An Alternators logo? But Arcee only appeared in Binaltech! LOLOCAUST!!!!


Transformers Sideswipe
Transformers Sideswipe
Transformers Sideswipe
Transformers Sideswipe

Sideswipe was the second Alternators figure released back in 2003 and to say reaction was somewhat cool after the splendid opening gambit of Smokescreen would be an understatement. I didn't even bother buying him at the time. More recently I got the retooled version of the Viper mould, Sunstreaker, largely because he was Sunstreaker.

More recently I've become more interested in Sideswipe because he's Sideswipe, because I was running out of other Alternators to buy and because I had firsthand experience of the Viper and knew more or less what to expect. So when the chance to buy the Binaltech version from StoneCold Skywarp, I thought "why not?". I've spent money on Wheeljack after all. Twice, in fact.


Because of my late purchase of Sideswipe I already knew what to expect to some extent, and so will you if you've read my Sunstreaker review. Because I don't like the Dodge Viper. It's a soulless design, like a generic roadster driven by a cartoon character. Being a cabriolet version doesn't help Sideswipe, especially getting him after Sunstreaker - contrary to common sense, it just looks like someone's sheared the top off the thing, right down to the tabs on the back of the windscreen. On the upside, it does look better in red and in diecast.

Despite the paint chipping issues (and the way painted metal always seems to highlight join lines) there's something indefinably more satisfying about the solid feel and glossy finish of the Binaltech toys. It also cuts out the embarrassing problem Sunstreaker suffered from, that of the black interior parts showing. However, some of the other faults remain, such as the bonnet that doesn't really open. Actually it opens fine on Sideswipe, it just tends to push the windscreen back without the roof to hold it in place. And the placement of the Autobot symbol is really poor, totally at odds with the realistic look.


Transforming Sideswipe had rather a nice surprise for me, in that there was more of a difference from Sunstreaker than I expected. Namely, the shoulder section folds down and clips in under the windscreen, giving the chest a much more solid feel. I love little things like that - there are lots of moving parts on Alternators figures, and it only takes a couple of little tweaks to make that sort of change. This praise might belong more to Sunstreaker, but there we go - I like it when retools from the line have more than a different head cast and some residual vehicle mode changes to define the separate characters. The head cast itself is terrific, though, another decent update - it's not just a scaled-up clone of the original, but it is still recognisable as Sideswipe.

The upper body, then, is decent - the only real problems are the large chunk of Viper rear on the back of the robot (slightly less noticeable than on Sunstreaker due to not having a roof there as well), and the exposed pins on the shoulders. The latter can be sorted with some convoluted twisting, but it's not a smooth sequence and can be quite tiresome to go through for minimal gains. The arm articulation is great, while the position of the doors nicely evokes the original Sideswipe. The engine block gun is one of the more successful from the range too. It's from the waist down the problems set in. Despite the torso rotating as part of the transformation, movement is blocked off by the windscreen. The leg joints are similarly restrictive, while the positioning of the bonnet - hanging off Sideswipe's arse - and the grille parts on the back of his ankles further complicate matters. It means he only really has two or three poses that don't look ridiculous.


Sideswipe nudges ahead of Sunstreaker, just. The alternate mode is probably worse, though the colours are better, but the robot mode just looks that bit more cohesive - you can tell which character the mould was designed to represent. However, regardless of presentation, the Viper mould is still probably the weakest in the range, lacking the refinement and dynamism of most of the other designs.