Alternate Mode: Pteranodon
Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Swoop for this review
Height: 12cm Length: 9cm Width: 22cm
A grey pteranodon with light grey wing membranes and gold claws, Swoop has a red crest, gold beak and light blue eyes. There's a silver Autobot logo on his head and some gold on his shoulders, but it's a fairly simple colour scheme overall. The colours loosely resemble those of the G1 version, although there's no chrome here, and no transparent plastic. The overall semblance is obvious, mind you. It's an attractive colour scheme although the eyes are hard to pick out since they're in sunken pits.
Swoop is lanky and spindly, with very long legs that quite frankly do a terrible job of pretending they're not somehow robot legs. They've tried to fold all his organic shapes up nicely, but failed to really do so. The simple use of robot legs as beast legs, arms at the front of wings and general shape reminds me of Beast Machines - and for the wrong reasons. The colour scheme and sculpt are more coherent than on many toys of that era, mind you - and thankfully there's no random use of transparent plastic. He still looks like a deformed chicken to me, but the sculpt on the wings is nice and the homage is well executed.
Swoop's play value is minimal here. The legs are fully poseable but they're set back so you can't really strike any dynamic poses of he'll topple over - it's not like pteranodon's were built for kung-fu fighting anyway. His mouth opens and the head can tilt forward but you have to be careful you don't pull it apart. His wings are fixed, any attempt to pose them will just pull the robot arms off. What's annoying about this is that there _are_ hinges for you to flap the wings, but they end up being useless. There are no weapons available - and I can deal with this in itself, but it's frustrating that the robot mode's rather cool mace weapon can't do anything except sit to the side here.
A passable pteranodon mode with decent colours and a clear homage, but it's also one that falls into BM's trap of looking like a squatting robot mode (which is what Swoop is, sadly). The useless weapon is annoying and the poseability is limited. The sculpt is nice, and along with the focused tribute, is enough to save a fairly weak beast mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unclip the arms from the front of his wings, swing the wings back. Split his belly and pivot the halves forward, fold down the beak between the halves, forming the robot chest and revealing the robot head. Pivot the wings up to form his backplate, locking the chest together. Straighten the limbs and give Swoop his weapon.
Height: 13.5cm Width: 6cm
A grey robot with gold hands and feet, a gold beak on his chest and fold forehead, Swoop has cobalt blue on his groin and upper arms. His face is metallic silver while his eyes are baby blue and his crest is red. The silver Autobot logo is now visible on his chest. The colours again tribute the original Swoop nicely. Aside from the light grey of his wings being relegated to his backpack, the overall colour scheme is quite similar to that of his beast mode.
A very lanky robot with claws for hands and feet, Swoop again reminds me of Beast Machines. I'll admit I don't like the overly lanky look of standupformers like this, but what really disappoints me is the fact that this lazy design produces odd looking modes, rather than the unusual look being a distinct design choice. There are some nice visual aspects here however - the crest in his head and the beak on his chest are attractive elements and tribute the original. There are little gold spines on his shoulders which also look nice and the spiked ball weapon is visually impressive. The blue eyes look nice, but Swoop has no mouth, only an ill-defined mouthplate.
The play value here is a little limited although his actual poseability is excellent. His shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles and neck are all ball jointed while there are swivels in the shoulders and hinges in the knees along with the ball joints. His waist turns, and is the only spot lacking a ball joint. The elbow joints are underhanded - he really needed rotators, at least. The heelspurs aren't quite big enough to handle the grey cape (wings) on his back, so standing Swoop up can be a little tricky. The mace weapon features an awesome grey linked-chain, and it's quite heavy. The mace ends up causing issues with the shoulders - the pegs holding the torso onto the backplate aren't as strong as they should be, so his shoulders tend to pop out and sag down. This is more of a peg issue than a fault of the weapon, but it does dampen my enthusiasm for this cool weapon.
The poseability is easily Swoop's high point here. His mace weapon is also a great feature and the G1 tribute is handled well. The bodyshape is awfully lanky, and is a by product of an uninspired transformation. Weight distribution issues hurt what should have been stunning play value - it's still great but the heelspurs and tabs at the heart of these problems should have been better.
None that I'm aware of.
An ambitious toy in some ways and a lazy toy in many others, Swoop is a toy likely to be loved or hated. The play value is robot mode is good despite some weight issues - the poseability ends up suffering needlessly. The colours and tribute both work well, and the placement of beast parts in robot mode is another positive. Annoyingly, the transformation is only a small step above the "stand up and fiddle with the limbs" concept so common in Beast Machines, and this is my main gripe - Swoop ends up being very simple with an odd shape in both modes. The robot mode is in proportion with itself, but the beast mode looks like he's in real pain. If you want poseability and like your beasts lanky, Swoop might please, but I just can't endorse this toy - 6/10