Universe Side Burn Toy Review

Individual Review

Name: Side Burn
Series: Universe
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Dodge Viper

Thanks to Pulse for donating Side Burn for this review

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

   A black Dodge Viper with transparent windows and a giant red Autobot logo on his roof, this Side Burn bears similarities to the RiD redeco Side Burn, with red bumpers, gold chrome on the wheels and raised engineblock. He sports black rubberised tyres and an odd carbon-fibre like print on the front section. The black paint on most of this car is matte, however the red on the bumpers is a shiny enamel - this is a really bad idea. The entire shell is composed of the same transparent smoky plastic as the windows (and headlights). It's a disjointed colour scheme - the carbon-fibre pattern needed the rest to work, however the red paint ruins any chance of that happening.

   Paint job aside, 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. 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. 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.

   The mould is pretty good, despite the kibble visible through the windows. The Dodge theme is instantly recognisable and the little features like the grip on his tyres and air vents on the hood are nice features. The repainting here is very unfocussed - the final result looks like a half done hand-painted prototype.


   This is a very complex deluxe, 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.

Height: 13cm Width: 8cm

   While there are hints of the redeco in the car mode, this mode is almost identical to that version. He is a mixture of red, orange and white. The red robot mode parts are a cherry red plastic, which is easily distinguished from the bright enamel red. His head is bright red with a white lower jaw, metallic blue face and blue eyes, and there's fantastic detail, including a transparent targeting scope over his left eye. There is a gold chromed Autobot symbol on his left forearm which matches the chromed red on his chest. The orange paint is bright but not day-glo and is mainly on his chest and shins. While it's very bright this is a decent colour scheme. The only departures from the redeco are the black kibble hanging off his left arm and back, and his handheld weapon loses the gold chrome, becoming a non-chrome silver.

   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.

   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 silver 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, okay 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. The colours are better than those on the car mode, even if they're a direct copy of the previous of the mould.


   There are quite a few versions of this mould, but no variants of this release that I'm aware of. FortMax Reed points out that this one is a repaint in the strictest sense, since the plastic colours are identical to the Redeco Sideburn.


   A well engineered mould and an interesting idea in the carbon fibre on the car mode, but the repaint is very badly done. The car mode looks awful with the matte black alongside unaltered enamel red, and the giant Autobot logo on his roof is cheesy. The robot mode looks good, but it's a direct copy of the redeco RiD Side Burn's robot colours, so it has little to offer. The engineering on this mould is great, although the shellformer nature won't appeal to everyone. The repaint is bad enough, however, that I'd recommend leaving this one alone and grabbing one of the two RiD Side Burn versions - 3/10

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