Sideways (Transformers Armada)

Transformers Armada Sideways

Chaos (Unicron) faction symbolDouble Agents faction symbol
Name: Sideways
Partner name: Rook, Crosswise
Allegiance: Double Agents, Chaos
Function: Saboteur
Timeline: Unicron Trilogy

Efficiency through self-sufficiency.


Transformers Armada Sideways Decepticon robot mode Transformers Armada Sideways Autobot robot mode
Sideways is an enigma. He appeared during the Micron Wars, claiming allegiance to the Autobots. He has made a name for himself by carrying out his missions in a business-like manner which carries an air of impatience. Sideways never makes the time for small talk, often deflecting questions about his background and origins. Quickly, the Autobots have come to believe that Sideways is under the influence of his two Mini-Con partners who uniquely powerlink with Sideways to bring out the good or bad sides of Sideways' personality - Sideways claims to have no control over which Mini-Con powerlinks with him and thus which personality becomes the dominant one. Unbeknownst to the Autobots, Sideways is also working with the Decepticons. The Decepticons believe that Sideways is a double agent who works for the Decepticon intelligence service, and he is actually working for them to ensure the Decepticons gain control of the powerful Mini-Con super-weapons.

But Sideways is a consummate liar. And in reality, he is manipulating both sides.

The truth is that the one who calls himself Sideways was created by Unicron eons ago when Unicron reformatted a pair of warriors from another reality into a single being. Unicron gave Sideways a mission: to escalate the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons, ensuring that not only will the great Cybertronian war never end, but it will increase in its brutality. By doing this, Unicron is able to feed upon the hatred the combatants feel for one another, growing in strength until the time comes to completely destroy Cybertron and the rest of reality. Sideways himself is little more than an extension of Unicron's will. While he has a personality of his own, it only exists for as long as Unicron wishes it - Sideways knows that he is a hollow existence who Unicron can - and will - possess directly as an avatar when the time comes. Somewhere deep within Sideways, a fragment of the two Cybertronians he used to be still exists. They can only watch in tortured agony as Unicron uses their remade bodies for his twisted goals, blaming each other continuously for the sad fate they have been subjected to.

Rook and Crosswise

Transformers Armada Rook and Crosswise robot modes
Rook and Crosswise Rook and Crosswise are the pair of Mini-Cons who serve Sideways in his mission. Originally a single entity whose essence and personality were a copy of Sideways' own, he was split into two beings to better facilitate Sideways' mission of infiltration and subversion. Rook, like Sideways, is a business-like espionage expert; unlike Sideways, Rook is amiable and friendly, cracking jokes with those around him in the easy-going manner of an old friend - then betraying and destroying his new friends, savouring the look in his victims' eyes as they realise they've been duped.

Crosswise is the odd one out of the trio. The division of a single entity into two has had an adverse effect on Crosswise's neural processors, leaving him a klutzy, glitched mess of a mechanoid. He's socially awkward, nervously stammering out sentences. Alexis, the human ally of the Autobots, says Crosswise is "adorable". Crosswise has a lot of trouble fulfilling his role as a saboteur, feeling incredibly conflicted, but he manages to do it anyway because he's so clumsy. Sideways has noticed Crosswise's conflicted feelings about their mission. As a result, Sideways tends to use Crosswise as his head module to supress Crosswise's personality, and minimise the chance that Crosswise might compromise his mission.


Sideways is careful to keep his true abilities concealed. He presents himself as a 'bot of ordinary physical prowess - possessing slightly below average strength but excellent speed and agility. He's got a ninja-like ability to slip past opponents and guards - Sideways is very good at reading a situation and other individuals, and identifying the optimal moment to make his move. Sideways also makes use of these skills when he undertakes espionage missions, having embedded himself into both the Autobot and Decepticon factions and built up detailed profiles on all the Autobot and Decepticon warriors to work out who is the most suscepible to manipulation to further Unicron's goals.

In robot mode, Sideways is equipped with two arm-mounted weapons. His left arm has a magnetic destabiliser cannon, which can fire magnetised shells which seek out the nearest metallic object and paralyse their functions, leaving the unlucky victim at the mercy of Sideways. His right arm has a quadrophonic sonic blaster, which can disorient his targets, including inducing nausea or vertigo in both Cybertronians and humans. Sideways has access to this latter weapon in his motorcycle mode via his headlights. In motorcycle mode, Sideways can comfortably reach speeds of 250mph for a distance of 300 miles, but possesses a turbo boost allowing him to reach far greater speeds for short periods. Sideways' motorcycle mode is equipped with a reinforced suspension that allows Sideways to traverse rough offroad tracks as though they were smooth city streets.

In addition to these standard abilities, Sideways has a number of Unicron-granted special abilities, which he carefully conceals to maintain his cover among the Autobots and Decepticons. As well as the enhanced strength, speed and endurance Unicron grants most of his heralds, Sideways has been granted advanced shape-shifting abilities comparable to Amalgamous Prime himself. Sideways can dissolve himself into a cloud of nanites and reassemble himself a short distance away - effectively teleporting. Sideways can use this ability to repair any damage inflicted on his body, including regenerating lost limbs. While powerful, Sideways knows there are limits to his regeneration - he takes longer to fully recover from significant damage, and cannot survive complete obliteration, such as a point-blank blast from the Requiem Blaster.

Rook and Crosswise have completely average physical attributes. They are remarkable for just how plain and unremarkable they are, although Crosswise seems to have supernaturally bad luck. Each of them transforms into an alternative head module for Sideways - they have no independent alternate form. They bestow no particular abilities when powerlinking with other 'bots, although whomever they powerlink with does undergo a change to their personality. The pair have the ability to merge into a larger robot form based on their original singular robot form. This larger form, which is directed by Rook's consciousness, has the ability to disguise itself as an approximation of a human wearing motorcycle leathers and a helmet using advanced "Pretender" technology. This merged form possesses above average strength compared to other 'bots of the same size.


Because of his duplicitous nature, neither the Autobots or Decepticons actually trust Sideways. This in turn hinders Sideways' ability to achieve his true objectives, because he relies heavily on manipulating others to achieve his goals. Beyond this, Sideways is terrified of failing Unicron, because he knows that failure will lead to him suffering immense pain and psychic torture as punishment.

Motorcycle mode:

Transformers Armada Sideways Motorcycle mode

Author notes:

Sideways is an absolutely fascinating character and one of the highlights of the Transformers Armada cartoon for me. I feel that the reveal of what Sideways really is was such a memorable scene and the turning point of the whole show. I do wish a little more had been done with his unique power set since it isn't really shown again after the reveal episode.

One of the things I found a little confusing about Sideways was exactly what he is. Was he an individual? Was he actually Unicron himself? Were his Mini-Cons individuals? I wrote Sideways on the basis that he and his Mini-Cons are all one mind, but each manifests different aspects of Sideways' personality, with Crosswise being the bit that is resisting Unicron's influence. His ineffectual nature is a commentary on how useless it is for Sideways to try to resist. I took a cue from Energon Megatron and decided to have Sideways be his own individual, but one that Unicron will act through if Unicron ever requires a mouthpiece. Basically, he exists and has autonomy only as long as it pleases Unicron to allow him to exist.

I've added more of an origin for Sideways here. Sideways' packaging bio was a call back to another toy - Robots in Disguise Sideways - and I decided to run with the concept that this is Robots in Disguise Sideways and Axer, who'd somehow fallen between the cracks of reality and been forcibly reformatted into a single being by Unicron. Some of Sideways' abilities are inspired by what Sideways and Axer can do as a direct consequence of that. It's in character for Unicron to do that, and having two 'bots fused into one lifeform plays to the duality of Sideways.

Toys of Transformers Armada Sideways

Transformers Armada Sideways

Transformers Armada Sideways Autobot mode, alternate pose Transformers Armada Sideways Decepticon mode, alternate pose Transformers Armada Sideways robot mode without Headmasters
Transformers Armada Sideways Motorcycle mode, alternate angle Transformers Armada Sideways Rook robot mode Transformers Armada Sideways Crosswise robot mode
Transformers Armada Sideways Mirror robot mode Transformers Armada Sideways Mirror robot mode posed Transformers Armada Sideways Mirror robot mode alternate pose Transformers Armada Sideways with Mirror
Transformers Armada Sideways Autobot mode, fan head transformation 1 Transformers Armada Sideways Autobot mode, fan head transformation 2 Transformers Armada Sideways Decepticon mode, fan head transformation 1 Transformers Armada Sideways Decepticon mode, fan head transformation 2
Sideways' toy isn't the greatest, but it has a few cool features. I always appreciated how he was a motorcycle with a rider, and I always liked the Headmaster gimmick. I was never a fan of the official transformations for the heads - the Mini-Con legs as "horns" looked silly to me - so I always tuck them in. The last row of the photos above shows this fan transformation. There's also a Robot Masters version of Sideways who is a much more poseable version of the character and has a glorious deco, but he doesn't have that cool Headmaster gimmick or the rider, which is what I like about the original toy.

More information on Transformers Armada Sideways at TFW2005

See more Transformers Armada toys in my collection.