Blackjack's review: Ice Cream Truck Twins
"Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling, come and get yo' ice cream."
-- Skids, Revenge of the Fallen
Comic Relief; Snack
"Nobody messes with the Twins!"
-- Mudflap to Devastator, Revenge of the Fallen
Ah, the Twins. Two of the new Autobots introduced in the movie, and they proved to be the most controversial. Said to be stereotypes by some critics, they got themselves a wave of unpopularity. Myself, I don't see stereotypes in the Twins. They're more like those 'gangsta punk wannabes' type. In any case, I enjoyed the Twins' performance in the movie. Sure, they could do with a little less cursing, but personally I think they are funny... I don't particularly love them, but I don't hate them as well. I mean, they aren't someone you can't find in any other movie. Not like, say, those human brats from Armada.
The Twins are called Skids and Mudflap, and are given the characterization of being young, immature, and being wannabe punks. Being twins, they argue with each other quite a lot, even going to blows at some points. I find this very comical and frighteningly realistic... A sentiment I really love and understand, having a (albeit non-identical) twin myself. We keep fighting but we get along well. Well, we haven't killed each other yet...
The Twins first appeared combined in their ice cream truck mode, when NEST and the Autobots arrived on Shanghai to hunt Decepticons. As the humans and Ironhide attack the massive Demolishor, the Twins and the Arcee trio are deployed to pursue the smaller Decepticon Sideways. After a chase across the streets of Shanghai, the Twins crashed on a particularly sharp turn and split into their two separate robot modes. Sideways split into two as well, soon afterward when Sideswipe came with his swords and promptly carved the Decepticon into two. After returning to base, the Twins were given new chevy compact cars to upgrade themselves into. They fought over the green Chevrolet Beat, which is finally taken by Skids (the older one) while Mudflap (the younger one) gets the brown Chevrolet Trax. The Twins, in their new bodies, appeared mostly in group shots in their car modes. Afterward, a revived Megatron killed Optimus Prime, and Bumblebee had to get our human heroes to safety. The Twins somehow found themselves helping Bumblebee guard Sam, Mikaela and Leo in an abandoned factory, and witnessed the Fallen's demand to bring Sam to him. The Twins threatened to 'pop Leo's ass' if he doesn't shut up. The Twins doesn't read Cybertonian, apparently. Afterward, the Twins followed Bumblebee and the humans as they retrieved ex-Agent Simmons, revived Jetfire in the Smithsonian and when they were teleported to Egypt. All the while, they acted as the comic relief of the group, Skids saying that they had to blend in like a ninja. When they arrived at the (hidden) Tomb of the Primes in Petra, Mudflap and Skids fought with each other over following and trusting Sam. A pissed-off Bumblebee clonked their heads together and threw them out of the Tomb. However, their little fight had revealed the real Tomb. There was no time to rejoice, however, as the Decepticons arrived soon afterward. With Simmons and Leo, the Twins acted as decoys while Bee, Sam and Mikaela went off to get the Matrix dust to Optimus' body. However, the Twins found themselves in a quarry with a lot of construction vehicles. A lot of them. They combined into Devastator through a spectacular process. Devastator had a massive maw with spinning gears which could suck in anything not nailed down like a vortex. This means sand, cars, camels, tents, background humans, random bricks and debris, and unfortunately, Mudflap. Now Mudflap ain't gonna get chowed down without a fight, and he tried to discourage Devastator from eating him by using his 'kung-fu grip'. Devastator ate him. However, Mudflap proved to be tougher than he looked, and proved to give Devastator the worst case of indigestion he ever had
, to use a Furmanism. Mudflap punched and shot his way out of Devastator's face, and the Twins proceeded to bravely
bounce around and randomly shoot
climb onto Devastator and attack him head-on. Their efforts managed to do little to stop the Constructicon gestalt, though, and Mudflap shot Skids' face. Skids' gold tooth fell off. They weren't seen afterwards, but it's presumed that they survived.
A little name history, as usual. Skids' name is taken from the Generation 1 character Skids, a theoretician who transforms into a Honda hatchback. He was almost nonexistent in the cartoon (barring a line or two) but he got a bigger role in the Marvel comics, up to the point that he had a spotlight issue to himself (saving cowgirls) and was used as a major plot device in the UK comics, enabling Galvatron to come from the future and wreak havoc. Skids got a new Alternators toy in 2005, but until now the name 'Skids' have never been used. Sure, RiD and Armada both marketed toys with the name 'Skid-Z', but I'm only interested in Skids. The 2007 movie's trading card series also had a character named Skids. Afterward, there's ROTF Skids. Mudflap didn't have the luxury of having a G1 name, an original name (Scalpel), or even an Armada-series name (Grindor, Demolishor, Sideways). Instead, his name is recycled from 2005's Cybertron/Galaxy Force toyline. Cybertron's Mudflap was a tow truck Autobot who defected to the Decepticons. After Starscream beat him up a little, he returns to the Autobots. He's pretty much pathetic. In the 2007 Movie toyline, the Mudflap toy was repainted in G1 Erector's colours as Mudflap, so ROTF Mudflap isn't the only one in the movieverse with that name. But then again, such things are common. Just ask Movie/ROTF Dead End. All four of them.
So anyway, being reformatted means Hasbro gets to sell an additional toy. Skids and Mudflap, in their compact car bodies, have been released as deluxe class toys. Their ice cream truck bodies were released soon afterward, and are going to be the topic of our review.
You see, the unique alternate mode alone, an ice cream truck, is the first reason I'm attracted to the Twins. ROTF had given us lots of unique alternate modes. And to top that, the Ice Cream Truck Twins feature one of the less famous gimmicks from Generation One -- Micromaster Combiners!
You don't remember them, do you? Nevertheless, the Micromaster Combiners were part of the final year of G1, right after the Micromasters and before the Action Masters. Two Micromasters combine into a vehicle, and each of them is interchangeable and all. Still, none of them ever got recognized in any fiction barring MTMTE profiles and a cameo for Terror-Tread in Dreamwave's Micromasters series. But ROTF references them! Whether it's intentional or not... still, I love obscure characters, and the Micromasters are very underused characters...
It's an ice cream truck, obviously. Pink and creamy-white are the main colours of the ice cream truck. Of course, the awesome 'Decepticons suck my popsicle' bumper sticker isn't included, as it's for kids. I'm sure a kitbasher can supply you with one, though. Tampographed onto the ice cream truck are: 'Made fresh for you!' above the front wheels, two ice cream cone tampographs and a 'Creamy Ice Cream' logo on either side of the upper main body of the ice cream truck. Also, there's an Autobot symbol. I hoped that they made an Autobot symbol integrated into an ice cream or something (like Barricade and Ratchet's), but nooo.....
A molded swirly ice cream is on top of the ice cream truck, and it's not hard to imagine the Twins rolling across the street with the faux ice cream spinning. Although, unlike the movie, it does not light up. Also, dark gray colour the grill and horn, while dark blue goes on the windows. A very charming little vehicle mode, and almost kibble-free. It could
use some dirty 'battle damage', but we can't have everything...
The Twins have some problem rolling as Mudflap's big feet have a tendency to pop down. Also, Skids' face is on a very powerful spring, so he just loves to pop out of the front lid. There's a latch that holds the lid down, but mine just simply refuses to cooperate. Still, from what I've heard, it isn't a widespread problem, and chances are it should latch just fine.
Overall, a charming and cute little alternate mode. But it doesn't just stop there. The ice cream truck splits in the middle. The two halves, contrary to what the toy bio says, are secured very tightly by latches and whatnot. One separated, the two halves can transform individually into their robot modes. But it's just funny to have two halves of an ice cream truck displayed.
SKIDS: ROBOT MODE
Now what I like of the new lines (2007 Movie, Animated, ROTF) all try and make the toys as show-accurate as possible. Skids has a larger right arm, while Mudflap has a larger left arm for whatever reason. These are translated into the ice cream truck as well. In fact, compact car Skids looks leaner and thinner than compact car Mudflap, and again, the same thing is reflected in the ice cream truck. Their legs and heads are all very similar to the compact car toys as well. It's nice to see that they placed some effort in designing the toys, not just slap the heads on and sell it off.
Now Skids is formed from the front cab of the truck. As mentioned before, his head is very eager to pop out. After a transformation that is more complex than what it seems, we get Skids. His face is exactly the same as the deluxe class toy, with a bigger 'monocle' eye, a bucktooth (no golden tooth, though) and large ear-like horns. He looks dopey, and by far, Skids' face is my favourite among the movie characters. If only they added the golden tooth!
The colours are still pink, gray and cream white, but a brighter shade of white appear, and some silver for the face. Skids is noticeably more pink than Mudflap. Again, Skids' right arm is molded as larger, and even has wrist articulation! Skids' posability is excellent for a toy his size as well. The head is on a ball joint, the elbows are on ball joints, and so are the thighs and knees. Ankles, wrist, waist and shoulder all have limited articulation as well. Skids' shoulders are a bit hard to pose as the hinge are a bit tight in order to hold the parts together in vehicle mode. This does make it a little frustrating to move the shoulders up into robot mode position.
Skids' legs are gangly and very similar to his compact car counterpart. I mean, they have the same face, foot and everything, although Compact Car Skids is more... muscular, so to speak. Skids is about the same size as the average Scouts class toy, maybe a little smaller. This doesn't make him any less awesome.
MUDFLAP: ROBOT MODE
The back of the ice cream truck has a larger mass and is boxier, so Mudflap is a bit bulkier than Skids. Again, like with Skids, more white and silver appear. The left arm is bigger and coloured black for some reason. Mudflap's posability is about the same with Skids, though his shoulders are much easier to move around.
Unlike the lankier Skids, Mudflap is more ogre-like with his massive feet. Mudflap's leg, again, is patterned after his deluxe class toy. Mudflap's face could use some detailing, though. Personally, I don't like Mudflap's face. It just feels... out of place compared to the other more... fluid and 'cool' designs. While Skids' face feels right at home, Mudflap's a bit odd, like someone glued eyes and ears and a jaw together. Although you'll get used to it. In any case, Mudflap has a great robot mode, and looks great displayed next to his twin.
No 'Mech Alive' gimmick, but having the Twins able to interact like this is kind of awesome. Anyhow, an awesome toy and they are recommended to anyone who doesn't hate the Twins.
Mark out of ten for the following
6/10 The Twins are rather durable, although there are some joints that seem loose and might break easily. Skids seems to be the more fragile of the two, but that's because he's thinner. Also, the stickers and everything can be scraped off.
4/10 for Skids, 6/10 for Mudflap. They're quite easy, although transforming them into car mode needs a lot of work. My Skids' front refuses to pop down, so I have to permanently leave them in robot mode in display.
9/10 Two for the price of one! Plus, there's the combining gimmick! Now if only they added a gun or two...
10/10 Two for the price of one. Actually I got them as a birthday present, so it's an immediate 10 for me. Regardless, for those who are shelling out money for them, they should fetch a 8 or 9 easily.
8/10 My verdict? The Twins are an unique toy and, like Demolishor or Devastator, are a unique toy. Toys, in this case. The unique alternate mode and the Micromaster Combiner gimmick alone ensured him in my 'must-have' list. However, they are not flawless. I still recommend the Twins for anyone who doesn't bother for their compact car versions, though.