Alternate Mode: Cybertronian Sports Car
Height: 3cm Length: 12cm Width: 5cm
A dullish red car with a smoky black cockpit, black plastic tyres and silver painted hubcaps. Sideswipe has silver headlights and a red & silver Autobot logo on the hood. His sides feature black painted areas and rather ugly patches of black "unpaintable" plastic above these - where the rear vision mirrors would mount. Unpaintable plastic aside it's an attractive vehicle. While the canopy (as opposed to windows and a roof) define it as Cybertronian, it has the general lines of a Countach, so it's also clearly Sideswipe. The sculpt is pretty good & includes unpainted taillights & air intakes. Notably, there's no rear spoiler.
There's a rather subtle at first glance matte finish to the red plastic. It works well and gives the impression of a higher quality plastic than we usually see nowadays, The Canopy has some mech details underneath which also looks good. It's clear the designer put some thought into this toy.
Sideswipe rolls well enough on his wheels; and the rest of his play value comes from his two weapons. They come in the form a red and a black gun & can attach via holes in front of the rear wheel wells and one on top of the canopy. The red one can also plug into the front of the black one as a longer, single weapon. Oh, there's also a peg for connecting a blast effect on the hood - it's more designed for robot mode but can be used here if you really want.
While the black outbursts are ugly, I really like the matte red effect plastic on this toy. It really makes him look classy. This vehicle just drips with "G1 Sideswipe" and the play value is simple but effective.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Remove and set aside the weapons, for now. Lift up side panels (it is important you do this first or you can break them!). Unclip and open the shin panels underneath the rear, allowing you to unfold the boots. Flip out the feet, close and reclip the shin panels. There are panels at the back of the knees which ideally you'll swing away (but this will happen as soon as you bend the knees regardless. Rotate the waist and swing out the waist piece. Swing the arms out and pivot them out to the sides. You can them tuck the side panels in and bring the arms back down; unfolding the elbows and swinging the fists out. Fold the hood down to form the chest (bringing the waist with it), attach his weapons as you choose.
Height: 9cm Width: 13cm
The red hood form his chest and there's further red on the sides of his boots and upper arms. Sideswipe has black on his shins, groin, fists and head - his face is silver with blue eyes. The forearms, thighs and shoulder mounts are an off white which I am very happy to report isn't that cheap low density milky white we sometimes see. His feet and waist are silver & there's a nice prominent Autobot logo on his chest. This colour blocking is Sideswipe all day long & looks great. The choice of off white rather than a solid white is curious, but it doesn't make him any _less_ Sideswipe. I suspect the main reason for the decision was to differentiate between Swiper and Red Alert who features a solid white. There's a silver "battle damage" paint wash on his shins, groin and feet (which can easily be missed, being silver on silver). This is a visually stunning robot mode. I cannot fault it.
I really dislike the silver battle damage thing, and while I've removed it from most of my Siege toys, it actually works on Sideswipe since it's actually a wash rather than the speckle seen on many toys. It's far less visually obtrusive and actually looks like it could be grime. It's easily removable from the groin and shins, but I've not bothered removing it because it looks pretty decent and kind of works with the off white to give Sideswipe a battle hardened look.
Sideswipe's play value is rewarding for a deluxe. The black weapon can plug into either shoulder mount (there's a flat tab with matching sockets) as his missile launcher and you can attach the red weapon as a missile if you like. Both weapons can he handheld as guns or plug into holes on the outsides of his forearms and shoulders. Personally I like the shoulder missile launcher assembly - I find Transformers on display look best when not everyone's holding a gun - so Sideswipe breaks that up. But the great thing is you get the choice & both pieces are versatile. That blast point on his chest is joined by one on the left shoulder. It's not a feature I use since the Battle Masters don't interest me whatsoever but while these blast points are ubiquitous in this line, they're all very unobtrusive.
Poseability is very good here. His neck is ball jointed while the shoulders, elbows and hips all have two planes of rotation. His knees are hinged with rotators enveloping the hips and his waist rotates. The ankles feature tilts and there's a little give in the ankle transformation joint giving the feet some toe pointing movement. The only "missing" aspect really is rotating wrists, but I'm not critical of that given that his hands need to swing in for transformation. I would have loved if the shoulder missile launcher could rotate side to side to aim, but I can also see that would have been difficult to achieve on this design.
An excellent robot mode and one I feel the designer got right when it came to compromises. The weaponry works well no matter which option you go for, the battle damage actually works as intended and the poseability is both great and the few missing elements are understandable at this pricepoint. To top that off, it's SO Sideswipe.
Red Alert is a slight retool of Sideswipe. There's a "Netflix" repaint - coming but not announced as this review is written.
It's hard to pick serious fault here. The designer has made the right choices & really put thought into Sideswipe. Good plastic choices & two attractive modes; useful weaponry and two attractive moves that both really ooze G1 Sideswipe despite the vehicle being Cybertronian. And to top that all off, they actually did a tasteful job of the polarising battle damage that defines Siege. My only genuine complaint is the black outbursts on the sides of the car mode. While they don't ruin that mode, I would have preferred a different colour plastic 9.5/10