After Action Masters and Pretenders, Headmasters are probably the most controversial gimmick of the G1 era. Some fans enjoyed the notion of tiny figures who transformed into robot heads (I did), while others saw it as some kind of affront to what they felt TFs represented. Now the gimmick has been updated and expanded for Armada, in the form of Sideways, Crosswise, and Rook.
Robot Mode: Crosswise stands 6 cm(2.4”) and is mostly silver, dark gray, and black with orange panels on his shins. From the front, he looks fairly proportionate, but from the rear, he’s just a head and shoulders mounted on a big pair of hips. He’s got swivelling shoulders, ball-jointed hips, and ball-and-hinge knees. His Powerlinx socket is on his back and he has a tab between his legs for attaching him to Sideways. His head lack painted detail, sadly, but given that it doubles as a peg, any paint would probably just wear off.
Head Mode: Raise Crosswise’s arms above his head, turn him upside down, slide up a panel on his torso to reveal robot eyes, and either position the legs as antlers or fold them behind. The finished Autobot head has a silver face with orange eyes and is sculpted to resemble a ninja warrior.
ROOK (gotta love the G2 comic reference)
Robot Mode: At just over 6.5 cm(2.6”) tall, Rook looks down on Crosswise. He’s almost entirely black except for dark gray leg joints and arms, orange panels on his torso, and a silver head with a mean expression. His articulation consists of very restricted ball-jointed shoulders and ball-and-hinge hips and knees. His Powerlinx socket is located on his posterior (heh) and he too has a tab for attaching him to Sideways.
Head Mode: Rook transforms the same as Crosswise, except the position and articulation of his legs allows you to fold them up better. With its black colouring and beady pink eyes, the Decepticon head looks quite sinister and evil.
Since no official name is given for the combined rider, I’m going to call him Sideline for the purpose of this review. Push in Rook’s head to pop up Sideline’s, snap Crosswise’s head in next to Rook’s, and flip up the large Autobot face to help stabilize the combined form. The end result is a mostly black robot who stands 8 cm(3.14”) tall, is very proportionate, and has excellent poseability. He can even stand on his hands. His face looks like an amalgamation of Crosswise’s and Rook’s. The only real drawback is that Sideline doesn’t hold together as strongly as I had hoped. A gentle tug is all that’s needed to separate the body halves.
Overall, Crosswise and Rook are pretty weak as individual robots, but make for good heads and an even greater combined mode. 8/10
Cycle Mode: Measuring 14 cm(5.5”) long from front wheel to rear, Sideways is primarily purple with yellow and black stripes, a clear windshield, metallic blue-green headlights, transparent exhaust pipes/missiles with airbrushed orange, and assorted dark gray and silver parts. Along with the very eye-like headlights, this colour scheme make him seem like an Earth version of BM Thrust. He's also apparently as tough as Thrust, having accidentally fallen off my desk twice without suffering damage.
Sideways doesn’t have a kickstand, but fortunately the flanks are wide enough so that the cycle doesn’t fall over. The front wheel turns slightly from side to side and the handlebars pivot individually. He has four hardpoints: two live ones on his flanks and two dead ones near his rear. He also has two slots on his seat for attaching Crosswise, Rook, or Sideline. Due to the Autobot face on his front, Crosswise can only ride on the back, and even then he straddles the seat something fierce. And as if to compensate, Rook only fits snugly into the front slot. But Sideline fits quite nicely onto Sideways, gripping the handlebars as he rides forth into battle.
Transformation: Actually quite simple. The “head” of the cycle swings around 180 degrees to become the robot chest, the flanks swing out and connect to the chest, the legs separate and extend, the wheels fold up, and the robot head slides up.
Robot Mode: Sideways stands about 13.5 cm(5.3”) tall at the head, with his handlebar antlers and wheel backpack adding a couple more to that. He’s one of the better-looking Supercons, with good proportions and no kibble save for his backpack. His cylindrical head is purple with a yellow and blue visor. The antlers admittedly look weird, but I suppose they’d hurt pretty badly if Sideways felt like headbutting you.
Sideways isn’t terribly poseable. His shoulders and hips have ratchet joints, his elbows swivel, his wrists pivot, and his ankles pivot a little. Attaching a Mini-Con to the hardpoint on either arm and then pushing it forward launches the pressure-based missile a couple of feet. Sideway’s main gimmick, of course, consists of his swappable heads. Sliding in his normal head and popping on the Crosswise or the Rook head causes a sliding panel beneath his windshield to reveal either the heroic Autobot sigil or the treacherous Decepticon one (I like the Decepticon head better myself). Again, this is pretty much identical to the G1 Headmaster gimmick, in which attaching the head caused sliding panels to reveal a robot’s Strength, Speed, and Intelligence stats.
Overall, Susp Sez: Sideways is definitely one of the more unique toys we’ve seen in a while. The combined rider and updated Headmaster gimmicks are really quite neat, especially since you have the option of a normal head on the big robot. The cycle and robot modes look nice and have good play value. All in all, a worthy purchase. 8/10
"Efficiency through self-suffiency." -Sideways
|Date||November 2nd 2002 |
|Score|| (8 out of 10) |