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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review of: RiD Spychanger Side Burn & Daytonus

Background & packaging

Available in 2001, this two-pack came along at the time the Spychangers’ popularity was being cashed in on. This period saw Spychanger versions of major RID characters – Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Scourge, and, of course, the ever popular Autobot Brothers. While Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus were available individually, the others were all in two-packs. Although X-Brawn came with Scourge (definitely the two most ‘unique’ and ambitious standard sized Spychanger figures), Prowl (with a ‘2’ added) and Side Burn were saddled with new rank-fillers.

Side Burn finds himself packaged alongside Daytonus, a rather nice wee Transformer, very clearly styled on a Le Mans racer… Quite appropriate, if a money-spinner.

As a note, these figures were packaged without any information regarding bios, function, or tech-specs, and I think it inappropriate to transpose the deluxe Side Burns stats.


Name: Side Burn
Allegiance: Autobot
Sub-Group: Spychanger

With the great popularity of the Autobot Brothers, producing pocket money versions was both a sensible business move, and a dangerous fan move. The great complexity of the deluxe versions – arguably three of the greatest Transformer molds doing the rounds – would never be replicated in miniature. X-Brawn achieved a transformation and robot mode that approximated the original, but looked somewhat ridiculous. Designers had certainly been too ambitious. This was not a pitfall that Prowl 2 or Side Burn would be caught in, however…


Alternate Mode:

Side Burn’s alternate mode is an excellent tiny version of the deluxe figure, only lacking the souped-up engine. He measures 3” (8cm), bumper to bumper.

The off-blue matches nicely, and even the blue ‘flame’ motif is printed on (alas, with obvious pixels). There’s a fair mix of colours, given he is a Spychanger – with gold picking out his windows and headlights, silver the radiator grill, and red for the taillights. The gold alloy wheels are a nice touch, which really evokes the feel of original character.


Robot Mode:

The transformation does not at all approximate to the deluxe. Side Burn, unlike X-Brawn and Scourge, has a standard Spychanger transformation, like his brother, Prowl 2.

Although the result looks little like the cartoon robot, it does capture the feel of the character. The blue dominates, with the bonnet motif looking good over his chest. The strange orange is quite out of place, when compared to the original, but looks good, alongside the white. He’s a little short for a Spychanger, though, measuring in at 2 ½” (6.5cm) from head to, erm, exhaust.

Articulation is Spychanger standard as well, with stubby arm syndrome well developed in this case.

The head sculpt is particularly bizarre. It looks little like the deluxe version, and possesses a strange black visor. He is nicely detailed, and a very successful Spychanger, but just isn’t Side Burn.

The gun follows suit in this case. A nicely detailed, classic looking white TF weapon, but not in-keeping with the original Side Burn character.


Name: Daytonus
Allegiance: Autobot
Sub-Group: Spychanger

The wildcard in this set! A Le Mans racer, Daytonus is a slight sidestep for standard sized Spychangers – the rest being fairly normal street cars.


Alternate Mode:

As mentioned previously, Daytonus’ alternate mode is styled on a Le Mans racer. Measuring 3 ¼” (8.5cm), he is quite large for a Spychanger.

Nicely detailed, as we’ve all come to expect of Spychangers, Daytonus is predominantly orange – the same orange used for Side Burn’s upper legs and head. A nice pattern is picked out in black, while silver gives other details, including the lights. I particularly like the windows, which are metallic blue-grey, with silver rims.

It’s an excellent wee racer, and certainly fun!


Robot Mode:

Once again, we go through the well-worn routine, and arrive at a rather pleasing robot mode. He stands 2 ¾” (7cm) tall – slightly taller than Side Burn, in fact.

The curves of the racer give a different slant on the Spychanger norm. The windscreen gives a nice backdrop for the head, while then chest is very different from a flat bonnet (although it’s almost as if he has rather odd geometric breasts…). He is one of the few Spychangers who can reach past his chest! (If barely.)

Black becomes more dominant in this mode, although orange certainly equals it. White also comes to the fore, at waist and head.

The head sculpt is nicely detailed, somehow very Japanese, and very cool, with a solidly classic feel again.

Daytonus also boasts normal looking feet! Amazing for a Spychanger! The rest’ll all be jealous. Probably get ‘em cut off some night while he’s asleep... To wake up and find them replaced by unsatisfactory exhausts!

The weapon is another G1-esque affair, which would look at home sticking out of a Junior Headmaster helmet. At least it’s black, though.

The whole mold smacks of the Renegade Gobot Crasher, but this is likely due to so few Le Mans ‘transformers’ out there, and Crasher being such an iconic character. There’s certainly little resemblance in gross robot mode form. The arch behind the head is likely responsible to a large extent.

Would have been nice if he were a Decepticon though...

Daytonus is a jewel among Spychangers, in my opinion, and a very surprising find! Definitely the better of the set!



Transformation: 1 – Spychanger standard. Once again, by no means a negative, given the great success of these molds!
Durability: 6 – Solid – just those little guns worrying me… Oh, and the incredibly thin plastic struts left around the wheel rims on Side Burns legs... they're a disaster waiting to happen!
Fun: 6 – Great fun for Spychangers! Both cars are fun to play with and display, while both robots make great display pieces as well. Presuming you like Spychangers.
Price: 4 – This set was somewhat rarer than others (for whatever reason), and so does go for slightly more than your average small-change Spychangers (around £5 [$9] at a guess).
Overall: 6 – I would place these guys higher on an own list than most Spychangers. They are both great (if you take Side Burn as his own robot, as opposed to a small version of the deluxe), with Daytonus particularly pleasing. Still, people not fans of Spychangers or wee Transformers are likely to pass by on this set.
 
 
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