Sideswipe thumbnail 1
Sideswipe thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at Young V&A
Japan: Myths to Manga

Sideswipe

Transformer
1984-1985 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron. They are divided into two factions: heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons. Autobots and Decepticons have been locked in an apocalyptic civil war for millennia. The line was launched in the United States in 1984 with an accompanying animated television series, it followed in Europe later that same year. Many of the Hasbro-distributed toys were actually rebranded versions of the existing Japanese ‘Microman’ and ‘Diaclone’ toylines made by Takara. The combination of vehicle and robot, and the often complicated series of movements required to change between the two modes, meant Transformers were extremely popular children’s toys during the mid-1980s.

Sideswipe is an Autobot warrior, he was part of the original 1984 release of Transformers toys. Characterised as brave but hot-headed, he and his twin brother Sunstreaker both transformed into Lamborginhi sports cars. The practicalities of familial relationships between robots were never addressed in the original Transformers comics, or in the animated TV series. The mould for this toy was derived from Takara’s ‘Diaclone’ range, which were originally supposed to be piloted transforming vehicles, rather than sentient robots. The mould was reused several times to create the characters Red Alert, Clampdown, Deep Cover and Tigertrack.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Titles
  • Sideswipe (manufacturer's title)
  • Autobot (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Injection-moulded plastic, paint, printed paper, die-cast metal
Brief description
Transformer (Autobot), 'Sideswipe'; red Lamborghini sports car; Takara/Hasbro; Japan; 1984-85
Physical description
Robot, transforming into a Lamborghini Countach. Made from red, white, black and silver plastic, with coloured paper decals, and painted die-cast metal. The robot's face is painted silver, with red eyes.
Production typeMass produced
Marks and inscriptions
Hasbro 1980-1982; Takara Co © 1980-1982
Credit line
Given by Jermaine Dacas
Object history
Bought by the donor between 1985 and 1987. Mr Dacas was born 17/10/73 and saved his pocket money to buy the toys.
Historical context
Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron, all of them are capable of assuming an alternate form, usually a vehicle, through a series of folding movements. They are typically divided into two factions: Autobots and Decepticons. The Autobots are heroic, peace-loving and curious about humanity, they are led by Optimus Prime, who typically transforms into an articulated truck. The Decepticons are evil, authoritarian and contemptuous of other life-forms, they are led by the maniacal Megatron, who originally transformed into a realistic-looking handgun.

Initially, the franchise was essentially an American rebrand of two toylines already produced by Japanese toy manufacturer Takara Tomy: ‘Diaclone’ and ‘Microman’. Hasbro had purchased the distribution rights to these lines in the early-1980s. Transformers was launched in the United States and Europe in 1984-85. The enormously popular toys inspired many spin-offs, including several animated television series’, a feature-length animated film (1986), multiple comic books series (including by Marvel, who had co-operated with Hasbro to produce GI Joe comics) and, inevitably, subsequent lines of toys. A series of big budget, live-action films have been produced by Warner Brothers since 2007.
Production
Made by: HASBRO; TAKARA CO
Japan
Subjects depicted
Summary
Transformers are alien robots hailing from the planet Cybertron. They are divided into two factions: heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons. Autobots and Decepticons have been locked in an apocalyptic civil war for millennia. The line was launched in the United States in 1984 with an accompanying animated television series, it followed in Europe later that same year. Many of the Hasbro-distributed toys were actually rebranded versions of the existing Japanese ‘Microman’ and ‘Diaclone’ toylines made by Takara. The combination of vehicle and robot, and the often complicated series of movements required to change between the two modes, meant Transformers were extremely popular children’s toys during the mid-1980s.

Sideswipe is an Autobot warrior, he was part of the original 1984 release of Transformers toys. Characterised as brave but hot-headed, he and his twin brother Sunstreaker both transformed into Lamborginhi sports cars. The practicalities of familial relationships between robots were never addressed in the original Transformers comics, or in the animated TV series. The mould for this toy was derived from Takara’s ‘Diaclone’ range, which were originally supposed to be piloted transforming vehicles, rather than sentient robots. The mould was reused several times to create the characters Red Alert, Clampdown, Deep Cover and Tigertrack.
Associated objects
Bibliographic reference
Toy Trader; November 1985; April 1986; August 1986
Collection
Accession number
B.91-1994

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Record createdApril 17, 2000
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