It took me a while, but my Xbox is up and running again and I was finally able to play through Fall of Cybertron. And play through it again, and one more time. Needless to say I enjoyed the hell out of it, and it’s given me a new motivation to track down some of the remaining figures. Yeah, Jazz’s figure left me cold and he made my naughty list for 2012, but the three Combaticons I’ve featured so far more than made up for him. Let’s see if some remolding and fresh paint can make the Jazz mold better the second time around.
There’s the Generations packaging. I love it, but I think I’ve said all there is to say about it. Sideswipe comes packaged in his robot mode and his card sports some very nice character art. I also really dig his bio on the back of the card about him being a contender for racing champion before he joined the Autobots. He didn’t play a very large role in the game, but we won’t hold that against him. As always, let’s start in vehicle mode.
So, obviously Sideswipe is a remold and repaint of Jazz, but Hasbro did some nice reworking and recoloring of the mold to make him look like a new vehicle. The top of the alt mode is completely new, including the configuration of the hood, front bumper and spoiler. Gone are Jazz’s exhaust pipes and in their place is a more conventional looking car canopy. Sideswipe features less sculpted panel lines, but makes up for it with a more dynamic deco. The bulk of the body is red plastic with painted white racing stripes and silver and black accents. All in all, I had no problems with Jazz’s vehicle design and I dig Sideswipe’s too. It comes off as a much sleeker, speed machine, although some may take issue that he looks more like a concept Earth car than some of the other Cybertron alt modes in the game. Me? I’m fine with it.
Despite the changes to the mold, Sideswipe transforms exactly the same as his Autobuddy, Jazz. It’s a frightfully simple transformation on paper, but in practice, it’s oddly finicky. Going into alt mode requires a lot of tabs lining up just right, and going into robot mode requires a ridiculously annoying mechanic involving the torso, which can’t be adequately conveyed in the instructions. I found I just had to fiddle with it, becoming white with rage, until I finally remembered how it works.
In robot mode, the parts shared between the figures are a lot more obvious. The legs and arms are identical molds, but the paint differences distinguish them apart pretty well even when the figures are standing alongside each other. Sideswipe’s deco is really sharp and it shows just how far some nice coloring and good paintwork will make a mold. I’m still a little iffy on how the head just kind of floats inside the torso, but I do really like Sideswipe’s head sculpt. It really suits the character. Sideswipe also still has that extra set of wheels in robot mode, but as with Jazz one set is mostly concealed at the shoulders. Unfortunately, Sideswipe still has Jazz’s size problem. In robot mode he just feels a little too small, especially if he’s standing beside WFC Bumblebee or Cliffjumper.
Sideswipe comes with a huge ass gun with an extending barrel. I can’t decide whether it’s a cool BFG or just awkward and goofy. He can hold it in either hand or it can mount onto his vehicle mode, but it looks terrible mounted on his alt mode. The weapon is a decent enough design and sculpt, but it’s really way too big and I don’t tend to think of giant guns when I think of Sideswipe.
So, yeah, this guy is a cool little figure and I do find myself enjoying the mold a lot more than Jazz. Maybe it’s because Sideswipe’s red plastic and more accomplished paint apps look so much better than Jazz’s bare white plastic. Maybe it’s because I had a better idea of what to expect from the figure having already owned Jazz. Whatever the case, Sideswipe shows that Hasbro can be masters at tweaking a mold and making it work very well for different characters. He’s still not a lot of toy for $15, but maybe I’m getting desensitized to that as well. Sure there are things that irk me about Jazz’s design, which are still present here, but I’m not at all sorry I picked him up.