Cliffbee.com: Swerve & Roadhandler Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Swerve
Series: Transformers Universe
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Futuristic Sports Car



CAR MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 15cm Width: 8cm

   A red sports car with transparent yellow windows and headlights, Swerve has black blue missile launchers under his spoiler, black tyres and silver hubcaps. The missile launchers are actually depicted as silver on the card picture, close inspection will reveal the toy in that picture to be a handpainted Blurr. The missiles themselves are black, along with some lines and panels here and there. This colour scheme is both markedly different to Blurr's and attractive in it's own right.

   The red is really the only thing that really links this toy to his G1 namesake, but at least this is a name that hasn't been previously reused. This is a sleek, attractive car and the name is appropriate enough, even if swerving at speed isn't a wise idea.

   Swerve's canopy actually opens, which adds to the G1 feel that this mould has. It's not a Diaclone cockpit, rather it opens and springs shut to facilitate his transformation. Swerve has dead hardpoints on either side of his spoiler, which look like they should activate the launchers underneath, but don't - you can mount the missile launchers on these hardpoints, which is why he has these ports. The launchers look pretty good on the spoiler.

   Swerve's main gimmick in car mode is designed specifically around Roadhandler. If you slide Roadhandler underneath the spoiler, he'll activate two small black catches, releasing the sides, which fold down like pontoons. There are moulded turbines on the sides now, so they're quasi-wings. These turbines were painted on Blurr, but have been left unpainted here which is a bit annoying. He looks pretty cool in this configuration - which is almost a third mode - although he can no longer roll since the rear wheels are now on their sides. The launcher triggers are now exposed, and the launchers can be fired by attaching any Minicon to the live hardpoints on top and sliding forward. Meanwhile the launchers can be mounted on either the wings or spoiler. Incidentally, if you don't have Roadhandler handy, you can actually manually slide the black catches back to deploy the wings.

   It's a fun car mode, a good mould and a distinctive yet attractive repaint - many Universe repaints are distinctive only due to bad colour choices. There are two sets of hardpoints, so he can potentially wear four Minicons - five if you include Roadhandler's rear slot. The missile launchers stay attached to his wings better than Blurr's do, but with the unpainted turbines things work out about equal.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Firstly, you'll have to open out the wings, and you might want to remove the launchers to prevent them falling off during the transformation. Fold the doors down, swing the front out to either side, swing the robot legs down and extend them. Fold the rear half of the car down onto his back, slide up his shoulderpads. Fold down his groinplate and swing his arms down. Lastly fold out his feet and heelspurs and attach Minicons or missile launchers as desired.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 14cm

   Still mainly red, with a little more black visible, on his head, elbows, hands and thighs (which are silver on the card picture). The groin, shins and feet are silver, along with his face, which has blue eyes. Again the only real similarity to the G1 toy is the red - this is a slicker looking robot with a red cape, unlike the blocky Minicar. Central on his chest is a raised Autobot logo, which is painted silver. While the relief is painted on Blurr, they've painted only the logo itself here, and as a result it looks about ten times better. I'm pretty happy with the subtle shift in paintmask here - most of it you wont notice unless you directly compare, yet it gives Swerve a different look than that of his predecessor. This robot mode looks great, and with the improved logo, is an improvement on the previous attempt.

   The cape is formed from the bulk of the car mode. Swerve is what some call a "shellformer", but the front of the car forms shoulderpads that do a lot aesthetically without hampering any joints. The cape is fairly bulky, but the heelspurs do their job and prevent Swerve from being backheavy.

   The robot mode is more reminiscent of G1 than the car mode, and whether or not you like this depends on how much you like G1. I think he looks pretty good, and he has enough car parts visible, namely the canopy behind his head, fender-shoulderpads and hood-forearms. Many Armada moulds have few or no vehicle parts as part of the robot mode.

   Swerve's poseability is, thankfully, better than G1 standards. His head rotates, the arms lift out to the sides and the elbows are double hinged. The hips are a combination of rather tight ball joints and swivels that allow the legs to spread. His knees and feet lack articulation, making Swerve relatively unposeable for an Armada mould.

   The missile launchers can remain on his back or his cape (the car wings), although you can also attach them to his forearms, giving Swerve either long weapons or short, stumpy blocks if you leave the missiles off. Not that you'd set the missiles aside. The missile launchers work well as handrifles, but not so well as launchers since you'll pretty much have to grasp the entire toy to get enough force to activate the missiles - sliding the Minicon along the launcher becomes tricky with two elbow hinges - it's a lot easier to just bend the arms.

   The missile launchers represent most of Swerve's robot mode play value, since his poseability is fairly poor. Personally, I don't care since I love the look of this toy. It's a great looking robot mode, but ultimately how much you like it comes down to whether you prefer display or play value. The colour scheme's heavy reliance on primary colours - and lack of neon colours that are a slight on most Universe toys - really reinforce the G1 aspects of this toy.


Name: Roadhandler
Allegiance: Minicon
Alternate Mode: Dragster

DRAGSTER MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 7cm Width: 3.5cm

   A red dragster with a giant black wing on the back and black engine block behind the closed canopy - which is painted silver. Like Swerve, his wheels black, and the rear ones are about twice the size of the front wheels. Roadhandler may be a dragster rather than a sports car, but the pairing is great - they really fit together. The semblance to his G1 namesake is fairly strong, but I'm not so sure that Dragsters handle the road, since they simply don't do corners.

   There's no play value here other than his attaching to bigger toys and spinning wheels. Still, being sold with Swerve, the main point of this mode is to compliment Swerve - and he's the only Minicon that can activate Swerve's winged mode.

   Like his partner, Roadhandler manages a G1 look, although he doesn't really look like a Micromaster. Again, I really like the look of this car, despite the robot boots that sit behind his spoiler (which is a G1 type of feature).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Flip out the robot legs, detach the left side from the nose, rotate the nose out to the right and swing it down to form the right arm. The left side becomes the left arm. Roadhandler is one of the few partner Minicons with an asymmetrical transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5.5cm, Width: 5cm

   Roadhandler's colour scheme is about 90% red, with black shins and a yellow eyestrip and yellow Minicon symbol on his chest (which is unpainted on Incinerator). The reliance on one colour is unlike Micromaster colour schemes, so the G1 feel is lost here. There's a powerlinx socket on his groin.

   Roadhandler's left arm has a well defined fist, the right has no hand. Instead the nose section of the car sits on the outside of the forearm, and is proportionally gigantic. It's technically kibble, but it doesn't bother me at all, since the airdam on the front gives it the look of a giant melee weapon. Granted, if you don't like this effect, well then it's just kibble.

   Roadhandler’s shoulders both rotate, the right elbow is a ball joint. His hip swing and his knees bend. His effective articulation is actually better than Swerve's, despite having fewer joints.

   I like this robot, but whether or not you do really comes down to what you think of the right arm. Everything else about this mode is good, but it's such a dominant aspect of the toy that it'll make or break Roadhandler's robot mode.


VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although as mentioned he's a repaint of Blurr.

OVERALL

   Swerve's a G1 toy trapped in an Armada body - he looks really good but has somewhat limited articulation. Both modes are strong, and the repaint is actually a slight improvement on the original, which is the reverse of how things usually work in Universe. Roadhandler is a perfect match with a nifty dragster mode and interesting robot mode - although it's dominated by his right arm. If you like G1 toys in general, you'll probably like this mould. As repaints go, it's both different and attractive, and if you missed Blurr I'd definitely recommend Swerve - 8/10

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