Dark of the Moon Wal-Mart Exclusive Sideswipe Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, Deluxe, Revenge of the Fallen, Wal-Mart Exclusive

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: May 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blasters x 2

Images:

As part of the opening salvo in the launch of the "Dark of the Moon" Transformers line, exclusives have cropped up at several stores. Wal-Mart's exclusives include a group of deluxe figures representing redecos of previously released sculpts. Part of this wave of exclusives is Sideswipe, based on the Sidearm Sideswipe figure released in 2010. This figure was not a redeco of previous Sideswipe figures but rather was a whole new sculpt representing the character armed with blasters instead of his trademark arm blades. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out Sidearm Sideswipe's review for details on the sculpt and its functionality.

Vehicle Mode:
The theme behind this redeco appears to be a rally car design, fitting in with the Nascar based "Wreckers" seen in "Dark of the Moon". Sideswipe has traded in his silver color for a solid blue color for most of the vehicle mode. His windows are cast in translucent blue while his wheels are still black. His primary deco pattern are yellow stripes that go from the front of the vehicle to the side view mirrors. This neon yellow color is also used on the sides of the vehicle as well as the sides of the rear section. To some fans, this may sound like a very curious color combination for Sideswipe, who many associate with his red and black Generation One namesake. However, this color scheme is actually meant to be a homage, specifically to Generation 2 Go-Bots Sideswipe who featured blue and neon yellow as his primary colors. Indeed, years later, another Sideswipe character also used blue and yellow as his primary colors. Generation 2 does not get a ton of recognition when it comes to homages, most of which focus on the Generation One era of Transformers, so it is nice to see G2, especially the Go-Bots (which were a bit of a footnote in Transformers history) recognized.

These aren't all the decos on the figure however. There are several other designs that resemble those you would find on a race car. These include:

  • A large Autobot symbol in white on the hood.
  • The numbers "04" on the top of the vehicle and on the doors in white.
  • The word "Maccadam's" in white at the back of the vehicle, a reference to "Maccadam's Ale House", a location where Transformers went to relax as a "neutral ground" in the Marvel Comics Transformers series.
  • On either side of the vehicle near the rear wheel wells are red symbols that resemble the Autobot symbol. These resemble the Autobot symbol because they are indeed the "Transtech" (a proposed, but never released line of Transformers) version of the Autobot symbol.
  • On both sides of the vehicle are the words "Lithonian Drivetrain" in gold. Lithone was the robotic planet destroyed by Unicron in the opening sequence of "Transformers: The Movie"
  • Underneat the "Lithonian Drivetrain" logo is another logo for "Axalon Rattraps", a reference to the "Beast Wars" era of Transformers where "Axalon" was the Maximal ship and Rattrap was the famous, wise cracking character among the Maximals. The phrase "Safe. Humane. Yeah, right!" under it is something Rattrap would have said with his usual sarcastic wit.
  • Towards the back of each door, right near each rear wheel well is the word "Sunbro". This is a Generation One reference, where G1 Sideswipe was the "brother" of the character "Sunstreaker".

There were no sculpt changes made to the vehicle mode. You can still lift up the rear panel on the top to reveal the blasters inside for an "armed" vehicle mode.

In all honesty, the decos in this vehicle mode pretty much make the figure for me, even before looking at the robot mode. The amount of homage material here is fantastic, and it's cool to finally see the "Transtech" logo on an official Transformers figure rather than just in fiction.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the panel on the back of the vehicle up and remove the two guns.
  2. On each weapon, swing out the curved piece from inside the barrels.
  3. Swing the doors out to the sides.
  4. Split the front of the vehicle in the middle and swing them out to the sides.
  5. Flip the vehicle over and swing out the legs.
  6. Hold the rear half of the vehicle and rotate it around so you can see the robot head and mid-body section.
  7. Lift the mid-body section up, then swing that and the section with the rear lights over the head, connecting it to the T shaped tab on the waist. The panel from the car hood goes behind the mid-body panel.
  8. On each leg, swing the thin pieces by the wheels out to form the foot and heel pieces.
  9. Swing each lower leg back and down a bit to form the "chicken walker" type pose for each leg.
  10. Move the door panels to the back.
  11. Push down the panel with the license plate on it.
  12. On each arm, swing the robot fists out, then swing the panel with the halves of the car grille down.
  13. The guns can be held in each hand.
  14. Swing each robot shoulder section up on its hinge.

Robot Mode:
In my review of Sidearm Sideswipe, I mentioned that Sideswipe's chin piece could sometimes get in the way of his transformation. The designers appear to have recognized this and tried to remediate the issue by actually slicing a bit off the top of the chin. When you look at the chin piece on this version of the figure, it's missing a tiny chunk, and instead of the silver paint color you see the light blue underneath. It's a very tiny change but it makes a world of difference when transforming the figure!

Sideswipe's robot form reveals a few new plastic colors. His middle torso panel is silver while his legs are dark grey, colors that align more with his "regular" colors as seen in other iterations of the character. Black plastic is used on his upper arms and fists while his robot feet are cast in blue, matching the blue panels from the vehicle mode. Another color that appears is light blue, which is used for his blasters, the insides of his knee area and part of the robot head. The "light piping" part of his robot head is cast in translucent blue. The light blue surprised me a bit since it's almost a powder blue, which seems a bit "light" to be paired with darker colors like the solid blue and dark grey. The contrast is nice however and it's on so few parts it hardly looks bad, it's just different and unexpected.

Almost all the paint applications you see in this form are carry overs from the vehicle mode. This includes the yellow from the fornt of the vehicle forming part of the forearms and the yellow on the back winding up on his chest. The most obvious new colors are neon yellow applications on his head and thighs, tying in with the yellow deco from the vehicle mode. In a nice bit of design, one of the "04" designs from the vehicle mode carries over to the chest here.

All of the joints on this figure are tight, and his weapons fit into his hands without a problem.

Final Thoughts:
This version of Sideswipe has a really fun deco that pays homage to several eras of Transformers all at the same time. Few figures manage to cover Generation One, G2, Beast Wars and Transtech all in the same deco, but this Sideswipe pulls it off. Add to that the minor "fix" on the figures' head and I can happily recommend this figure!