Sidearm Sideswipe Head Fix Mod, Part 1

Sidearm Sideswipe is a great figure, easily measuring up to the original from ROTF and having a completely different transformation whose ease of transformation into alt mode surpasses the original. I even like the red paint and windows, bringing a bit of color to Sideswipe’s otherwise grayscaled color scheme.

But the figure does have a couple problems. The first is something that effects every Sidearm Sideswipe to a varying degree, as it’s an issue with the mold itself. The second is an issue that I haven’t seen a lot of people complain about, but it was a problem on mine so I’m posting the fix for it as well.

Both pertain to the figure’s head, so come take a look at my Sidearm Sideswipe Head Fix Mod!

For regular readers, today’s guide is going to be a bit different. Usually, there’s colorful pineapple flavored fun from Norman and Sunstreaker, or maybe even a visit from Ratchet and his Surgical EMP (extra massive pounder).

But today’s guide on how to fix Sidearm Sideswipe’s head is straightforward and informative.

While most of you are probably thankful, I’m going to pretend you’re on your knees crying “WHY?” and shoving remotes up your butt in fanboy frustration.

So what’s going on?

I’m almost done writing CiW. I’m hoping to get it sent off to Luke for editing sometime in October. And while I’m updating the blog every now and then, it’s mostly going to be little stuff while I’m working on my bigger project.

So for those of you with Sidearm Sideswipe and need a head fix mod guide, don’t say I didn’t forget about you. Everyone else, this  is technical and informative. You have been warned.


Sidearm Sideswipe Head Fix Mod, Part 1

Paint Scrapes and Face Breaks

Yes, this one’s a big problem, made especially worse that it effects all Sidearm Sideswipes in one way or another. Most commonly you’ll have varying degrees of silver paint scratching to marr the face, but I have heard of people who had their Sideswipe break or stress parts of the head or face.

I still recommend buying the figure if you either don’t mind modding it or don’t care if the face gets scratched up (or possibly worse.)

For a good review, check out Ben Yee’s over at More specifically, check out the paint wear on Sideswipe’s forehead. Both Axiom and Savio Prime from TFW mention it in Sidearm Sideswipe’s feedback thread.

In particular, Axiom’s Sideswipe has a huge stress mark because of the problem.

Savio Prime mentioned that he used a dremil to clear out some space in the backpack and it took care of his problem, but he hasn’t specifically mentioned what he did or posted pictures or a guide that I’ve seen.

As I took my own Sidearm Sideswipe apart and figured out what needed trimmed without the need for an expensive dremil and google offers up nobody else talking about fixing the problem, here’s my guide on how to fix it, with props to Savio and anybody else I haven’t seen who’s done this.


Step 1, Trim Ridges

First you’ll have to unscrew four screws so that you can remove the bottom torso piece from the windshield and roof.


Next lets take a look at that gray torso piece. You’ll see two ridges in the very bottom. Most likely, these were not there in the initial figure, but were added to make the toy stronger.

I’ve colored them in red, because we’re going to cut off most of each of those ridges.

Don’t worry about structural stability, as they’re pretty unnecessary outside of FOR SAFETY REASONS that Hasbro has to comply with for selling a transformer to kids.

I don’t think they were on the original version of the figure because even with the head completely retracted, turning it causes it to come into contact with those ridges. It even makes a snap sound as the plastic stresses before it forces by.

We don’t need to cut them completely off, but we do need to make them shorter. But how to get in there and make the cuts when the ridges are so recessed?

There is a handy slot on the side of the torso that you can fit a blade through!

I used a razorblade (which I don’t recommend you using, FOR SAFETY REASONS) but an exacto should work as well. Just stick the blade in, cut along in line to make the ridge shorter, and then take a pair of flush cutters and trim the parts of the bars that you couldn’t reach.

If you have a dremil, it might be easier to use that.

And remember, you don’t have to cut the ridges completely off, or even past the slot. They just need to be shorter, and getting them at the same level as the bottom of the slot gives Sidearm Sideswipe’s face plenty of room to rotate without rubbing against them.


Step 2, Trim Sides

If the previous step bothered you, you’re not going to like this one. The sides of that torso are also molded so that Sideswipe’s head really has to wrench back further than the head wants to go just to make it past them. This is going to cause paint rubbing and potentially stress marks.

To fix this, the sides need to be shaved down so they are at more of an angle. Here’s a picture, with the areas to be shaved colored in red.


Here’s a diagram of what’s going on in these two steps. Again, the red parts are what needs cut off and show up on both the sides and the two ridges on the bottom of the torso.


I used a razorblade held at an angle and just shaved away plastic a little at a time, testing clearance every now and then. FOR SAFETY REASONS, you should use something safer, like a blade that has a handle attached.


I may have shaved off more than I needed, and there’s white marks because I need to replace the blade, making the end result look pretty terrible, but it’s inside Sidearm Sideswipe’s torso and won’t be seen unless it’s unscrewed.


That picture also shows a blade sticking in through the slot on the side, which was used to cut the ridges in step 1. I was going to use it for that step, but I took this picture after I’d done the mods and didn’t want any confusion over the sides being shaved out of order in the guide.

To help the details of the torso stand out, I colored the blade and my fingers blue in the picture.

Look carefully and you’ll notice what look like a few holes in the side of the torso. Those were where I cut too deep when shaving down the sides, and are barely visible from the outside. The outside of the holes are smaller and are easily hidden by the surrounding pieces of the torso, the kibble, and Sideswipe’s arms. The figure is still durable and solid, thanks to Hasbro’s overprotective designs and plastic quality.

And so, those same safety laws that may have messed up the figure in the first place have also helped us in fixing it.


But does your Sidearm Sideswipe have a head that won’t pop up?

Mine did. Come back tomorrow for part two of my Sidearm Sideswipe head fix mod guide and I’ll show you how to fix it!

If you enjoyed the guide, leave a comment!

~Matt Booker

21 thoughts on “Sidearm Sideswipe Head Fix Mod, Part 1

  1. My Sideswipe already has the paint scratched.

    I will be doing the mod before it gets any worse.


  2. i love this toy, but i’m a sucker for movie accuracy, so i only want my movie sideswipes to have blades. so i have been thinking of buying this guy and painting him with yellow accents as streaker, and painting my old, bladed sideswipe with red accents to give him a slightly more G1 feel. what do ya think, matt and people of the interwebz?

  3. I’ve always heard that yellow paint is not fun to customize with, but if you’re just doing accents it might not be too bad.

    The main problem you’d have with customizing this Sideswipe would be if you were doing a head swap, as you’d have to find one that would fit when in alt mode.

    I still like both the molds for Sideswipe about the same, as they’re both pretty good. It’s too bad this one doesn’t have blades, but at least he did use guns in the movie.

    ~Matt Booker

  4. i had been considering a head swap, but i had pretty much decided against it, opting instead to put some paint on the heads in different places to add a distinction between them. i’m probably gonna screw it up, as this will be my first attempt at such a thing, but if it ends up looking good, i’ll send ya some picks.

  5. There was one thing I was wondering, is it possible to swap the heads of Sidearm Sideswipe and ROTF Sideswipe? I can’t really tell if the heads are the same size from images I’ve seen.

  6. Huh…I haven’t had that many problems with ‘Swipe’s head. There are a few paint scratches, but they’re barely noticeable. It’s a little difficult to turn his head while it’s folded up, true, but mostly it’s difficult on the final push, when his head is just about to be revealed (i.e., the roof seems to most of the problem on mine).

    (Also, really late on this, but I adore your Rampage mod. He’s now one of my favorite toys.)

  7. Thanks for the mod! The head stress has been bothering me for a really long time, and just like some others, mine’s got scratches on the forehead and a big stress mark on the left “ear”. I’ve been wondering how to do fix this for sometime, this worked great. Still some stress during the final part of the towards the front, but much less than before.

  8. legendhiro is right about the head, Bioformer. It might look it in some pictures, but it’s not that out of proportion in person. If you take away the wheel feet and the car kibble, he’s actually about right.

    Hello Geyser. Glad you stopped by, and glad you really like the Rampage mod. Thank you! As for Sideswipe, be careful of the ridges on the bottom. Mine didn’t do it every time (to the point where I thought most of the problem was just the sides), but when it did catch along the bottom it sounded worse than the sides.

    Arhus, hello to you too! I’m glad the mod helped you out. My Sideswipe’s head barely skims along the roof piece at the edge, touching a bit, but not enough to do much damage. That plastic plastic could be shaved to angle like the torso sides, but be careful you don’t take out any bits of the top of the roof.

    ~Matt Booker

  9. Thanks Matt, I’ll try that out. First time poster, long time lurker. :) Been enjoying your mods (and humor) for several months now. Great work!

  10. Hmmmmmm. I have heard lots of good things about this mold. I bought it and was surprised at how nice it was! Not much paint scrape but I it was there but has now been fixed.

    This mod is totally worth doing!

  11. So it was that which caused me 45 min to transform sidswipe gentely cause i her cracking noises everytime i rotated the head in :( …. May do it… if i have time… but al the paint in his head weared off anyways

  12. I did this mod. His head still catches and makes the most awful noise. I don’t wanna transform him for fear of breaking him. D:

    And yeah I cut pretty intensively, the plastic on the walls is thin enough to see through. O_o

    The head turns when I try to rotate the block. Then it pops through, and then it catches again and it’s worse.

  13. That is messed up. Mine just barely touches at the top edge when turned. Maybe the head on yours is popping up during turning? Or you need to cut the two tall pieces in the middle some more?


  14. I hacked away at it some more. Now it’s working, but it still catches at the top like you said. But I couldn’t fix that, the roof is what’s doing it.

    It took SO LONG to finish all the cutting. Augh. But it works now, more than it did. A lot more. I also had to do a lot more cutting than Matt did.

  15. Luke had the same issue too, BC.

    There’s got to be some kind of plastic variances going on. As mine works fine, and several others have said the same.

    At least there’s a new mold coming out for TF3.

    ~Matt Booker

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