Masterpiece Sideswipe Robot Mode Review
I’m procrastinating way too much, but today I’m finally getting to the robot mode review of Masterpiece Sideswipe. The alt mode review appears here. But before I go any further, let me just say this now: I am impressed with MP Sideswipe! IMPRESSED! Just go out and get one now. Don’t even waste time reading the rest of this review. But if you like to know why I like this figure so much, I will explain why.
First things first though. There are some things I need to re-state or correct from the alt mode review, so let me do them now. First, I mentioned that the tires are made of rubber, but they are actually high quality plastic. The paint job on them is so good though, and something about the material of that plastic makes them feel like rubber if you are not paying careful attention. I would’ve liked to see them use real rubber, but this works too.
Another thing I mentioned in the alt mode review is that there are other pieces besides the tires that will rub the surface. After transforming Sideswipe to robot mode and back, I find this to be less of an issue. You will still need to line up everything just right, but it’s not too tough to position everything so there’s enough bottom clearance.
The last thing I want to point out about the alt mode is you can attach the missile launcher on the car if you want. The gun can then be attached to the side of the launcher. Sideswipe is now ready for some serious drive-by. I think he looks better in alt mode without it, but it’s nice to see the toy designers account for the weapons. There is a swivel joint mechanism for the missile launcher attachment, so you can angle the whole thing up or down if you wanted to.
OK, now on to the robot mode. Check out Sideswipe in all his G1 robot glory.
Now is that Sideswipe or is that Sideswipe? This is the ultimate interpretation of G1 Sideswipe. Masterpiece figures are known for detail and show accuracy and this figure certainly does not disappoint. The designers of this figure must have looked at G1 cartoon screenshots over and over, and came up with a figure that captures Sideswipe’s look down to the last detail. They say life imitates art and vice versa. In this case, it’s toy imitating cartoon imitating toy. G1 Sideswipe’s cartoon appearance, though based on the G1 figure, is way more enhanced than what the toy was really capable of. Masterpiece toy designers have made that interpretation a reality.
Detail on this figure is nothing short of amazing. Take a look at Sideswipe’s face. That is pure G1. I thought the face mold on the Generations figure was good, but this blows it out of the water. This has got to be one of the most show accurate face molds I have ever seen, on any TF. Paint job on the face is also a nice silver, good to see that Takara wasn’t afraid to splurge for this figure. The chest is your typical Sideswipe car hood. That is probably the most iconic thing about Sideswipe’s robot mode, so they be crazy if they changed it.
I really like the look of Sideswipe’s limbs. Again, it’s as if the toy designers reproduced his cartoon appearance exactly. I won’t describe it too much. Just look at the pics. Same goes for the lower abdomen and hips area. I’m amazed at how faithfully they can get Sideswipe to look while the figure still transforms.
Speaking of transformation, the overall transforming schema is fairly similar to G1 (hood becomes chest, rear of car form the legs, arms at the sides, etc). But they made some heavy improvements to how everything is implemented. Hood of the car still folds down to form the chest (no surprise here). But the top of the head folds back in alt mode, like it’s sliced off. This allows for more room to store the head, since the alt mode is so flat. The arms are still tucked to the sides of the car, like G1. But they are angled more inwards, and the door pieces don’t account for as much of the robot mode, resulting in less kibble for the arms. The biggest transformation difference from G1 is probably in the legs. In G1 you simply pull them out. For the MP, the mechanism is much more complex. In fact, in the instructions, most of it devotes to how the legs are transformed. MP Sideswipe’s legs use more of a rotate-at-the-knees mechanism that we’ve seen used heavily in G1, like G1 Windcharger or Gears. However there are other pieces at the legs that needs to be transformed as well, resulting in a refreshing take on a familiar scheme.
Overall, this transformation is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. MP figures usually don’t disappoint in terms of the transforming mechanism. However, often times, the transformation is complex to the point where it takes the fun out of playing it as a toy (think MP Megatron or MP Rodimus). Sideswipe do not share that problem. The transformation of this figure is challenging enough to be worthy of MP, but at the same time still fun when played with as a toy. In my opinion, Takara has achieved the perfect balance of transformation complexity and fun in MP Sideswipe. This is very rarely done in the world of TFs. And let’s not forget, this is a figure that looks good in both modes. Usually figures that look this good does not transform. So when you consider a transforming mechanism that is ingenious yet intuitive, coupled with a alt mode that Lamborghini felt confident in branding its logo, and with a super show accurate robot mode added in for good measure, you realize what a gem you have on your hands.
Poseability of the figure also does not disappoint. He’s got moving joints just about everywhere: head/neck, shoulder, elbows, hips, knees, feet, and hands. He’s capable of some really good poses. And for once, I like how the hands are implemented on MP. Usually for MP, they try to make articulation down to the fingers. I know there are fans out there that enjoy that feature, but I’m not one of them. Usually too much finger articulation translates to poor holding of weapons by the figure, so I’m glad Takara chose a simpler mechanism here. The non-thumb fingers will move as one piece, but that’s about it. In my opinion, that’s enough.
Articulation would mean nothing without proper construction. I’m glad to report that MP Sideswipe has no construction issues whatsoever. All joints will move like you expect them to, nothing too tight and nothing too loose. In alt mode everything comes together nicely, and in robot mode he’s able to hold poses without problems of any kind. I wish all TFs were this well built.
Here’s a shot of the back of Sideswipe. As you can see, he’s really kibble free. Some might argue there’s a bit of kibble on the back, but in my opinion this is nothing to complain about.
Now for some extra gimmicks on this figure. He comes with pile drivers that you can attach in robot mode. Just flip the hands back into the forearms and attach them. We saw him do this in one episode. Very show accurate, though why someone like Sideswipe would have pile drivers is beyond me. Also, the missile launcher can be attached on either the right or left shoulder. I stuck it on the left since that’s how he had them on the show. In robot mode the missile launcher can be angled up or down, just like alt mode.
Here are some size comparison shots. Sideswipe scales well with the newer MPs. I also placed them next to some CHUG figures, so those of you who only has CHUG can see how he compares.
Sideswipe: Hey Grimlock, I got the MP treatment just like you did.
Grimlock: Me Grimlock still look better!
MP Sideswipe is good value. I got mine for about $75 shipped from Japan. That’s actually quite reasonable these days for a figure of this quality. Also, MP Sideswipe is not a figure that will take up a lot of space on your shelf. In the alt mode review I mentioned he comes in a really small box, a good thing in my opinion. When MPs started getting smaller, I was complaining like everyone else. But now I’m beginning to see the value. It keeps the cost of the figure down, and if you have a large collection like me, the smaller size benefits in being a space saver.
To sum up, this is a figure that must be purchased. If you call yourself a TransFan, then do not hesitate to add this piece to your collection. It is rare to come across a TF of such high quality. I seriously detect no weaknesses in this figure. Hands down, this is my favorite new figure for 2012. I know there’s still about a month and a half left of the year, but right now I can’t imagine anything topping this. Takara has really outdone themselves. MP Sideswipe is TF perfection.
Now I must go pre-order MP Red Alert somewhere. Transform and Roll Out!