Cliffbee.com: Side Burn redeco Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Side Burn
Series: Robots in Disguise
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Dodge Viper



VIPER MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 12.5cm Width: 5.5cm

   A red Dodge Viper with transparent windows and headlights, black rubberised tyres and chrome gold hubcaps and protruding engineblock, which also has some chromed silver. There are yellow-orange flames on the hood and doors. The entire shell is composed of the same transparent smoky plastic, with a red enamel paint, which is unusually glossy compared to the paints usually used on Transformers - covering most of the car and red tinting on the taillights. Rounding this out is a large red Autobot symbol stamped on his roof - which is a Hasbro addition not present on the Japanese version, Super Speedbreaker. It's an attractive colour scheme, and unlike on his brothers, Prowl and X-Brawn the Autobot symbol isn't awkwardly placed so it works quite well. Of the three redecos, Side Burn is the most similar to the original, since the paint mask here is essentially the same, with the only change being the yellow to orange gradient on the flames, vs straight blue flames on the original.

   Like his brothers, Side Burn has a pretty realistic vehicle mode. From the detailed chrome hubcaps and engineblock to the moulding inside his headlights, to the rear vision mirrors on the doors, Side Burn is a good facsimile of a Dodge Viper, to an extent not seen since the Diaclone based toys 16 years earlier. Granted, he's not perfect, but the main break is a small notch on his roof allowing a transform joint to work. The view through the windows isn't much, since the limbs are squished inside the cockpit, but the tinted windows conceal them so you'll only really see them if you're looking for details inside.

   There's not a lot of play value here. The wheels roll, although without axles you'll find that Side Burn will most likely move in a large arc when pushed, although mine actually rolls straight. The doors open as part of the transformation, opening them just reveals squished bodyparts. I can deal with limited play value here - Side Burn is a very realistic toy and in a deluxe that's enough for me. Besides the play value is all in the robot mode.

   Despite the kibble visible through the windows, this is a good vehicle mode. The Dodge theme is instantly recognisable and the little features like the grip on his tyres and air vents on the hood really make for a nice sports car mode. Despite the shift from metallic blue to enamel red, this repaint isn't very inventive. I actually prefer the blue although both colour schemes are nice and red does make more sense for the flame theme.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   This is the most complex deluxe ever, so I'm going to summarise. The toy is basically a tightly packed shellformer, the rear bumper detaches to become his missile launcher and the long exhaust pipe becomes the missile. This is a tricky transformation the first couple of dozen times, and even when you're used to it you're likely to find it awkward. The rear fenders become his thighs, the engineblock becomes his chestplate, the roof ends up as a shield hanging off his left arm and the front bumper a shoulderpad on his right shoulder. The hood and doors end up as an armour skirt and more often than not the front bumper will end up on the floor - there's so much twisting involved it's challenging to not pop it off even when you're used to this transformation, which is highly asymmetrical and more involved than most ultras.

   I'm happy to report that I just transformed Side Burn without anything popping off (c8

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 8cm

   Now a mixture of red, orange and white. The red robot mode parts are a cherry red plastic, which is easily distinguished from the bright enamel red. His head is bright red with a white lower jaw, metallic blue face and blue eyes, and there's fantastic detail, including a transparent targeting scope over his left eye. There is a gold chromed Autobot symbol on his left forearm which matches the chromed red on his chest. The orange paint is bright but not day-glo and is mainly on his chest and shins. While it's very bright this is a decent colour scheme, although not as good as the Dodge mode's colours.

   This is a really detailed robot mode, which is most evident on his head but extends to detailing all over the robot mode surfaces. Of course, there are car parts hanging everywhere, but that doesn't detract from the detailing. Side Burn is very slight and spindly, since the entire robot mode has to fold up inside a Dodge Viper. Even compared to his brothers he's lanky, and both of them have a lot of robot pieces hidden inside the car mode.

   While he's skinny and kibbly Side Burn does have fantastic poseability. The neck, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are all ball jointed, as is the shield on his arm and the armour skirt halves hanging off the back of his waist. The waist rotates and the elbows are hinged with swivels in the upper arms. The end result is that Side Burn is about as poseable as they come, and the armour skirt and small heelspurs allow for almost unlimited posing, since he can lean back on the armour skirt if he needs to. Adding to all of this is the missile launcher, which fires about a metre, and the chrome gold blade that can also be handheld.

   Side Burn's biggest flaws here are the multitude of car parts hanging off him and the tendency for certain ball joints to pop out - notably the shoulderpad and shield. This is the sort of toy that'd be tricky to find complete second hand.

   Excellent poseability, okay colours and a pretty effective missile launcher make for a fun robot mode, but the popping ball joints do get annoying. Side Burn is a lot skinnier than I'd like and this does serve to emphasise the kibble all over the toy. How much you like this robot mode will depend on my much you value play value and what you think of the shellformer style of Transformer. The colours are inferior to both this toy's car mode and the colours of the original Side Burn's.

VARIATIONS

   Released in Car Robots under the name Super Speedbreaker, sans Autobot logo on the roof. Strictly speaking Side Burn is a variant of Super Speedbreaker - who was released first.

   There was a colourless clear limited release at Botcon Japan 2000.

   Shadow Striker & Roulette are retools of Speedbreaker.

OVERALL

   Amazing engineering, and if you missed out on the original Side Burn, this is a good substitute. Side Burn is very much a shellformer, so if you don't like that style of Transformer he's probably not for you (unless you're a Viper fan). The transformation can be annoying but I'd recommend this mould to G1 fans and of course RiD fans - 7/10

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