G2 Sideswipe, Hasbro GiG, 1992

“If I could save time in a bubble…”

First off, I have to confess that I used to utterly detest the G2 releases. The colors, the packaging, and by that time I was already in high school and had much more pressing matters to deal with, like trying to hook up with chicks. At that point I wasn’t recollecting the toys from my youth, but I was still always keeping tabs. So when I saw these guys on shelves at K-mart (no, not Walmart – that didn’t exist yet), I kind of just wanted to throw up in my mouth. Apologies to anyone for insulting their childhood or tarnishing a Holy Grail for others. G2 was like an insult to my sanctified nostalgic regard for G1, a cheapened, shoddy remake of a classic, unparalleled in quality or quintessence of its namesake. It signified a depreciation in the franchise and the standards of excellence that Japanese manufacturing were known for, as outsourcing everything to China had become the norm (and still is).

At first, I thought it said “EROTIC AUTOBOTS”, but deduced that “eroici” must mean “heroic”in Italian. Given the included dildo missiles and buttplug gun, I wouldn’t have been surprised either way.

It wasn’t until I got the “Transformers: Generations – Welcome to the World of the Transformers” photo book that a few of these guys started to catch my G1-biased eye. I eventually grew to also like some of the G2 figures, since they, too, were Transformers in their own right and the last we would see of the G1 moulds (before reissues). In particular, this guy and camo Starscream (that I finally scored) stood out the most, followed by turquoise-blue Grimlock.

As I grew older and kept adding to my collection, I learned to zoom out and appreciate more than just the original G1 color schemes and realism of the first series of toys to everyday objects that marked the original selling point of the Diaclone and Microchange lines from the early 80’s. Once the toys hit the shelves in 1984 (the best year ever), the Transformers brand had become predominant worldwide, and with it its storytelling and characters took over the evolution of the franchise. And the 80’s design trends, like with most eras, lingered and permeated throughout design in the 90’s. It was as if the 80’s had a bad hangover and all that remained was its flashy, dayglow puke which was then slapped on top of iconic, formerly pristine designs. But like with fashion and all design, it’s a recursive process, and the trends get recycled. So looking at fashion and design today, especially in streetwear and sneakers, the G2 line actually is pretty ahead of its time in terms of aesthetics.

A closer look at Sideswipe’s artwork – interesting they didn’t change the Autobot symbol to the G2 version, a missed marketing opportunity but a fortunate one in hindsight.
Perhaps the blandest, most generic, KO-looking cardback I’ve seen. A lot of GiG releases removed design elements like Tech Specs, but this is just sad. I don’t have an American version to compare to, but hey, fill up the space with some promo images at least!
As I currently work in manufacturing, it’s fascinating for me to learn about the licensing and manufacture of products. Tried looking up Young Nan Toys but came up with squat. Unless you’re in that particular industry (which I’m not), it’s really difficult to track down factories in China as they open and shut down very often, under many different names. Just the nature of the Beast Wars…
“To know me is to fear me! Wild, impulsive – but always courageous! On four wheels he can move at breakneck speed to out maneuver his foes, but as a robot he holds his ground to do battle using his awesome missile launcher.”

As far as homage to his Marvel character goes, I’d be interested to see some 3rd party fanufacturers™ (made that up right now, lol) create some weapon add-ons to give Swipe his full renegade arsenal, as TakaraTomy did with the Masterpiece release. I’m not a huge fan of the Marvel comic book depiction as I’ll admit I’m kind of an anime-snob, although I give respect to Simon Furman for creating the lore behind the franchise.

I do really dig his paint scheme. Black, red, and white with silver chrome, same as G1 but in different proportions. It’s enough variation from the original to have a different feel, without looking like an attempt at releasing Red Alert in a black colorway.
The paint apps are surprisingly clean on this Swipe, better than my G1 Hasbro original red version. Of course, they punched a hole in the roof as a gun mount. If you can call that ectoplastic thingie a gun.
SS: not the Schutzstaffel, a military steamship, or the Secret Service.

I’ve decided to keep this guy sealed on card as I already have my G1 originals to play with and don’t want to ruin the artwork on the and its hermetically sealed early 90’s air. I don’t have a huge sealed collection so I’m happy to have a few unopened museum pieces. Most of my sealed stuff are reissues and exclusives, so anything pre-2001 when the reissues started coming out is a nice specimen of TF history and a real blast from the past.

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