"Robots in Disguise" (2015) One Step Changer Sideswipe (2017) Toy Review
Release Date: March 2017
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:
Experience the excitement of instant conversion with figures that change between modes in 1 step. Convert this 1-Step Changer Sideswipe figure from robot to sports car in 1 quick, kick-pop motion. Imagine charging into battle with Transformers: Robots in Disguise Combiner Force 1-Step Changer figures. Scan the Autobot shield on this Sideswipe figure to unlock a token in the mobile app (see below for app details). Sideswipe won’t stop until he’s thrown down and trash-talked every Decepticon back to Cybertron. Always hot on the Decepticon trail, the Autobot loves a challenge, even if that challenge is taking down 10 Decepticons at once, unarmed. And for any Decepticon who doubts his skill, prepare to lose! Join the battle with this figure based on the Transformers: Robots in Disguise animated series. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
Most Transformers series since "Generation One" have featured a younger character who serves as a sort of surrogate for the audience. G1 had Bumblebee, "Armada" had Hot Shot and so on. For "Robots in Disguise", Sideswipe was the young, hot headed character taking Bumblebee's place since he was now team leader. Often rebellious but also courageous, Sideswipe has been a mainstay character in the "Robots in Disguise" toy line. That made him an obvious choice for the first new wave of One Step Changers in 2017. This is a whole new sculpt and not a retool of the previous One Step Changer or the more recent "Patrol Sideswipe".
After a few years of using the same style of 1-Step Changer packaging Hasbro has changed things up this year. In a move that (I assume) saves some money, the figure is no longer sealed inside a bubble on a card. Instead, there is a backing card that wraps around a plastic tray that the figure sits inside in vehicle form. The vehicle is tied down with a cardboard tie onto the plastic tray. The card still features character art and the back shows the toy in both modes. The packaging calls the figure out as a part of the "Combiner Force" line since he has compatability with Mini-Cons.
Sideswipe's vehicle mode is a stylish sports car that looks like a scifi version of an 80's Lamborghini which makes perfect sense given that his G1 counterpart actually did transform into a Lamborghini! The vehicle has angled lines that sweep up in the front, leading to the cabin section which then angles down slightly. The back has raised panels on the top and sides. The wheel wells are set pretty high up compared to the rest of the car, exaggerating the appearance of the car being low to the ground and more aggressive looking.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Japanese character for "Fast Speed" on the hood of the car. One of Sideswipe's key deco points in the TV show are Japanese characters painted on him, but most One Step Changers lack these so it is cool to see it worked into the sculpt. One more element I appreciate in the design of this figure are the wheels. Nowadays most Transformers figures have wheels that are clipped on. This saves money since there is no metal rod being used to hold them in place. Unfortunately most of these look bad because you see a cheap looking clip in the middle of the wheel. Since these are often left unpainted it looks unfinished. Not so with Sideswipe! His wheels actually have the clips on them, so from the outside, the wheels look like solid pieces. Sure they are unpainted, but at least they don't look like they are clipped on in the middle!
The vehicle mode is mostly cast in metallic red plastic with some black plastic on the wheels and spoiler section. The red is really bright and looks great. Black paint is used on the windows and a bit of blue is used on the headlights. A scannable symbol is found on the hood. Interestingly, it does not unlock the character in the "Robots in Disguise" app. Instead it gives you crystals and a ticket to use with the Cryostase Mini-Con slot machine. For me, this in turn unlocked Titan Grimlock but I suspect this is random.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Hold the middle of the vehicle and then rotate the rear of the vehicle around. Once you have turned it all around, the hood of the car will have swung down to form the chest and reveal the robot head. Also the robot arms will have swung down to the sides.
This interpretation of Sideswipe's robot mode is interesting because it is not particularly show accurate. It has some elements of the TV show model such as the head with the "spiked hair" on the helmet section and the design of the waist and leg area share details with the TV show model (albeit in very different proportions). However, his chest swings down to form the chest, not the entire front panel of his torso and he lacks the "spikes" on his forearms that are unique to the character. The result is what looks like a reinterpretation of Sideswipe if he had been one of the G1 Autobots like Prowl, whose chests were formed from the front end of their vehicle modes. This is a very classic Autobot design and it is kind of neat to see it applied to a modern day character.
Color-wise the metallic red plastic still makes up most of the figure, but there is more black plastic showing on the thighs and arms. Blue paint is used on the chest and waist area while the face is painted silver. His eyes are blue. It is not an extraordinary deco, but it is about right for a One Step Changer.
Sideswipe has two points of articulation: his arms. Both bend at the elbows and the joints are tight. The fists have 5mm ports allowing him to hold a weapon.
This figure has a unique transformation gimmick and I like the G1-esque aesthetic in robot mode. If you are looking for a show accurate and articulated figure, you are probably better off looking into the Warrior Class figure. I would largely aim this figure at younger fans who want a simpler transformation.
- Good sculpt in both modes.
- Unique and fun transformation gimmick.
- Able to interact with 5mm peg weapons and/or Mini-Cons.
- Beautiful metallic red color used for most of the figure.
- Reminiscent of the classic "G1 car/Autobot" design in robot mode.
- Lack of articulation.
- Not show accurate.
- Not a lot of deco.