Generation 1 Skyfall


articulation denier
The Action Masters aren't exactly the most fondly looked back on part of the franchise, the reasons are pretty self explanatory; "its a Transformer that doesn't transform? well whats the point of that?"

for the most part I would agree. non-transforming Transformers aren't exactly my idea of a good time since most of my enjoyment comes from the transformations and engineering, but lets give them a chance.


Skyfall is a very nicely proportioned little robot with pleasant colors and sharp late 80s sculpting that instantly reminds me of inner pretender robots.
the articulation is fairly similar to them too.

all Action Masters are limited to a neck swivel, forward and backward shoulders, universal(mostly) hips using the rubber band GiJoe system, and knees.
not really blowing the world away, especially compared to other action figures at the time, but compared to other Transformers they've definitely got a bit of an edge considering how bricky late G1 toys got, most not even having individual legs.
even still, a simple little action figure isn't really my thing, as is he has as much playability as a Pretender without its shell, only lacking the terrible half arsed alt mode. though to be fair, they're no where near as anemic and oddly proportioned to fit in a giant shell as those were.
so whats the appeal?
well, where Action Masters differ from your R.E.D.s and Robot Replicas and however many other attempts they've had at the idea: they come with Targetmasters.

well, kind of. these are way bigger than any G1 Targetmaster, and contain spring loaded action. they're also mostly animals or non-sentient looking accessories.

Top Heavy here is an orange and purple Rhinoceros, he has 4 points of articulation, 1 per leg, and he can carry Skyfall's gun on either sides of his behind.


He has a nice spring loaded transformation to weapon mode activated by pressing down on his tail.

from there you just arrange the legs and you have a gun.

as if it wasn't big enough, you can also add Skyfall's personal gun to its tip to make a ridiculous thing


This is the real fun of Action Masters, you basically get a well sculpted decently articulated(for the time) action figure with a(in this case) excellent little animal Targetmaster partner

its easy to look back now and ask "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??" but I think its a novel attempt to try and spice up a toyline that had been struggling for a while.
did it succeed? debatable. its pretty blatant that after 1987 Transformers spiraled down in popularity, losing its TV show, and eventually the marvel comics as well.
with less and less media to sell the toys its no wonder the franchise left the spotlight, and Action Masters themselves had very little push in terms of fiction. so did they sell poorly because the idea was bad or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time? I think its a little bit of both. I imagine if they were introduced earlier, or alongside normal Transformers that year they would have gone down smoother.
but you also have to consider this: out of all of the many attempts at non-transforming Transformers toylines Hasbro and Takara have had over the years, this is the largest and longest running, containing a huge amount of original characters, vehicles and vehicle playsets. something that they would never attempt again.
and even with their limited articulation, they're still very fun to pose, the sculpts are sharp and fit the franchise perfectly. the colors are vibrant and pleasing, they're just good little figures to have on your desk.

these days when I hear about a new non-transforming Transformers toyline I'm just like "great, what is it, another Optimus? a Megatron? maybe a slightly more obscure character if were lucky?" and I think that's unfortunate. alot of the original characters they made for Action Masters are really neat, and maybe its the extreme lack of new characters in the last decade thats making me look back at these with rose tinted goggles, but I can't help but miss this kind of creativity in design from Transformers.
Skyfall and Top Heavy vibing

Overall Skyfall is a really nice little toy, by today's standards its just a substandard early 90s/late 80s action figure, but the sculpt, colors, and primarily Top Heavy really carry him above that, hes welcome on my desk any time.


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Thanks for such a thorough look at the Action Masters (through the lens of this particular figure). I often try to tell folks not only that Action Masters are more than just "Transformers than don't transform," but that other non-transforming Transformers don't rise to the level of being Action Masters.

Mostly for the reasons you've already stated here, but when you throw in the larger playsets, as well, and point out the cross-compatibility of weapons and playsets with other Action Master figures, you end up with something distinctive.


All Hail Galvatron!!!
I used to hate Action Masters. 20 years ago I said I will never buy any of them...Now it is the only missing line on my G1 collection... So after all this years, now I appreciate them a lot. They are totally part of the brand

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