Dark of the Moon Deluxe Sideswipe Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, MechTech, Revenge of the Fallen

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster/Cybertanium Sword weapon

Images:

*Images and text in italics from The Official Transformers web site:
SIDESWIPE confronts his DECEPTICON enemies on two feet with Cybertanium blades honed and at the ready. He finds projectile weaponry too easy. Nothing beats the blade. His AUTOBOT pals seek him out for lessons on the ancient art of Cybertronian swordplay just in case they have to get up close and personal with a DECEPTICON.

Rush into battle with this vehicle-to-robot hero! This mighty SIDESWIPE figure changes from CORVETTE STINGRAY concept mode to battle-ready robot mode. Convert him back to vehicle mode so he can chase down his enemies and engage them in epic sword battles. As the fight rages on, keep converting him back and forth, so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him! Blaster converts to Cybertanium sword. Weapons work with any MECHTECH TRANSFORMERS figure! (Each sold separately.) Ages 5 and up.

While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures. One of the first figures in the deluxe class of Mech Tech Transformers is Sideswipe. The character gets a fair bit of screen time in the third "Transformers" film and he even gets a slightly updated vehicle form to boot!

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes. I will make one general statement that will probably be replicated throughout several of the first (and possibly second) wave of deluxe figure releases regarding the Mech Tech weapons: they cannot stay in their "transformed" state without being held in place. Most Mech Tech weapons are spring activated, and when you release the switch that transforms them, the weapons automatically revert back to their previous form. This is important to note as the packaging clearly shows the weapons can maintain their alternative forms with no mention of requiring support, so buyer be warned.

Sideswipe comes armed with a very heavy duty looking rifle/blaster. The weapon is fairly long and has a very boxy shape, with beveled layers of details that include vertical and horizintal line designs. On the top of the rifle is a targeting scope and the front has six small barrel ends. When you press the back of the rifle a sword blade swings out at the other end. The blade is really nicely sculpted and has Cybertronian glyphs sculpted into it. However, while the packaging shows the blade painted blue, the version I have is unpainted. The entire weapon is cast in dark grey and that's it. It's a cool weapon for sure, but I was a bit disappointed that the paint deco wasn't there.

Vehicle Mode:
In "Dark of the Moon", Sideswipe is still a Stingray Corvette Concept car in vehicle mode, but this time around he has switched up to be the convertible version of the vehicle, with an exposed passenger area and a windshield that wraps around the front and sides o that section. It's very sleek looking and really drives home the sporty nature of the vehicle.

The convertible portion of the vehicle's design is perhaps the most changed detail in the vehicle. The rest matches up very nicely with the Corvette we're already familiar with. This includes the distinctive "L" shaped headlights, the grid shaped grille in the front and the very low and sharp looking lines of the vehicle from front to back. He also has an angled spoiler that looks similar, but not exactly the same as the spoiler from the previous iteration of the vehicle.

Plenty of small details come into play on this vehicle as well. Inside the passenger area are two bucket seats sculpted with lines on the cushions. Look on the area across from the seats and you'll see a steering wheel. The front end of the vehicle has the trademark "checkered flag" logo used on Corvettes as well as air intake vents towards the front. Overall, the sculpt for this vehicle is very nicely done.

Where this figure suffers, especially in this mode is the deco. Sideswipe is cast in light grey, black and translucent grey plastic. The light grey makes up most of the vehicle while the black is used for his seats and wheels. The windshield is made up of translucent grey plastic. Although it's mostly seen in his robot mode, you'll see some blue-grey plastic inside the passenger area on parts such as the steering wheel. The rear lights feature some translucent red plastic, which is one of the nicer touches on this figure. paint applications are relatively light. The checkered flag in front is painted red and white and the sides of the wheels are silver. His front grille is a good combination of black and silver, but that's it. The main problem here is that Sideswipe is meant to be a very radiant looking silver color. Indeed, in the "Revenge of the Fallen" toy line, that's what he was often painted as. Here however he just looks dull in light grey, as if this was the final phase for the vehicle before its metallic paint job was sprayed on. While I do enjoy the sculpt, I'm very disappointed in the lackluster deco in this mode.

As part of the Mech Tech line, Sideswipe has the ability to connect Mech Tech weapons to his form in vehicle mode. The most obvious place is the hole near the spoiler on the top of the vehicle. Like most Mech Tech ports, this is cast in the same color as the rest of the area around it, giving the illusion that the hole is only there when weapons appear. On each door he has one as well, allowing you to arm Sideswipe to the teeth in this form!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the lower halves of the car doors down.
  2. Swing the panels that form the top halves of the doors out.
  3. Rotate the sections with the rear vehicle mode lights up.
  4. Swing the rear wheels in to begin forming the robot legs.
  5. On each robot foot, rotate the rear lights panel to face front and the heel piece to swing back.
  6. Flip the vehicle over and you'll find the robot arms under the hood. Swing them down, and then out to the sides.
  7. On each robot arm, swing out the fists.
  8. Lift the middle panel that has the grille and hood section and swing it back.
  9. Swing the waist panel under the front of the car up.
  10. Swing the front section of the car down to form the robot chest.
  11. Swing the side panels (with the top halves of the car doors) to the back.
  12. Swing up the rear panel of the vehicle mode including the exhaust pipes.
  13. Straighten out the robot arms.
  14. The Mech Tech weapon can be held in Sideswipe's hands.

Robot Mode:
By now the designers at Tomy and Hasbro have had a ton of practice creating a sculpt for Sideswipe so as you'd expect, the details are mostly spot on. His head sculpt has the sleek, curved back helmet section with the prominent chin/mouth piece. His mid-section has arrow shaped details pointing up while his arms have a more rectangular design to them. Then of course there are his legs which arch back in a "chicken walker" style with wheels for his feet. A lot of the smaller details are present as well including circles sculpted into his hands to represent hinges on the fingers, circles on his armor around the shoulder and spring coils on his lower legs.

Sideswipe shows mostly grey plastic in this mode, but he also features more black and blue-grey pieces, especially around the shoulders, hands, forearms and most of the legs. Gunmetal grey is used for many small paint details including on his torso and thighs. A touch of light grey is used on the hip area to offer continuity with the light grey plastic. His eyes are painted blue, but a dark blue, not a light blue as most "Autobot eyes" are painted. I have the same problems with the robot mode deco as I did with the vehicle mode: it's dull. Without any extra paint applications other than a touch here and there and the light grey color dominating the figure, he's just nowhere near as visually exciting as his predecessors.

Sideswipe has eighteen points of articulation in this form. This includes the ability of his door/sword weapons to swing out. Each leg has four points of articulation while each arm has five. With his large "heel" pieces, there is no problem standing the figure in this form. In terms of his "Mech Tech" functionality, you can connect two weapons to the door panels on his back and place a weapon into each of his hands. If you want to weigh his back down, you can flip down the panel with the spoiler on it on his back and attach an additional weapon.

Final Thoughts:
I don't want to give the impression that I hate this figure or anything. I don't really, but when I take this Sideswipe and put it side by side with its "Revenge of the Fallen" predecessor, I can't help but notice just how much bulkier larger the "Revenge" versions were. This guy just looks small compared to the previous versions. I understand that costs have gotten higher to produce Transformers and some amount of downsizing has occurred, but what makes this a hard sell for me is that while this guy is on the shelves, there are two other versions of Sideswipe sitting on shelves on the deluxe scale in the from of the "Scan Series" figure and the Wal-Mart exclusive. It's a good figure in terms of sculpt and play factor, but not worth it when you can get another version of the character on the same scale with a better deco. Not recommended unless you can't get any other version of Sideswipe.