Cliffbee.com: Side Burn Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Side Burn
Series: Robots in Disguise
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Dodge Viper


For some reason, the Side Burn in this picture has a red missile - the missile is the same blue as his feet.

VIPER MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 12.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A metallic blue Dodge Viper with transparent windows and headlights, black rubberised tyres and chrome silver hubcaps and protruding engineblock, which also has some chromed red. There are blue flames on the hood and doors. The entire shell is composed of the same transparent smoky plastic, with metallic paint covering most of the car and red tinting on the taillights. Rounding this out is a large red Autobot symbol stamped on his roof - which is a Hasbro addition not present on the Japanese version, Speedbreaker. It's an attractive colour scheme, and unlike on his brothers, Prowl and X-Brawn the Autobot symbol isn't awkwardly placed so it works quite well.

   Like his brothers, Side Burn has a pretty realistic vehicle mode. From the detailed chrome hubcaps and engineblock to the moulding inside his headlights, to the rear vision mirrors on the doors, Side Burn is a good facsimile of a Dodge Viper, to an extent not seen since the Diaclone based toys 16 years earlier. Granted, he's not perfect, but the main break is a small notch on his roof allowing a transform joint to work. The view through the windows isn't much, since the limbs are squished inside the cockpit, but the tinted windows conceal them so you'll only really see them if you're looking for details inside.

   There's not a lot of play value here. The wheels roll, although without axles you'll find that Side Burn will most likely move in a large arc when pushed - mine veers to the right slightly. The doors open as part of the transformation, opening them just reveals squished bodyparts. I can deal with limited play value here - Side Burn is a very realistic toy and in a deluxe that's enough for me. Besides the play value is all in the robot mode.

   Despite the kibble visible through the windows, this is a good vehicle mode. The Dodge theme is instantly recognisable and the little features like the grip on his tyres and air vents on the hood really make for a nice sports car mode. The colours work really well and the Autobot symbol on his roof is perfectly placed.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   This is the most complex deluxe ever, so I'm going to summarise. The toy is basically a tightly packed shellformer, the rear bumper detaches to become his missile launcher and the long exhaust pipe becomes the missile. This is a tricky transformation the first couple of dozen times, and even when you're used to it you're likely to find it awkward. The rear fenders become his thighs, the engineblock becomes his chestplate, the roof ends up as a shield hanging off his left arm and the front bumper a shoulderpad on his right shoulder. The hood and doors end up as an armour skirt and more often than not the front bumper will end up on the floor - there's so much twisting involved it's challenging to not pop it off even when you're used to this transformation, which is highly asymmetrical and more involved than most ultras.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 8cm

   Now a mixture of blue and white, Side Burn is actually mix of metallic blue, mid blue plastic, white plastic and some painted white with the odd snipped of red and some transparent plastic, which is mainly on the shield. His head is blue with a white lower jaw, silver face and red eyes, and there's fantastic detail, including a transparent targeting scope over his left eye. There is a red chromed Autobot symbol on his left forearm which matches the chromed red on his chest. Again this is a good colour scheme, and despite the twotone blue and differing whites the colour scheme is very unified.

   This is a really detailed robot mode, which is most evident on his head but extends to detailing all over the robot mode surfaces. Of course, there are car parts hanging everywhere, but that doesn't detract from the detailing. Side Burn is very slight and spindly, since the entire robot mode has to fold up inside a Dodge Viper. Even compared to his brothers he's lanky, and both of them have a lot of robot pieces hidden inside the car mode.

   While he's skinny and kibbly Side Burn does have fantastic poseability. The neck, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are all ball jointed, as is the shield on his arm and the armour skirt halves hanging off the back of his waist. The waist rotates and the elbows are hinged with swivels in the upper arms. The end result is that Side Burn is about as poseable as the come, and the armour skirt and small heelspurs allow for almost unlimited posing, since he can lean back on the armour skirt if he needs to. Adding to all of this is the missile launcher, which fires about a metre, and the chrome gold blade that can also be handheld.

   Side Burn's biggest flaws here are the multitude of car parts hanging off him and the tendency for certain ball joints to pop out - notably the shoulderpad and shield. This is the sort of toy that'd be tricky to find complete second hand.

   Excellent poseability, good colours and a pretty effective missile launcher make for a fun robot mode, but the popping ball joints do get annoying. Side Burn is a lot skinnier than I'd like and this does serve to emphasise the kibble all over the toy. How much you like this robot mode will depend on my much you value play value and what you think of the shellformer style of Transformer.

VARIATIONS

   Released in Car Robots under the name Speedbreaker, sans Autobot logo on the roof. Strictly speaking Side Burn is a variant of Speedbreaker - who was released first. There was a later red redeco. The Botcon toys Shadow Striker & Roulette are retools of Side Burn.

OVERALL

   While Side Burn is a fantastic feat of toy engineering with a good colour scheme, he's not for everyone. Very much a shellformer - something that bothers a lot of fans - and the transformation gets downright annoying, thanks to ball joints that have a tendency to give. The car mode is very well done and is a great throwback to the early days of G1 on a poseable toy. While he's not for everyone, this is a good toy - 7.5/10

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