"Transformers Universe 2.0" Sideswipe Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: October 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Gun, Engine/rocket pack

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
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 among 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.

Get ready to roll out with this loyal AUTOBOT defender who’s ready to take on whatever adventures you create! Convert the no-nonsense robot figure to sleek race car vehicle and back again!

Sideswipe's link to the character of Sunstreaker goes back to the days of G1 where, like this incarnation, they are said to be "brothers". Back in the day this meant their vehicle modes were similar, but that's about it. In their new incarnations, the two figures actually share the same basic sculpt, with only minor modifications. For a detailed review of the sculpt, check out Sunstreaker's review. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release and its alternate transformation pattern.

Vehicle Mode:
Sideswipe's vehicle mode is the same as Sunstreaker's. No details were changed in the sculpt, but the deco is different. Adopting the colors from his G1 predecessor, Sideswipe is primarily cast in metallic red plastic. The canopy, front grille, engine and wheels are cast in black plastic, with the air intake scoops cast in silver plastic. His headlights are clear plastic. The choice of using black for the canopy piece was a good one, as the red paint on it blends in with the red on the rest of the vehicle much better than the yellow paint used on Sunstreaker's translucent plastic canopy. The small yellow triangles near the front wheels are painted yellow (a color that appeared on G1 Sideswipe as well). A really nice black line design runs from the doors and back over the rear wheels. The back section is painted black with red rear lights. His license plate says "SWIPE".

Overall I have to say I prefer the way these colors work on this sculpt. Sunstreaker looks great, no doubt, but this looks a lot more solid and the addition of the design on the side of the vehicle adds a simple, sleek visual element that Sunstreaker lacked in this form.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the engine/air intake piece.
  2. Flip the car over and detach the exhaust pipe pieces/gun.
  3. Swing the black grille piece up.
  4. Swing out the panels on the rear of the vehicle to the sides so they cover the rear wheels.
  5. Gently pull the opposite halves of the vehicle apart so the doors separate out from the front and back portions.
  6. Swing the robot arms out.
  7. Swing the rear of the vehicle back and down.
  8. Swing out the robot feet from the sections you just swung out.
  9. Rotate the robot legs so the sections with the rear lights face forward. The feet should point the same way.
  10. Slide the front of the car forward.
  11. Swing out the robot arms to the sides.
  12. Swing the car's front section down and snap it against the area right above the waist.
  13. Rotate the waist around so the feet point in the same direction as the front of the car.
  14. Rotate the windshield/windows section around. The robot head will slide up at the same time. Rotate the robot head around so it faces the same direction as the front section of the vehicle.
  15. Swing each robot arm up on the hinge at the shoulder so it is level with the rest of the upper body.
  16. Swing each car door to the side of the lower arms and rotate them around.
  17. Attach the weapon to the figure's fist or shoulder.
  18. Attach the air intake piece using the clips to connect to the notches on his back.

Robot Mode:
Sideswipe is an admirable piece of toy engineering. Normally a redeco/retool consists of a figure that simply gets a new deco, and if we're lucky, a new head and then it becomes another character. In this case, a figure was developed with the express purpose of giving it an alternate transformation and head to make it look like its G1 counterparts.

While Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were touted as "twins", they actually differed in body form quite a bit (making them more fraternal than identical I guess). One of the biggest differences was their upper body. Sunstreaker's upper body was made up of the top of the vehicle mode whereas Sideswipe's was made up of the front of the vehicle. Thanks to this alternate transformation, this difference has been kept intact while other details such as the arms and legs remain the same, giving the two visual elements that tie them together as "brothers".

The newest element of this figure is the robot head, which is completely different than Sunstreaker's. Using the G1 head as its base, this one has Sideswipe's familar central crest and helmet portion that reaches over his face. The sides have antennae like protrusions but here they flare out and up a bit more than the G1 figure. His face is flat and angular, looking a lot like the way he was portrayed in the G1 animated series. It's a fantastic sculpting job with a lot of detail while staying true to the character.

The alternate transformation gives the figure's upper body a very different look. Whereas Sunstreaker looked sleek with the lines of his chest sloping downward into the car windshield, here Sideswipe's chest doesn't reach as low and its width gives the appearance of a bit of bulk on top of the sleekness of the lines from the car. Attaching his weapon to his shoulder really completes the alternate appearance of this figure and is a great nod to the original Sideswipe's shoulder mounted rocket launcher. In another nod to G1, the air intake piece becomes a rocket pack on his back, with the silver parts pointing down. In G1, Sideswipe was one of the few Autobots capable of flight, thanks to this back pack (a device Optimus Prime even borrowed in one episode).

Sideswipe's color swaps are quite simple. Where Sunstreaker has yellow plastic he has metallic red. Where he has silver plastic, Sideswipe has white. These colors are true to the G1 version of the character and work great together. The translucent blue pieces on the legs stand out a lot, adding the appearance of energy underneath his armor. Sideswipe's deco pattern differs as well, with the inner sides of the shoulders painted black (instead of the horizontal lines) and the vertical section of his waist painted silver instead of the curve towards the center. Sideswipe's weapon is cast in white with the back end painted black to look similar to his G1 rocket launcher weapon. This is a really cool, small touch to see since Sunstreaker's weapon wasn't painted at all (which is more in tune with that character's G1 weapons). My favorite deco on Sideswipe is on the upper part of his chest. While his vehicle mode betrays no affilition symbols, this mode reveals a black portion on his chest with a red Autobot symbol in the center. I love the idea of decos appearing only in robot mode that aren't visible in vehicle mode (on the underside or otherwise) but actually involve something being moved and transformed in order to be revealed. This goes doubly true when it is the character's affiliation symbol. Very nicely done!

Final Thoughts:
I loved the Sunstreaker figure, and Sideswipe is even better than that one thanks to its stronger colors and deco. Go pick this figure up now!