Denyer's review: Sideswipe
Sideswipe is a natural-born fighter. He's had little formal training in the arts of war, yet he has an instinctive nature that makes him one of the most dangerous warriors amongst the Autobots. He is not as self-centered or cold blooded as his brother Sunstreaker, but the two are nonetheless close. When they fight side by side, they are truly a force to be reckoned with.
Easily my favourite Classics toy so far, although Hasbro have taken a good shot at diminishing its appeal to casual buyers with stiff and awkward photos/art on the card plus packaging the figure in car mode. My appreciation is partly the mould (beautifully proportioned, a good balance of complexity and feasible transformation) and partly having loved the character and the "I don't break rules, I bend them -- a lot" attitude since I was a kid. (The fact three of my favourites -- Grimlock, Sideswipe and Repugnus -- favour expediency and directness probably tells you too much about me...) Sideswipe didn't get a lot of headline time in the comics, in particularly being oddly ignored during Earthforce, but his Marvel Universe entry (like so many others) inspired plenty of imagination.
Many thanks go to Clay for scoring this and Sunstreaker for less than UK retail, and meaning I don't have to wait to see what distribution will be like over here for Sideswipe. Although US-to-elsewhere shipping has gone up in the last couple of years, it can still be cheaper than messing around with stores in this country. Which is screwed up, although fortunately prices for Universe Deluxes seem to be getting back towards a tenner apiece rather than the extortionate thirteen quid that seems to be the RRP... or eBay prices.
Identical to the alt-mode for Sunstreaker, being a sleek not-quite-copycat race car with some kind of rear-mounted turbo charger. I know bugger all about premium cars and tend to keep Transformers in robot mode, so have a look over at the photo and see what you think.
Transforming isn't too difficult for those of us who eschew reading instructions, and rotating the car roof to pop up the robot head adds some novelty.
Some Transformers toys make obvious compromises towards one mode or another. Sideswipe works extremely well in either, and also manages to share most of both modes with his yellow equivalent without sacrificing a very individual look. Both of the lambos have great balance, and the front and top of the car mode each work equally well as a torso section. The knee-pads are a little strange at first, but they do fit with the rough-and-ready characterization.
For a little extra differentiation, you can peg Sideswipe's turbo engine pointing downwards as a jetpack, and Sunstreaker's pointing up. The only criticism I'd really add is that the gun is a bit weedy, having been designed to stow underneath in car mode... it's a decent hand-blaster, but Sideswipe could do with a more impressive shoulder launcher (the turbo engine can wrap around the blaster and bulk it out a bit, but this doesn't look much better than the gun by itself.)
In my opinion Sideswipe is the better of the two versions of this mould, though that might be character favouritism talking. Certainly they look good as a pair, however dumb I think taking the 'brother' connotation too literally or too far can be. Highly recommended.
8. Not difficult, but there are plenty of joints.
7. I don't feel inclined to throw it around to find out. Most pieces would probably pop off and back on rather than snap, judging by the majority of recent toys.
9. Best incarnation of Sideswipe thus far.
8. Varies a lot depending on which country you're in. They're coming down in price in the UK, so if/when Sideswipe appears on these shores he should be scoreable from Argos for about a tenner.
9. Fun is the deciding factor in this one for me, personally. I might be tempted to give it a 9.5 or perfect ten... for a figure at this scale and price point, it packs in just the right amount of detail. Even without the additional interest of homages to old favourites, with the more standout pieces in this line Hasbro have really been upping their game.