Sideswipe & Nightbeat - Armada - Figures

The original G1 Nightbeat character was a sharp-witted and even sharper-tongued Autobot detective who gained a cult following among fans. So when it was revealed at Botcon 2002 that we would be seeing an Armada character called Nightbeat, the reaction was predictably positive. However, the Nightbeat we ended up getting may not be what some fans had in mind.


Cycle Mode: Whereas G1 Nightbeat was a Porsche, Armada Nightbeat is a motorcycle. 5.5 cm(2.2") long, he's mainly silver with black wheels and fender, yellow exhaust pipes, and a red front headlight. His faction symbol is on his left side and his Powerlinx socket is mounted on the bottom of the cycle. As always, the detailing on this Mini-Con is superb, with grooves in the tires and headlight and dials on the dashboard.

Transformation: Swing down the exhaust pipes, extend the hips, lift up the headlight and dashboard section, and rotate them 90 degrees.

Robot Mode: Oy. This is probably the lamest Mini-Con robot mode ever, even more so than Sureshot. With a maximum height of 6 cm(2.4"), this isn't a robot so much as it is a contorted motorcyle. The face consists of the headlight, the arms are the wheels, and the legs are exhaust pipes. Granted, he does seem kind of cute after prolonged staring, but this is one Armada toy that actually strikes me as rushed and unfinished. Oh, and he's articulated at the head, shoulders, and hips.


Car Mode: Unlike the majority of large Armada toys, Sideswipe's alt mode actually looks like it could blend in in a human city. Personally, I prefer futuristic vehicles to realistic ones, but it's nice to have some variety. Sideswipe measures about 15 cm(6") long and is blue with metallic gray bumper, grille, hubcaps, and spoiler, red and yellow headlights, and translucent gold windows. Initial reports had him labelled as a Sedan, but he's clearly some kind of beefed up street racer, similar to the cars from "2 Fast 2 Furious" (which I have no intention of seeing). A large red and white Autobot symbol is etched into his hood and two tiny symbols are tampo printed above each front fender. He also has "TransFormers" written across the top of his windshield. His robot head is clearly visible through the windshield.

Despite having extremely low ground clearance, Sideswipe rolls along quite nicely on most surfaces. As well as having a realistic alt mode, he is distinguished from other Autobot and Decepticon toys by lacking any visible hardpoints, which IMO diminishes play value somewhat. But by pressing the small yellow button at his rear, the mid-section of his roof and trunk flips out 180 degrees to reveal a platform with a dead hardpoint for attaching Nightbeat. What's more, the platform can actually be folded back in with Nightbeat attached. It's quite the nifty feature, and fun to do over and over.

Sideswipe's other gimmick is more iffy. Pressing down on the large Autobot symbol causes the two halves of the car's front section to spring out and reconnect. I'm told that this is Sideswipe's pursuit mode on the show, but it looks lame to me.

About the only thing I really dislike about this car is that it's rather bland. Some flame decos or racing stripes would've been nice.

Transformation: Seperate and swing out the roof and front doors, unfold and extend the robot legs, swing down the torso, seperate the arms, fold down the chest plate, and slide the head forwards.

Robot Mode: As a robot, Sideswipe stands 13.5 cm(5.3") tall. He's considerably more colourful now: gray body, dark yellow upper arms and thighs, *massive* blue and black forearms and shins, some orange and metallic gray panels on his shins, and, of course, the Autobot symbol on his chest. His head is gray with a large blue eye visor and a painted black crest. Between this colour scheme and his blue car mode, *he* really ought to have been the one named Nightbeat. He comes with two weapons that store on the inside of his vehicle doors: a small pistol and an even smaller knife, both translucent gold. The knife can attach to the underside of the gun barrel to form a miniature bayonet, something we haven't seen in the TF line since Actionmaster Banzai-Tron of 1990.

Probably the most noticeable aspect about this mode is the door and windshield kibble on each shin. It's too bad they didn't have Powerlinx points installed on them, since then they could've acted as Mini-Con platforms. As it stands, they look pretty bad. Sideswipe has joints at the shoulders(hinge & swivel), elbows, hips(hinge & swivel), and knees, but he's not terribly poseable. His knees only swing out to the sides and his elbows bend only ever so slightly. He has dead hardpoints on his shins, but they're so short, it's hard to keep a Mini-Con attached to them.

By now you may be thinking that Sideswipe isn't a fun toy. Think again. Attaching a Mini-Con to the live hardpoint on his back and then pulling down causes his right arm to swing up as if he were delivering a stunning uppercut or slashing with his bayonet. Moreover, pressing the yellow tabs on his forearms causes the blue sections to spring forward with enough force to knock over a similar-sized figure. "Double Punch" would've been another great name for this guy. As well, he can hold the Star Saber and Requiem Blaster.

Overall, Susp Sez: While their robot modes may appear ungainly, Nightbeat and Sideswipe are actually two of the more fun Supercons in the Armada line, with great vehicle modes and good gimmicks. 8/10


"Truth is revealed in the smallest detail." -Nightbeat(G1)

DateJuly 20th 2003  
Score 8 stars (8 out of 10)  

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