"Robots in Disguise" One Step Changer Patrol Sideswipe Toy Review
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
The 1-Step Changers are 2-in-1 speed-changers, and this Sideswipe figure is one of the speediest! He's the same Autobot warrior as always, but he converts in just 1 step from robot mode to supercharged sports car mode and back. Take the fight virtual when by scanning his badge into the Transformers Robots in Disguise app (device not included). Can this Sideswipe figure's Decepticon enemies keep up with him? Not as long as he keeps converting back and forth! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
The end of 2015 saw the release of a surprise One Step Changer: Sideswipe (aka "Patrol Mode Sideswipe"). This was a surprise because there have already been two One Step Changer Sideswipes: the original and Ninja Blade Sideswipe. However, this figure is not another redeco of the same sculpt, it is a whole new sculpt with a new kind of One Step transformation.
Like the "Age of Extinction" One Step Changers, these are packaged in bubbles on small cards. Artwork is on the left side and the Transformers logo is on the right. The artwork is the basic Bumblebee art used on several promotional images, but with black used on several parts. The back does not feature any tech specs information, instead using the space for the instructions and multi-language legal information. It's a shame but Hasbro seems to be refocusing any efforts at more traditional packaging into the "Generations" segment, which I get since I'm guessing they're assuming most of the kids getting these will wind up just throwing out the packaging.
I'll say it up front: the vehicle mode is the best looking part of this figure. Unlike the previous One Step Changer Sideswipe figures this vehicle form has the sleek, angled lines of the animation model. The previous One Step Changers were bulkier looking since all the robot mode parts were contained inside the shell of the vehicle. Since this figure has the robot mode folding into the vehicle mode it does not have that limitation.
Many of the smaller details from the vehicle form make their way here including the triangular side view mirrors, the L shaped headlights and a spoiler in the back that sweeps upward.
This mode is mostly metallic red plastic with black wheels. A bit of red paint is used on the front end but the red is much lighter than the metallic red plastic so it doesn't match at all. Given some of the paint choices I've seen on other figures this was really a surprise. Metallic black is used for the windows and the cross hatch details on the front end. The headlights are painted light blue. The finishing touch is a scannable Autobot symbol on the top of the vehicle. Unfortunately the deco completely lacks any of the Japanese characters found on the cartoon model. While the metallic red looks great, anyone who knows what Sideswipe looks like will find the vehicle mode looks like it is missing something.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
On the back of the vehicle is a black tab. Holding that and the spoiler, push and the vehicle will unfold. The sides will swing outward, the front will become the hands and the head will pop out from behind the chest panel. To reverse this, just push the feet up (but be gentle, otherwise he'll go flying out of your hands).
When you look at One Step Changers you know that some design compromises are going to be made. Sometimes they're rather minor, other times they're pretty significant. In Sideswipe's case I would categorize them in the latter category. Now, to be completely fair to the designers, they got a lot right with this figure in terms of sculpting. His head has the distinctive "helmet" section that looks like up swept hair on a human. His chest has design elements from the front of the vehicle mode and he his legs have the same general shape as the animation model including thin knee armor pieces.
Where this figure fails are its proportions. It has a super tiny head, a medium sized torso section and long arms which widen in a rather ugly fashion at the hands. His legs are okay, looking roughly in proper proportion to the upper body, but taken as a whole Sideswipe is rather weird looking. I almost wish the designers had taken this same basic concept and applied it instead to Bisk, the Decepticon based on a lobster. His head is a bit out of proportion with his body and the wide hands section would have made fine "lobster claws".
While the sculpt is lacking, Sideswipe's colors look great. This mode is mostly metallic red and black plastic with gunmetal grey and red paint. Unfortunately the red used on the chest is the same red used in vehicle mode, which doesn't look good at all. Silver is used on the face and light blue is used for some nice detailing on the head and chest.
Sideswipe has three points of articulation: the head and arms. Unfortunately due to the way he's designed his hands cannot hold any weapons.
While I do appreciate the way the One Step gimmick on this figure works it's not enough to make this appealing, especially if you already own one or two other versions of Sideswipe. This design would have been better served to bring us another character who has not been made into a toy yet (my vote still goes to Bisk). While not the most horrible figure out there by any means, Patrol Mode Sideswipe is just not that great either.
Note: Between the time I wrote this review and now it has been revealed there will be a One Step Changer Bisk who will not be a retool of this sculpt, but I still stand by my original thinking.