Cliffbee.com: BotCon 2008 Sideswipe & Whisper Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Sideswipe
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Heroic Decepticon
Function: Warrior
Alternate Mode: Sports Car

Thanks to Tiby for lending me Sideswipe & Whisper for this review.



CAR MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 15cm Width: 7cm

   A charcoal and menthol green sports car with some yellow on his spoiler and silver windows and hubcaps. There's a large purple Autobot logo on the hood with a big slash cut into it (since he left the Autobots). The slash reveals silver mechanics underneath, and underneath the Autobot symbol is a smaller red Decepticon symbol. While I was hoping that the relief of the purple Autobot logo would be unpainted as on my Micron Densetsu Rampage, but instead it's washed in purple (as on Armada Wheeljack). He has red taillights, and twin hardpoints on the spoiler. On the front, the headlights are menthol pop-up panels. The front has air red intake grilles. I love the overall colour scheme, which is a great throwback to G2's Drench (a le mans racer). The charcoal at front blends into the menthol green at the back with a series of lines, as on Drench while the yellow spoiler is also taken from Drench. Overall I'm not as happy as I'd like to be, thanks to the poor paint job on his big Autobot logo. I expect that I'm more disappointed by this than most would be, mind you.

   There's good sculpting detail in this mode - including a fuel cap on the left hand side, moulded headlights and the mech details revealed within the Autobot symbol. He has grooves on the engine cover (extending forward onto the roof), and tread on the tyres, which are plastic (the same colours as the main body). Sideswipe doesn't really need a great sculpt with the complex paint job overshadowing it anyway.

   The play value in this toy is good - the wheels turn although the front hubcaps don't actually spin which is a little weird (but this is because they house the pins inside the robot shoulders). He has a Minicon gimmick attached to the hardpoint on his roof - plugging in Whipser will open the doors - which pop up to form a winged car mode. The edges of these wings are silver. These edges house the missile launchers, which shoot menthol missiles (that look like crochet hooks). The launchers shoot fairly well, the fact they can shoot across the room is cool, unless they fire behind the cupboard, of course. It's about a metre, when they come to a stop. This attachment point is clearly designed for Whisper - the space is custom designed for him, and there's just enough clearance for the doors to swing over his wings. The downside of this is that not all Minicons are going to work, but then he looks kina cool on there anyway.

   When the wings are deployed, there's a fair bit of (mainly menthol and light grey) mechanical detail - which is mostly robot bits, but there's a red Decepticon symbol on the right side which is clearly for this mode since it's upside down when he's in robot mode. Thankfully only the raised sections of this insignia are painted, the white grey plastic of the grooves is unpainted. There's sculpted detail on front of the rear wheel bays.

   Probably the only noteworthy flaw in car mode is the that when the wings are deployed, the rear section flops down (since the tab holding it in place is assisted by the fact the doors hold it firmly when down). It's a problem with both versions, although slightly worse with Wheeljack.

   A great car mode overall, and while there's not much G1 Sideswipe here, the Drench tribute is something new and innovative. The colours themselves are striking and the idea of an Evil Autobot who turned to the Heroic Decepticons is interesting. I really dislike that big logo on the front, but otherwise I love this repaint. As with most Armada moulds, it's not a specific car model, but it looks like it _could_ be. The play value is good for a car, the wheels spin and the flying car mode is pretty cool. He has a G1 feel, and is almost reminiscent of M.A.S.K. with the attack mode. Okay, maybe a car with a tiny stealth bomber on it's roof is a little strange, but the two pair well.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Firstly you have to pop up the doors - which is reminiscent of the G1 Powermasters in the way you have to attach the Minicon (formerly the Nebulan) to activate the transformation. Next fold the back section down, separate the legs (slide them apart), and fold them down. They lock into the knees quite solidly. Flip out the feet and heelspurs, unplug and swing the arms down. At this stage it almost looks like a Gerwalk mode. Slide the shoulders out, slide back the roof and fold it down onto his back. Fold the bonnet down to form the chest, the head cones with it, the shoulder struts have to fold forward for it to lock into place (there's a pin on the spine that attaches to the underside of the bonnet to keep this mode together). You can put his missiles in his hands as pseudo-clubs, even if they do look like oversized drumsticks.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9cm

   The charcoal now centres on his chest while the menthol green is a little more prominent on his boots, elbows and the central stripe of his torso. His helmet, feet, thighs, shoulders and forearms are all light grey and the face is gold with black eyes and antennae. Unlike many of the BotCon 2008 toys, there's no head resculpt, since the sculpt looked a lot like G1 Sideswipe anyway. In fact the colours haven't changed compared to Wheeljack, either. The colour layout still vaguely matches Drench, and still looks pretty good, although the light grey dilutes the wonderful contrast between the green and charcoal.

   The car bonnet is now the chest, complete with the defaced Evil Autobot logo. As with the car mode, this toy has a high level of detail in the sculpting - there's actually more detail than the car mode (since the car is a sports car). The newly exposed robot parts have great mechanical sculpting, including the head, arms, thighs, feet and the inside of the wings. These details are even slightly asymmetrical, although it's subtle and easy to miss - but this subtlety is a good thing.

   The shoulders and hips are swivel joints, the knees have double joints, effectively giving him a fair bit of poseability. While a lot of the joints are for the transformation, they do give him some poseability, and his feet and heelspurs make a lot of poses possible. The right hand swivel, the left does not. His elbows swing, and he has an additional set of joints above the elbows which allow him to flap his arms out to the sides. There are more poseable Armada moulds, but this is a pretty good effort. Probably the only downsides are the fact that his lower legs are hollow, which can look bad in some poses, and the lack of real knee hinges. He does have hinges, but they lock into place, unlocking them means the legs will flop around - they're for the transformation, not the robot mode. The head doesn't turn, being the same piece as the chest.

   Aside from poseability, you can swing the canopy up to form a missile rack over his head, and shoot the missiles. It points up and forward, rather than directly forward. It's an unintended feature, but it works quite well. Oh and you can allow him to wield his crochet hooks.

   A good robot mode with some nice poseability. Sideswipe's colour scheme isn't as strong here, but it's far from poor. The switch of sides on his chest just seems to fit into the Shattered Glass concept too, so despite my feelings on paint job, I think this robot mode fits the theme very well - even without any resculpting.

Name: Whisper
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Stealth Jet

JET MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 6cm Width: 5cm

   Essentially a charcoal jet with yellow painted on the nose and along the front surfaces of the wings, as well as some menthol exposed areas (parts of the robot mode). The overall look is very similar to that of Wind Sheer, but not at all like his G1 namesake other than the fact they're both planes. Sadly the canopy is unpainted on Whisper, and there's no allegiance symbol which I would have liked to fit this theme. There's a single stabiliser fin, not a twin set in a V shape, as on real stealth planes. There's a fair bit of undercarriage rubbish, but the robot arms look like turbines so the impact is lessened somewhat.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the robot legs down and rotate them 180, flip up the feet. Fold the nose down to form the chest, the head is the connecting piece on the joint and reveals itself when you do this. The wings shoulder be horizontal, fold the arms down to his sides (or close to down, depending on pose).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm, Width: 5cm


Still largely charcoal with menthol green thighs, feet and arms, as well as some yellow on his shoulder blades. His head is grey with a red face. The torso is a wedge shape, being half a stealth jet, and he has a yellow groin. The thighs are proportionally short, but he has ball jointed knees which largely make up for this. His hands are three pronged claws on a radial axis, reminiscent of BM's Vehicon Spark Extractors. The hips swing, as do the shoulders, but his arms barely move more than 5 forward. You can cheat by swinging the wings down, however. He's pretty poseable for a Minicon, and the heelspurs mean he has meaningful articulation.

   While he's not the best Minicon ever, but this is a solid robot mode which doesn't get in the way of the jet mode, and the Minicon overall combines with Sideswipe well.
VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Since Sideswipe was available exclusively at BotCon 2008, he is likely limited to a single production run. He was sold in a souvenir pack with Blurr and Rampage.

OVERALL

   A great mould with a really nice repaint. I love the fact that they've gone for something different and bold in the repaint, and that we're seeing an obscure toy being tributed. Whisper is a solid Minicon, and a worthwhile addition, unlike some companion Minicons which are little more than baggage. The paint washed into his prominent Evil Autobot logo really bothers me, but I suspect most wont be so concerned. Either way, this is a worthy repaint - 8.5/10

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