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Transformers Generations
by yo go re

IDW to the rescue!

With no memory of his life before a few cycles ago, Autobot Skids finds himself with a rare opportunity. Not knowing who he is allows him to be anything he wants to be, and the firepower of his mysterious new blaster gives him the strength to follow through on any adventure he pursues.

I didn't have a lot of Transformers as a kid - I guess they were more expensive than other toys or something - but one of the few I did have was Skids. And as a kid, there's not much that's more exciting than seeing one of the toys you have show up in the cartoon. So of course, Skids only ever appeared in two episodes of the show, and was given pretty much zero personality. Thanks, guys. Heck, he had more going on in the Alternators story than he did in G1!

Back then, Skids' head was very square - it was nearly as wide as it was tall. This modern incarnation mixes design elements from the toy (the bump on the chin), the comics (the flares around his cheeks) and the cartoon (the ridge over the top of the head), but has a much narrower shape. This is one case where I might actually consider a third party head.

Many of the features of this toy's sculpt are homaging the 1985 release. For instance, the headlights and grill on the front of his chest (though those are hardly limited to just Skids), the door "wings" on his back (ditto) and the fact that he has tires lying horizontal under his feet. That one's unique! He's got a big windscreen behind his head, and a red crotch-plate that comes straight from the '80s. For maximum accuracy, the hands should be red, not the blue that they are.

Beyond just being easily distracted, IDW's Skids is a pretty fearsome warrior. The toy plays that up through the addition of some really fun hidden weapons. There are blasters under each forearm: they split and raise to the sides, flanking his hands. Two guns pop up over his back, and his shoulders rotate down to reveal missile batteries. The overall effect is very similar to Cybertron Defense Hot Shot, and is a lot of fun. It's directly inspired by a shot from the comics, too.

If that weren't enough, he's also armed with two handheld guns: one is an update of the liquid nitrogen gun the original toy came with, and the other is a smaller pistiol. A mysterious smaller pistol. I can't seem to remember what it does, right now. The really cool thing is that they can combine to form a single long rifle. Neat!

Skids' articulation could be better. He has all the joints you'd expect, but there are some problems that hold him back. To begin with, the hips are assembled incorrectly, so the legs won't move forward properly. That's easy to fix, though: pop the legs off the hips, slide the leg apart at the thigh swivel, swap the hips, and reattach them; Skids will now be able kick like a Rockette! Additionally, the way his shoulders are designed means that he can't move his arms to the sides, which is a little frustrating.

As a kid, I always thought Skids' almode was a minivan, so any time he turns into a car, it twists my brain slightly. This is a modern style hatchback, a small city car in the same vein as the G1 original, but not based on any specific vehicle. It measures 4¼" long, and has red paint apps on the rims to contrast with the blue - nice of them not to skimp on the apps this time! The blue is a bit lighter than it should be; Skids has always been darker.

As is the trend with this current crop of Generations figures, Skids is packaged with a reprint comic that forms the backdrop of his packaging. In his case, the comic in question is More than Meets the Eye #22 (although the legalese on the inside of the front cover suggests it's Transformers: Skids, a comic that doesn't actually exist). The story doesn't really focus on Skids very much at all, so it's clearly not a "Spotlight" issue like some of the others have had. That said, it's still well-written and interesting, and introduces some fun ideas. Hasbro's nefarious plan to get us hooked on Transformers comics by including them with the toys continues apace!

Skids never got much love in the fiction before, but IDW seems to be making up for lost time. If not for the comics raising his profile, it's unlikely we would have gotten this toy, and that would have been a shame.

-- 01/07/14

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