Alternate Mode: Sports Car
Thanks to Goktimus Prime for lending me Sideswipe & Nightbeat for this review.
Height: 4.5cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 6.5cm
A blue two door sports car with grey bumpers yellow headlights, Sideswipe has transparent orange windows and a black stripe across the top of his windshield with the banner "TransFormers"in silver lettering. There are quite a few paint applications including headlights, taillights, front indicators and three Autobot logos - one on the top of the hood and smaller ones on either side of the hood. While these colours don't really evoke G1, Sideswipe does have a pretty good colour scheme.
While I doubt this is a real car, it certainly looks like it could be. It reminds me of Nissan's skyline, and has lots of car elements moulded, including the lights, grille, rear vision mirrors and even a fuel cap on the left side. He has four doorhandles and there are ridges moulded into the taillights and indicators. Sideswipe is probably the most realistic of all Armada toys - only Wheeljack is as believable as Sideswipe.
There are two spring loaded gimmicks in this mode. Pressing down on the large Autobot logo will release the front, which will split in two and they fly out and forward, clamping together about an inch in front of their "home" position. While it's not a terribly impressive gimmick, it's original, and is certainly more interesting than another Minicon-activated sound gimmick. The second gimmick is activated by a small yellow button on the left taillight, pressing it will cause central stripe of his rear window to flip over, revealing Nightbeat. Nightbeat doesn't actually activate anything in this mode, but his storage adds some unusual play value.
The car itself is detailed and fairly realistic, unusual for an Armada toy. The name reuse is just that while the play value here is fairly good, and certainly original - which I appreciate. This is easily Sideswipe's better mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Fold the front down, swing the doors back flush against the rear wheels (which will reveal Nightbeat). Detach the Minicon, extend the legs by folding the boots out up to the sides then folding them down again. Flip out the feet, split the front, swing into place as the arms, rotate the elbows so that the fists are visible. Fold down the Autobot logo to form his chestplate, slide the head forward and place the weaponry in either hand.
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm
Again mainly blue, Sideswipe has yellow thighs and upper arms, silver on his torso and head and black forearms and feet. The eye are blue and the face an unpainted silver while he hears a black crown. The Autobot logo on his chest looks nice, although the yellow plastic and unpainted silver face give this mode a slightly cheap feel.
While the vehicle mode is well designed with realism and two spring loaded gimmicks, this robot mode pays a heavy price for it. The door-roof shell halves hang on the outside of his large boots while the forearms are chunky, being the front half of the car. The torso is too small for the forearms, which well and truly overwhelm it. The shoulders are designed so that the arms point down and out, giving the giant forearms some room, which makes sense but looks silly. The flip panel from car mode is visible between his legs - adding to Sideswipe's considerable kibble.
The handgun and blade, both transparent orange, look decent in his hands, but aren't nearly enough to save this mode. There's a live hardpoint on his back, plugging in Nightbeat and sliding down will cause the right arm to lift up. There are also two dead hardpoints, one on each knee - Minicons don't look so good on those. The flipout gimmick is no longer functional although the clamping gimmick still works, thanks to small blue buttons on his forearms. If you press them, the underside of the forearms (the shell of the car) springs forward, packing a punch but not really adding much play value.
In truth this is a very weak robot mode. We have two largely unimpressive gimmicks and some decent weaponry, but the robot shape sucks hard and the colour scheme isn't as nice as that of the car mode. There's a lot of kibble and not much poseability here. Sideswipe may as well just stay in car mode.
Alternate Mode: Motorbike
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5.5cm Width: 1.5cm
A small silver motorbike with yellow tailpipes on either side and a chrome red headlight. The detail in this mould is okay, with a Minicon symbol on the left of the fuel tank and tread on the tyres, along with some diffusion lines on the headlight. There's no play value here - the tyres roll but the front fork will move if you try to push Nightbeat along. Annoyingly, this bike cannot stand upright on its own.
A dull and uninteresting bike mode that's really not helped by the colours. The name reuse is hopelessly random, moreso that Sideswipe.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Lift up the headlight, swing down the tailpipes to form legs, rotate the waist 90° to the left. (taking the head with it). Swing down the wheel forks to form arms.
Height: 5.5cm Width: 5.5cm
Again mainly silver, Nightbeat's upper body is the main section of the bike while the headlight is his face with the handlebars forming antennae. The tailpipes form very spindly legs while the forks (complete with tyres) form his arms. The left arm (rear fork) is yellow while the right one is black. The arms are very short while the legs are long with a significant gap between them. The simple face, strange arms and simply legs give Nightbeat a droid-like look, which I guess is fitting for a bike that is captive to Sideswipe's vehicle mode.
Again the colours aren't interesting although I'm not sure that this mode would look good in bold colours. The arms really bother me, moreso than the simple face which has that droid thing happening. There's no real poseability to speak of - the hips swing but he can only stand straight while the arms can lift out to the sides, but since they end in tyres there's really no point in posing them.
A disappointing robot mode that really only exists to make the bike mode work - the bike needs to be a good shape to fit inside the sports car. The poor robot mode at least matches Sideswipe's, I guess. Unlike the larger toy however, Nightbeat's alternate mode isn't that great.
None as such, although there have been two limited release TFU repaints, Oil Slick and Treadshot. Cybertron Runamuck is a retool of Sideswipe, sans Minicon.
Sideswipe has a very good car mode and a dreadful robot mode. The play value is okay, but more play value would have been nice. Nightbeat isn't much to get excited about, and the most notable thing about him is how he combines with Sideswipe. Despite the impressive car mode, this isn't a set I recommend - 3/10