Transformers Generation 2 Toy Review: Sideswipe

in 1992, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation 2, Generation One

Transformers Generation 2

General Information:
Retailer: General (Toys 'R' Us, Bradlees etc.)
Price: $14.99 (Depending on retailer)
Accessories: Missile x 1, Missile Launcher and Rifle

Images:

I remember often hearing "They don't make Transformers like they used to." This was not during the Beast Wars era, (when such complaints were rampant) but rather during the time frame right before Generation 2 hit in the late eighties and early nineties. Someone at Hasbro must have heard the complaints too, because Generation 2 started out with some classic "die cast metal/rubber tires" toys, which included original G1 toy Sideswipe with a new deco and slight retooling.Before reading this review, you may want to check out the review for the G1 Sideswipe reissue by Takara (to be reposted). This review will focus on the changes made to this toy for this release.

Vehicle Mode:
For his new look, the designers decided to pick an alternate color that lamborghinis were known for: black. Most of the car is black, which allows the smaller sticker details to stand out more. Some of Sideswipe's original stickers were retained such as those that make up his rear lights and the Autobot symbol and shield on the hood of the car. Other stickers were new or changed including neon green headlights and stickers on each half of the hood reading "Side" and "Swipe". On the doors are stickers with two big neon green "SS" letters with the words "Side" and "Swipe", each word in one of the S's.

The designers did a couple things right here. Changing the red to black definitely works nicely. Retaining some of the original stickers was a good idea as well. However, the new stickers are simply garish. Part of the point of the original Transformers and their realistic modes was their "robots in disguise" gimmick. Having an Autobot symbol glaring on your hood is one thing, but adding your name in three different places in vehicle form, well, that just really throws out the point of having the realistic vehicle mode.

Sidewipe's mold was slightly retooled for this form. On the top of the vehicle, you'll find a hole in the center. This allows you to attach either of his weapons to the vehicle mode. It's really at this point you have to see that the idea here was to add play value to the toy, and not so much focus on "realism". While this does add play value (especially with the missile launcher), I prefer the way the toy looks without the weapons attached.

Another mold alteration can be found under the front section of the car. The copyright information has now changed to read "© 1992 Hasbro Inc., All Rights Reserved Made in China".

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Pull the rear section of the vehicle back.
  2. Flip the vehicle over and slide each half of the lower robot legs to the sides.
  3. Fold the robot feet down.
  4. Pull the robot arms out to the sides.
  5. Swing down the hood of the car.
  6. Move the robot head up.
  7. Attach the weapons into Sideswipe's hands.

Robot Mode:
Sideswipe didn't just change color in vehicle mode, he did in robot mode too. Essentially his colors were reversed, with the parts that were once black in robot mode now red. His mid body and upper legs remain white however. In this form his original stickers were kept including the ones on his feet and lower legs. While the robot head was changed to red, the face and crest were still painted silver.

An additional detail can be found on the section above his mid-body, but you have to flip his chest up to see it. There you'll find a black section with the word "Autobot" stamped on it along with a symbol that looks like Optimus Prime's face. This was part of an attempt to extend new branding onto the Transformers line, including making Optimus Prime's face the "new" Autobot symbol.

What's gone is the shoulder mounted missile launcher Sideswipe originally came with. This is most likely due to the changing toy laws which now dictated that missiles had to be longer than they had been in the past (ranging from two to three inches). In its place, a hand held missile launcher was created and included with the toy. By itself, this missile launcher is a really neat looking gun. It's big, has a lot of tech detail including a viewscope! But the missile sticks out of it so much that it border lines on silly. It gets worse because of the colors. With the launcher colored bright green, and the missile light blue, the weapon winds up being more of an eye sore. Much later, Transformers toys would compensate for the missile lengths by making the guns longer to hide more of the missile, but this was a learning phase for the designers, and it shows.

Sideswipe did still come with his original rifle, still in white. This does give you the alternative of just having him hold that weapon. Also, with the hole from the vehicle mode now on his back, you can mount either of his weapons there.

Materials-wise, you're dealing with the same construction as G1 Sideswipe. The tires are rubber and his lower body has a significant chunk of die cast metal. At the time, this was paramount to most fans who were already getting a bit nostalgic for the "old days" of the 80's.

Final Thoughts:
G2 Sideswipe represents a transitional phase in the Transformers line. He's by no means perfect, but he represents an interesting experiment. With the recent emergence of the Sideswipe reissue (in many decos and forms), you're probably better off with that version, but if you're a completist or want a different take on the character, this toy's for you. Mildly recommended.