What is it with Autobot scientists being so heavily armed? G1 Skids!

Being very well acquainted with the concept of scientific method and the application of scientific theory, I am still somewhat confused as to how Skids’ function could be simply “Theoretician”. Among the other Autobot scientist-types we have Wheeljack (Mechanical Engineer), Brainstorm (Biomechanical Engineer), Highbrow (Electronic Warfare),  and then there is Skids, the Theoretician, and Perceptor, the Scientist.

Both are remarkably vague. Both sound more like what you tell your friends and family you do for a living rather than trying to explain the complexities of your current project modelling particle interaction with drastic space-time fluctuation. Then again maybe Perceptor and Skids received Liberal Arts degrees and this is their way of skirting the issue. Of course, the distinct possibility exists that I am simply overthinking the whole thing.

Skids also has something else in common with Perceptor, toy-wise they are both rather heavily armed for scientists.

Skids also has something in common with another of his fellow G1 ‘bots. Just like Trailbreaker, he has yet to receive a proper update in any Classics or Generations lines. Unlike Trailbreaker, though, he at least received an entry in the Alternators toyline.

Like much of the Alternators line, Skids’ toy is absolutely wonderful. Great articulation, complex — but not frustrating — transformation, and a headsculpt that melds his animation model with his original toy.

His licensed alt mode, the Toyota Scion xB is also a perfect modern day analogy of his G1 alt mode.

Though a much splashier paintjob, the Scion xB is a perfect fit as a compact hatchback. However, this goes against the one thing most people tend to remember about Skids.

With only two lines in the entirety of the cartoon, those that remember him from there often refer to him as “the dude that transforms into a minivan”. He had a larger role in the comic, but this just leads to him being referred to as “the dude that transforms into a minivan that had the hots for that cowgirl.”

Ooooh, Charlene the Cowgirl.

However, this was simply a misinterpretation by the creators of the fiction (the minivan part, not the Powerglide-like “falling for a squishy organic-type” part.) Not surprisingly, Skids’ toy was from the pre-Transformers Diaclone line from Japan. In Japan in the early 1980’s subcompact cars, like the Honda City Turbo Skids’ alt mode is based on, were very popular. In the U.S. at the same time, subcompact cars were virtually unheard of. This is what lead to Skids’ boxy alt mode being misinterpreted as one of the many American minivans of the time. In reality, Skids’ actual alt mode could probably fit in the cargo section of an American minivan.

This might actually be to scale.

Either way, until he gets his update in Generations form, his Alternators toy is certainly representing.


5 thoughts on “What is it with Autobot scientists being so heavily armed? G1 Skids!

    • Normally I would agree and it actually took me a moment to think through why I prefer the Alternators’ snazzy “burning xB logo” to the sticker set included with the Binaltech. I think it goes back to the first Alternators release, Smokescreen. He remains one of my favourites despite having no connection, paintjob-wise, to his G1 toy. For me, he really set expectations for the line nicely. Some were closer than others, but I really just let go of slavish attention to matching G1 colour schemes and my favourites from the line, like Smokescreen and Mirage, ended up matching paintjobs the least. Of course, that’s not to say I wouldn’t pick up the Binaltech Skids if I have the chance. To be able to display the Binaltech in alt mode next to the Alternators release in robot mode would be pretty sweet.

  1. Always had a soft-spot for Skids, as the Charlene/Skids Marvel comic was one of the very first TF-issues I picked up as a kid. Despite he and Perceptor’s G1-selves being heavily-armed, I’m not really sold on his gun-toting persona in MTMTE. They’re re-using the scientist-as-badass bit a bit too soon for my taste and I never liked the IDW-sniper take on Perceptor to begin with. (Very much enjoying MTMTE otherwise however, and I do like the Skids-as-amnesiac angle.)

    You are spot-on about his Alternator toy being one of the best of the line. From sculpt to articulation, a great update. He stands proudly in my display ranks as the Classics rendition of Skids. And while, like Flywheels up there, I’m usually always up for a more-G1 take on characters, I actually also like the sort-of-silly graphics on the American release Scion. It’s pretty much still in keeping with the corny and somewhat silly aesthetic of the subcompact car anyway, generally speaking, and a Scion’s the perfect modern parallel.

    Also! Speaking of Skids/Charlene, This story was a lot of fun to work on:

    No advertisement intended, as the artwork on it is already a few years old and isn’t up to snuff for my current standard. Just seemed a relevant link!

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