Deluxe-class Decepticon Sideways
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
"With the All Spark gone, we cannot return life to our planet. And Fate has yielded its reward: a new world to call home. We live among its people- hiding in plain sight, but watching over them in secret. I have witnessed their capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to all Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We are here, we are waiting."
--epilogue from “Transformers” (2007)
With those words, a beacon was sent, alerting the cosmos to our presence in a way we never imagined. Some Autobots responded, but more Decepticons- learning of the death of Megatron- came to seek revenge, to take the throne of their faction for themselves, or simply to see that their leader was truly gone and wonder what would happen next. Two years after the All Spark Cube was destroyed, the Autobots have sought asylum in the United States, and they work closely with its government to form N.E.S.T. (Non-biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty) to cooperate in tracking down arrant Decepticons hiding on Earth and keep the human race unawares amidst growing conspiracies. But with increasing alien activity across the world, it is suspected that the Autobots themselves may be encouraging Decepticons to come to Earth by their very presence here, and the relationship is beginning to become strained. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky has gone to college, but on his first day he begins uncontrollably spouting gibberish like his great-grandfather over a hundred years earlier. It is discovered that he now retains, deep in his mind, the full knowledge of the destroyed All Spark Cube! Learning of this, the Decepticons steal the last shard of the All Spark, and rebuild Megatron. Teleporting himself to another dimension, Megatron consults with his master- an ancient and evil traitor known as The Fallen, who is the leader of all Decepticons. The Fallen plans to harvest Earth’s Sun for Energon at the cost of destroying the planet as he would have thousands of years ago were he not driven off by the Dynasty of Primes- the original leaders of Cybertron. But to do this, The Fallen must recover the long-lost Matrix of Leadership from the secret Tomb of the Primes- which Sam now holds the only key to finding- to activate the Solar Harvester. And the last surviving descendant of the Dynasty- Optimus Prime- is the only one who can stop The Fallen now…
Early on, Sideways found that he wasn’t a very good fighter. He didn’t have the programming for it or the confidence. Thus he was relegated to the relative safety of running back and forth between the front lines and the command centers much further from the shooting, carrying messages and other useful items. Despite wielding sufficient close-range weaponry like dual buzz saws in his hands and a flame launcher, his leaders saw no potential in Sideways, and that suited him just fine. Indeed, he excelled at running- speed was his greatest ally, as was evasion and hiding because you never knew when Autobot spies would get through and try to take whatever he was trying to carry. He was ordered to Earth to assist in finding the Matrix of Leadership, but he found it more adequate to hide in the shadow of the far-larger Demolishor as they traveled across this primitive planet. Unfortunately, no sooner had the two arrived when they were almost immediately targeted by N.E.S.T. forces, and met their collective untimely demises as the Autobots swarmed them in Shanghai, China… with Sideways having never fired a shot or swung a fist in defense of himself as he fled.
In “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, Decepticon Sideways does not speak in either an Earthly or his native Cybertronian language.
In the movie, Sideways’ Vehicle Mode is based on a real Audi R8 (the only car used in the film not produced by General Motors, by the way). However, because Hasbro and TakaraTomy did not secure the rights to the trademark, the toy’s Vehicle Mode intentionally only vaguely resembles the R8.
The main gimmick for all of the fully-transformable figures from the 2007 “Transformers” toy line was Automorph Technology™: as one part of the toy was being moved, another section would activate and move by itself via internal gears, springs, and levers. (Usually this applied only going in one direction for transformation but not the other.) For the 2009 “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen” toy line, the Automorph feature has been replaced with Mech Alive, which is not involved in transforming the toys. Rather it is a gimmick that functions only in robot mode to better imitate, in some fashion, the intricate movements and mechanics of the immensely-more complex CGI character(s).
Some figures are being reissued from the 2007 line since no significant changes were made to the character in that time-span, and will still include their original Automorph feature, but not the newer Mech Alive feature because they were manufactured two years previously.
So far as I am aware, the Deluxe-class Decepticon Sideways toy is the only one in the entire “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” line to incorporate both Mech Alive (in the arms) and an Automorph Technology feature (stomach panel flips downward, front wheels flip inwards) in the same figure!
It is reported that Sideways underwent a design change during production by the filmmakers, which moved his front wheels to become his hands. However, because the toy had already been largely completed, a last-minute minor alteration was made to incorporate false wheels onto his hands. The designers at TakaraTomy have stated that, had they more time before production began, the transformation would have used the real wheels (which are now stored inside his torso) on his hands rather than the false ones.
The wheel on his left hand can spin freely, as can the circular saw blade on the right hand.
Sideways has functional light-piping.
Mech Alive is a special feature included in almost all transformable figures from “Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen”. In robot mode, specific parts of the figure’s body can be animated beyond simply posing it- panels shift, gears spin, and in some cases there is light-and sound tied in. This brings out a new level of detail to try matching-up against the immensely-complex designs of the computer-generated characters seen in the movie.
For the Deluxe-class Decepticon Sideways toy, it has one Mech Alive feature:
- When either elbow is bent up or down, gears inside the arm turn both small black cylinders inside his upper arms and cogs outside of the elbows.
As explained above, because of the late addition of the false wheels to Sideways’ hands, the originally-planned movable hands were made solid (in the film, his hands are the wheels), and the Mech Alive that was to be featured inside his forearms as well was removed.
(While it can be easily seen in-person, it's too subtle a movement to be noticed in two photos side-by-side, so I didn't take them at all.)
Like several other characters in the movie, Sideways got very little screen-time. No chance to see what he was capable of… other than running from fembots. We only know that he is a complete and total coward despite working for the aggressive Decepticons. We see his robot mode for about 3 seconds and that’s it, and it’s was nighttime and he was running when he was. Because of this, it is flat-out impossible to compare the toy to how he appears in the film. And seeing as he met an untimely demise, future sightings are far-less than likely. In fact, the image you see below is really the only promotional picture we have of the character outside of the film… and- after careful study- I have decided that it actually is the CGI model from the “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” video game rather than a promotional image from the film! And so because of these two major issues, it is not likely that this toy is a good representation of his robot mode, and many of the details should be taken with a large grain of salt.
Well, at least we got some good angles of that silver Audi R8 blazing through the streets of Shanghai at night, right…?
Because of how the side windows hang above his head, the general shape of his face, the three-joint legs, the shape of his feet, and the buzz-saw hands, many originally though this toy was an updated version of Deluxe-class Decepticon Barricade from the 2007 line. (Having it in my hands, I can’t say I blame them for thinking that, despite different coloring and that the box gives a different name.) That being said, I don’t find this toy to be any better or worse than any other Deluxe-class figure. Good articulation in the arms, though the doors on his shoulders hamper the extra motion of the arms moving backwards at times. The light piping in the head is fine (though I wish his eyes were more red than pink), as is the ball-and-socket join in the neck. The Mech Alive feature is fine compared to others, but what blew me away was how pressing the grille on his chest inwards activated an Automorph gimmick, which was not advertised! Am I bummed out that the wheels on his hands aren’t functional in Vehicle Mode? No, because one of them gets to be the circular saw that a tire tread could never hope to be. (It’s certainly better than what we got on Barricade, and he had the same kinds of hands/claws!) A lot of people complain that his feet are too small, and I agree there, though it doesn’t make posing impossible. And, yes, those black panels are supposed to hang down below his knees like that rather than against his lower legs. One thing I wish it could have done, though, was push those headlights a little higher on his shoulders like they are in the [video game]. I also didn't like how the side windows can actually separate quite easily because of how they transform at that joint. (Another last-minute change? Maybe...) While Vehicle Mode obviously got the majority of paint apps, more was needed on his arms and legs. And what’s up with making his lower torso and ankles red- was Hasbro getting tired of the bland color pallets that Bayformers have on-screen? (I’m not complaining about the choice of colors, mind you, just where they placed them.)
Sideways doesn't run because he has to, but because he chooses to...
Like Deluxe-class Autobot Jolt, I feel that the Deluxe-class Decepticon Sideways gets a bad rap just because he got so little screen-time, while it actually isn’t any worse-off than any other figure of comparable size and function.
|Posted 28 March, 2010 - 03:54 by EVA_Unit_4A|