Review – Sideshow 12″ T-800 Terminator

1 05 2007

With the announcement of the Hot Toy’s T-800 Terminator Endoskeleton some months back, the 3 main faces of Arnold Schwarzeneger’s Terminator would be complete. We now have the shot up Terminator from Hot Toys, the Endoskeleton which is totally stripped of any synthetic flesh and now the Terminator who hijacked a biker for his clothes and Harley. It would have been great to be able to have all 3 of figures to be lined in my display cabinet. Sadly, Sideshow’s T-800 is the only figure I possess now.

I hesitated on buying Hot Toys’ ‘shot up’ Terminator as I found the face resembled more of a zombie out of Resident Evil than that of a cyborg. On hindsight, I wonder if that was an overly critical assessment. With my pre-order of the Endoskeleton, I just might re-look at picking it up. One big reason for the change of heart is definitely the mini-gun/gatling that comes with it! Can’t seem to find that anywhere! If anyone locates a source for it, do drop me a note!

All this talk here about the Terminator has certainly fired up my desire to re-watch T2! But before I leave to enjoy that classic cyborg movie, here’s the review of the figure that is meant to be a tribute to the Terminator’s 15th anniversary!



Sideshow’s T-800 looked good in the promo pics on the Sideshow website. But up close, it was something else. The best part about this figure is the good face sculpt. The box was a big let down for a 2006 produced figure. Although arrayed with a good set of accessories, the hands that came with the figure were hardly useful. The body used also felt awkward, different from those used in their Star Wars and Lord of the Rings line. For a Sideshow product, this T-800 figure has quite a few major areas stacked against it. Proceed with caution.

What’s good:

  • Good sculpt.
  • Good array of accessories.
  • Nice details on weapons.

What could be better:

  • A step back in box design.
  • Awkward body underneath renders the figure unposeable.
  • Flimsy sunglasses.
  • Hand offerings are abysmal.
  • Loose handgun clip.

Review Details


For a 2006 Sideshow product celebrating the 15th anniversary of Terminator movies, this box housing the T-800 figure is terrible. It really spells ‘cheap’ from the exterior to the interior. I reached this conclusion after I explored the box in this review and not solely based on its cover.

At the onset of collecting this figure, I was rather tolerant with the box art. It was uninspiring, dull and it’s exterior looked dated without the use of the magnet to secure the flap. (Hmm… how our expectations grow with innovations…) Try putting it side by side with Hot Toy’s much earlier released T-800 figure and you will see the difference!

But my opinion changed after I noticed certain familiar things about the box. First of all, it still employs the use of those twistie wires to secure the figure onto the box. I absolutely hated those. They conjured up memories of how I had to painstakingly un-twine my Hasbro Star Wars 12″ figures from their individual boxes when I shifted into my new home. I had a stack of those twisties and their plastic binders (don’t know what they are called. It’s those plastic pieces with 2 holes to let the twisties through.). It was terrible. Your fingers get tired from twisting the wires and all that pushing and turning to release the figure.

And this is exactly what is present in this T-800’s box. I nearly wanted to double check the Sideshow website to check if this product came from them or a third party vendor. Too bad, it is Sideshow.

Next, I noticed that the plastic tray holding the figure and accessories were snipped ‘strategically’ to avoid using adhesive tapes to secure them. I’ll try to describe as best as I can. For example, imagine the slot holding the broken cue stick would have a rounded impression to hold it. This impression is actually snipped in the centre in two places and pushed upwards thereby creating a complete circular holder for the cue stick when it is pushed through the impression. So a small section of the cue stick will have its underside exposed due to part that is cut. It does the job of holding the accessory but it’s really a poor man’s implementation. Wouldn’t it take more effort to cut those slits?

This is pervasive throughout the other accessories. So what you get is a hole is cut in the tray to allow a trigger finger of the extra hand to go though it and thereby hold the entire hand in the tray. Wouldn’t it be better to mold the plastic tray to have proper holders? Unless this tray is being reused? Anyway, for a product out of Sideshow, it seems outsourced!

You know this box is bothering me when I have written so much in this section!


With regards to the headsculpt, it turns out that the sunglasses are very important. To summarise, this T-800 resembles Arnie as the Terminator WITH the sunglasses on. Without it, he does looks like… erm… Val Kilmer? Ha. At least in my opinion. The face sculpt is not that accurate. But somehow, the pics looked so much better than the actual thing. Nevertheless, it is a commendable effort!

With the sunglasses on, the resemblance is uncannily accurate. Full marks to Sideshow for the WITH-sunglasses-sculpt. I guess this zero in on the problem of the sculpt to the eyes.

And expected, this is probably how I will display this figure in my display cabinet. So unless you plan to swop in and out those shades based on the season, the lack of resemblance of the actual facesculpt should not be too big an issue given the sculpt’s strength behind those sunglasses.

Quality of Product

I have no complains in the clothes department of Sideshow’s T-800. In fact, besides the facesculpt, the clothes are probably the next major influence in helping this figure resemble Arnie’s Terminator in T2.

The main complaint I have are the hand offerings. Sideshow’s T-800 comes with 3 hands – 2 by default are on the figure with an extra right hand. 2 hands are trigger hands – one for the shotgun and the other for the pistol. The third hand is a… um… claw hand. This hand resembles my hands if I were to jump out of the dark to give Mrs SWFToys a scare. See the pics to understand better!

Anyway, this ‘claw’ hand cannot hold any accessories because its grip is way too wide. The only thing I could think of for it to hold firmly are the plastic binders that came with the box. Of course, I could stick the cigar between its fingers but it seemed really useless. It’s too small to grab the T-1000’s neck and too big even hold the shotgun properly.

The shotgun trigger hand is obviously sculpted for that weapon with the bigger hold in the hand’s grasp. This leaves the pistol trigger hand to cater for the pistol, cue stick and knife. Being a trigger hand, the index finger sticks out looking ugly when wielding the cue stick or knife. Moreover, the grip on the cue stick and the knife is not convincingly firm. I would have preferred one of those lightsaber wielding hands from Sideshow’s Star Wars line.

And should you decide to pose the figure with the cue stick in the pistol hand, then you will forfeit the ability to hold the shotgun firmly with the shotgun hand since both are right hands. The ‘claw’ hand is the only left hand but it is not very useful. Why can’t I have my T-800 holding a shotgun and the cue stick or knife at the same time? There’s got to have some planning for 12″ hands man!


Often, figures stand properly after certain adjustments to the torso, hips and limbs to get the CG right. It takes an effort to adjust Sideshow’s T-800 to make it stand with stability. This is largely due to the nude body’s torso having the tendency to resist adjustments. I tried adjusting the articulation in this area but the body often springs back to the default straight position. After a while I focused on adjusting the hip and legs to get this figure to stand properly.

So this T-800 is not the most poseable and inevitably most stable figure I’ve come across in my purchases. While I managed to get it to stand with reasonable stability, it was tough to achieve stability with other poses. The nude body underneath did feel rather basic but I was not able to confirm it without stripping the T-800.


This is another department where Sideshow’s T-800 excel. Accessories included here are:

  • Sunglasses
  • Cigar
  • Broken cue stick
  • Shotgun
  • Pistol with removable clip/magazine
  • Hunting knife

Honestly, some of the accessories are truly unique – cue stick, cigar. I was able to put the cigar between the ‘claw’ hand’s fingers and it looked great. The cue stick brings memories of the scenes in the movie.

The sunglasses looked much better than those ‘Doc Oct’ shades on my Hot Toys Aviators. However, it can be rather flimsy. Minor adjustments by me to make the sunglasses fit on the head quickly produced those white warnings on the plastic. Areas that threaten to snap are the sunglasses’ bridge and sides. Handle it with care.

Both the shotgun and the pistol also has nifty details to it. I believe most audiences would remember the way T-800 corked the shotgun while battling T-1000 in the truck vs bike canal scene. He was swinging it in rounds single-handedly. Looks cool in the movie but it may damage the weapon in real life! Anyway, the shotgun’s corking lever is movable too!

The pistol sports a removable clip. But beware, it’s pretty loose. Don’t loose it! As such, it can be a challenge to have the figure’s hand hold the gun with the clip in it. It also mimics a pistol without anymore rounds with a movable slide to expose a short length of the barrel.

I guess Sideshow’s T-800 concentrates on the Terminator before Cyberdyne infiltration. It’s a good focus since Hot Toys’ T-800 was designed after the Terminator during the firefight with the police. So each has its unique focus on the movie. So, there is no minigun or grenade launcher here.







5 responses

21 05 2007

Hey, man. nice review. I didn’t get this because of all the negatives you pointed out.

I think the Hot Toys Terminator was taken from the first movie (check out the clothes). Also you probably know this already, but the sculpt was supposed to be a complete arnold head, but when he didn’t give his permission to use his appearance, Hot Toys had to introduce the damage. Much like the McFarlane one many years earlier. I was Schwarzenegger would get off his high horse already and give his fans what they want. It made me think he was a bit of a jerk for being so protective.

21 05 2007

Hey 8sam, yeah man. He’s aging now. Should allow his sculpt to be used to prolong his ‘legacy’.

Maybe I should have gotten T-1000 instead! Including the police motorcycle helmet would have tipped the scale! *sigh*

25 05 2007

vince, is your’s the exclusive version? If not, any idea what additional accessories are included in the exclusive version? Thanks.

26 05 2007

Exclusive? I was not aware of an exclusive for this. I did not see one on the Sideshow website.

27 01 2008

Awesome review! I completely agree with all the things you’ve stated here. I dont own the figure, but I saw it in a local hobby shop. Will get the HT BDT-800 instead. More bang for the buck. And yes the HT figs are based on the first movie. Thats why T-800 has a SPAS-12 and an Uzi.

The exclusive T-800 came with the rosebox to store the shotgun in. Remember the scene where he first encounters the T-800, he was carrying the Winchester in a box full of roses. Thats the deal. Keep up with the excellent reviews and quality pics! Hope you review the T-800 BD from HT.

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