"Robots in Disguise" (2015) Warrior Class Sideswipe Toy Review
Release Date: August 2015
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official images and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Decepticons beware, because this Warriors Class Sideswipe figure converts in a heartbeat from robot mode to sports car mode, and he’s got a mighty sword that will make his foes think twice about taking him on! Convert him in 10 steps to either mode, and keep converting him back and forth to keep the adventure going. When the battle is over for the day, you can scan your figures’ badges into the Transformers Robots in Disguise app (device not included) and unlock the characters for awesome virtual combat. Take on the Decepticons with your Sideswipe figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
Every Transformers series seems to need a character who is reckless, young and of course a good fighter. In "Robots in Disguise" that role is filled by Sideswipe. Sideswipe was part of the second wave of Warrior Class figures.
Sideswipe is packaged in a bubble sealed against a card. The card has a light blue pattern in the back with the "Transformers" logo on the right set vertically. Above that is the "Robots in Disguise" logo. The top of the card features package art for Sideswipe based on his appearance in the TV show. The back of the card shows the figure in both modes with a blurb saying it takes 10 Steps to transform. To the side are the transformation instructions. There are no tech specs. Instead the middle of the card features a plug for the "Robots in Disguise" mobile app while the bottom has a ton of legal information in several languages.
Sideswipe's appearance takes some inspiration from his Generation One counterpart in his design, but then it goes off in all new directions. The character has a very distinctive head design where the top of the "helmet" section looks like spiked hair. His face is narrow and small notches on the sides look like ears. It's a very "human" looking face, much more so than most Transformers. Adding to his young and human appearance are two angled panels that flank his head. These look kind of like a "popped" collar on a polo shirt. The G1 inspiration mostly comes from the torso, which is sculpted to look like it is formed from the front of the car, but collapsed and compressed. His shoulders are formed by the front wheels of the vehicle mode, which itself is a bit of a callback to the G1 Sideswipe toy. Like the TV show model the knee armor looks like blades angling upward. Another feature borrowed from the TV show model is found on the feet, where there is a small notch in the middle of the foot.
Since a real three dimensional figure can't "cheat" its transformation like the animation model, this figure does have some differences from the animation model. The most obvious differences are the forearms and legs. The forearms in the TV show have spikes on them, looking a lot like gauntlets. On here however the sides of the forearms have panels from the sides of the vehicle form instead, so they look almost more like shields than gauntlets. The lower legs are another big difference. The lower legs are thick since they have the rear wheel wells on them. Then the feet are huge in proportion to the rest of the figure. These aren't really deal breakers in any sense of the word (unless you demand 100% show accuracy) but they are definitely details that stick out (no pun intended).
Sideswipe is cast in metallic red, black and translucent grey plastic. The color layout follows the TV show model pretty well. The head, "collar", torso, waist, hips and lower legs are metallic red. The rest of the parts are black except for the windows of the vehicle which are translucent grey. Blue is used to paint the "headlights" on his chest, eyes and details on the hip area. Black paint is used on the knee armor, offering some nice color contrast against the metallic red plastic. His face is painted silver. The Japanese symbol for "fast" is printed on his chest in orange. If I were to add color to this mode it would be more of the light blue. The Autobots in "Robots in Disguise" have light blue circles on the sides of their wheels but the figure is missing that. He could also use light blue on his feet. Overall however the color scheme looks great, especially the metallic red color which is very rich in texture.
There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. This includes ball joints on the elbows and a lot of hinge joints. Sideswipe includes a sword that he can hold in either hand (even though they are sculpted to look open). One undocumented feature is his weapon storage. You can slide the sword into a notch on his back (between the chest and back panels) There is unfortunately one huge flaw in the design of this mode. If you try to move his arms they slide right out of position. They are supposed to attach to the chest panel using a small pegs but the pegs are so small that they can't hold on securely. Now, if all you're doing is transforming and posing the figure on a shelf, this isn't a huge deal, but this figure is intended to be played with, and in that respect it would be annoying to have the arm swinging out to the sides all the time as you try to insert a weapon into his hand or pose him.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Remove the weapon and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the chest panel down.
- Pull the robot arms out to the sides.
- Rotate the "collar" panels around to form the front wheel wells.
- Swing the forearms up to match up with the front wheel well panels.
- Swing the back panel forward over the robot head.
- Swing the robot feet back.
- Rotate the rear wheel wells around. As you do so push the robot feet against the back of the lower legs.
- Push the legs together to form the rear of the vehicle.
- Swing the arms up and push them in, lining up the door panels with the rest of the vehicle.
- The sword can be attached to the notch on the top of the cabin section.
Like his G1 counterpart, Sideswipe is a very sleek sports car in vehicle form. Instead of a Lamborghini he's a fictional vehicle that looks like it could be a futuristic Lamborghini. It has an angled front end that slopes upward. The cabin section has a low profile and the back angles upward to what appears to be a spoiler in the back. There are some really sleek lines on the sides that come to angles on the doors. There are some more fantastic sculpted details on the back of the vehicle including a cross hatch pattern and exhaust pipes. I really love the design of this vehicle form. It looks great in animation and it looks awesome as a figure.
This mode uses a lot more translucent grey plastic than the robot mode. The metallic red plastic is used on the wheel wells and the back of the vehicle. Everything else is made up of translucent grey plastic with red paint over it in an attempt to match up with the red plastic. The problem? The red paint doesn't match up at all. It's much brighter than the metallic red parts so it really stands out (and not in a good way). Black plastic is used for the front end, the wheels and the top section of the vehicle mode's rear section. The sides have the characters for "Warm" (I'm presuming they were going for "Hot") and "Fast" in orange over the rear wheel wells. The hood has a scannable Autobot symbol in the middle that unlocks the character in the "Robots in Disguise" mobile app game.
Unfortunately, like the robot mode the vehicle mode has a significant design flaw. Once again, if all you're doing is transforming the figure and displaying it this won't be an issue. The problem is that the chest plate panel sticks out too much on the underside of the vehicle. If you try to roll the vehicle on its four wheels, the chest plate winds up scraping along the ground. I was very surprised by this, and at first I thought the transformation was off somehow but nope, this is how the figure was designed to be.
I really had some positive expectations of this figure from the initial promotional photos. Unfortunately between the robot arms and the chest plate in vehicle mode there are too many basic errors made with this sculpt that could've been avoided with another round of design work. It's not that there are not cool elements to the figure. Heck, it displays brilliantly. However the functional issues are significant and shouldn't have happened to begin with.