ElectricGecko's review: Sideways
Function: Decepticon Courier
All right. I recently picked up the deluxe class Sideways figure from the Revenge of the Fallen movie, and gathering from the big stack of Sidewayses (sp?) that crowded my local toy store, I figure that Iím one of the few to show much enthusiasm for this guy. I canít blame people for their reluctance. After all, he is only the second silver sports car with the word Ďsideí in the title to be released in this first wave of movie figures. Can anyone say redundancy? But no matter. Is he worth the ten bucks (or whopping fifteen bucks, if youíre Canadian like me)? The short answer is yes.
His vehicle mode is an (unlicensed) Audi R8, and quite the looker beyond the Barbie-inspired pink tint on the windows. (Following in movie tradition, only Decepticons seem to have access to non-GM vehicle designs.) The headlights are made of attractive clear plastic, the paint jobís crisp, and the mold looks very close to the original car (though not TOO close, of course, as to avoid getting Hasbro sued). On top of it all, you press in the fake Audi logo on the grill to initiate the transformation sequence. Itís a nice touch. Take that, General Motors!
The robot mode, I must say, is quite nice. He has a vaguely vampire-inspired look to him (the good type of vampire, I mean; think Nosferatu, and not recent garbage like Edward Cullen). The paint job on his head is quite nicely done, and the light piping actually works well on his eyes (which is more than I can say for other ROTF deluxe figures). Portions of his side windows and panels become wing-like extensions that look quite deadly and, again, enhance the general blood-sucking tone. Heís remarkably thin and wasp-like in robot mode Ė no small feat considering the solid structure of his vehicle mode. He looks cool on my shelf and makes me feel evil every time I look at him.
As for the transformation sequence, itís complicated, but a good kind of complicated. Itís really just a spin on the old fold-down back and torso-grill design from the old days of G1 Jazz, but itís spicier here (and MUCH improved over the 2007 movie Jazz Ė shudder). Kids may get overly frustrated by the complexity of the transformation (as they may with almost all movie releases), but I had no problems here. Some purists may take issue with the fact that his robot look is achieved in part by a dummy wheel on his left hand thatís hidden under the chassis in car mode (and, admittedly, is much smaller than any of the real wheels), but no matter. He still looks like Draculaís favourite Decepticon, and Iím happy.
One irritating point: there are some steps to the transformation scheme that the instructions donít tell you about. For instance, the back corners of Sidewaysí hood flip up to make a sort of spiky collar, and the rear piece that makes up his back can click nicely into the resulting vacant space. Apparently the people writing the instructions (and taking the freaking box art photos) didnít know this. By clicking his rear into its proper place, you end up greatly improving the overall look and balance of the figure.
So the gimmick with this movie line is the new MechAlive function. How alive is my Mech? Not much. The MechAlive feature on Sideways occurs in his (slightly bulky) arms. Moving the elbow joint rotates a piece on the outside of the joint, and simultaneously rotates a grey internal piece in the upper arm (which is almost impossible to see with the human eye). Is there a point to this? No. It doesnít even work well. The gears on my toyís left arm are already grinding, so as per usual, the gimmick disappoints.
The other big downside to this dude is his feet Ė if you can call those puny things feet. Theyíre impossibly tiny, and the ball joints in the ankles are quite loose. Thus, Sideways shares the curse with his namesake Sideswipe: he has great difficulty standing. That said, once you actually get him upright and resist the urge to breathe around him, heís very poseable.
8 The transformation sequence is complicated as with almost all movie toys, but itís fairly intuitive. It may pose a challenge for younger kids.
5 Sidewaysí thin frame creates lots of little pieces (like the window wings) that could break off. Add to that the grinding Mech Alive gears on my model, and I canít say for certainty that this oneís very durable.
9 There have been few recent deluxe transformers that I have enjoyed as much. He looks wonderfully wicked in robot mode.
8 Well worth the relatively minor cost considering the complexity of the toy.
8.5 All in all, I have to recommend purchasing him. He shares much in common with the 2007 lineís excellent Barricade deluxe figure, and if you liked that one, youíll drool over this.