Look out, red cars.on August 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm
I was really hoping to have access to my Giant Wall Of Toy Bins before getting to talking about Timelines Side Burn, but our basement is still a mess from the move. It’s still the place where we shove everything that we don’t know yet what to do with. So no photos of Side Burn with Timelines Sky-Byte. Or with Classics Prowl! D’oh.
Man, getting this guy was an adventure. Fun Publications sends their Collectors’ Club incentive toys via third-class mail. Third class mail doesn’t care about your fancy mail forwarding! You can forward your mail all you want, and watch how many f***s third class mail does not give. I found this out a few weeks ago when I called FP to give them my new address. It was also too late, I found out, to get the mailing label altered! So, great. Long story short, two days after we were officially out of our old house, I was reaching my arm down into the mailbox that deposits inside the building. I was stealing my own mail! (The landlord lives in San Diego, so she wouldn’t be of any particular, immediate help.) But hooray! Side Burn get. Well, Side Burns. Grabbed my roommate’s, too.
Side Burn is intended to be a Generation 1 version of the Robots in Disguise character. In RiD, Side Burn was a fun guy, but his toy was horrible. It was a mess. Side Burn is one of the reasons why the fandom has the term “shellformer” in their vocabulary arsenal. And so years and years ago, when I was thinning out my collection to pay some bills, he was one of the first to go. Easy decision.
And here he is, back again! And in a more tolerable form! Classics Rodimus, the toy he’s redecoed from, isn’t really a terrific mold or anything — he’s got some articulation annoyances, for example — but he’s leagues beyond RID Side Burn. And so I heartily welcome my newer, better Side Burn. The translation of Side Burn’s deco to Rodimus’s toy is near flawless. It’s amazing. The particular shade of desaturated blue (bordering on indigo) is very striking, and all the tiny little dabs of paint here and there really sell him as Side Burn. He’s even got his larger targeting monocle painted over one of his eyes, and elements of his deco are asymmetrical. It’s a commendable job.
His profile card, on the other hand, is a relentless siege on the English language. It embarrasses me as a literate fan of Transformers, and we shall not speak more of it.
If the Side Burn toy has a downside, it’s the age of the mold. Side Burn isn’t as solid as previous iterations of the toy, and when you go to pull his shoulders out during transformation, his ball-jointed arms are likely to remove themselves instead. I choose to interpret this as an homage to the original Side Burn, who had similar cohesion problems.
One more thing. The original Side Burn’s “thing” was that he hit on red cars. He was on Earth during Robots in Disguise, and so his running gag was he’d go ga-ga over the dumb (and red) unsentient vehicles driven by the humans around him. It was kind of weird, and it didn’t speak much for Side Burn’s intelligence, but it was cute. Timelines Side Burn, however, is still on Cybertron. He has to hit on red cars, as per his M.O., and so the red cars he hits on are sentient females. Somehow this is creepier. I can’t explain why. I can’t even really defend why. Finding your own species attractive should be more normal, versus hitting on inanimate objects. Maybe it’s because directing his traditional behavior towards beings with minds makes adorable ol’ Side Burn into a womanizer, which is generally less endearing.
Anyway. Idle thoughts.