Skids. 1 per case in the G1 toys. Underused in the cartoon. Dissected in a US comic, sent to another dimension for 100+ issues in the UK comic. And last of the Diaclone inspired Autobots to get a "classics" update.
His new Generations toy comes packaged in robot mode and packed with a copy of More Than Meets The Eye 22, which features Skids. MTMTE 2, his debut issue in that series, might have been a better choice as there's a frame from that that this toy owes a lot of debt to!
First up: Skids is misassembled straight out the packet: his hips are on the wrong side. This limits his poseability: his legs swing back not forward at the waist. If you look straight at him, and turn him to your left you'll see a little R for Right on *his* left hip, and if you turn the other way a L for Left on *his* right hip. So pop both legs off at the hips and swap them over. The pop both legs off bellow the hips at the thigh swivel and swap them back.
So to transform him into car mode remove his hand guns. Fold the blasters down under his wrists. Fold the missile pods on his shoulders back then pull the back plate down and store the shoulder cannons in his back. Yes that's a lot of guns! Fold the chest forward, fold the head down into it (there's some nice detailing inside the chest) and then fold the chest back up into the space where the head was. Rotate each foot 180 degrees so the toes point backwards. Fold the foot out to the sides and up. Fold the toes on each foot in. Peg the lower legs together and rotate the waist 180 degrees. Push the shoulders in so they lock with the sides of the chest to form the car's bonnet. Peg the arms into the hips, there's a pin joint mid bicep that lets the arm bend slightly in. Fold the legs forward to become the back of the car. Swing the robot backpack wings back so they're flush with his side windows to form the car doors. Fold the back plate down to fill the gap on the top of the car. Fold the car doors into place and manipulate everything so it locks. Peg the guns onto the sides of the car.
Skids' vehicle mode is a car, which looks a little like his Movie version or a squashed G1 Skids. He's got a blue body shell which, if I'm honest, is far too lighter blue for Skids. It's almost a blue/green original Seaspray blue. Could do with being darker: this might be a "double dip for the TakaraTomy version". Present are the white and red stripes down the sides. He's got painted headlights: yellow at the front, red at the back, a silver grill and red wheel hubs. On the sides of the car just in front of the rear wheels is a 5mm peg hole on each side. Use these to mount his weapons on, or indeed any other weapons: I think Universe Tankorr/Octane's twin cannons might work quite well. Officially it's part of the transform, but you can fold the sides of the car up as gull wing doors. Finally the windscreen can slide up and back, which triggers the spring loaded folding out of his robot mode shoulder cannons allowing them to fire out the front of the car!
There's just a little bit more here than you get with the average Generations (classics etc) vehicle mode, I like this a lot. The only downside is there's a step somewhere in the transform that's causing slight stress marks to appear on the slatted rear window.
Transform back to robot mode: remove the weapons, raise the doors and swing the lower door panels out to the sides. Fold the rear of the car back to become the legs: it's best to fold both the knee and bellow the knee joint back to their maximum position. Fold the toes down. Swing the rear wheels and their arches down under the toy to form the feet. Yes just like the original Skids his wheel are face down in his feet! Turn the feet round so the toes point up. Unpeg the arms from the legs then pull the sides of the front away from the bonnet till there's a gap of about 5mm on either side. Raise the roof of the car and spin the waist round 180 degrees. Fold the front of the car right the way forward, fold the head out and then fold back to form the robot chest.
You've now got the standard unarmed Skids robot and it's a good robot: while different it's got enough hints to the original Skids - the car front chest, door wings etc - that you're comfortable with it being Skids. Articulation is generally good: ball jointed ankles, ratcheting knees, thigh swivel, ball jointed hips, waist, ball jointed neck, shoulders and elbows. The shoulders though have caused some people problems. For a start they need to be pull out to the sides to give maximum mobility, a step that has evaded a few people looking at the toy. Then the large shoulders have a habit of colliding with the back panel. Or the wings. And when they don't the forearms will inevitably collide with the protruding chest or the lights sticking out the side of that. You're never going to be able to raise the arms to the sides much anyway so the poseability in the arms is limited despite the articulation. Some people have reported problems balancing the toy: most of these can be solved with the hip swap and/or making sure the mid lower leg joint is right the way forward. I've found having the car's main window folded onto the back, as opposed to being raised, can overbalance the toy slightly.
For some reason I really associate Skids with having Hot Rod esque exhaust pipe guns on his arms. This hasn't been helped by Movie Clocker so at least one other Hasbro designer has the same thought. It's here again on this toy with his wrist guns stowed as a pair of tubes under his arms.
It's time to weaponise Skids: Fold the twin guns out from under the arms. They're geared so folding one out should fold the other. That's a bit of a pain actually because there's plenty of situations I can think of where just folding the outer one out would be good as the inner one keeps colliding with his chest! These guns are reminiscent of the twin electron blaster on the original Skids toy. Next fold the outer portion of the shoulders forward to reveal moulded missile pods as seen on the comics version. Pulling the back panel down and then up again should release the dual cannons which will spring up over his shoulders, again as seen in issue 2 of More Than Meets The Eye. Then there's his hand guns: the larger one is modelled on the G1 toy's Liquid nitrogen rifle. The smaller one is modelled on the Binary Gun/Nudge Gun that Skids was carrying when he arrived in MTMTE issue 2. Both guns have a 5mm peg handle and a 5mm side peg to mount on the side of the car mode. The barrel of the binary gun can also slip into a corresponding hole in the back of the nitrogen rifle to form a larger combined weapon.
For a bit of fun look at the soles of Skids' feet. As well as the hub of the wheels facing down there's also the two 5mm holes from the side of the car. That then means that Skids can use a 5mm peg as a foot stand. It's time to dig out a few Armada toys and Beast Wars X Optimus Primal's Surf Board to see how Skids looks riding them.
Skids isn't a perfect toy: there's a few flaws, annoyances and issues. But he is a very, VERY good toy, lots of fun to play with and lots of extra toys to pack in. Well worth getting....
... Unfortunately that might be an issue now: He appears in the Transformers Generations 2014 Deluxe Wave 1 (Generations 30th Deluxe Wave 3). This wave hit US stores before Christmas and was quickly cleared out. Many online retailers didn't receive their full allotment from Hasbro: I got fed up waiting for BBTS to receive theirs a month and a bit after US on shelf sightings and ordered off eBay. As usual this wave doesn't appear to be scheduled for the UK market so if you want one you are going to have to pay a rising import cost to get it.
Skids was originally a Diaclone toy: The Honda City Turbo, available in several flavours. But that toy is a modified version of the Honda City R diaclone toy, which had a different head. When Skids was reissued in Japan in 2002 as Transformers Collection 3, the accompanying e-Hobby repaint used one of the Diaclone colours schemes with the modified head and called it Crosscut. So when a repaint of Generations Skids was needed Crosscut was chosen and rather handily Crosscut has recently appeared in Robots in Disguise issue 25, which is included with him.
Crosscut is an easy set of colour swaps: silver for blue, black for grey and some red paint with a new faceplated head.
Crosscut is 2 per case in Generations 2014 deluxe Wave 3, packed with 3 each of Tankor and Rattrap. This case has yet to be released anywhere at time of writing but Hasbro UK have announced this case as shipping April 2014 giving hope that the UK may actually receive this toy! I'll believe it when I see it.
Future RepaintsThere's plenty of room for Skids repaints looking at recent repaints of the original Skids toy: Quantum Operative Skids, a green version based on his Movie colours or even Screech, a homage to Movie Skids twin Mudflap.
However for me I think the direction they should go it to look at the Diaclone Honda City R and Honda City Turbo. There's an unused in Transformers Red colour scheme, with blue head and hands. Apply that to the Crosscut version of the Generations toy and you end up with a very nice looking Optimus Prime toy. If you then painted Crosscut in black he'd make a really good vehicle mode Optimus Primal, with the shoulder cannons and wrist guns hommaging the similar features on the original Ultra Ape.
Hasbro, I have money for you!