Monday, 12 August 2013

Review: Masterpiece Sideswipe (/Lambor)

The Masterpiece series of Transformers toys has been running for quite a number of years now. The aim: to produce collector-targeted high-quality toys based on the Transformers as seen in the 80s cartoon. After doing numerous jets and Primes plus a few other things, Takara have now moved onto cars. The first of which (there are many, many lined up for the end of this year and into the next) is Lambor, or, as most people reading this will know him, Sideswipe.

As a 'collector' figure Sideswipe comes with a 'collector' price tag. The price is high and when you look at the size of the box you can't help but feel ripped off. There's no other way to describe it: Sideswipe is tiny. As much as I like this toy (and I do - I'll get onto that in a minute), the cost of the thing is ridiculous and is why I initially passed on him. The only reason I eventually bought him is that Kapow Toys are selling future cars at a much lower price.

But onto the toy...

MP Sideswipe is an amazing update of the G1 toy and cartoon character. Takara have really outdone themselves with him. In many ways this is the ultimate Sideswipe toy and it's hard to believe that a better one could ever be produced. He looks like he's just jumped out of the TV screen. He feels solid and has enough articulation to be posed in any way you can think of. Whereas previous MPs such as Megatron, the jets, Hot Rod, I wouldn't let my children anywhere near, I think Sideswipe is well enough made that they could play with him without fear of damage.

Worth mentioning, because I didn't realise before I opened the box, is that Sideswipe comes with the piledrivers he used in the cartoon. I thought they were an exclusive, but it looks as though chromed piledrivers were the exclusive and non-exclusive Sideswipe comes with perfectly acceptable silver versions. No version, however, comes with his jet pack. Sad face.

Being licensed by Ferrari means that his car mode is exactly how you'd wish it to be. Ground clearance is limited so be careful what you drive over, but otherwise I can't really fault the mode. The gun clips handily into the roof for storage which is a nice touch. Transforming between robot and car is simple, intuitive and fast. You won't be needing the instructions for this.

He looks good in the photos. He's even better looking in person.

But it has it's flaws.

There are two main annoyances with the toy. The first is the legs: they're hollow. So while I said, slightly further, up that Sideswipe is solid, he's not quite as solid as he might be and it does look a bit silly when posed in certain ways and viewed at certain angles. There's also no clip to hold the legs in place so they come apart, to some extend, when trying to pose the legs.

The other big annoyance is gripping the gun in his hand. There's a small tab on the gun that fits into a slot on the inside on Sideswipe's hand (to ensure a more secure hold), however if you then close the fingers around the hilt, the gun will pop out of the slot and fall away. Sideswipe can hold it, but you have to remember to not close the fist too far. Something is wrong with the measurements somewhere and things don't line up quite as they should. It's not a major problem, but something that shouldn't happen on a pricey toy like this.

You can perform brain surgery on Sideswipe!

What will annoy some, but personally I've now gotten used to, is the complete lack of die cast metal. After it's reemergence with the Binaltech line and initial MP figures, it now looks like this is gone again indefinitely. Also gone are rubber tyres, which is more of a disappointment.

I can't decide on my final nick-pick. It bothered me at first, however I know that it's not something new and is sort of already established: the scale. Sideswipe is tiny compared to MP-10 (the 'new scale' version of Optimus Prime). Whereas the jets, MP-10 Prime, Grimlock and Hot Rod are all about the same size, Sideswipe is much, much smaller. I know the original toy was smaller, I know in the cartoon he was smaller, and I know at this size he fits inside Prime's trailer, but Sideswipe looks a little out of place stood next to his larger friends. Maybe this'll change when we have more cars released, when there are a range of heights, but for now I'm not keen.

With Binaltech Lambor

Overall, however, Sideswipe is a fantastic toy and - should you have the money spare - well worth picking up, especially since the others will cost less. It'd be even better if Hasbro would release him as I'm sure Sideswipe could then be sold in the £30-40 region which would be an absolute bargain.

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