An Alternators logo? But Arcee only appeared in Binaltech! LOLOCAUST!!!!

Good old Skids has had something of a revival in recent times. Once the most forgotten of characters (despite a couple of good showings in the Marvel comics), he's since tended to crop up a bit more - a character was named after him (well, nearly) in Robots in Disguise, the original made appearances in Dreamwave's comics, he was chosen for reissue in both Japan and America, and then in 2005 he was chosen as a brand new Binaltech figure (getting to save everything ever in the fanwanky story tie-in - before you start thinking "Hmm, that sounds interesting", it's probably worth remembering this was written by Hirofumi Ichikawa, Transformers' answer to a question no-one asked).

The American release eliminated the diecast parts of the Japanese one (and thus Takara's usual sterling colour matching skills, oh yes!), and also had a significantly changed colour scheme. The original was declared not sexy enough by the boys at MTV, and so Skids was rendered in a darker (and therefore more hardcore, extreme and hardcore) blue, tinted windows and try-hard flame decals. Oh, and this came out as 'Autobot Skids' for EXCITING TRADEMARK REASONS. But I'm not calling him that.

So, Skids got lumbered with being a Scion this time around. I'm not sure what the Scion exactly is meant to be - is it a van? Is it a mini-car? It looks like a taxi that's been customised by some moronic Guitar Hero fanboys. The body shape is so repulsive that it makes me pine for the utterly generic Subarus, Mazdas and Hondas the line had previously kept to. But, dude, there's probably space for, like, three surfboards and a stack of amps in the back, which is, like, awesome.

The thing's well-detailed and more solid than most Alternators, to be fair - you can actually put a tiny bit of weight on the roof without the whole thing just collapsing into a mess at any rate. Sadly, Hasbro's makeover only adds to the distinct feeling that this is a car for rich students on crazy road trips to a beach ten miles from their house.

On the plus side, the transformation is probably the best the series has managed since the opening Subaru Impreza mould - it's complex, but without being needlessly frustrating. And you can transform him without arms and legs flying off - it's almost like Takara have introduced quality control and actually tested the mould to see if it works. Even the arms aren't bad. However, the engine-into-gun gimmick has gone too far this time, leaving Skids holding a cocktail stick.

It's a shame, then, that the robot mode is a little bit of a mess. While it's nowhere near as badly designed as that of Wheeljack, the proportions are all over the place. Skids has a rack that's clearly modelled on Gianna Michaels, atop which his (well-sculpted) head looks like a peanut. He's also got big, chunky shins with the thighs, ankles and feet of a ballet dancer - the official transformation has those rear bumpers up to show the latter off, but he looks that much more coherent with them down. The arms are also rather weedy, and only extend about an inch or so in front of his chest... Don't get me wrong, the original figure has a few minor proportional problems, but they're a bit less forgivable on something designed 20 years later. The robot does maintain the overall look of Skids, and even brings the red secondary colour back into play, but it's an awkward-looking thing.

All that said, Skids does deserve some respect for having a transformation that isn't pointlessly complicated, and is a good Alternators figure to get if you want a figure that actually works like it's meant to. However, the charmless vehicle mode and Pat Lee styling of the robot proportions mean he isn't particularly nice to look at in either mode, and Smokescreen is still a far superior figure.