Thursday, 17 February 2011

Henkei Lambor

Nowadays, when folks refer to 'The Twins', they're invariably speaking of the much-maligned Skids and Mudflap from Revenge of the Fallen. Back in the days of Generation 1, however, 'The Twins' were Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, the brutally effective fighting team who somehow managed to be Autobots, despite their obvious penchant for violence. I don't recall anything being made of their status as 'brothers' in either the G1 TV series or the Marvel comics... and in the IDW series where Sunstreaker seems to get blown up, Sideswipe isn't even around to see it, let alone offer any kind of reaction... Still, better that than street-talkin' stupidity and slapstick 'humor'...

Vehicle Mode:
It should come as no surprise, these days, that Sideswipe (aka Lambor) is made from the same mold as Sunstreaker... that seems to have been the whole intention from the start. Much was made, when Sunstreaker first came out, of the fact that his back looked suspiciously like it could form the chest of a Sideswipe toy at some point down the line. It's actually quite sad, in a way, considering how different the G1 models were - different type of Lamborghini, completely different transformation - but it's understandable, given the need to keep costs down these days.

One thing that did surprise me was the spoiler... I believe both Sunstreaker and Sideswipe had chromed spoilers in their Japanese releases but, while it made sense with the former, it certainly doesn't with the latter... Might have been better either to leave it bare red, like the original Sideswipe, or just not have the spoiler at all, so the two would look more different in vehicle mode. But at least the Japanese version doesn't have the 'jetpack' accessory that was used in Sunstreaker to imply the massive thing mounted on the back of the G1 toy (which, as it happens, proves that the Tech Specs and paint jobs for Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were mixed up! Sideswipe was the one with the jetpack and 'piledriver' arms, Sunstreaker was the one with the missile launcher).

Robot Mode:
So, really, the only differences between Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, apart from the heads and colours, are the orientation of the hands/arms and the side of the robot that's called 'front'. The legs are transformed exactly the same way. Sure, it means they look more like 'brothers', but it's also rather unimaginative. Couldn't something a little different have been tried?

I have to say, having seen the Henkei version of both Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, I rather regret picking up the western release of Sunstreaker - his yellow is comparatively anaemic and his lack of chrome is disappointing - and I'm generally quite glad I got the Japanese version of Sideswipe. He's an exceptionally vibrant red, which contrasts very well with the stark black and white on the rest of his body. I'm not quite sure why the blue thigh panels are basically identical to those on Sunstreaker, but that's a small complaint.

The head sculpt is a complete reimagining of Sideswipe, rather than aping G1 or the Binaltech version. It looks odd in photos but, in person, it's very effective. Photos make it seem far flatter that it really is.

As previously indicated, transformation is essentially the same as Sunstreaker, just with the upper body facing the other way. The western version also has the gun painted differently... as if it's supposed to be the equivalent of G1 Sideswipe's shoulder-mounted missile launcher. It's entirely the wrong shape, however, even if combined with the 'backpack' thing, so I'm glad the Henkei version stuck with chrome.

The Classics/Universe/Henkei line has been quite variable in its poseability... some, like this mold, are excellent. Others are not quite so well thought out. It's no great surprise that this mold was chosen for the TransFormers Collectors' Club Punch/Counterpunch exclusive (which sold out almost immediately), but I still think the legs should have been retooled to allow for more differences in appearance in this mold's robot modes.

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