I'm sure I've got a few episodes mixed up in there, but you get the idea. Sideswipe is a handy guy, and I'm glad to have a new Transformer Universe (TFU) version of him for my collection.
If you've already got the TFU Sunstreaker, then you already know what this review talks about. Like many other Transformers (Ironhide & Ratchet, Bumblebee & Cliffjumper), Sunstreaker and Sideswipe are copies of the same mold. Cannon takes it one step further and says that they are brothers. In this line that story is continued, as is the history of Transformer repaints.
Like the TFU Prowl and Silverstreak, Sideswipe is a direct repaint of the Sunstreaker mold. That is to say that Hasbro took the mold created to make the TFU Sunstreaker toy, colored it red and white, and named it Sideswipe. As I said in my Silversteak review, this isn't as bad a thing for a Transformers collector as it would be for a Marvel collector. Transformers are robots and come off assembly lines. It stands to reason that there would be some robots with a gajillion copies of himself all around the universe.
Reasoning is a geeky version of denial.
Still, Hasbro did alot to make this a "new" toy. The first thing you'll see is that the chestplate on Sideswipe is noticeably different from that of his brother. It's made possible by the great design team at Hasbro. The toy is engineered to use either plate as the chest plate or backpack. If you wanted a red Sunstreaker for instance, you could turn Sideswipe's head, arms, and legs around and BOOM! There you go.
He's also got a completely different head, something they never did before on any of the other repaints. Prowl and Silverstreak share heads, so do Bumblebee and Cliffjumper, Prime and Ultra Magnus, and even the upcoming Ironhide and Ratchet too. This is the only instance where they changed it. A big plus.
It's pretty good foresight on the toymakers side to work that into the design, but I'm wondering how that would work for the third Transformer who shared this body model in the Generation 1 cartoon, Red Alert. In the original G1 line, Red Alert (a fire chief's car) and Sideswipe shared a mold, while Sunstreaker's was completely different (that toy was one of my favorites growing up!), though the two brothers were still brothers, dispite looking nothing alike. If they do do a Red Alert now, there's really nothing to diffrentiate him, unless they add a siren instead of that intake on the roof.
Which doesn't sound like a bad idea...
Speaking of that intake, it's a great accessory. Almost as good as the Transformer Classic Bumblebee's jetski/jetpack. In this case it converts to a nice backpack for Sunstreaker, a nod to similar gadgetry his G1 incarnation had hanging behind his head. On Sideswipe, you can turn the think upside down and BAM! You have that jetpack that he gave Prime in that long ago episode. It's 100% made of win, I tell you!
He also comes with a nice gun which doubles as a tailpipe. The fact that this line has figures with accessories that attach securely to the toys in both modes is a godsend to guys who tend to lose the little parts *raises hand*.
On to articulation, which is again made of win. These guys are much better designs when you're talking posebility compared to Prowl/Silverstreak. They have ball jointed heads, double elbows (!), thigh cuts (!!), and compound joints on their ankles (!!!). This makes for a great number of poses, though you'd be lucky to get a high kick since their footprint is so tiny and the multiple ankle joints aren't the sturdiest.
Then again, I don't remember Transformers ever doing a high kick...
They also improved the materials on this one. Despite having virtually no paint applications (the parts for Transformers are often molded in the color that part is supposed to be), there is a distinct shine to the red plastic that looks better than the yellow on Sunstreaker. More like metal. It does alot toward making these new Hasbro toys feel more like their more expensive and better quality Japanese counterparts.
Overall, this is a great toy to have in your Transformer collection. The only thing that might have made it better was giving him the piledriver hands he had in one episode. I got mine at Toy Kingdom Podium about 3 weeks ago, but I hear their getting hard to find nowadays. Better get hunting if you want one!