The danger of any high-end collectible toy (or "toy") is that most hot licenses last so long, the most amazing, best-ever toy will be trumped in a few short years. 10 years ago Transformers fans were whipping themselves into a frenzy over Alternators, a 1:24-scale line of mostly Autobots which updated Generation One characters with mostly contemporary automobile bodies. Side Swipe was on of the early releases, changing into a Dodge Viper. Because the franchise of robots in disguise has legs, we got a Masterpiece Edition of Sideswipe (Lambor) based on the Lamborghini Countach, and it warranted a few variations including Tigertrack, Red Alert, and Lambor G-2 Ver. Based on the comic book edition of Sideswipe from the Marvel Generation 2 comic book, this takes the previous version of the mold and gives him new deco, a new head, and all-new accessories. For those wary of our getting another really good Sideswipe in the next decade, you can be pretty sure you won't see another G2 Sideswipe quite like this any time soon. (In the last 5 years we've been treated to Botcon-exclusive version in animated and super-rare, customizer class versions.)
As someone who took a hard exit from Masterpiece when it looked like MP-01 would be repainted until the end of time, this is my first "deluxe car" in this size - I found that original Convoy to be a marvel. I adored Walmart's Starscream. I jumped on Soundwave at Comic-Con last year. But that's been it - I heard Sideswipe's toy was tiny, and while that's a slight exaggeration it isn't far from the truth. His car mode is roughly the same size as your average Generations deluxe car, so if you bought some version of the Sideswipe mold from a few years ago, it's about the same size. Painted black with a few details (like "Lamborghini" and "Countach" on the back), this vehicle mode is sparse on deco. For those who find that unsettling, a full sheet of stickers allows you to replicate the G2 toy, or try something a little more subdued with a simple Autobot G2 sticker you can place on the hood.
The toy has no rubber tires or die-cast metal, which should mean it will hold up well for years to come. Unfortunately, it also makes it feel like less of a deal - compared to third-party unlicensed toys he's quite the steal at $60 or so, but he's shorter than the toys from Alternators and BinalTech with fewer bells and whistles. His sculpting and accessories, however, shine far more brightly with even more articulation and less in the way of kibble hanging off the sides. The car looks better, and were this sold in the US at a lower price - as I anticipate some version of the mold will be soon - you totally have to give it a try.
Transformation is involved, but not crazy. I would say it's more complex than the G1 toy, but simpler than most other Masterpieces or even Voyagers. All the parts and panels moved smoothly, and I had no issues with anything popping off at all - the tabs all line up perfectly, and during the process I saw several extra points of articulation which serve no reason other than to make the robot better. The spikey tire shoulder pads must be placed on after the conversion has been completed, but that's OK - you've got a perfect car, a fun change, and a really fantastic robot.
His robot mode is about the same height as Generations Rhinox and Whirl, coming up at about 6 1/4-inches tall - about the size of a short current Voyager. There are more moving parts, a car license, more paint, and more accessories so the higher price tag can be slightly easier to swallow. In terms of movement, it seems Takara-Tomy's engineers took cues from Marvel Legends and Revoltech with rocking ankles, rotating wrists, jointed fingers, and multiple arm joints letting you pose him an all sorts of crazy ways. There's no real kibble to speak of, which makes me feel like a chump for wasting so much time, energy, and gas on Alternators. Sure, they were cheaper, but this is way cooler - check out those crazy guns, which peg into his fists! There's a sword he can store on his back! There's a beautiful snarl with bared teeth based on the art of Derek Yaniger from the G2 comics! The only thing that would be missing are some ammo belts... and maybe a few extra guns, just in case. It's clear that Takara-Tomy was emulating the comic book first and foremost, with toy stickers and none of the goofy toy rocket launchers.
If you're the kind of person to buy third-party stuff or BotCon exclusives, this is the toy for you - heck, let him stand in for the BotCon Customization Class Sideswipe you'll never own. His massive guns, wicked snarl, and cool sword allow him to bring more to the table than your average Hasbro release, so for the novelty of having this Sideswipe I'd say it's worth your money. G2-themed new releases are far and few between, so if this sort of thing is your bag just get it. Pay what it costs. You'll be glad you did, once you get over the fact that you may have just bought a clearance Metroplex for less money a few months ago.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.