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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Skyquake87's Review: Robots in Disguise Sideswipe

Name : Sideswipe
Allegiance: Autobot

So having decided Steeljaw was a right load of old cobblers, what on earth suckered me into stumping up for Sideswipe? After all, it does whiff of throwing good money after bad. Well, despite the inherent poor quality of Steeljaw, I did like the design and what was being attempted with the toy, even if current production standards meant the end result was lacking. And in much the same way that Steeljaw had grabbed me from a design point of view, so it was that Sideswipe – with his bright red and David Tennant hair – also held some appeal. And, er, he was all that was left on clearance.

Robots In Disguise Sideswipe actualy trumps his 1980s predecessor on whom he is (slightly unimaginatively) based by virtue of forming one of the leading characters in the show. Not for this guy the grandstanding episode before being relegated to the background. Boringly, he suffers from 'bad-ass' syndrome. He's one of the good guys who's a cocky prat and too full of himself and his own hubris to play nicely with others and does his own thing. This is how TV show writers try to make good-guy characters interesting. That or make them a ninja. Needless to say, Sideswipe is both. Sigh.

Robot Mode: Sideswipe is a pretty lithe and nimble looking dude. He does suffer from having large chunks of the vehicle mode swamp his arms and legs, which coupled with his massive clown feet, make him a little less slick than his hairstyle and cocky smirk would have you think. Despite the obtrusive door slabs on his forearms, Sideswipe does have a nice overall look, with the plain red and black plastics being a vibrant and jolly affair. There's some katakana nonsense on his chest (probably says 'toilet cleaner', us westerners being awesome at getting tattoos in a foreign language that show us up), as well as some blue flecks on his pants and under his manly pecs. The face works the minimal silver paint apps well – being pretty much just a smiley face, there's no detail to get lost by some over worked spod in a factory jabbing a blob of silver paint in the general direction of his head – and has some nice blue eyes. He carries a really long sword which he can sheath down his back, which is a nice touch (especially as this thing is a shade too long to be sensible). There's a chunk of alt mode up his back, which isn't so bad and mostly behaves itself, but could have used a tab to secure it properly. Much like the shoulders, which are the usual sloppy arrangements of joints with no housing, so they're a mess of wibbly and one of the most annoying things about the toy.

Alternate Mode: Vehicle mode is a nice wedge of sporty sports car. It looks really nice and I like the shapes on this thing, all cartoony and yet somehow muscular. Its another Ferrari proxy but evokes the same feelings in me as Dangermouse's awesome car. As ever, the cheap plastics and construction mean this thing doesn't roll well. It just slides on hard surfaces and is only good for trundling along the carpet. There's a good balance of black and red on the alt mode, with only some poor paint matching to let things down, although I do like the slightly pinker shade brought out on the bonnet, windscreen and doors. There's some more Japanese squiggles down by the rear mud guards and, if you must, you can plug the sword into the roof for a very silly looking Attack Mode.

Marks Out Of Ten For The Following:

Transformation Design: There's a clever bit of auto-morph working out the legs with the rear sections of the car causing the feet to swing into position. The rest is pretty traditional for a car robot. The only thing that is a bit of a pain is getting the doors/arms tabbed into position. There's also one of those chest panels that flips over to form part of the chassis which I'm not too keen about, but at least on Sideswipe here it locks safely into position. Something you can't say about the similar feature on the wibbly Combiner Wars Hot Spot. The shoulders not locking into position are poor though, as they move all over the shop with just the slightest encouragement. 7/10

Durability: Sideswipe feels slightly better than Steeljaw, but again, feels like you could destroy him without too much effort. The red plastic has some visible swirls, which makes me wonder if he'll just end up disintegrating over time anyway. 3/10

Articulation: Usual stuff, shoulders, elbows knees, hips, feet. Nothing exciting, really. Just enough. Thanks to his ball-jointed elbows, Sideswipe gets away without having to have wrist joints. Average stuff really, but you've got what you need. 6/10

Fun: With his quick change and decent looks, Sideswipe is a fun toy. I like him, just a shame in-fiction he's a bit of an arse and is spoilt by Hasbro's continued fascination with rubbish shoulders. 5/10

Price/Value: The 15.99 RRP on these is laughable. As mentioned in the Steeljaw review, there's no way these figures justify the price point, QR code or not. They don't even feel particularly good value available at discount. They have very clearly been built with an eye firmly on the bottom line. Sadly, this doesn't make for a good end product. 0/10

Overall: I like Sideswipe, but as with Steeljaw, everyone's time, effort and investment has been utterly wasted given the end result. 4/10
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