Some of the official Shattered Glass universe is clever repainting related to established characters with reversed personalities, some of it is traditional paintjobs of established characters with reversed personalities, and then there’s the 2008 Botcon exclusive Shattered Glass Sideswipe. He is neither a clever repaint related to nor traditionally painted like Sideswipe. Heck, he doesn’t even have a reversed personality. Also, he now has a cute little boisterous, loudmouthed Mini-con friend, ironically named Whisper.
First up: his paintjob is from G2 Drench, complete with “Turbo” stamped on his tail-end. Second: his personality is the reverse of Armada Wheeljack rather than Sideswipe. Second and a half: Armada Wheeljack is also where his toy’s mold comes from, explaining why he now has a Mini-con that triggers pop-up, gullwing-door mounted missile launchers.
So, why is this guy Shattered Glass Sideswipe?
Because he basically has G1 Sideswipe’s head. For reasons that still mystify, the Takara designers that made the original Armada design of this toy gave him a Sideswipe homage for a head, despite neither Takara nor Hasbro calling the character Sideswipe.
Fine, so that’s why he’s Sideswipe rather than Shattered Glass Some Other Guy. Why the non-Sideswipe related personality?
With it’s sliced through Autobot symbol and tacked on Decepticon symbol — the Armada Wheeljack toy is specifically created to be an heroic Autobot who has gone over to the evil Decepticon side. This detail being built directly into the toy, Shattered Glass reverses the colours on his insignias and becomes an evil Autobot that has joined the side of the heroic Decepticons.
Once again, fine, that why he’s the ex-evil currently good guy and not some kind of reverse G1 Sideswipe. I really am fine with that, G1 Sideswipe’s personality was an extreme rule-bender with a penchant for underhanded tactics, the reverse of that sounds remarkably boring. Though the toy is definitely not one of my favourites to come out of the Armada line, most of my complaints are with the robot mode’s lack of useful articulation.
His paintjob works best in alt mode anyway so that’s usually how I display him. Speaking of which, why the G2 Drench paintjob? Because Hasbro was going to release a repaint of Armada Wheeljack as G2 Drench as a part of the Universe “Battle in a Box” subline but never did.
Seriously, Botcon folks, you had me up until then. The head and the chest detail went together perfectly to give us a Shattered Glass Sideswipe that is more interesting of a character than he should have been, but the paintjob is just an odd choice. They did justify the colour choice in his bio. In fact, it and the explanation of how he came to find himself on the other side of the battlelines pretty much makes up his entire bio,
“Once part of Prime’s elite Seeker unit, Sideswipe was feared as the most ruthless of the trio. Drench, the team’s leader, believed that there should be a balance between a stern hand and compassion. Though there was a difference in philosophy between the two, there was also a mutual respect. However, for Optimus, these were not traits he found appealing in his sub-commander and when the opportunity arose, he had Drench killed. Sideswipe, though ruthless, was loyal and did not agree with the fate that had been dealt to his fallen leader. Sensing a conflict in Sideswipe’s “loyalties,” Prime let Sideswipe walk into a staged ambush in which he and a fellow Autobot were left to die. Though the companion, who had been there by mistake, was killed, Sideswipe survived and ended up being accepted into the ranks of the Decepticons. While Sideswipe fights for different reasons than his new comrades, he fights nonetheless. As a tribute to his former commander, Sideswipe has taken the colors Drench once bore as a constant reminder to Prime that vengeance is coming.”
…Okay. Nevermind. You got me with that one. Shattered Glass Sideswipe takes on the paintjob of his dead boss to remind the psychopath Shattered Glass Optimus Prime that he’s going to revenge-kill him one day?
Well played, Botcon folks, well played.