real life Spark including:

  • The distinctive split front grille with a Chevrolet logo in the middle.
  • Tear dropped headlights, with smaller fog lights underneath set against a pattern like the one found on the grille.
  • The sides have a distinct depression in the sides that starts at a point in the front and widens as it reaches the rear wheel well.
  • The back section has a single windsield wiper sculpted on the back window.
  • The rear lights and the smaller lights under them are both round in shape.
  • The license plate section is trapezoid shaped with a Chevrolet logo right above it.

While Skids is very faithful to the standard Spark vehicle, he does have a few bits and pieces that appear to be customized. Most prominent is the spoiler attached to the back of the vehicle on the top. Also, the sides have small panels that flare out to the sides a bit. On the back of the vehicle, the exhaust pipes are set in the middle (rather than the left side as on the standard Spark) and there are more grille like patterns on the back. These are all customizations that were used on the prop vehicles for the film, which you can see in spy photos from Left Lane News.

This form shows mostly black and dark grey translucent plastic. You'll find some neon green plastic peeking out in the back from the vehicle mode, but it does not subtract too much from the vehicle mode. The paint applications on this vehicle mode are fairly simple. Neon green, red, silver and gold are used to provide much needed detail to the black plastic. The neon green is used for two racing stripes that start on the front grille and go all the way to the back of the vehicle. A dab of neon green paint is also found on the sides of the sideview mirrors. Silver paint is used to paint the headlights and the two smaller lights on the back of the vehicle. Red paint is used on the rear lights. If you've read any of my Chevrolet vehicle mode reviews before you can guess where the gold goes, yes that's right, the Chevrolet symbol on the front. Overall the deco looks good and contrasts heavily with his previous form's colors which emphasized the green over the black color. I like the reversal as it makes him look a lot more sleek.

Skids has two holes on the top of the vehicle which are nicely hidden by having a plastic piece which slides up to fill the space when his blaster is not inserted. The two holes are side by side, allowing you to connect two Mech Tech weapons on top, making him double the trouble (sorry, I couldn't resist)!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the car over and swing out both robot arms.
  2. On the left arm, fold the car door panel in half over the forearm.
  3. On the right arm, rotate the door panel around to reveal the green parts and swing the large fist out.
  4. Push in the small panel at the center of the vehicle mode's front end.
  5. Pull the front of the vehicle down, separating it from the hood and windshield section.
  6. Pull the robot head forward.
  7. Swing the hood/cabin cover piece back on the central hinge, then rotate it around, fold the hood piece in and press it against the panel with the spoiler on it.
  8. Swing the rear section of the vehicle down to begin forming the robot legs.
  9. Separate each half of the rear section from the other.
  10. Swing out the robot toe pieces on the sides.
  11. Swing out the heel pieces on each foot.
  12. Swing the rear section of the vehicle mode back.
  13. Swing the robot chest piece up over the waist piece with the Autobot symbol on it.
    Rotate the robot arms so they are set properly on either side of his legs.
  14. A Mech Tech weapon can be attached to either the side of the right arm or in the left fist.

Robot Mode:
This version of Skids is meant to represent an upgrade and a more "mature" form, however many of the design aspects of this figure are heavily inspired in design by his previous design. Among the details that are inspired by his previous form are:

  • The head design. Sadly, this design is exactly the same as the previous one. Bulging, uneven eyes, huge buck teeth and big triangular ears sticking out the sides. I think this is one of the ugliest Transformers related designs ever. The ugliest head sculpt from Generation One is ten times better than this one and I'm quite sad that Skids didn't change his design at all. It would not have been hard, just imagine if the eyes were made round but smaller, no buck teeth (perhaps a mouthplate) and ears sticking out the sides a la Wheeljack and you would have something recognizable, yet still nice looking. Alas that is not to be.
  • The right fist is gigantic compared to the left.
  • The front of the vehicle becomes the robot chest.
  • The thighs are relatively small compared to the lower legs, which have enormous feet.
  • In terms of proportions, the robot arms are huge, practically reaching down to the robot ankles!

If you can look past the ugly head sculpt, there are many well sculpted details on this figure. The chest section has mechanical details on top, where the vehicle's engine would be. The waist and hip area have nice, sleek details on them. The arms have everything from tubes to cogs and cages over armor. The legs have a similar design aesthetic with several angular parts, armor panels and pistons. I said this previously about the Skids design and I'll say it again: if the head sculpt wasn't so incredibly ugly this would be one really odd yet cool looking figure.

In this mode, Skids reveals grey and neon green plastic in addition to the black plastic from the vehicle mode. Most of the robot mode parts including his arms, waist, hips and thighs are cast in grey. The lower legs are neon green, offering a strong contrast. Paint applications are applied in neon green, silver, black and light blue. The green provides small details on his arms, head and hip area. Silver is found on his buck teeth and the ends of his feet. The black paint is used to paint the aforementioned Autobot symbol on the center of the torso. Finally, the light blue paint is used to paint his eyes, keeping in tradition with the G1 cartoon where Autobots all had blue eyes.

Skids has eleven points of articulation in this form. This includes four points of articulation in the right arm and three in the left. I was surprised to see how little articulation there is on this figure. Even those that are there aren't perfect. The knee joints only bend forward for instance. You can attach Mech Tech weapons to the panel on his right arm or in the fist on his left hand. There is also a hole behind the robot head that you can attach a weapon to. While there is some good Mech Tech fun to be had here, the articulation is rather disappointing for a figure of this scale.

Final Thoughts:
It's sad whenever I have to warn fans away from a figure. I think this figure has a great looking vehicle mode and there are many strong aspects to the robot mode, especially the sculpt (head aside). I also really like the weapon, but none of that is enough to overcome the horrible head design and the disappointing articulation. Not recommended.