Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Transformers Generations Legends Swerve and Flanker

Hasbro completely revamped their Legends class figures last year, with the introduction of the new Generations figures into that scale.

After the Legends class was renamed "Legion", the original name was bought back and applied to a new line of figures that were about the same size and complexity of the old Scout class. Confused? Aren't we all.

Yet again, Hasbro UK chose to let us down by not importing them all into the British Isles, so Toys'R'Us stores up and down the country can still be found stuck trying to shift Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, which were the first two in the new line, followed by Starscream and Megatron (not released here). Swerve and Cosmos came next, and Swerve at least is bigger than the previous 4.

Swerve has arguably been IDW's most successful revamp. In Generation 1, he was a later era minibot, from the Gears mold, but got almost zero exposure in any fiction.

IDW then chose to brilliantly give him his own personality, and he has become a huge fan favourite. So we come to this toy, which is Hasbro's interpretation, of IDW's interpretation of Generation 1 Swerve.

Confused again?

Hit the button below to see more photo's and read the review.

Truck Mode

Chunky, compact and rugged are all great terms that describe the look of Swerve's pickup truck style alt mode. It borrows elements from real world vehicles, without directly being based on one.

In the comics, Swerve has not been to Earth, so has never had an Earthen mode, but this still manages to look like what you expect Swerve to turn into if he did somehow wind up on ball of mud.

Its strange because whilst his Generation One toy was a completely fictionalised vehicle, in a super deformed style- there is a lot of that in this update.

There is a clearly "squished" aesthetic going on, and the white on the shins, which form the truck bed in car mode, are call backs to the rear of the truck on the original toy. The cartoony proportions work in its favour, and thoroughly play to the character of Swerve.

It is a very sturdy truck, with all of the pieces snapping together to hold very tightly. With the wheels being very large, there is plenty of clearance and so it rolls very well.

I give Hasbro a lot of props for this alt mode as there are no gimmicks or hyper detailing, and what you get is a nice, solid, cool looking little truck.

I dig it.

Robot Mode

Transformation is wonderfully simple, without being G1 easy. You pull the side panels out to form the arms, flip the legs out, then fold the bonnet back and there you have Swerve.

Specifically the Swerve we all know and love from the IDW comics.

Hasbro have done an excellent job of capturing IDW's design, particularly when the alt mode is nothing like the one he has in the comics.

Swerve's body has that short, but chunky look, and all of the details are captured here very nicely.

Just like the truck mode, the robot mode holds together extremely tightly, and there is no dangling kibble anywhere to be found.

With the face, they have worked a small miracle in getting it very close on Legends sized figure. A cheeky smile is there, which is exactly what you would expect of comic book Swerve. Is it perfect? No, and the Maketoys 3rd part figure does a better job, but then that is at a much higher price.

The disappointing thing with the head is it can only look up and down, there is no side to side movement and if there is one character who's head really needed to be on a ball joint- it's Swerve.

He is a very expressive character, so being able to tilt the head would make all the difference. Having it only move up and down, robs the figure of a degree of personality.

The legends line has been hit and miss with the head articulation, some can look up, some can turn sideways, others have got no movement at all-there it's a lack of consistency across the board.
With each of the legends figures being fairly awesome so far, it's a bit of a disappointment.

Continuing with the theme of articulation, other than the head, Swerve is fantastic, and incredibly poseable. The shoulders, elbows and hips are all on ball joints so you get an excellent range of motion out of them, and the knees also bend.
Bonus articulation can be found in the chest, where as part of the transformation the central section is on a hinge.

It is a figure that has great balance due to the wide, flat feet, so you can get some awesome poses out of Swerve, which is very important in terms of this character.

So far it is pretty clear that Swerve is an excellent, well made figure so here we hit a bit a little bit of a bump in the road with the quality control, specifically regarding the paint application.

Above you can see Swerve's Silver thighs, and where the paint is scratched and chipped. With the figure being otherwise good it's something I can overlook, but its an annoyance and a worry that it may lead to more coming off. Also, the paint on the face seems thinly applied with bits of it coming off, and the blue visor paint not being fully applied.

Last but not least, we come to scale. If you are building a Lost Light crew, Swerve's diminutive stature carries over well from the comics and into the toy. So you can pose him with Whirl, Skids (who I don't have) and co and he won't look out of place.

Swerve, like all of the legends figures, comes with a smaller minicon sized figure, in this case it is Flanker. Flanker's alt mode is a drone, and looks nice enough.

Transforming him into a robot is very simple, you cold the nose up, the wings back and you are done. It is extremely easy, just like the rest of these small figures, and the end result is still a cool looking little figure.

His robot mode is a cool design, and is according to the TFwiki a homage to the Generation One Micromaster Sky High. His arms move, but that's all the articulation you get here, but as it is only a tiny figure it's not too bad.

He does however suffer a similar problem to Swerve in the QC stakes, as his paint on his head is chipping off.

The cause of the chipped paint here, is the transformation to his 3rd mode-a gun for Swerve. The way you transform him, means his chest and legs swing up and tab in above his head. But that often means they rub on his head, and the paint just flakes off.

It is very annoying, as it looks rubbish.

Swerves roof does have a peg hole on top, for mounting Flanker in weapon mode.

You can plug him into the top of Swerve and you get an attack vehicle mode I guess. It's not something I will use, but its an option which skews more to kids who will play with the toy.

In that sense I would say it works well, and I even made shooty noses. To be entirely honest, it does not look too out of place as it could well be something that's leapt from the pages of the comics.

So here we get to the end of the review, and its time for to give my final thoughts.
To sum up- this is a brilliant toy.

Legends figures are quite expensive now, but it feels a fair price for this figure, with its strong comic book accuracy, incredibly expressive articulation and all round fun factor. Paint issues aside, this is a very solid figure that is fun in the hands of kids, but works perfectly as a collectors figure.

I just wish Hasbro UK would bring these figures to our shores, it feels like we are missing out on some of the best Transformers figures for a long while, at a time when the Transformers brand is back in the public eye with the new movie. These figures are far superior to what they are putting out for the movie, as well as sitting at a reasonable price point for parents to buy them for kids.

He is a perfect desk toy, as you will constantly pick him up and mess with him, transforming him back and forth and posing him.

If you can get it, then I would highly advise it as you are unlikely to be disappointed. In the words of Mrs Doyle "Ah go on"

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