NOTE: As promised, I came back to finish the review. And here we go...
Human Alliance Sideswipe:
Vehicle Mode Pros:
-Looks like the concept vehicle, and captures it's smooth lines almost perfectly.
-Solid, nothing pops loose or detaches, and it rolls freely.
-Blue headlights, unlike the Deluxe with it's clear lights. (the blue adds to the great looks.)
-Painted Corvette emblem on the hood. (Seriously needed to seal the deal.)
Vehicle Mode Cons:
-Silver with dark blue (almost blackened) windows is just kinda...bland. He's quite monotonous in terms of color, no real pizazz. (Though, this shouldn't be a con really. Blame GM on this one.)
(Just so bland. Bumblebee really wins out in this department. Sitting them side by side shows that 'Swipe is a tad lackluster.)
-Complexity level is more than you'd expect, but not so extreme that he's a displeasure.
-Tolerances are pushed to their limit. Sideswipe gives that ominous, stomach churning "Aw crap, I'm gonna break this thing!" feeling. Some of the pieces feel very flimsy and wobble and wiggle too much, giving the impression that something's going to give. I can't honestly say that they won't, either.
Some figures give that impression but you quickly realize "Oh, he's sturdier than I thought. Not bad.", not so with 'Swipe.
There are two panels underneath the seats that secure the nose of the car to the rest of the body in vehicle mode, and they swing down to hold the nose to form his back pack for robot mode, so they do serve a vital purpose, but they're constantly in the way while you're getting everything set just right. They're thin and they could break with enough pressure, if that happens, all you have are the doors to hold him together. (They doors aren't enough, really.)
-The windshield has to pivot around on a very crappy hinge that looks like it could crack and break rather easily. A very uncomfortable portion of the transformation.
Quick heads up:
To safely transform Sideswipe, detach the panels that connect the nose to the rest of the car, then pull the entire rear section back like you would for transformation, then transform the arms. This will allow the arms to be transformed without being caught on anything else and let 'em swing freely and give you easier access. Do this on the reverse to make it easier for car mode as well. If you follow the instructions, you do feel like the arms are going to break something on their way in or out.
Robot Mode Pros:
-The face looks good. (Even has the tattoo on the forehead.)
-The hands are articulated and the fingers can be moved.
-The wheels on the forearms can be used for a spinning blade gimmick. (Mentioned in the instructions.)
-Interacts with Epps nicely, and it makes sense. (Bumblebee's was a tad silly.)
-Nice amount of weaponry. Wouldn't expect it after seeing the vehicle mode.
-Has actual feet. Tabs extend out of the back of the heel giving him a real set of feet.
Robot Mode Cons:
-The forearm design suffers due to arm collapsing in on itself for vehicle mode, and with no door to cover it, there's a gaping hole in robot mode and it looks bad. You can only position his arm certain ways without it looking silly.
-The legs are terribly designed. There's a hinge in the thighs that should allow for more posability, but due to the design and the fact that the pistons on his pelvis don't actually function, everything in this section suffers. The pistons are made of rubber and if you push the legs to do what they should and could...the rubber posts on the pieces pop out of the holes, and getting them back in is hellish torture. The posts on mine were stripped, so even though I finally got 'em back in place (which took forever and a day), they didn't want to stay in and I was forced to Super Glue 'em back in.
-Due to the horrendous backpack, the feet still have a problem supporting him in a few poses.
-The modification that I've linked to at the bottom of this post is pretty much a necessity. I mean the figure doesn't *need* it to function, I don't mean it like that, but it does need it for aesthetics, and balance issues. If you want him to stand straight up looking like a statue, and have a CAR hanging off of his back, sure...no problem. If you want it to at least look better than as is out of the box, you'll need to hack away some of the plastic preventing the better look.
If you have Human Alliance Bumblebee, then you need Sideswipe by his side. If you're looking for an Alternator type figure who will wow you, he's not quite up to par. For kids, he feels breakable and flimsy. For fans/hard core collectors, he's a necessity if you want 'em all. For casual fans/collectors, unless you're really swayed by him and the Deluxe didn't do it for you, go ahead and buy him, but he's not a rush out and get kinda figure, IMO.
-The modification shown in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=56898
is a must, really. It's simple, takes about 20 minutes, and there's no visible scarring or damage in either mode, you only see the knicks during the transformation.
-The instructions are missing a step to the transformation, a face feature, and a gimmick that works with the Epps figure.
1.) The doors function just like Bumblebee's. They not only open, they extend on a sliding mechanism and lock.
2.) Sideswipe, like his HA predecessor, has a faceplate that opens. Dead center in the middle of the face, there's a panel that opens and swings back to reveal a cat like face underneath. Problem is, it doesn't do much for the figure, looks terrible, and the faceplate (if you can call it that) is only a few centimeters wide, about the width of a fingernail clipping. You can tinker with it if you want, but it seriously does nothing for the figure. At all. A time wasting part of the design, if you ask me.
3.) The trunk lid/windshield, has a small handlebar that flips down. It's not mentioned in the instructions at all, and I couldn't figure out what it was for...at first. Seat Epps on the right shoulder as you normally would, put his left arm straight up, and swing the trunk lid/windshield up (like it would be for vehicle mode) and bend it forward at the pivot in the hinge, pull the exhaust pieces back down like you would for vehicle mode, and Epps will now be able to grasp the handle bar, making it a giant shield/back mounted/human controlled weapon o' doom. Why these two important pieces were left out, I don't know, but they're both important to the full functionality of the figure.
I'd have given it a lower rating than this, but the positives mentioned above are juuuuust enough to keep it from a failing grade. Plus the Epps figure looks great, and the face sculpt does look like Tyrese.
If it wasn't for the inclusion of Epps, and even just one more negative was added to the list, I'd have failed him, or given him a barely passing grade of D minus minus. As it stands now, I'll give him a solid C, but not quite a C+
If you have to get a Human Alliance figure, get Bumblebee. He truly is the best of the line so far. I'm hoping Skids, Mudflap, Barricade, etc fare better with me than Sideswipe has.
NOTE: Realize that I am not a perfect Christian, nor do I profess to be. I apologize if anyone's ever offended by me, I'm not perfect. Don't hold my posts and opinions against other Christians.