Where to begin? I was wondering where the heck Swerve with Flanker was - despite showing up overseas late last year, after being revealed what feels like a year ago, the figure showed up in my neighborhood about a week ago. I checked the date stamp on the figure's cardback, which indicates my sample was manufactured in March 2014 - so Hasbro wasn't sitting on these like some other delayed items. It's just, for some reason, they put out Megatron and Starscream in July of 2013 and waited this long to put out the next wave. The good news is that the wait was worth it. I just read most of IDW's More Than Meets The Eye comic in the last month, and I totally get why people are going nuts for this guy.
The 3 3/4-inch robot isn't exactly tall, but that's consistent with his character. In the MTMTE comic, he's basically a bartender on a starship commanded by Rodimus Prime. So he's Guinan in Ten Forward, but not. Before I continue, I'd suggest reading this series if you have the means via digital, collected books, libraries, or, uh, "other." You get Transformers-flavored takes on what is for all intents and purposes a same sex (or no gender) relationship, Cyclonus on a ship of Autobots, religious zealots, corrupt Autobot government agents, and some wonderfully quotable quotes. I say this as someone who soured on comic books completely a couple of years ago... this series is a keeper, and Swerve is an utter delight in the comic. The series has him as a Cybertronian vehicle of some sort, while the toy is an update of his Earthy G1 alt mode.
The toy is similar to previously released Scouts and Basics in your toy boxes. The head can slide forward and backward, each arm has 2 joints, and the legs and knees can move too. He's sturdy and stiff, complete with 5mm peg holes in his hands for Flanker or your other weapons. Or My First Blaster. Or Playmobil drinks. Or whatever third-party accessories are surely en route. Deco is good, with the white legs painted silver, numerous white highlights, and a comic-accurate face with a great, goofy grin. When purchasing this figure in stores, pay very close attention to his white paint - some samples have thinly applied coloring, so some look better than others by quite a bit. His hands are c-shaped fists of sorts, so he can't do the pointy thing with his finger from the comics or packaging. Other than that, most of the major details from the comic carry over on the toy which leads me to wonder if the toy is based on an old design which also provided the basis for the comic, or what. Either way, it's a more than acceptable representation of the comic character with bright colors and more personality than I'm used to getting from Transformers faces. Seriously, when is the last time we saw a really good, toothy mouth? Beast Wars?
Transformation is a bit like Cybertron Swindle and Hardtop. The legs fold back and become the back of the vehicle, the arms slide in toward the body, and the front wheels fold under the hood - once you extend that up. A tricky bit in the torso allows you to swing the white body forward a bit. He's solid in both modes, and unlike many other toys it's a fun process I think I'll never get sick of. I'm not seeing any obvious stress or hangups, so this is one of the better new toys.
The crossover mode - I guess that's what it's called, I don't know cars - is good. The wheels roll freely and it's sturdy, relatively free of action features save for a 5mm hole in the hood so you can mount Flanker, Energon weapons, or a BMOG bit. Like most vehicles, there's not a lot to say here - you get black windows, silver bumpers, silver wheels, and a few other sparse details. It's more expensive than similarly sized toys of 9 years ago, but that's life.
Flanker is an update of a Micromasters toy named Sky High, but in swapped colors - the original G1 toy was a white Concorde Super Sonic jet, the new one is blue. As some have pointed out, sculpted details in robot mode mimic vestigial artifacts of the screw hole and wheels from the original, and he features a similar head sculpt with red painted face. The detail work in the sculpt is vastly improved over the original with panels and feet and other bits brought to life, but it's also simple enough that I'm sure you could say to someone "this is a real G1 toy!" and they'd agree with you. (Hey, they think Masterpiece Optimus Prime was the one they had as a kid in 1984, they'll believe anything.) At 2-inches tall, this is one of the more complicated sidekick toys from this assortment. You have moving arms, sure, but you also have to fold the wings back to get the robot mode. The nose cone must be folded back so he can stand, and it hides the 5mm red peg that allows Swerve to carry him as a weapon. You can also see painted white detailing under his wings, which is a heck of a nice touch in the increasingly cost-conscious, penny-pinching toy trade.
Before I read the comics I was more excited for his casemate, Cosmos. I still dig the new Cosmos (review incoming) but Swerve has a lot going for him. If you don't have too many red toys named Swerve yet between the Aveo, the mini car in Cybertron, the original G1 minibot, the Alternators car, and all the rest? Get one. This one has more personality than most of the rest all put together. If Flanker were sold as a third-party accessory for $10, you'd buy it. If Swerve were sold as a third-party toy for $40... well, it kind of was. This is cheaper, and will easier to get - so show support for the genuine article by saving some cash and wasting President Alexander Hamilton on Swerve. It's worth it.
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