Blackjack's review: Swerve
ROTF Deluxe Sideswipe
Ah, Swerve. The original character was a red-and-white retool of G1 Gears with an actual face. He showed up in a scene in the cartoon where he got stomped into the ground by Trypticon. In the Marvel comics, I don't think he ever appeared (save for one scene where Gears was miscoloured red-and-white). Swerve did appear in Dreamwave's G1 comics, as well as the current IDW comics, though haven't exactly been big players in either. The name Swerve would later be reused as repaints. The Cybertron line repainted Clocker as Swerve. Universe repainted Armada Blurr into Swerve. Universe had another super-exclusive Chevy Swerve mold that you get only if you buy a car. The 2007 Movie card game also had a Swerve character. Finally, more recently, ROTF repainted Sideswipe red as Swerve in deluxe class as well as Legends class, as a homage to G1 Sideswipe's deco and possibly to keep the trademark 'Swerve' in Hasbro's hands.
So Sideswipe appeared in the ROTF movie, as a badass swordsman-on-wheels, with his most memorable scene slicing Sideways into two. But he's silver, unlike the G1 red colours. Like what I've said with Sideways, solid gray is too generic and doesn't really work well in toy form, so I waited for the Swerve repaint to get the Sideswipe mold. The repaint looked better at that time and I was just tired of bland silver cars. Basically, I passed Sideswipe after seeing that there will be a red repaint. I got nothing against silver, but it's just not flashy enough. 'Sides, I need more red in my display racks. Too many blues, yellows, blacks and purples.
Swerve transforms into a Chevrolet Stingray concept car. Due to the whole General Motors bankruptcy and whatnot, the fate of the Stingray is kind of uncertain. Still, the Stingray is an a sleek and hot car, especially in red. Black rounds out the colour scheme in the windows and wheels, a little yellow and white on the tail lights, and the Corvette symbol at the front painted in bright golden-yellow.
The license plate is situated above Stingray's four exhaust pipes. Instead of something annoying like 'G1-51D35W1P3' or 'SWERVE', a red Autobot insignia sits snugly in the middle of the white license plate. Detailing is excellent, as with most other licensed vehicle modes in the movie lines. Those little grooves and cuts really give Swerve an Alternators-esque feel.
The robot mode pieces don't hold together very well in this mode, I'm afraid. The doors, each made by two separate pieces of the swords (I'll get to that in a bit) don't latch on very well to the other pieces of the car. Takes quite a bit of fiddling to get them to click on properly.
Another quibble with Swerve is that it doesn't roll too well. Swerve's knees poke out from his underside. Unlike other toys like, say Sideways, Swerve's knees are much worse and are practically scraping the floor when I try to roll him around. Not such a big deal for collectors, although playing with it might scrape off the silver finish on the knees.
Overall, a nicely designed and heavily detailed vehicle mode, but not free of problems. Still, it's adequate as the toy focuses more on the robot mode.
Swerve's transformation to robot mode is very fun to do, and rather well-designed. Swerve's very impressive, and looks actually sleek and nimble, something the first Movie's Jazz toy failed to deliver. The first thing you would notice if you already own Sideswipe is the new head sculpt for Swerve. It's a nice thing to know that they actually put effort in making Sideswipe different from Swerve beyond just painting him red. Swerve's face seems to be a stern movie-ized samurai face with a 'helmet' and a long goatee at the chin. A veeery long goatee. Regrettably the goatee causes the head's articulation to be nearly nullified.
The front part of the car separates and becomes the back kibble. The kibble is adjustable, and you can make it stay there as in the instructions, hanging there and hoping not to be noticed. You could also adjust them so they form window-wings like that of G1 Prowl/Bluestreak/Smokescreen, or you could simply point them down. I've heard people making them into chest-armour as well, but I can't quite manage to do that in a way that looks good.
Colours shifted from nearly pure red and added more blacks and a little light gray and yellow to break it up. Swerve's chest is made up from the back of the vehicle, the cabin into the backpack while the front lid separates into the 'wings' and part of his feet.
Yes, his feet. We have to get there sometime, don't we? Swerve's feet, like Sideswipe's, are pure wheels which do not translate well to toy form. Movie designs have sidestepped this by a lot of ways: Landmine's and Jazz's wheel-legs are more retractable roller-blades, while Bonecrusher's wheel-legs have those claw-toes to support him. Sideswipe's CGI model made him only with wheels as feet. The deluxe toy makes an effort to be accurate, by making the wheels as the feet. (The legends class toy, in contrast, ignored that and gave Sideswipe/Swerve proper non-wheel feet) Parts of the car's front end up as stabilizing toes. This doesn't effect Swerve's overall appearance much, though. Swerve is very unstable to stand, and I dread leaving him freestanding in display. Of course, with a steady hand and a pinch of patience, the toe and heel kibble can be adjusted so Swerve can stand properly.
Swerve's lower chest-section has a gold-painted Corvette symbol in it, a nice little touch to an already awesome toy. Two golden bone-like horns potrude on the side of Swerve's black-silver stomach, adding to his 'samurai' feel. I can't wait for Voyager class Bludgeon to come out...
The next point of interest is his awesomely designed legs. Fake pistons and springs adorn the knee. When the knee is folded, the pistons move and Swerve's silver knee-guards slide forward like tiny (albeit dull) blades. It's the Mech Alive feature to this mold. Nifty if you have to knee someone in the gut, and a nice little extra that doesn't harm the toy at all. His hip joins are fantastic in design. The ball joints are cast in transparent plastic to give an impression that the black rubber struts are all that connects the legs to the main body which is a nice little touch.
Each of Swerve's swords is made up of two separate halves that make up a door. Pull half of the sword and the other moves as well through gears. A neat little effect. However, the end result aren't as impressive as it could've been. The swords are too thick and don't look very threatening as a result. Too thick and the two halves that make up each sword is very evident. It's not so impressive compared to, say, 2007 Movie Wreckage's spring-out swords or ROTF Leader class Prime's swords of face decapitation. Still, the effect is there and he can manage to strike a few cool poses with two swords. Though it's a pity that the swords can't separate and be launched towards unsuspecting Sidewayses.
Overall, he's an awesome toy with lots of those little features that makes me adore a toy. Moreover, he has both excellent vehicle and robot modes, which is a rarity.
Marks out of ten for the following:
8/10 There's the silver paint problem as well. Also, the golden Corvette paint seems to be able to be scratched off quite easily. Those are just paint problems, however, and other than his lean build he looks pretty sturdy.
6/10 Nothing too challenging, standard Deluxe Class transformation. A little tricky for the young ones, perhaps, but easy enough. It's no Leader Prime.
8/10 The swords aren't as impressive as I'd thought (not after seeing what they had done with Prime and Wreckage anyway), which is a shame as the swords define the character. Still, the fact that he has arm blades is still awesome enough to ignore the fact that they are thick and impractical.
8/10 This guy is worth the money you're paying him, that's for sure.
8/10 Swerve is a simply fantastic toy. Certainly more fun than fellow Deluxe class car Sideways/Dead End, to compare. The swords are a little disappointing, but nothing that would detract from the sheer awesomeness of Swerve. If you haven't gotten Sideswipe, get him. He's a pretty nice toy.