Siege Skytread

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Siege Skytread

Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:12 pm

Name: Skytread
Allegiance: Decepticon
Size Class: Deluxe
Accessories: HV Electron Breacher, EM24 IR Laser Launcher

Skytread, which sounds like a fancy kind of shoe, is the new trademark problem-free name for the Duocon formerly known as Flywheels. One of two slighlty derpy chancers originating from the gimmick strewn 1987 Headmasters line of Transformers. Skytread and his erstwhile chum Battletrap sit comfortably in the pile of unloved vintage characters with rubbish toys too reliant on their gimmick to be any good, along with the Jumpstarters and Battlechargers.

I loved the Duocons. I owned them back in the 1980s and was always more impressed with the box art than the toys themselves. As Decepticons were thin on the ground in my toy chest at the time, I was more than glad of their company. They didn't get a right lot to do in classic media. Skytread had a neat starring role in the 'City of Fear' storyline, where he got stuck with a bunch of Autobots battling zombie Trasnformers, bringing Trypticon along to save the day. Which was better than poor old Battletrap managed, getting a thankless 'hi then die' role in 'Time Wars'.

More recently, Skytread featured in IDWs More Than Meets The Eye series where he met a grisly end at the hands of the Decepticon Justice Division. In 2018, Battletrap got a new lease of life as part of the Power Of The Primes line, reimagining the character as a couple of blocky little herberts that combined to form a single robot, in much the same way Squalkbox and Slamdance worked. It neatly smushed together two old concepts, but rather missed the point of what the Duocons were all about. Always wondered what it must be like having your mind in two places, y'know, without having some serious mental health problem.

Thankfully, Siege has come along with a new Skytread (after a small, farty tank thing showed up in Titans Return) that basically does what the old 1987 toy did. Only without springs. And more articulation. And paint.

Robot Mode: The robot mode joyfully brings the promise of the box art and Robin Smith's glorious artwork to life. He's a stocky, dynamic looking brown and magenta misfit with massive feet and wings on his back and a tank barrel he can wave about like a very threatening vibrator. I prefer to put this on his back, so he can look a bit more sensible with his rifle. He's lovely, and really nicely detailed and feels nice and crisp. The detailing is fantastic and whilst Hasbro haven't gone mental with paint applications, what there is is nicely done and well placed. Even the 'battle damage' on his shoes. Mostly I like that the cockpit is painted up, unlike the original.

Vehicle Mode: The tank mode is a nice bit of spacey looking nonsense, reminiscent of something you'd see on Earth. The tolerances are a bit off though, and the turret never feels like it's clipped together particularly solidly. But it's a tank! BOOM!

Vehicle Mode: The jet is nice for swooshing around, but all that magenta feels a bit much. It did on the original and it does here. The cockpit being painted up helps, but a Thrust-like injection of some black in places would improve things. The underside is a bit of a jumble of parts, but it's no worse than the Seekers in that respect.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: I always struggle with this one on these Classics homages. There's not really a great deal of imagination or innovation involved in simply taking an existing design and updating it. All you're doing is throwing advances in design and engineering at it. Don't get me wrong, it's great and impressive, just not particularly breath-taking. 6/10

Articulation: Pretty exceptional, truth be told. Not surprising given that Hasbro are proving themselves kings of the action figure market at present, with the concurrent Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black Series also on the go. Transformers has seemed a little unloved to me next to these two lines, and Siege is the first to hit that sort of collector-grade spot in terms of articulation and general design and execution. Which always amuses me, as collectors are the ones least likely to make use of these joints. 8/10

Durability: Skytread feels nice and solid and the plastics are great. There's those tolerance issues with tank turret I mentioned, but these aren't week parts per se, they just don't have enough reach to do what they need to do. 9/10

Fun: Transformers that can do a variety of things successfully are always brilliant. Skytread doesn't feel like quite the fresh take on the original concept that the recent Battletrap toy did, but as a simple update, you get two nice looking vehicles to tag team an unsuspecting Autobot and a neat looking infantrybot out of it. Love it. 8/10

Price: Standard RRP of £16.99 feels like a good deal. Online prices, not so much. As a less than stellar name in the world of Transformers, if you want one, loose examples can be bought from bored manchildren on ebay for up to half off the RRP. That's pretty good, if like me, you've some attachment to late wave lamers from the fag end of the original run. Speaking of ebay, I look forward to seeing the two halves of Skytread turning up separately in listings in the future, like you get with the four vehicle halves of the originals now. 8/10

Overall: Within the first wave of Siege's roll out of stone-cold classic characters, Skytread has been something of an odd choice to throw out there. I love him, but will anyone else, especially as he doesn't feel as good a deal as the recent Battletrap double-team. I suppose he's more of a name than Cog, or the Micromasters (whose names even now, I struggle to remember) but next to Shockwave and Megatron, you feel like you need someone with a bit of star power next to those two classic characters. As in 1987, he does end up feeling like a disappointing birthday present – 'Yay! It's a Transformer! Oh. It's him.'. 7/10
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Siege Skytread 004 (480x640).jpg (180.97 KiB) Viewed 4056 times

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