Hasbro Transformers Age of Extinction Strafe Hasbro, 2014
Day #968: July 21, 2014
Strafe Duo Evolution
Transformers Age of Extinction Toys R Us Exclusive 2-Pack
Item No.: No. A7754 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:2 swords, projectile, crossbow, Mini-Con "Strafe" Action Feature:Transforms from Pteranodon (sure) to robot Retail:$14.99 Availability: May 2014 Other: Thrilling 30 #26 of 30
The "evolution" nature of Strafe is a little strange to digest, because the original Dinobot was named Swoop, with other similar prehistoric flying creatures having names like Terranotron, Brimstone, Terrorsaur, and Skydive - so it's not so much an "evolution" as it is a set of similar creatures. The Mini-Con here "Strafe" is actually Dark of the Moon Rav, which was an alt channel/emerging channel exclusive - this is what used to be called "Market Six" but that's not a thing anymore since Kay-Bee and Kmart are no longer part of a top 5, but I digress. This is toy nerd stuff. Also toy nerd stuff: the side of the packaging for this set shows G1 Strafe, a Technobot, who is completely unrelated to the Dinobots as toys go. (In the cartoon, Grimlock was involved in their origin. Again, I digress.) The point is the Strafe set here is $15, and single Strafe at the time was normally $15 except at Walmart which makes this a pretty solid deal.
Big Strafe is nice - the transformation is incredibly simple for a "Generations" toy and I like that. The box says 10 steps, which is probably something of an exaggeration - the black, blue, and silver robot has legs that flip over, arms that attach to wings, and heads you need to move around - and that's really all there is to the transformation. It's incredibly easy and, again, awesome. The crossbow fits in either hand or a hole in the back, as do the swords which can fit in hands or holes on the wings. It's very nicely armed for a modern toy, but the rocket on my sample doesn't do much to clear the launcher.
The robot and the dinosaur are fundamentally the same, minus where the 3 heads go and how the feet are. Plug the arms into the wings, it's a "dinosaur." The twin heads of the beast look really cool, and each has several points of articulation plus an opening jaw. The positioning of the heads remind me of numerous Beast Wars toys, in that there's no real "correct" position for a piece to fit in - it has a huge range of movement, and goes there because the instructions say that's where to put them. Stock photography shows the heads in numerous positions, but it seems "like a vest" is the intended position. This figure will probably be remembered for its cool wrists, which can swivel up and down, and cursed for his awkward elbows, which don't quite bend like you would want. Getting a cool action pose out of this guy is difficult, but at least it looks acceptable standing around. The big wings are somewhat bulky, but they can swing around behind the figure or flare out like a gargoyle of two-headed death - you've got options. The toy itself has no real action feature to speak of, but opening beast jaws and decent articulation on the necks puts this one... head and shoulders above the rest.
The little guy, Mini-Con Strafe based on Mini-Con Rav which was repainted from Mini-Con Swoop. Since most fans aren't super-aware of the whole "Dollar Channel" assortments, odds are this is your first crack at the deco and it's pretty great. The designers did a nice job adapting this tiny figure to look sort of like G1 Swoop's cartoon model which was based on Diaclone Dinosaur Robo. It's a nice, but very small toy with few moving parts. The arms tend to pop off a bit from time to time, and the beast mode can stand or "fly" quite nicely. As always the Mini-Cons have those 5mm ports so you can slap it on your Armada and Energon toys. The deco is startlingly similar to 2010 Rav, but the big difference is in the printing on the belly of the beast. Strafe here has a date stamp and the SKU, while Rav just had the date stamp. It's kind of ugly, but Hasbro seems intent on doing it even though it's hideous and probably easy to hide. Well, whatever.
Your enjoyment of the set may depend entirely on price. I used store credit, so at free, it's great. The big guy at $10 would be a bargain, and at $15 doesn't seem like much of a bummer due to the giant wings and rubbery tails giving him a lot of heft. The Mini-Con is cool and was selling for $10 or so on his own earlier, so $15 for two perfectly fun little toys is a pretty decent price. If you basically dig how they look, other than big Strafe's arms, they're a lot of fun and things more or less work like you should expect. Unlike some more frustrating toys, I've kept this guy on my couch and I've been flipping him back and forth dozens of times, whereas some toys (Reveal the Shield Perceptor) I transformed once and said "screw this." Don't be afraid to buy this ridiculous two-headed monster, it's a lot of fun.
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