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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
Robot Mode:
Alternate Mode:
Box Art:

Numbat's review: Universe Swerve

Name: Swerve
Function: Metallurgist
Subgroup: Chevrolet Exclusive

Swerve is a relatively commonly reused name in the Transformers Universe. Way back in 1986, Swerve was a Minibot (remould of Gears), and served as the Autobots’ resident metallurgist. This G1 incarnation was rather grumpy, and transformed into a cool little 4x4. As the years passed, Swerve has had a number of subsequent incarnations, but, unlike many other G1 scientists, he has not become a warrior, and generally retains his metallurgist role. However, he has never since transformed into a 4x4 – instead becoming yet another Autobot sportscar in the Cybertron, Universe, Alternator and more recently Revenge of the Fallen lines.

This version of Swerve was released in 2008, as an exclusive to Chevrolet dealers in Switzerland, the Arab Emirates and, apparently lesser know, the UK. No matter what anyone says, he was available as a mail-order from UK Chevy dealers (from their parts catalogue!), as this is how I managed to get hold of mine (and Clay’s). Later he was re-released in Canada as an exclusive to their Chevy dealers in 2009.

Chevy Swerve does not include a bio, however, I would be inclined to suggest that he is still the Autobots’ reliable metallurgist.

The figure, while placed in the Universe line, is very much a Movieverse figure – and a rather nifty figure at that.

Now, as a wee bit of background, I did almost sell this figure. Clay kindly talked me out of it, and I am very glad he did. The sale was at a time when I was being ‘encouraged’ to cut my collection substantially, and I basically axed all figures that didn’t have a character behind them. Swerve is the only figure without a character that escaped this fate. And, frankly, he is one of the best figures in my collection. It will never find its way into my sale lists again. Thanks Clay, I owe you!

Now, on to the review.


Alternate Mode:

Swerve has ditched his favoured sportscar alternate mode for this first time since the ‘80s. However, he has not returned to his more functional 4x4 – instead he transforms into a very detailed red Chevrolet Aveo saloon (known as Chevy Lacetti in UK, or Daewoo Kalos for most of the world) subcompact family car. As far as I am aware, this is something of a rarity in the Transformers universe (certainly at the time of release), although Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF) did see a number of lower end and less sporty car modes.

Measuring 51/8” (13cm), Swerve’s Aveo mode is around 1/33 scale. Photos show him as RED, but in person the figure is not quite so dayglo. The red paint used on some parts blends seamlessly with the red plastic (although warning! This red paint seems to scratch off easily!). Details are picked out in silver and black, with a gold Chevy symbol and darker red Autobot insignia on the bonnet. The windows are transparent blue, as are the headlights.

The Aveo mode rolls well, and none of the robot mode is visible (except for a few nondescript parts of the arms and waste through the windows, although these are fairly obscured).

All in all, the Aveo mode is quite fantastic – it looks better, has more paint apps and detailing, and holds together more solidly than most Movieverse (2007 Movie or ROTF) cars. However, it is a fairly unassuming car, so will never look spectacular on display! However, my first car was a red Vauxhall Corsa, so this is probably the closest I’ll ever get to a Transformer resembling my car. If you own an Aveo or Kalos, here’s your chance to own a Transformer that is your car!

Let’s face it, few of the more recent Transformers have alternate modes normal mortals could ever hope to own... (Bar Skids now – as a Chevy Spark. But does anyone want to own Skids?)


Robot Mode:

Swerve’s transformation is fairly intuitive, but unique. While he may appear to have a simplified version of Deluxe Concept Camaro Bumblebee’s transformation, in reality he is rather different. In some respects, the arms are, but this is where any similarity ends. The legs are particularly inventive, and amongst my favourite components of any Transformer’s transformation.

Standing 5” (14cm) tall, Swerve is a decent sized Deluxe figure. He’s rather bulky, and looks like a bruiser (or perhaps a hands-on metallurgist?). Something you notice straight away is the lack of kibble. Other than the doors on his shoulders (which, in fairness, look very cool!), there is zero kibble. Everything finds a place, resulting in a very nicely proportioned figure.

Couple the lack of kibble and amazing articulation (with 16 meaningful points!), Swerve is extremely poseable. Thanks to good weight distribution and chunky feet mounted on articulated ankles (using two hinges, rather than a loose ball joint), Swerve is remarkably versatile for display.

While red still dominates the robot mode, black and dark grey become more prominent in the arms, waist and legs. The design is quite fluid – almost biomechanical – and is carried throughout (including a ‘spine’ visible through the windscreen that makes up Swerve’s back armour).

The head design is definitely more at home in Movieverse than anywhere else (although could be used as a G2 Decepticon, perhaps!). Largely red, details are picked out in black, grey and silver. A blue visor with fantastic light piping completes this rather unusual design.

I have to admit, the overall chunky biomechanical design, combined with the head, reminds me more than a little of Robocop...

Which is no bad thing. Chevy Swerve has a fantastic and original robot mode, that looks great on display.

Swerve has no apparent weaponry, adding to the possibility that he still is a metallurgist. However, he looks like he could give you a fair wallop in a brawl!

Ultimately, Chevy Swerve has a perfect alternate mode, fun, unique and intuitive transformation, and a superb robot mode. It is, frankly, one of the best Deluxe figures in recent years. It seems a shame, therefore, that the mould was only available as an exclusive for a non-character.


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 10 – The transformation is fun, unique and intuitive. What’s more, every part of the car finds a place in the robot mode. Perfectly engineered!
Durability: 8 – Swerve is very chunky and sturdy. Plenty of parts can pop off and reattach if you try and force them to do something unnatural. However, I have found that the red paint used on some parts scratches off easily, so you need to treat the figure with care!
Fun: 8 – Swerve is fantastic fun to fiddle with. The only factor holding him back is his lack of character...
Aesthetics: 10 – Swerve looks amazing in either mode! I still enjoy looking at him, and marvelling at how such a simple design can deliver so remarkably perfect a robot mode and realistic car.
Articulation: 10 – Swerve is one of the most poseable Transformers I have ever owned. In fact, I think he is the most poseable Transformer I have ever owned.
Value/Price: 7 in 2008, 3 in 2010 – I bought Swerve through a UK Chevy dealership in 2008, and he cost slightly more than a Deluxe figure off the shelf at the time (15 [$24] if I recall correctly – which happens to be close to current Deluxe retail price). I would say he was worth that. Aftermarket prices skyrocketed, reaching over 100 ($160) for a time. Thanks to the recent Canadian release (2009), prices have now dropped to a more reasonable 50 ($80) or so. Now, this is a great figure, but I wouldn’t pay that for it...
Overall: 10 – This figure really is superb. If you can grab it at a reasonable price, you’d be a fool not to. However, that seems an unlikely situation to find yourself in...
 
 
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