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Oil Slick

Transformers Animated
by yo go re

The fans have really warmed to Transformers Animated. The initial fanboy reaction was pretty negative, but the debut of the cartoon pretty much shut that up. Doesn't hurt that the toys are so much fun, either. The designers for both the show and Hasbro worked together to make sure both depictions of a character (two-dimensional or three-dimensional) looked as much alike as possible. There's one figure, though, that looks nothing at all like the cartoon - because he has yet to show up at all!

Vehicle to vehicle combat is something all Transformers are skilled in, but with Oil Slick, it's a particular specialty. He knows more about how to disable and destroy a vehicle than almost anyone else in the galaxy. He knows that if he can break down the robot inside, the vehicle will come screaching to a halt. Canisters attached to his sides dump special chemicals that unlock the deepest fears of any robot exposed to them, while at the same time rotting wheels and burning through axles. Once the vehicle mode is destroyed, Oil Slick moves in close to finish off with his chain weapon.

Oil Slick was just a character that Eric Siebenaler, Hasbro's lead designer for the Transformers brand, put together for the heck of it. He was never intended to make it onto the show, but when they heard that, the cartoon crew admitted if they'd known about him, they'd have found a way to work him in. Thus, look for Oil Slick to make an appearance in Season 3, right beside Lugnut's mace and Laserbeak.

Slick's vehicle mode is some sort of motorcycle. Actually, just calling it a motorcycle doesn't convey just how boss it is. It's much more brutal than some little "motorcycle" - this is a full-on chopper. Yeah. Brutal. He rolls on four wheels, just like the Dodge Tomahawk, but the body is stretched out like a more typical hog: it has a long front fork and a low cruiser-style seat, with saddlebags on the sides like a touring cycle. There are spikes on the frame, wings painted on the gas tank and a ram's head front and center instead of a headlight. Brutal!

The bike is 6½" long from end to end, which means it's just the right size for 1:18 scale figures. Want a ride for your Micronauts, Star Wars or GI Joe figures? Oil Slick's great. The bike looks particularly good under Zartan, as you can see. In keeping with the stuff about Oil Slick being fond of vehicle-on-vehicle combat, the instructions show a "Vehicle Attack Mode" that's pretty stupid (it looks like he's doing push-ups) and can safely be ignored.

In robot mode, Oil Slck is nicely proportioned. Since he was a product of Hasbro and not the animators, his design is a bit different from the rest of the Animated crew. Oh, he still has the big limbs and skinny legs, but his shoulders aren't ridiculously broad and he doesn't have a huge chin. His head, in fact, is quite normal-sized beneath his dome. The way he's designed makes him look like he should be voiced by Rene Auberjonois, if that makes any sense.

Actually, with his sickly green color scheme and the dome over his head, the overall effect is of someone wearing a haz-mat suit, which fits his characterization as a chemical warrior - he needs to keep himself safe, after all. The figure stands approximately 6" tall, and has quite a good spread of articulation: enough for any pose you might want (and a few you won't). His shoulders don't quite plug in place well enough, but that's the only real flaw.

The barrels stored under the bike's saddlebags become separate weapons for the figure to wield: one just pops open like a canister, while the other splits to become a chain weapon. The chain is just plastic, and fairly short, but the idea is cool and the overall execution works.

Oil Slick is, so far, a slow seller - it seems nobody wants a bot that doesn't actually appear anywhere. Unless... see, back in the day, Hasbro made Transformers, and Tonka made GoBots. Of course, today, Hasbro owns Tonka, which means Hasbro owns GoBots. Their names, at least. And for the most part, any connection is limited to cameos and easter eggs in the comics. But looking at Oil Slick's dome head and the way he converts, he's pretty strongly reminiscent of the evil leader Cy-Kill. Of course, the color scheme is all wrong... unless you consider Cy-Kill's 1985 repaint. Maybe I'm just reading too much into it (there are only so many ways to make a robot into a motorcycle), but Oil Slick is an excellent toy either way - I just wonder if we'll see a red, siler and blue repaint sometime in the future.


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