Yes, you read that title correctly.
Sidearm Sideswipe has a flight mode.
With the announcement of Classics Generations Reveal The Shield Tracks, HasTak has brought back a classic character and even included a feature found on his G1 incarnation- a flight mode!
G1 Tracks basically just folded his arms out from the car, folding out his wings as well. You could have his rocket launchers attached and have his arms be engines or thrusters, making the toy more convincing than the cartoon, where the arms were not prominent and it pretty much looked like his car mode sprouted wings and occasionally fins.
The new Tracks has wingtips attached to the doors, so it looks they fold out to form the wings. Not exactly that convincing, but I like it. Take that as you will, because I also like the look of Long Haul as a flying dump truck.
Sidearm Sideswipe, a toy designed only to be a robot and a car, actually can pull off a much more convincing flight mode than Tracks. It uses that old Back To The Future staple of ‘wheels can be thrusters’ so all four wheels end up helping the car to hover while the exhaust ports make for a nice set of rear thrusters. The guns can be deployed, the hood transforms a bit while still maintaining its car shape, tech bits are exposed, and the doors turn into wings.
So really, Sidearm Sideswipe’s flight mode is a mix of Back To The Future and M.A.S.K. meets Transformers.
And I’m completely fine with that.
Click the picture for the full version!
Before we go on about how to get him into this mode, it should be known that I first saw an attempt at something like this by Clonemanager on TFW2005. He was trying to do something like the hover modes seen in War For Cybertron. All that he did was tilt the wheels in the back, leaving the doors and the front wheels the same, and warped the hood pieces into a V shape.
While it looks interesting, the hood kind of bugs me and there’s not much transformed about it. Compare his to mine and you’ll see they look pretty different, but his post is what got me thinking about doing my own flying car mode for Sidearm Sideswipe.
So, thanks Clonemanager!
To transform Sidearm Sideswipe into my flight mode fan mode, start out with him in car mode.
I still really like the red design on the front, as it lends him some nice color.
Next, deploy the guns, pull the doors out, and just barely separate the hood halves.
The reason that you barely separate the hood halves is because you want them close to the original alt mode position for the next step, where you twist the entire fender\forearm down and around.
You’ll want to turn each arm at the bicep swivel. Just grab them by the fender\wheel and turn, focusing on the rotation and letting the shoulder joint naturally slide out.
Again, the shoulder joint itself will naturally slide out.
It won’t be all the way, but should match up with that picture.
By ‘shoulder joint’ I am specifically referring to the round black pieces a the top corners of the hood in that picture.
Stop rotating when the front wheels sit snugly against Sidearm Sideswipe’s hips. The outer edge of his forearms (the side where the wheel is attached) should have just cleared the top of his hips to rotate in beside them (closer to the car’s front.)
Honestly, this might seem a bit strange unless you have the figure in hand. If you do, try it! It all rotates naturally and you can do it completely by feel.
Once everything is nice and snug, with the front corners of the car, fold down the grill pieces until they sit flat against the tabs on the front of the hood.
Next up is just rotating the back wheels on the ankle joint until they are at an angle close to that of the front wheels. You can do this one of two ways.
First, you can rotate the foot until it just barely comes into contact with the angled piece at the top of the foot, stopping as it touches it. That will put the wheel close to the angle of the front one, and if you unpeg the leg from the bottom of the car you can use the thigh swivel to get it the rest of the way.
Unfortunately, this unpegs the leg and causes the wheel to sit further down, meaning the back of the car will sit a little higher than the front. Honestly, this isn’t bad as Sideswipe has tight hip movement so there’s not much flopping that the legs will do.
However, there is a better way.
But, it requires a quick mod to the figure.
But if you have Sidearm Sideswipe, you’ve probably already modded him anyway. If not, you should think about doing it.
In addition, this mod may also prevent some stress marks from appearing on your Sidearm Sideswipe’s feet due to transforming him more accurately. I have not encountered any stress from turning the feet completely around for robot mode, but in the comments for that post Arhus has reported he encountered some. Another poster, Mach 5000 also said he had the issue, but only on one foot. The problem is related to excess plastic on the top of the foot, and Mach 5000 fixed it before his developed any stress marks.
Again, mine (and a few other posters) did not have this issue. But the mod does give Sidearm Sideswipe a smoother turning foot, and it’s required for a better fit for Sidearm Sideswipe Flight Mode.
So what the heck is the mod?
Sidearm Sideswipe Foot Mod
Again, this step is entirely optional, but very recommended.
If you look carefully at to top of Sidearm Sideswipe’s foot (in the front for the more accurate way, in the back for the way the instructions show) you’ll see an almost triangular section of plastic at the top.
It’s angled so that it can slide around the detailing on Sidearm Sideswipe’s foot. Really, that piece doesn’t even need to be there, so removing it won’t affect the figure apart from making the the foot turn easier (and potentially avoiding stress marks.)
Click on the pictures for the full versions!
Each picture has the section to be cut off colored in red.
I used a pair of flush cutters, but a nice sharp blade will work too. I didn’t bother with it, but if your cut looks a little rough you can use some fine grit sandpaper to make it nice and smooth again.
That’s it for the mod. Now you can rotate the rear wheels to an angle matching the front wheels while keeping Sidearm Sideswipe’s legs securely pegged in place!
Here’s a picture of the bottom of the car, showing the angles of the wheels that can be done after doing the Sidearm Sideswipe foot mod.
Next all you have to do is fold the doors around so that the inside is facing up and the back of the door is facing the front.
That picture is at an angle to show off the details, but it sits so flat with the rest of the car from a side shot the bulk of the door can’t be seen.
The front tips can nestle just under the details on the side of Sidearm Sideswipe’s thighs, giving you a reference point for adjusting both of the wings.
The wings don’t lock into position, but the wings are light and the balljoint should be snug enough for it to work. If not, it’s probably something that bothers you in robot mode so take some super glue or nail polish and tighten up the balljoint.
That’s how to get Sidearm Sideswipe into a flight mode. The flying car looks really nice in person, and while I’ve been very detailed on the steps today this is something that is easy to do. It’s different enough from both of his other modes, and it helps if you’re nostalgic for M.A.S.K. or Back To The Future.
The front hood pieces may not look like it at first, but they are sitting evenly on the hood. The red pattern on my Sidearm Sideswipe is off center.
With the mods needed to keep your figure from having scratched paint or stress marks, or even a fix just to get his head to pop up, it’s been hard to recommend this figure unless you don’t have a problem with doing the mods.
However, I really like Sideswipe for his higher level of screen accuracy, innovative transformation that balances complexity and ease, and just all around badassary.
This flight mode makes easily makes this figure more enjoyable and much easier to recommend.