Cliffbee.com: Cybertron Sideways Toy Review

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Name: Sideways
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Autobot/Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Space Cruiser



SPACE CRUISER MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 13cm Width: 17.5cm

   A black wedge-shaped plane with forward swept wings, Sideways has extensive gold, silver and orange highlights along with transparent orange windows on the cockpit. There are some green paint applications on his wings and some transparent orange in the centre of the fuselage, but most of the detailing is silver or gold, making for a good if striking colour scheme.

   Sideways has both smooth and textured surfaces, with mech detailing prevalent on his wings and on top of the single thruster, which is at the back of the fuselage. The cockpit reminds me of Beast Machines, since with windows on either side it's almost a face. There's an Autobot logo stamped on the back of the fuselage, in a depression, and some transparent orange flashes on the fuselage.

   This is one of the best space ship Transformers out there - Sideways wouldn't look out of place in Star Wars or a similar sci-fi show, although I'm not sure the orange would carry over. The shape of this vessel just _looks_ right, whereas many Transformer space ships look like they were designed as a robot first and then the space ship was defined second. There's a lot of orange plastic underneath, so from underneath things don't work so well, although there are three small wheels under there which are hidden yet functional.

   There are two gimmicks in this mode, the first is activated by his orange Planet Key (code: dj51). While I'm talking about the key, this one's unique to Sideways, in shape as well as colour, and has silver trim. Anyway, plugging it into the thruster at the back will cause the Autobot logo to slide out of view, replaced with a Decepticon logo. Not only is this a great way to give Sideways a factional switch, but it's a nifty key gimmick. If you slide the key out carefully, the Decepticon logo will stay visible, which is nice. There's actually a Decepticon logo moulded onto the underside of the key and he's sold as a Decepticon, so I guess we're meant to think that this guy is evil, but with his own agenda.

   The central stripe of the fuselage, with the thruster, transparent orange flashes and variable allegiance symbol, can lift up to form a sort of top-mounted cannon, and once this is a deployed the key has a second function - plugging the key in now will cause those orange flashes to deploy to the sides as four energon blades. This looks a little odd in jet mode - and in truth it's really for his robot mode - but works well enough that it's a nice bonus.

   With a good sculpt and great space ship shape, Sideways has a very focused alt mode. The orange and green are sparse enough to give him a good colour scheme and the key gimmicks are useful, the switching allegiance is great. While it's not the best space ship ever, it's certainly one of the stronger ones amongst Transformers.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Lift out the cannon, unclip the wings as legs, fold the groin halves (underneath) together. Swing the groin forward releasing the shoulder joints and then swing the arms out to the sides (with the cannon on one arm). Swing back the groin, clip it into place (there's a double joint here, you'll need to use both and different points). Rotate the knees and hips to get the legs into place, fold down the feet and swing out his heelspurs. The wings swing over the shins to sit on the outsides of the boots as armour of sorts while the back of the airframe folds down as a backplate. Twist the arms into place, swing the shoulders up and rotate the cannon the fold it down so it sits flush against the left arm. Lastly open the roof of the cockpit (now on his chest), lift out the head, rotate and swing back into place, then close the cockpit again.

   Wow. This is a clever and fairly involved transformation, and is impressive for a deluxe. While it's a little tricky and some parts are annoying (the wingtips like popping off, especially when you transform him back), it's certainly satisfying.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14.5cm Width: 9cm

   Again black with silver paint, although we have less silver here and a lot of orange plastic. I wouldn't call Sideways garish, but the orange is bright and certainly prominent. I'm glad the green as more or less disappeared, and while the gold is still around it's subdued enough to fade into the background. The face is a chevron shaped transparent orange window like those of the Cyberjets - the colour scheme wouldn't be out of place in G2 either. Overall he's a mix of black and orange with silver and gold highlights. It's not a bad colour scheme but at the same time I don't think it'll suit everyone's tastes.

   The cockpit sticks out on his chest, jutting out a little without being awkward. This is more of a G1 feature than G2, and I really like how they've managed to place it so well. The head sort of reminds me of Unicron's, which I suspect is deliberate considering the link between the two characters. The chevron and horns look rather demonic and there's gold trim on the black head.

   Sideways has three weaponry options - the first is the cannon on his left arm, which I guess is his default weapon. It doesn't detach but can lift out and rotate through 360 (the rotation is only available in robot mode). Plugging the key in will unleash the four energon blades, giving Sideways an impressive melee weapon which can't be detached and lost. The third weaponry option is a set of machetes, which are the detachable wingtips. They can plug into either hand or one on top of and the other underneath the right fist - the better option since they won't get in the way of the energon blades. Personally I prefer to leave the wings as leg armour since he has four energon blades already, but I like the fact that we've been given options.

   The switching allegiance symbol still works, and with the blades deployed it's hard to get the Decepticon symbol to stay visible without the key, the key is no longer blocking his jet, so there's no problem with leaving it there. The switching symbol and that on the underside of the key are his only allegiance symbols, but for a guy of questionable loyalty, it's enough.

   The poseability here is good - the head turns, the shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides while the elbows rotate and hinge while the wrists rotate. The hips are ball joints with rotators below then to supplement the hinged knees, the feet can swing back and there are good heelspurs for stability. Sideways doesn't have a rotating waist, since the groin splits in jet mode, but there's lots of movement in the arms and considering how involved the transformation is, I'm happy with his articulation.

   While the extra orange makes this the weaker of his two modes, this is a good robot mode. The poseability is good while the gimmicks are again useful and Sideways has several weapon options - always a good thing. I love the arm cannon/melee weapon and his Unicronesque face is a nice touch, rounding off a good robot mode. I do wish the wings attached a little firmer and the shoulders have a habit of sagging, but these flaws aren't enough to bring this robot down.

VARIATIONS

   The Japanese version, Noise Maze, came out first in the Galaxy Force line. There are most like small differences, but I don't know what they are. Universe Ratbat is a repaint of Sideways. BotCon 2009 Scourge and Sweeps Two, Six & Seven are retools of Sideways (with a new head).

OVERALL

   Sideways has a great space ship mode and a good robot mode, with a clever transformation making both possible. The profusion of orange in robot mode isn't going to appeal to everyone but he certainly doesn't have a bad colour scheme. He does have two useful key gimmicks, and a choice of weaponry in robot mode. The Unicron link in robot mode is thoughtful whilst being able to switch allegiance symbols is great (and works better than on his Armada namesake). There are some minor flaws, the only notable issue is the wingtips could be lost fairly easily. One of the better deluxes in Cybertron - 7.5/10

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