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Transformers Masterpiece
MP-12 Sideswipe Review

I was ready for a little change of pace this week when I looked across my “pending review” list. I’ve been doing my best to keep on the site’s bread & butter, 6” reviews, but one of the great things I’ve been collecting of late has largely gone ignored on the site: Transformers Masterpiece.

A lot of it has to do with the line being really heavy on repaints. I’m okay with this – smart mold use only helps my favorite toy lines along in these expensive times, but it makes it tricky to do reviews. Do I need to do a full review on Red Alert? Not really. He could get by with a brief review and some good pics – as long as I’ve already reviewed the mold progenitor that is. Oops.

Yeah. Acidstorm. Black Convoy. Tigertrack. I’ve got some MPs piling up, so I need to get on the ball, go back a few months, and get the initial release on the books. That’s exactly what I’m doing today with MP-12 Lambor, or as we affectionately know him here in the states: Sideswipe! (And for the record, I won’t call him Lambor twice… okay, three times).

I never had Sideswipe, any version of Sideswipe, as a kid. I still have an affinity for him because he was a popular character, but I think his alt mode also makes him a little more important to me (and iconic to all) than some of his Transformers brethren. I mean, not very much is more 80s than a Lamborghini Countach. Though starting off in the 70s, that car hit market saturation in the 80s. Movies, TV. Micro Machines. Heck, this car got posters (do cars even still get posters?)! And it was only natural that it made its way into Transformers (multiple times over).

Sideswipe arrives in his iconic alt mode and, honestly, I find myself tempted to leave him that way for vast periods of time. I’m usually into Transformers’ for the bots, but Masterpiece has been doing a fantastic job on the alt modes. In Sideswipe’s case, I feel like I could almost leave him in car mode and convince my buds that I’ve started collecting toy cars instead of figures.

The attention to detail is that good. First, you have the engineering to fit an entire Transformer into the alt mode cleanly, but it’s the little things that sell it. The tampos are spot-on featuring the tiny bull shield logo on the hood and the and the name on the rear of the car. The line work is sharp and just about everything looks in place. I think the only visible kibble in this mold is at the rear of the car near the mufflers and it still manages to blend in well.

Part of the polished look is due to an all-encompassing paint job that covers the car in the alt mode. While this does open the door for some QC issues, particularly around the clear-molded roof and windows pieces, I ended up with a pretty sharp example for my shelves. I do have to be a bit careful during transformations, particularly under the side-view mirrors as I think that’ll be an easy spot to wear down the paint over time.

And lest you forget (or try to be mean to your friends) that this is Transformer, the hood features a great tampo of the classicly-placed Autobot logo. It looks right at home on this car, doesn’t it? And if it’s not just menacing enough, Sideswipe’s shoulder cannon can plug into the car’s roof (along with the rifle, if you’d like) to give this figure a crazy 80s, car wars feel.

While the alt mode is pretty magnificent on its own, the real fun begins when you start to transform him and pull the robot out of its disguise. The transformation process itself is pretty slick and I’ve seen more than a few “in-between” pics that almost look like animation or artwork of the character transforming. Everything folds out nicely and there are some good examples of ingenuity at work like the lower legs forming as a “reverse” box of the car’s rear and a willingness to give Sideswipe brain surgery (his head folds open) so that it fits cleanly in the alt mode without looking wrong or messed up in bot mode.

Once you’re done you end up with a decent-sized Transformer, about 6-6.5 inches in height. I think it’s after transforming the figure once that he really starts to shine. Here’s this little on-model Lamborghini and then it gets turned into an on-model robot. That’s what the Masterpiece is really about and Sideswipe is a shining example of it. Continue to Page 2…

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59 comments to Transformers Masterpiece
MP-12 Sideswipe Review

  • Ebon

    What a great toy! Seriously worth the money.

  • Ebon

    Also it’s very probable sideswipe was to be yellow originally but a screw-up made him red instead. Cause the diaclone version was yellow. TFSource has a cool two part article about Tigertrack that is very interesting.

  • Great review, pics, and comics, as always!

    I’m actually starting to cherry-pick this line, owing to the cost of each figure. I’ve got no connection to Sideswipe or Tigertrack, so I skipped them, sweet-looking as they are, but I nabbed a Red Alert. (Apart from the sweet Countach mode, there’s something endearing about a paranoid androi . . . er, robot).

    Only real complaint I have about these guys are the size. Smaller than a freaking Alternator / BinalTech, and not much bigger than a deluxe. Yeesh. If they were the same size as the Alternators / BinalTechs, I might’ve bought the whole line, but my brain is rebelling about paying that much for a WHOLE RANGE of such small figures. I’m skipping the whole Fairlady range and getting Wheeljack (love mad scientists), and Bumblebee (love VW beetles and rubbing Volkswagen’s face in their wrongitude).

    1980s represent!

    • Any concerns I had about the scale itself were erased by the animation scale chart Takara produced and then seeing the relative heights of these and the G1 toys at CollectionDX. I wouldn’t want to give any of that up just to get him “bigger”.

      Now, relative size to price is different, of course, but I buy my wife much smaller things that are much more expensive! 😀

    • Faust

      Psst… you saw the last pic right? With the aliens?

      • Yes, actually I did. And I also know that the bigger Alternators / BinalTechs still managed to cost less than the current smaller Masterpieces.

        • To be fair, there’s no way an Alternator would still cost $20-25 in 2013 though. 6″ figures have jumped from what… $9 to $20 in that timeframe, so I can only imagine what Hasbro would ask for the cars now. To be sure, the Alternators probably wouldn’t clock in at $60 if Hasbro matched Takara’s price (well, maybe at TRU!), but having had both, you couldn’t pay me to switch back.

          • Out of curiosity, I went and transformed my sole, remaining Alternator from his gorgeous alt mode into his fugly bot mode and surprisingly he’s maybe a half-inch taller than Sideswipe? That’s not much at all. I know it’s in the eye of the beholder, but I’ll gladly give up a half-inch of height to get the bot mode on-model, and pay a few extra to do it.

          • I was going by the $60 I spent on BBTS back in the day. Plus, we got die-cast metal. Even factoring in inflation, I feel like I’m being ripped off, which is why I’m not bothering with the whole line.

            • Jon

              Binaltech were totally great at the time, but those gorilla arms were just ugh. I’m glad the MP line is sticking to more humanoid proportions going forward. And going from $60 to $80 after like five years for a better articulated and designed figure seems like a decent price to pay.

              As long as you don’t get sucked into the recolor trap!

            • I can’t believe you paid that much for Alternators! Eek!

              • No, BinalTech ran me that much, not the Alternators. Mostly. Except for the SDCC Rodimus / GT40.

                Plus, don’t forget, I live in the southwest of England, a vast and trackless wasteland as far as toy shopping is concerned. Last great store find I had was in Late 2008. I have to pretty much order everything from overseas.

              • StrangePlanet

                He’s not talking about Alternators. He’s talking about Binaltech.
                The original, Japanese versions of the US Alternator toys were Binaltechs, and they cost around $60. But they were much higher quality and mostly die-cast metal with awesome crazy paintjobs.
                At the time $60 was a lot, but they were incredible and just so much nicer than the cheaper US Alternators.
                But also at the time I got the MP-01 Japanese mostly die-cast Convoy (Optimus Prime) for only $100. Flash forward about 10 years and the MP-13 Soundwave is much smaller, no light-up feature, no die-cast and it costs $160. God only knows what the Binaltech would cost in todays market, but I’d guess $90.
                I still adore my Binaltech BT-01 Smokescreen, and when I finally broke down and got me a MP-12 Sideswipe, I was happy that it’s really not too much smaller than the Binaltech at all, as you noted above. I’m super happy I finally got the MP-12 Sideswipe because he’s a great little toy, and I know people have problems with the value of the thing and in the MP cars in general, but I have no regrets whatsoever.

  • Do cars still get posters? That’s a great question. I don’t think posters get posters anymore! LOL! I had posters of cars, women, rock bands, and comic characters as a teen, but we’re talking way back in the 80’s here.

    I never had Sideswipe as a kid, but like you, I loved the Lamborghini Countach! It was the 80’s (as mentioned) and Miami Vice was the hottest show on TV. Cool looking European sport cars were everywhere and that only made toys such as Sideswipe all the more awesome.

    I tried getting into the Masterpiece line when my resources were ampler a few years back but never got beyond the last release of that earlier, larger scaled Prime (with the Japanese language voice chip base) and the orange-plugged Megatron which reportedly rusts while still unboxed. Maybe now that Mattel has axed all of their remaining DC lines, I can allocate those funds for some Hasbro Masterpiece U.S. releases and every once in a while, one of these excellent Takara originals.

    • Beibers & cats still get posters. I’m kinda sad if kids today can’t get posters of strange things for their walls… Heck, they should still just make Countach posters! Or at least the Veyron…

      Anyway, part of the fun of Tigertrack was supposed to be having the yellow Countach while Sideswipe chills out in bot mode, but I feel more drawn to TT sometimes. I’ll save that for next time.

      I was more strapped when MP started the first time, but missing out appears to have been a boon (as long as we get a new Megs). I love how huge MP1 is, but the new Prime is better. The Seekers are better (though I didn’t get Starscream and now his market price is insane). And getting deeper into the roster is amazing. What I’m dying for is to see if they thought ahead and can get Ultra Magnus right. (And to see if MP will get to some of the 2005 characters).

      • Bigbot

        What’s taking Hasbro so long in re-releasing Star Scream with the new mold?

        • I don’t know, but I need them to do that. When I was playing catchup on MP late last year, MP11 was the one I took least priority on and then subsequent reveals have caused his aftermarket price to SKYROCKET, finally beyond what I’d pay for him. Sunstorm, Acidstorm, & Thundercracker look great together, but I’d jump at the chance if either Hasbro or Takara would (re)release MP11 Starscream. I’d prefer an updated Skywarp too, really.

  • Jon

    He sure is perty.

    Your MP Transformer collection is jealousy inducing. Nemesis Prime, MP Prime, Devastater, Red Alert, all those things I said to myself “it’s just too much for me to spend right now.” Then they are gone!

    I didn’t realize he had different alt hands than Tigertrack. Now I can have Sideswipe’s recessitation paddles and Tigertrack’s T-1000 hands to choose between, thats a nice little touch!

    • We don’t talk about how much I spend at my house.

      My loving & beautiful wife (who’s birthday is today!) saw a picture of my 3P Combiner shelf and said, “those are cool. Who’s are those?” She doesn’t go in the toy room much. Probably best not to know. 😀

      I wish I could figure out where those Amazon exclusive jackhammers are, but yeah, we’ll see them with TT. The Sideswipe pile drivers are still cool though.

  • I should have a thing, a morning after addendum, when I reread the review and realize I left something out. Not too big a deal, but I want to give a shout out to real rubber tires. I love those…

  • John Rubik

    Eh, Masterpiece. I picked up Takara: Megatron & Hasbro: MP01 Prime (Original), Seekers, Grimlock & Hotrod and I may yet pick up Hasbro Soundwave… beyond that, I’m probably done. I won’t pay $80 for such small figures no matter how nice the engineering.

    I’ve always liked how these figures look on my shelf with the Alternators & Binaltechs & Alternity Bumblebee & Cliffjumper.

    • I picked up & later sold a lot of the Alternators (it was the style I ultimately tired of), I kept Tracks for obvious reasons and the only regret is selling Hound (looking forward to an MP though). They are great for mixing in like you say though.

      As for price, I think it’s been clear over the years I don’t think I a lot about it (rarely does it even get mentioned in reviews). I am paying $80, but I discount $20 for the import cost (the same way I don’t typically count shipping), and the toy feels worth $60 even without some metal and rubber tires.

      But I do run across stuff that’s not worth it sometimes to be sure and, yeah, like you I just buy what I want and move on.

  • ero

    I drift in and out of a yearning desire to have these MPs. Just when I make piece with my Classics collection, I am reminded of, through reviews such as these, how these things are and just how much they are the toys we dreamed of as kids.

    It helps that the combination of import pricing and difficulty in tracking down the more affordable US versions makes it a little easier to take. Also, once you start down this road, where exactly does it end?

    But the lure of Prowl is making it very hard.

    • I don’t know where it ends. I ask myself that a lot because Takara is making some great toys of characters I might not have cared for if I didn’t feel like universe building with this line. Prowl & Sideswipe? Yes. Red Alert & Smokescreen? Probably. Silverstreak, Tigertrack, G2 Sideswipe… the rabbit hole is getting deep there. So far, I’ve kept buying, but I already know I don’t need and won’t buy them all, but I have no idea where the cutoff will be. I need to try and stick to characters I know & love, but that would’ve precluded Tigertrack and he’s pretty awesome even though he’s just a repaint…

      • ero

        Right. I was thinking, well, maybe I’ll just do the Ark crew and Soundwave. But, that leaves out some sweet, sweet Season 2 guys, should they be made. And man, to have an MP Galvatron and Kup would be fantastic, especially since neither hsa had a toy that looked like their media appearances. Add in, as you mentioned, the obligatory Ultra Magnus. Suddenly, I’m building a post-movie MP line.

        That could get … expensive.

        • It really could. As much fun as I’m having with the 1984 cars – this is like a smorgasboard of awesome toys I was too late to the party to have as a kid – I’d die to get a proper Hot Rod (I can deal with MP Grimlock being mixed in, but that MP Rodimus just doesn’t work as Hot Rod, plus it’s not that great a toy, plus he lost a finger), Springer, Kup, Arcee, Galvatron, Scourge… I could go to town on that “era”.

  • ero

    The other thing is that I really LIKE the CHUG Seekers and really DISLIKE the MP Seekers. That screws up everything, of course, unless is just completely willing to disregard scale. I’m not such a scale enthusiast that I can’t enjoy a Generations Trailcutter next to, say, Special Ops Jazz. But CHUG Seekers standing next to MP Sideswipe is probably pushing it.

    • I’m kinda the opposite. The CHUG Seekers, I bought most of ’em, but I just never quite fell in love with ’em. I think some got reviewed here, hmm… they’re gone now though.

      The MP Seekers are finally what got me pushed over into MPs (Well, along with TRU Optimus), but Sunstorm & Thundercracker are my two faves. I couldn’t resist ’em. Do you not like either version, MP3 & MP11? I’m not fond of the 3’s either, I don’t have a Skywarp.

      • ero

        I’ve only ever seen in person the new mold. It may be accurate, but I really don’t like how the head sits so high on it. The CHUGs are nice and chunky and just feel more G1 toon to me. But maybe they’ll get to an MP Ramjet that will change my mind. 😀

        • I think we’re on different wavelengths, the chunkiness was my main objection! 😀

          The heads on the MPs (and some of the big 3ps) do seem a little high/detached because the pegs aren’t any bigger despite the upsizing. I just take it as having good range though.

          And again, the call for more jets. I need to get the MP-11 mold up on the site. Probably Sunstorm first.

  • Paul

    Sweet! I love my MP Sideswipe. It’s everything I wanted in a Transformer growing up. Looks great in both modes and is actually articulated in bot mode. He looks like he jumped straight out of the cartoon (he’s 1 million times better than the Fall Of Cybertron Sideswipe that was released). Due to my love for 3rd party TF’s, my Masterpiece collection is almost nonexistent. The two that I HAD to pick up were Sideswipe here and the Toys R Us MP Soundwave.

    • The articulation in bot mode is fantastic! It’s essentially have the perfect 6″ figure of Sideswipe, and “oh! It transforms too!”

      I’ve been surfing 3P & MP Transformers this year, but yeah I can’t do it forever. Luckily, I only like so many of the combiners…

  • Impaler

    Psst, you forgot to flip down the ‘steps’ from MP-10’s elbows for vehicle mode, as well as not pushing the stacks down…. *picks nits* 😛

    • I think I pulled the stacks up for the picture. LOL And, in regards to the elbows, I mistranform something in every review just to see if someone will notice. 😉

      I’m kidding, but I don’t know of a TF review I’ve done that I didn’t mistransform something. I get in a hurry.

  • Brainlock

    looks cool. the pile-drivers are a nice touch.
    (were Frenzy/Rumble not handy for a throwdown?)

    I didn’t have many of the classic G1 cars myself (Prowl, Ratchet, Skids, couple others), but as long as you’re happy buying the expensive MP versions, I’ll just keep my retail “Classics”.
    (bought 3 Red Alerts with the intent to custom Prowl and …um…I forget who the other was supposed to be? a Stunticon?)

    • Brainlock

      alsmost fergot: https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/285053_10150286006646509_5572794_n.jpg
      “6 August 2011 via Mobile

      Got to park behind this at Apes. After, I saw driver, “nice car.” he starts complaining yesterday’s storm ruined his wax(?) or something. Whatever. — in Union.”

      parking behind one is the closest I’ll ever get to one in real life.
      passed him not too long ago on way into Warshington while with my sister.

    • Didn’t Classics make Prowl? And I had that Red Alert too – his arm kept popping off and his knees were loose. LOL

      And, no, I just didn’t grab the tapes. I should’ve – I could’ve recreated Sideswipe’s showdown with Ravage!

      • I have classics Prowl and Red Alert. They absolutely do exist. I remember Red Alert distinctly because the extra attachment piece that formed the nifty back kibble for Sideswipe and Sunstreaker wouldn’t attach to Red, since his car mode sirens blocked where it would need to sit, even though the attachment ports were still part of the mold. Prowl/Bluestreak I remember because the head sat ridiculously high on the shoulders.

        Classics/Generations/Universe never passed the opportunity for a repaint/remold that made sense, and even plenty that didn’t. Tracks and Wheeljack sharing a mold was seriously lame.

        I think the newer MPs look great, I just can’t justify the costs right now. As was said above, the Binaltech/Alternator figures wouldn’t be only $20 by now (though TFs haven’t risen in cost as much as many other toy lines. Deluxe figures have increased by only 50% in cost at the same time that many other figure lines have doubled or tripled), but $60-70 for a figure smaller than a Binaltech doesn’t sit right with me. I personally loved the Binaltech figures, though I’ll readily admit they weren’t all winners. Sideswipe and Windcharger were clunkers, but Smokescreen/Bluestreak and Jazz remain some of my favorite TFs.

        • I thought they made Prowl, thanks!

          It’s true that Deluxe TFs haven’t raised in price as much other lines, but haven’t they offset the price increase by getting smaller themselves? All the FOC deluxes are tiny for sure.

      • Brainlock

        Apparently I missed the Generations/Classics Prowl?
        TF is pretty spotty up here, missing some waves while being inundated with others.

  • Lay Ze-Man

    Awesome review of a rad ‘bot.

    Brings back memories of going pretty much all-in on the Takara Reissue stuff. Man that was a blast…

    Think vicarious review style is good enough for me these days. 🙂

  • […] from my favorite licenses. So, if you need to know the specs of Tigertrack the toy, head back to Sideswipe’s review because you’ll find most of what you need to know […]

  • StrangePlanet

    This one passed me by originally.
    I adore my MP-01 Convoy and MP-03 Starscream, but I hadn’t heard much from Masterpiece that I was interested in.
    MP-10 – Oh sure, there was another Optimus Prime, smaller than MP-01, with no die-cast, no light-up Matrix in the chest. Why would I get that? Pass.
    MP-11 – Then there was another Starscream that seemed a lot like the one I already had. Pass.
    MP-12 – Then this guy, in a way the first original new guy since the line’s reboot.
    Whatever. No connection to Sideswipe the character, even if the Countach is sweet.
    MP-13 But then Soundwave. Soundwave! Holy cow. Now I’m interested. Now I want to see what Masterpiece has been up to.
    So I go back and pick up MP-12 Sideswipe, and all the good things people say about it are true. It’s really a hell of a great toy and I’m super happy I got it for a decent price. Now I can’t stop playing with it.Now I am all in for one of any new mold in the Masterpiece line, and if they’re as good as this one, this is gonna be one hell of a line.