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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
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Numbat's Review: Legion Sideswipe

Name: Sideswipe
Function: Badass Warrior / Swordsmaster
Subgroup: Dark of the Moon (DOTM) Cyberverse Legion Class (Legends Class)

Sideswipe is a classic G1 character. Originally transforming into a red Lamborghini Countach LP500S, Sideswipe was the height of cool and a toy I always wanted as a child, but never owned.

Headstrong and always prepared to fight, it seems only fitting that the live action movie version of the character is clearly an Autobot warrior – a swordsmaster who kicks serious butt when he makes his appearance in Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF) bisecting the Decepticon Sideways. In Dark of the Moon (DOTM), Sideswipe continues to impress as he takes on the Decepticon Dreads with Ironhide in one of the film’s many perfect epic action sequences.

In ROTF, Sideswipe transforms into a silver Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 2009 concept car. I wasn’t too sure on the silver at first, but he does look very cool. The alternate mode certainly suits him – it’s sleek but aggressive. Still, I couldn’t help but think the Corvette should have been named Tracks… Moving on, Sideswipe makes his return in DOTM as the same vehicle, only now a convertible. I’m not sure why he needed a change, but it’s really neither here nor there.

Of course the Movieverse designs are notoriously difficult to execute as toys. The tiny Legion Class (previously known as Legends Class in other lines) has the toughest job of all, and the ROTF Legends Class figure failed to impress. I had fully expected that Hasbro would simply repaint the ROTF Legends Class toy for the DOTM Legion line (perhaps with a remoulded hand to hold the weapons now included in some Legion sets), but I was surprised by the new mould that in fact appeared.

The high costs of Legion Class figures introduced with DOTM put me off buying any of these figures for some time, however when the sales kicked in I immediately grabbed the single DOTM Legion Sideswipe I saw.

To avoid too much suspense, DOTM Legion Class Sideswipe totally kicks the ROTF Legends Class Sideswipe’s butt.

Alternate Mode:

As we’ve already established, Sideswipe transforms into a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 2009 concept car, upgraded to a convertible for DOTM. This car will likely never see production after the global economic crash, which is a real shame – it looks gorgeous!

Anyway, Sideswipe measures 3 ¼” (8cm) long in Corvette mode, making him larger than the ROTF version. This is a decent small scale for the concept car, but it’s not possible to calculate the exact scale without car measurements.

The Corvette looks the part – sleek but with sharp angles, an open roof and seats inside. The only drawback to the open top is that a hinge is visible between the seats, but you can easily imagine it’s part of the dashboard or something.

Cast in pale metallic grey, he looks no worse in this respect than the ROTF toy. It’s a shame – a lick of silver paint would have made Sideswipe look much better.

Black is used to pick out the front grille, other vents and the Autobot insignia on the bonnet, while metallic grey is used for the wraparound windscreen and the seats. It’s a shame that none of the headlights or brake lights have been painted, as this would have at least injected a little colour into what is a very monochromatic alternate mode.

Still, it’s a definite improvement over the ROTF version, which didn’t have the rear windscreen painted (given, DOTM Sideswipe doesn’t have a rear windscreen) nor much of the grilles. Of course, the ROTF version did have headlights and brake lights painted, but these were minor touches. If only DOTM Legion Sideswipe had them too…

Robot Mode:

DOTM Legion Sideswipe’s transformation is really unique, and totally different from the more traditional ROTF version. It’s really great fun, and gives those signature wheel feet using the actual car mode wheels!

Sadly, though, the designers have used the Corvette front end for Sideswipe’s chest, rather than the rear end like the CGI model. I’m really not sure why they did this, as I am certain the same transformation scheme could work the other way round with minimal modification.

Still, the front end looks similar enough to the rear end to give a good representation of the movie character model in this small scale, so it’s not a big deal – just confusing.

DOTM Legion Sideswipe stands 3 ¼” (8cm) tall in robot mode – again beating the ROTF version in size. He’s noticeably sleeker than the ROTF Legends Class figure, which is quite blocky, and the robot is not obscured by car mode kibble. He’s clearly a huge improvement, and looks very much like Sideswipe.

Sideswipe remains largely pale metallic grey plastic in robot node, with some dark metallic grey details on his chest, upper legs, and suspension spring ankles. He’s amazingly detailed for this scale, although his head sculpt would have benefited from some more paint to show it off – as it stands, only his eyes are painted blue. Sideswipe has his signature arm blades as with the ROTF version, only this time they have been sculpted to make it clear they are not just the car doors hanging off his arms. Sadly, his arms a bit on the stubby side and could have been made a little longer without negatively impacting on the arm swords. His right hand has been moulded so that it can hold the small weapons that come with some Cyberverse figures, although Sideswipe himself does not come packaged with one.

Amazingly, the seats do not look too ridiculous on the back of his thighs, and there really is amazingly little car mode kibble anywhere – it all folds onto his back without affecting his balance. This is unheard of in a movieverse Legion (or Legends) Class toy – especially for a character as complex as Sideswipe.

Sadly, DOTM Legion Sideswipe is not blessed with articulation – only having ball joints at the shoulders and hips – so he has fairly limited poseability. The wheel feet also take a bit of skill to position to allow Sideswipe to stand on his own accord, but I think that’s a sacrifice worth making to have them in the first place.

Undoubtedly, DOTM Legion Sideswipe is a massive improvement on ROTF Legends Sideswipe. You can tell that just by looking at the robot in the box – he sticks out alongside his peers as well as being of a much more refined design than the majority of movieverse Legion Class toys (which in all honesty are usually very poor!).

Had he a little more articulation, a lick more paint and had the designers used the rear end for his chest, Legion Class Sideswipe would be perfect. He falls just short, but he’s certainly the best movieverse Legion Class toy I own.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 9 – The designers at Hasbro and Takara have outdone themselves with DOTM Legion Class Sideswipe. He’s amazingly good fun, totally unique, and delivers in both modes. It’s just a shame they got him back to front, with the car front as the robot chest instead of the rear end.
Durability: 7 – Sideswipe seems pretty solid in construction, although the plastic feels a bit brittle so I worry a bit.
Fun: 10 – DOTM Legion Sideswipe is great fun! His transformation is addictive, he has two great modes, and you can happily play with him taking on Decepticons thanks to his arm swords.
Aesthetics: 9 – Sideswipe looks great in both modes, but would have benefited from some headlight and brake light paint, if not a full silver body job. His robot mode would have been improved had the rear end been used for the chest instead of the car front, but he still looks incredibly good.
Articulation: 3 – DOTM Legion Sideswipe is not well endowed with articulation. Ball joints at the hips and shoulders are all you get, and although he’s well balanced even with the wheel feet, this does limit the possibility of dynamic poses on display. Knee joints at the very least would have made a huge difference, and there really is nothing stopping the designers putting those in.
Value/Price: 10 – I paid £3.97 for Sideswipe on sale. This is really amazing value for the quality of figure. However, he’d be a solid ‘4’ at full retail price of £4.99 or more. Legion (formerly Legends) Class figures are skyrocketing in price, and have ceased to become good value at shelf price.
Overall: 9 – DOTM Legion Sideswipe is the best Legion or Legends Class figure to come out of any of the three movie lines. Sadly he falls just short of perfect due to poor articulation, the wrong end of the car becoming his chest and lack of paint applications. At full retail price, he perhaps would be a ‘7’ but if you can get him on discount then he’s a real steal.
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