Release Date: July 2017
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: Toys 'R' Us Exclusive
Official images and text in italics below are from ToysRUs.com:
In the explosive Transformers: The Last Knight movie, new heroes must rise in an epic struggle to forge a future for all. Brutally injured in a past struggle, Skullitron charged back into action to uphold his sacred knight's oath. When conflict erupts, he fearlessly confronts forces that threaten those he was sworn to protect.
The Transformers: Mission to Cybertron Premier Edition 5.5 inch Action Figure - Deluxe Skullitron Features:
- Premier Edition Deluxe Skullitron figure
- Exclusive Mission to Cybertron glyph detailing
- Converts between knight and dragon modes
- Converts in 17 steps
- Decode glyph messages on figure and included mission card online
- Figure scale: 5.5 inches
"The Last Knight" introduced the concept of Cybertronians being part of the Knights of the Round Table. One of these Knights was Skullitron. For the most part, the Knights were not named in the movie, so fans had to rely on visual cues to figure out who was who. Skullitron had the distinction of being very memorable in the film. In one sequence, Cade comes face to face with a Transformer and its face looks like it has been mostly destroyed, leaving only (drumroll please), a skull face! If you're thinking the name "Skullitron" is a bit on the nose, you'd be right but at least it's accurate!
Skullitron is a retool and redeco of Steelbane. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. I do recommend reading Steelbane's review before this one, but I have also included some of the text from that review that is also relevant to Skullitron.
Skullitron falls into the "Premier Edition" series of figures, however because he is also part of the Toys R Us exclusive "Mission to Cybertron" sub-line his packaging is different than the other Premier Edition figures. There are some shared features such as the "Premier Edition" logo and the vertical Transformers logo on the right side. However, there is no individual package art. Instead, the sides of the packaging feature artwork from the "Last Knight" promotional art featuring Optimus Prime and Megatron facing off on Cybertron.
Instead of being carded, Skullitron is in a plastic tray inside a box. The figure is packaged in robot mode. The back of the box features photography of Skullitron in both modes and advertising a 17 step transformation. It also points out that he has Cybertronian glyphs on him that you can use a decoder card (given out for free at Toys R Us stores during this promotion) to translate. The packaging also features his cosell: Megatron.
Skullitron includes the same sword as Steelbane. It is cast in a soft, brown plastic. It features the same 5mm handle and a tab on the side that allows you to attach it to his hip.
Skullitron features a new head sculpt, replacing the head used for Steelbane. Like his on-screen appearance, the head looks like there was once a regular helmet/face design, but something unfortunate seems to have happened to Skullitron once upon a time and a portion of both the helmet and his original face have been blasted away. it is a gruesome sculpt by any standard, featuring only one eye (the other appears torn away) and scary looking teeth open as if he is screaming. I also love the way the helmet appears to have been torn apart in a non-symmetrical fashion. This is the stuff nightmares are made of and the sculpt is intricate and looks amazing.
The rest of the figure is the same sculpt as Steelbane featuring intricate and ancient looking details. The shape of his body looks like a suit of medieval armor and his dragon wings sweep back dramatically on his back. I really love the look of this sculpt and the new head sculpt somehow makes him look even more ancient, like he just walked out of a tomb (which he sort of does in the movie).
Skullitron is cast in silver, blue-grey and gunmetal grey plastic. Silver is the most heavily used color. It makes up the wings, arms, shoulder armor, legs and head. the blue-grey plastic makes up the torso piece under the torso/waist armor. The gunmetal grey makes up his back piece and feet. By themselves, these colors are pretty simple and kind of dull, but what makes this deco amazing is the sheer amount of paint used on the figure. A metallic copper paint is used on the head, shoulder armor, chest/waist armor and the legs. I don't just mean a dab of paint here and there. I mean these parts are so heavily colored in copper paint that from a distance you would think these parts were cast in this color! The copper definitely gives the look of something ancient. Then several greenish patina-like paint details are painted over the copper which gives Skullitron the look of transitioning from copper to green (think The Statue of Liberty). The green is also used to accentuate raised details such as those on the chest and shoulder armor. I love the look of this deco, and I find it more bold than the one on Steelbane (which was also very cool).
There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure in robot mode. If you want to count the wings, that adds another eight. While the figure wins in terms of aesthetics, functionality is where the figure falters. In what is a fairly universal complaint among fans, almost all of Skullitron's ball joints are loose. The worst offenders are the hip ball joints, but the shoulders are also fairly floppy right out of the box. The same can be said for the ball joints at the base of the wings. If this figure was say, the third redeco or something of this tooling I could understand but for this to be the first release of this sculpt with such bad quality control I am very disappointed. Now, that said, this is a fairly easy fix. Some people like to use furniture polish to tighten up the joints. My preferred method is using clear nail polish. It has also been suggested that washing the ball joints removes the oil from them and tightens them up. Of course, disassemble your figures and customize at your own risk, but I chose do to do so in order for this figure to be more stable. Once I added a layer of nail polish to the ball joints, the figure held together a lot better and I could get some good poses out of it.
I was pleased to see that the issue with the back and chest panels tabbing together is not an issue with this figure. The parts hold together much tighter on this figure than they did on my copy of Steelbane.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach the weapon if attached and set them aside.
- On the right leg, swing the foot up, then swing up the dragon tail.
- On the left leg, swing the foot up, then swing up the beast mode head and rotate it around.
- On each arm, swing the forearm armor out to form the rear dragon feet and rotate the forearm so the palms face forward.
- Swing the back piece with the wings back.
- Pull the torso armor section up over the head.
- Swing the outer halves of the chest armor/shoulder section out.
- Swing the leg with the tail up, then rotate it around.
- Rotate the other leg around, then rotate the lower leg to form the neck and head of the dragon.
- Swing the back piece forward.
- The sword attaches to a slot on the piece connected to the tail section, the end of the handle fits into a slot on the back section with the wings.
Note: you have to be careful with connecting the front and back halves of the chest together. The tabs do not really lock well since they hold together with friction rather than tabs or clips.
There are no mold changes in beast mode, so Skullitron winds up looking almost like a twin to Steelbane in terms of design. That said, his colors definitely differentiate him from his fellow Knight. This mode exposes the blue-grey parts more via the head, neck and tail section. The copper color is also broken up a lot more here. It is focused on the neck, head and tail, but the center of the figure is largely gunmetal and silver plastic. The eyes are painted red, which contrasts nicely against the copper. The inside of each wing is painted grey. On the left side wing there are Cybertronian symbols that you can translate using a card given out for free at Toys R Us during the release of this figure. If you're looking for something cool or profound, you're going to be disappointed. These glyphs spell out "Skullitron". Oh well.
Below notes are carried over from my Steelbane review but apply to this figure as well:
There are twenty six points of articulation in this mode. A lot of this is focused on the head, neck and tail sections. While Steelbane's "default" mode has him standing on the ground, his dragon arms are articulated so you can spread them out along with the wings to put him in a "flight" position.
Steelbane is a figure with problems. Almost across the board the joints are loose right out of the box and the issue with the back section connecting to the chest is annoying. For me however I really love the aesthetics in robot mode. The sculpt and paint look great. The dragon mode is cool once you have tightened up the joints. All that said, I do not recommend spending the $19.99 USD retail price on this figure. I purchased it during a Toys R Us "BOGO" sale so I purchased it at roughly 20% off which is about right.
- Very detailed culpt.
- Gorgeous deco.
- Fits the Medieval theme very well.
- Very loose joints right out of the box.