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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kamen's review: Sideswipe

Name: Sideswipe
Function: Sword Master
Subgroup: Deluxe Vehicles

Sideswipe was built to fight. He is sleek, fast, and single-minded in battle, focusing on his enemy with absolute attention. His blades are a shining blur as the leaps through the air, twisting to avoid enemy fire. Converting from vehicle to robot at blinding speed, he uses every trick in the book to get close to his opponent, and put his powerful swords to work.

Iíve never been a fan of the original Sideswipe; his brother was a bit more interesting, though only in comics where his sociopath nature was more pronounced. But this review is about Sideswipe as interpreted by Orci and Kurtzman in Bayís new flick Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which has not aired at the time of this writing. In other words, I donít really have any attachment to this version of the character and picked him up solely because he appeals to me aesthetically. Mostly in vehicle mode, but also the CGI pics that have been circulating. You may want to keep that link open as Iíll be referring to it periodically in the review.

Itís also worth mentioning that since this is my first review of these movie toys, Iíll also be comparing him to the previous movie toys rather than comparing him to other figures in this line.

Alternate Mode:

Sideswipe apparently touches down wherever GM stashes their upcoming vehicle models as his alt. mode is a Concept Corvette Stingray. Certain people I know who are car buffs claim that it looks horrible for reasons that escape me, perhaps because I am not a car person (I will admit that the thing doesnít seem to have door handles, silly engineers). For my part, I like it. It has a sleek rounded profile that flows from bonnet to boot and back again. The silver colour is rather plain, and thereís a lot of it. Red tail lights and smoky blue windows donít really break things up, but at least itís a nice shade of silver rather than grey.

Sideswipe is a licensed vehicle, and as such as nice little embellishments including little (what I assume are) GM symbols on the hood rear and sides of the car. Theyíre unpainted, sadly, but the effort is nice. Unfortunately, Sideswipe's down fall comes from the fact that he is a robot as well, and his vehicle mode suffers from several seams. Forgivable, of course, but the congregation of seams around his doors create a patchwork feeling that ruins the disguise element. I also would have liked to have seen a fake license plate. There is a plate molded into the rear, but left blank. This is a usual practice, unfortunately.

He feels a bit fragile too, not like heíll break, just a lot less solid than the figures from the previous movie line. Heís much lighter than many of the other figures in his size class from the previous line.

Overall, he looks really, really nice (do check for paint scuffing before you buy, though), and does what he needs to do.

Robot Mode:

In robot mode, Sideswipe is a bit less sleek. Instead, his upper body looks tough and strong, appropriate for a swordsman. He matches (or the CGI matches him) the computer model quite well, though many pieces are simplified, so the toy ends up looking much smoother, yet they managed to include some of the more unique details. His shoulders have round, fan-like joints; his legs have several sets of non-functional hydraulics molded in, while his upper legs have the same knee armor and tubing connecting his legs to his torso. Then thereís his kick-ass head design, with a sleek, twin-crested helmet and a Gundam-esque goatee. There are some differences, of course. Besides being simplified overall, the toy has larger feet (read: car parts) around the wheels, a kibbly backpack (fairly well condensed, though), and the swords which Iíll get to in a bit.

His colouring has shifted a bit light to dark grey are most prominent now, with silver and black playing stand-by. It really is a radical shift from this alt. mode, which was all one colour, and looks really nice. He has blue light-piping, which is blocked by his backpack, and a silver Autobot symbol off-set from center. I like the asymmetry. Actually, I like the toyís colouring more than the CGI modelís. The mix of dark and light colours makes the toy more visually interesting than just being another grey robot.

In articulation, Sideswipe beats out a large portion of the previous Movie line, particularly the first wave. This is a good sign for the rest of the RoTF movie line. There is a downside; however, his feet are wheels, a configuration that seems to be a staple of RoTF. The extra car parts plus a movable flap inside the foot all point to the designers being quite aware of this problem. And I can only give them massive kudos for the effort. The adjustable feet and the kick-stand flaps actually do work to keep him standing in a variety of poses, but it will take some effort to adjust his bits just so to keep him standing.

Features, features, features. RoTF has a brand, spanking new gimmick called Mech Alive, and it is not a ďrebrandingĒ of the Automorph of the previous Movie line. Rather it simply refers to the shifting of some parts when certain other parts are manipulated. Okay, that sounds the same, but itís not. Sideswipe, for instance, has it in his knees. Move the joint and his knee armor will retract or extend, depending on which way the knee is bent. If it sounds kinda pointless, it really is. But, itís subtle and doesnít interfere with the figure in anyway, while adding a small bit of realism to the figure overall. Like light-piping, itís just a neat little extra. Sideswipeís main other feature is his twin swords, though for my money they are more like katar or, more likely puta. Anyway, they look a lot more blade-like in person than any pictures Iíve seen, including the one on the back of his box. A rather good job for being the doors of the vehicle swung about. They are flat instead of raised as in the computer model, but they still look damn good.

Iím quite impressed with S. Swipe overall; the one minor flaw being that his torso doesnít lock very tightly into itís slot. Annoying when posing or playing more than anything.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: Fairly complex both ways. Everything lock in tightly, and need to be wiggled out. 6
Durability: His vehicle mode feels brittle (probably because of the location of the robot parts), but his robot mode seems solid. And he has no little pieces to loose. 6
Fun: Heís enjoyable overall; however, some of his fiddly balance issues can become a pain. 8
Price: Around a $11 USD. Pretty good, Iíd say. 7
Overall: I think Sideswipe is on par or superior to the best figures of the previous movie line. And if he turns out to be a mediocre figure in this line, then RoTF will be a kick-ass toy line indeed. 8
 
 
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