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 bwtf.com. 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!