Transformers Siege: Sideswipe by Hasbro

Slowly but surely I’m working my way through the first wave of Deluxe figures from the new Siege: War for Cybertron. So far this assortment has delivered on the best Hound figure we’ve had in ages, and a pretty sweet update to the Duocon, Flywheels so at this point, the wave can do no wrong. Can they work the same magic for the classic Class of 84 Autobot Sideswipe? Well if opinion on the social medias is any indication, I think they can!

Here’s another look at the packaging as Hasbro does away with the card and bubble in favor of a collector friendly window box. I love these boxes and the character art looks fantastic. It’s just too bad that I don’t have the space to keep them. Sideswipe comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re going to jump in to his alt mode first!

Whereas Hound’s felt like a bulked up version of his G1 Jeep mode, Sideswipe’s is more of a futuristic version of his G1 Lamborghini mode, and I dig that a lot. It’s like Siege is taking the underlying characteristics of these alt modes and buffing them. So Hound gets more military and brutish and Sideswipe just gets sexier. Indeed, what we get here feels like a Lamborghini concept car, although I suppose it could still pass for a Cybertronian vehicle. I like the contouring on this car and the intakes behind each side of the driver compartment. The ribbing on the hood is nice, but the sides of the car are pretty f’ugly thanks to some seams and hinges. I also wish the black parts, just above and behind the front wheel wells, were painted red to match the rest of the car.

And speaking of paint, the deco is pretty simple and gets by with very little of it. The red plastic looks great with the tinted, smoked windows and you get some silver on the head lamps and the wheels. It’s all capped off with a crisp Autobot emblem stamped right in the middle of the hood.

If you like to weaponize your vehicles, there are three peg holes available, one on top and one on each side. Sideswipe’s weapon can also split so you have some additional options. If you’ve picked up some of the Battle Masters, you can also plug them on him.

Transformation here is super simple, and that makes the resulting robot mode all the more amazing. It’s clean, it’s fairly well proportioned, and it’s the spitting image of Sidesweipe’s old G1 robot mode. I particularly love the way his front wheels lock inside his shoulders and the way his legs fill out. But beyond how faithful his is to his roots, he’s also so tight and sturdy. Everything locks together so well that he feels more like a regular action figure than a Transformer.

Even from the back, Sideswipe’s design is super clean. Sure he has a big slab of car canopy for a back, but it’s rare that you get a Transformer that isn’t showing off some ugly bits from behind. As for the deco, it retains that nice red plastic, while adding a fair amount of off-white plastic in the arms, legs, and the frame around his neck. Some paint hits include the silver on his feet and waist, and some dry-brushing on his lower legs that look like wear and tear in the metal.

The head sculpt is terrific and also very evocative of the G1 character, complete with horns. If I were to nitpick anything about this figure, I’d say that I wished his head sat a little higher. If you look at him straight on, his chest plate covers a bit of his chin. But that’s only if I’m really looking for stuff to complain about.

Sideswipe’s weapon can be a rifle to hold in his hands, or it can be attached to his shoulder to simulate the G1 toy’s missile launcher. You can also pull it apart and mix things up a bit. I do kind of wish he had come with a proper rifle so he could have it and his shoulder launcher, but I think Hasbro’s really banking on people buying the smaller Battle Master packs for weapons.

And before wrapping up, here’s a quick comparison of Siege Sideswipe with the old Universe version. Honestly, I think I still prefer the Universe version’s auto mode over this one. It’s just cleaner and shows a lot less seams. As for the robot modes, I’m going to give the nod this new figure. I still love the Universe version, I think it’s a great looking figure with some neat engineering, but there’s something about how simple and elegant Siege Sideswipe that I just love. He’s also more fun to play with.

With three figures down in this Deluxe assortment, I have nothing but high praise for Siege. The figures look great, have some refreshingly simple transformations, and I’m digging the unabashed fanwanks back to the halcyon days of Generation One. Indeed, I would be thrilled if all of the Class of 84 Autobots got the Siege treatment! I’ve got one more Deluxe to look at, in a couple of weeks, and then I’ll start in on the big boys.

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Transformers Siege: Skytread by Hasbro

Hasbro’s new line of Transformers continues to hit retail and I’ve just about completed picking up the first wave of Deluxe Class figures. Today I’m opening my second of the bunch and while he’s called Skytread on the package, I’ll happily re-name him Flywheels, because he’s a modern update to my favorite Duocon.

The new Siege packaging abandons the traditional card and bubble for a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork. Of course, the Duocons were a new breed of Transformers gimmick that Hasbro introduced in 1987. These Decepticons could split in half, with each half transforming into its own independent vehicle. It was hardly a sub-group, as we only ever got two of these guys. The other was Battletrap, and Hasbro gave him an update as part of Power of the Primes, but he’s not really a proper Duocon. It’s too much to get into here, but maybe now I’ll get around to opening and reviewing those figures. But I digress… Skytread’s alt modes consist of a jet and a tank, so not entirely unlike Big Daddy Overlord, but these vehicles are pretty small and very simple. They’re also very similar to the original G1 toys, and some collectors will love that, others maybe not so much. Let’s first look at his jet mode…

Awww, who’s a cute little Decepticon attack jet? You ARE! Flywheels’ jet mode was an adorable super-deformed attack craft and this modern update really stuck to its guns on that account. It’s actually a pretty nice mold, with plenty of panel lines, sculpted rivets, flaps, and vents, but it still looks a bit like a chibi Harrier Jump Jet to me, even though the proportions probably aren’t that off. The coloring is mostly confined to the maroon plastic with painted blue cockpit and some gold painted trim, while there’s some brown showing on the obvious robot arms that make up his undercarriage. I would have liked to see a little in the way of paint detail, but as it stands, it sure beats the one color of plastic that passed for Flywheels’ jet deco. All in all, this is a frightfully simple little toy jet, but it begrudgingly gets my seal of approval because it serves up some major nostalgia for a toy that I really loved. Moving on to the tank mode…

This is the half that even nostalgia cannot save. It’s not too dissimilar from Flywheel’s tank mode, but even so, there’s just nothing at all appealing to me about this little piece of rolling armor. The brown body features some sculpted panel lines, decently sculpted treads, some gold paint hits and some silver weathering along the sides. The two guns are maroon plastic with some gold paint. The design isn’t very exciting at all, the back is hollow and ugly, the main gun barely stays put, and the top pieces are very difficult to keep tabbed in, despite this being a frightfully simple transformation. You can mount the smaller gun on either side of the main cannon or even on the sides, and while options are nice, it just isn’t enough to save this tank for me. The last time I was this disappointed with a Transformers tank mode had to be the Titans Return Cassette Tanks, and those were pretty damn bad. I will, however, allow this one to squeak by because he’s part of a bigger picture.

And because that’s one heck of a cool looking robot mode. As with Flywheels, Skytread’s tank mode forms the lower half of the robot with the jet forming the upper half. OK, it’s not exactly like the Duocon that inspired him, but it’s pretty close. And what deviation there is just serves to modernize the figure beautifully. There’s nothing terribly exciting or inventive about the engineering here, but it’s hard to argue with the end result. All those panel lines on the vehicle modes add some wonderful detail to the robot mode, and the two-tone brown and maroon deco works well for a Decepticon soldier. Besides, the blue cockpit and hits of gold paint do their parts to make him pop a little. The proportions are great and it holy hell, he actually has functional legs, which is a boast that the old toy couldn’t make.

From the back Skytread looks fairly clean and tidy. He wears the back half of the jet plane on his back, complete with an adorable little tail and you can even use the peg on his back to store one of his guns, or both if you want to combine them. My only real complaint here is that his torso is hollow, but unless you’re scrutinizing him from the sides, it isn’t really a big deal. And no, I’m not going to gripe about his big feet, because that’s just another loving nod to G1 Flywheels.

I can rarely find much fault in Hasbro’s bot-noggins, and that’s not going to change here. Skytread’s head sculpt is fantastic and a perfect homage to his predecessor.

Obviously, Skytread’s two tank guns also serve as weapons for his robot mode, and while the designs are pretty generic, he looks good holding them. The smaller gun is my favorite of the two, just because it’s compact.

 

The longer gun is fine, but it’s design is even more generic than the smaller one. Fortunately, you can peg them together…

To make one big rifle. I really dig this feature as well as the fact that there are two pegs for him to grab.

Skytread is so much fun in robot mode, that I’m not willing to let the crappy tank and mediocre jet modes tear him down. But then I’m a real sucker for modern updates and as far as I know, this is the first time Hasbro’s revisited this character. There’s just something so cool about taking that old design and doing it over with proper proportions and useful articulation. And yeah, there’s also a good deal of nostalgia at work here. As it happens, Flywheels was one of the last Transformers figures I ever bought before I got away from toys, and that was pushing it because I was 14 when he originally came out. He lacks a bit of the polish and premium feel that oozed out of Hound, but in the end I’m still smitten with how this modern Duocon turned out.

Transformers Siege: Hound by Hasbro

Power of the Primes is dead… Long live Siege! Yes, it’s that time again, folks, for Hasbro to shake things up with a new line of their irresistible RoboConvertobots, and this time the new series is named Siege: The War for Cybertron Trilogy. That’s a mouthful, so I’ll just be referring to it as Siege. It’s a line that looks like it will be extra heavily influenced by the G1 goodness that I love so much. It’s also a line that will be giving us some badly needed re-dos of some old friends. And today’s review is a great example of just that, because it’s Hound!

Hound has always been among my favorites of the G1 Autobots. I really loved his original toy, and I adored him in the original Sunbow Mini-Series. The last time he got a Deluxe Class update was way back in 2009 as part of the Classics line. I loved that figure when it came out, but it’s definitely aged a bit, so I’m anxious to see if this new Hound can replace him. And check out that packaging! The cards and bubbles have been replaced with these collector friendly window boxes. The deco still features the Transformers logo running up the front, right side in bold red lettering, but now we get some totally bitchin’ character art on the slanted left side panel. Everything about these boxes feels premium, and I may actually try to keep these. Anyway, Hound comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’ll start with his alt mode.

OK, so there’s definitely some stuff to love here, but I’ll confess I would have liked something more akin to Hound’s traditional Jeep alt-mode. The front actually looks fine, but the rest of it is ugly as sin. It looks like a Jeep bumped uglies with a Hummer and this is what resulted in that union. I don’t hate it, but overall I’m not digging it all that much either. That’s not to say that there isn’t some good stuff going on here. The sculpt does feature some nice attention to detail, they even managed to get something that looks like seats in the driver area, and there are peg holes all over this thing, so you can load it up with weapons. Hmm… I wonder if that’s some kind of running theme for Siege?

Yup! Apparently, interchangeable weapons are going to be a big deal in this line and that should make for some good times. Hound comes with a rifle and his familiar G1 rocket launcher and there are loads of places you can put them on his alt mode and still leave room for about a half-dozen additional weapons.

But it’s the coloring and the paint that impresses me the most here and makes this feel like a premium toy. The olive green they used for most of the base plastic is a pretty close fit for the original G1 toy and the gold trim, as well as the star and Autobot emblem on the hood really drives the homage home. Additional paint hits include some yellow and white for the array of lights on the front of the vehicle, red for the taillights, and some dry-brushing on the front bumper to add some wonderful looking weathering. I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen something like that on a Deluxe Transformer. All in all, I think this new vehicle mode works great as a toy, but as far as the design goes, it loses points for having a case of the uglies. Then again, it’s a military vehicle, so I guess it doesn’t have to look that pretty. Let’s get Hound transformed and see how his robot mode makes out.

Holy hell! Suddenly I’m willing to forgive all the sins of the alt mode for this amazing robot mode. While the design certainly takes some liberties, it’s faithful in all the right places. It’s pretty cool how all four of the wheels wind up on his lower legs, leaving a clean upper half. The chest is beautifully boxy and appropriately Jeepy and I love that all the extra paint hits from the vehicle mode are prominently displayed here. Not to mention you get some more of that lovely dry-brushing on his lower legs. The proportions here are excellent as well, and I particularly dig the lateral rockers in his ankles.

From the back, Hound looks pretty clean and tidy. The roll-cage from his alt mode folds up into a pretty neat backpack and from back here we can see the four wheels, all attached to the vehicle’s side panels, wrap neatly around his lower legs. Hound has a little hollow-leg syndrome going on back here, but I’m usually willing to forgive that. All in all, Hound features a great robot mode and it’s achieved with a fairly simple transformation.

The head sculpt is spot-on beautiful! He’s got that great boxy “helmet” that I’ve always loved, flawless silver paint on his face, and a pair of pale blue eyes that are so bright, I’d almost swear there was light-piping involved. His distinctive G1-inspired missile launcher can mount on either his left or right shoulder, and while it doesn’t actually have a missile, the design is unmistakable from the original’s. The stars on the shoulders are a great touch too!

In addition to his shoulder cannon, Hound comes with two other accessories, a round canister and a rifle. The canister pegs onto the back of the vehicle mode, and I’m thinking it’s meant to be an homage to the spare tire on the original toy. But it can also plug into the back of the gun to form a drum. I like the gun design a lot, even if it isn’t very reminiscent of Hound’s G1 rifle, and it has some nice silver paint apps.

With new boxes and snazzy new paint jobs, comes a price and in this case Hasbro has raised the rent considerably. The Deluxe Class figures of the Siege line are running $20 at the local Target and that seems to be the going price around the neighborhood. It’s a big jump from the $16.99 of the Power of the Primes Deluxes and it’ll be interesting to see if the higher price tag means Siege is intended more for collectors over the kiddies. As for me? Well, it’s easy for me to see where the money went. Everything about the quality here feels like Hasbro is upping their game, and I have to say Hound is one of my favorite Deluxe Class figures to come out in a while. That’s saying a lot, because we got some incredibly solid figures out of Titans Return and Power of the Primes. For now, I’m anxious to check out the rest of the Deluxes in this wave, as well as some of the smaller bots.