"Transformers Universe" Sideswipe Toy Review

General Information:
Release Year: July 2003
Retailer: OTFCC 2003 Exclusive.
Price: $41.00
Accessories: Missiles x 2, Missile holders x 2

A classic Generation One Transformer is reborn in a new form as Transformers Universe Sideswipe enters the picture. Sideswipe is a redeco and retooling of the Mach Alert / RiD Prowl sculpt. This toy was the smaller price point exclusive for OTFCC (Official Transformers Collector's Convention) 2003.

The packaging for Sideswipe is very nicely designed. It is primarily black with a red grid/tech pattern over it. The Transformers Universe logo is
used since this toy fits into that storyline. The tech specs printed on the box are done in traditional Generation One style, complete with the blue
line for the spec numbers. The OTFCC illustration featuring characters like Optimus Primal, Unicron and Razorclaw is used in the back. The only bad
thing about the packaging is the clear plastic window piece. Since it is made of very thin plastic, it crunches and bends easily. Mine has actually already
caved in. The packaging is not perfect, but it does look nice if you can keep the window in good shape.

Vehicle Mode:
Appropriately, this "new" Sideswipe is a Lamborghini sports car. Since the original was also a Lamborghini (specifically a Countach), the continuity between the two modes is most appreciated. Like his Generation One form, Sideswipe is mostly red. He has a large Autobot symbol heat stamped onto the front of the car. The small lights on the car are painted orange while the rear section has a nice gun metal color applied. The windows are translucent, but smokey colored, not clear. All the rubber tires say "Transformers 2000" on them, which as you folks know was one of the names that Car Robots went by when it was released three years ago.

Sideswipe looks fantastic in this form. The Takara designers who originally produced this toy really tried to pay attention to small details such as the cuts representing the headlights, the lines going from the front of the car to the back and even the rear brake lights which are made of translucent
plastic with red paint on the ends. The smokey plastic kind of hides it, but if you look inside the car you'll see that there are actually two bucket seats inside (these become the robot feet) which was a brilliant touch. Usually the inside of the car is ignored detail-wise. It was nice to see such a detail worked in.

Sideswipe's car doors can open and swing up like a real Lamborghini, which was an excellent touch design-wise. Flip up the ends of his spoiler, and you can attach his weapons for a sort of "super pursuit" mode.

This is the first year where retools were done on every exclusive toy, and in this case the change is obvious. The sirens that used to be on the top of the vehicle are now gone, leaving in their place just a small tab on the top of the car. Otherwise, you'd never know there had been anything there to begin with.

Sideswipe's vehicle mode looks great and is a wonderful visual homage to the original toy.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. If you have the missile launchers/boosters attached, detach them.
  2. Open the doors and swing them out.
  3. Lift up the windshield section.
  4. Lift the front section of the car up.
  5. Holding on to the seats inside the car, pull them forward to reveal the robot legs.
  6. Rotate the car doors so they point down.
  7. Rotate the lower legs and feet around.
  8. Swing down the section with the twin tailpipes to form the robot chest.
  9. Separate the two parts of the car's rear section to form the robot arms.
  10. Move the piece which is the front of the car up, then put the windshield section over it. The hinge tucks into the central body.
  11. Slide the section with the legs attached to it up.
  12. Attach the missile launchers to Sideswipe's right arm.

Robot Mode:
I've always liked this robot sculpt. To me, it does a fantastic job of balancing out car kibble while having to provide a posable and dynamic looking character. Everything on this toy seems designed to stretch out in different, sometimes angled directions. His shoulders here look like large shoulder armor angling out to the sides. The car doors look like some type of hip armor while his left arm "shield" completes the picture of an armored warrior. His limbs and head are small however, and not bulky at all, and it is that contrast that really works to the toy's advantage visually.

Past incarnations of this sculpt have been primarily white thanks to its police car duties. But in this form, the toy gets to take on different colors with very little white in the mix.

Most of Sideswipe is a combination of red and black. The plastic on his shoulders and chest are actually a dark, smokey plastic whereas his mid-body, feet and upper arms are black. His upper legs, lower arms, missile launchers and part of his upper body are white, but not so much so that they look just like Mach Alert/Prowl. The red on the lower legs, car doors, "shield" and shoulders work to keep that from happening. The Autobot symbol on his chest is vacuum metallized red while the tailpipes on the sides are painted red. Silver is used for details such as the tubes on his chest and the tech details on his shoulders. The robot head is black with gunmetal and silver paint used for the sides of th head and the face respectively. Sticking with the animated Generation One show tradition, Sideswipe's eyes are light blue.

Sideswipe has fifteen points of articulation. This includes four points for each arm and three on each leg. This allows for some fairly neat and dynamic poses, and it keeps him from being an "unposable brick" as some have called his Generation One predecessors.

Sideswipe is by no means a bargain. He is a collectable on a fairly high order. If you want to buy a neat toy for your kid to trash, then Prowl or Mach Alert will do in a pinch. But this one's for the hard core collector who likes exclusives and variants and isn't afraid to pay a premium.

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