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with Whisper

Series: Botcon Exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Deluxe Convention Exclusive
Year: 2008

Prelude: Fifteen years ago the annual Botcon convention introduced something new to the Transformers franchise: Shattered Glass. A mirror universe where evil Autobots fight against heroic Decepticons. Among the figures available exclusively at the 2008 Botcon convention was Sideswipe, a former Autobot who defected to the Decepticons. With a new version of this character coming up, it is time to look at the original. Let’s say go!

Many thanks to my buddy Fuchs Geronimo for loaning me this figure for this review.

Robot Mode: Sideswipe is a straight-up repaint of Armada Wheeljack / Micron Legend Rampage, whom I reviewed way back in 2008 (ironically, the year Sideswipe came out). Since it’s been fifteen years, I think we can give this mold another go.

Sideswipe’s overall design is the classic car Transformer. Hood as chest, wheels on the arms, rear of the car becomes the legs. He even has the car doors as wings (more or less). Of course it’s a classic for a reason because it simply works very well and that’s the case here, too. Now Sideswipe does not wear his classic red and black colors here (nor his mostly black G2 colors), but rather comes along in green and grey. A lot of Shattered Glass characters got their color schemes inverted, though, so that’s not a big surprise. The colors are actually taken from the unreleased Universe figure Drench, who would also have been a repaint of Armada Wheeljack.

The figure is amazingly well articulated for an Armada toy, where articulation usually took a backseat to gimmicks. He has full arm movement, including a twisting wrist (only the right one, though, for whatever reason), can bend his knees well over 90 degrees (a transformation requirement), and his bending feet give him a stable stance in most poses. Not a contortionist by today’s standards, naturally, but pretty great for back then.

Sideswipe most defining detail is, of course, the large scratch on his chest, right through his purple Autobot symbol. There is sculpted circuitry below the tear, making it look very real and very great. Sideswipe’s new faction symbol, a red Decepticon logo, can be found below the old one (though a lot smaller) and on his left forearm as well. For weapons Sideswipe carries two batons that are launched from the car doors on his back. Thanks to his great arm articulation he can adopt all sorts of cool combat poses, no problem.

The toys only real drawbacks are that you can look right through it when looking from the side and its huge backpack. Still, that doesn’t take anything away from it in my opinion. So bottom line, still a great robot mode, even in these different colors and portraying a different character. Thumbs up.

Alternate Mode: Sideswipe transforms into a sportscar resembling a Ferrari F50 with gullwing doors. The car is still mostly green and grey in this mode, with the yellow highlights on the back now more prominent than in robot mode. The car has painted head- and taillights, the word “Turbo” on the sides, silver-rimmed tires, and the sculpted scratch now sits prominently in the middle of the hood. Looks very nice.

While Sideswipe’s Mini-Con partner Whisper (see below) is rather useless when Sideswipe is in robot mode, in car mode he does unlock a gimmick. Attach Whisper to the powerlinx port on the roof and Sideswipe’s gullwing doors flip up (M.A.S.K. Thunderhawk sends its greetings) for a kind-of flight mode. Now Sideswipe can also launch his baton-missiles in car mode. So bottom line: a great car mode. The paint job with the green and grey stripes might not be everyone’s thing, but I figure he looks cool.

Partner: Whisper is a straight-up repaint of Armada Wheeljack’s Mini-Con Windsheer / Hawk. Much like Sideswipe is a classic car-former, Whisper is a classic jet-former with the jet nose on the chest and wings on his back. He is pretty well articulated for a Mini-Con, having knees (sort of), poseable feet, and can spread his arms sideways at the shoulders. Whisper transforms into a stealth bomber type plane loosely resembling the F117A Nighthawk. Overall one of the better Mini-Cons of the Armada era.

Remarks: When Cliffjumper from the Classics universe ended up in the Shattered Glass world by accident, Sideswipe was one of the first to peg his other-dimensional origins. Originally an Autobot, Sideswipe was left for dead by his comrades after a battle (somewhat similar to what happened to Armada Wheeljack) and joined the Decepticons in his thirst for revenge against Optimus Prime. Sideswipe appeared in several of FunPub’s Shattered Glass stories, as well as IDW’s take on the concept. Here, though, he was killed off-screen and only shown as a dead body in a flashback.

Funny side note: according to the TFWiki, the reason why Armada Wheeljack was used for Shattered Glass Sideswipe is simply that one of the Takara designers gave the Armada toy a head that already looked a lot like that of G1 Sideswipe. Why? Nobody knows, but given the look of the head and the classic car-former look, it was a shoe-in.

Micron Legend Rampage / Armada Wheeljack is one of my favorite figures from that time. The Botcon repaint uses some rather unusual colors (for the character), but it works just fine and makes me think of the old G2 Color-Changers. Some slight point deduction for being “just” a repaint, but like I said above, why use a new head when the original one already looks like the character you want to portray. So bottom line: a cool toy. The only real point against it is that, as a Botcon exclusive, he is bound to be very, very expensive.

Rating: B
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