"Age of Extinction" One Step Changer Drift (Helicopter) Toy Review
Release Date: November 2014
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
*Images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Autobot Drift is back, and he's tougher than ever! This Autobot Drift changer fights his Decepticon enemies every time he can, and he converts so fast they'll never be able to keep up. Press him to convert him from mighty robot mode to helicopter mode in just 1 step, then convert him back again when the battle calls for it! The Decepticons will never be able to handle your fast-changing Autobot Drift figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
As part of its drive to appeal to different segments of the toy buying audience, Hasbro has introduced different sub-lines of "Transformers" figures for the "Age of Extinction" toy line. One of these are the "One Step Changers". As the name suggests, the idea behind these figures is the ability to transform the figure in one step, keeping them in spirit with G1 toys like Jumpstarters and Battlechargers. One of the late 2014 One Step Changer releases was Autobot Drift. Drift already had a One Step Changer figure but that represented his car mode. This figure represents his appearance as a helicopter in the film. While toys have been made of Drift representing him in both forms, there is no current "triple changer" Drift figure.
When we first meet Autobot Drift in "Age of Extinction" he transforms into his helicopter mode to join Optimus Prime. Later in the film he uses the mode again to help Bumblebee rescue Cade Yaeger. However, most of these scenes go by really quick so there aren't a ton of really good still shots of the vehicle. That said, it's pretty easy to see that the filmmakers were not 100% in synch with the toy designers on this one. While this is a very "scifi" looking helicopter, there are some key differences in its design from the one seen on screen:
- The front end of the vehicle mode is angled but rather short and almost blunted in the movie. In this figure however the front end is thin and angular, extending out more than it does in the film.
- The way the weaponry on Drift's wings is arranged is different than the film. In the film he had rocket pods with a row of rockets on the outside of the wing. Here there are rocket pods on the outside with a triangular arrangement of rockets closer to the main body of the vehicle.
- In the film version of the helicopter there are skids on the bottom of the vehicle, there are no skids on this figure.
- The tail of the toy has a central vertical stabilizer on top and two on the bottom coming out at angles. In the film however Drift's tail was a circle.
Despite these differences however, I have to say I really dig the look of this vehicle. It's super sleek and looks like a Cybertronian helicopter. I love the weaponry on the wings and he even has a small gun mounted under the cockpit. I also dig the way his helicopter blades have a design with a curved edge that echoes the design of the swords the character had in the movie. Sure the figure isn't "movie accurate" in this form, but he looks really cool.
Drift is cast in metallic blue and dark grey plastic. The blue makes up most of the figure, with grey used on smaller parts like the rotor blades. Paint applications are done in metallic blue, silver, black and orange. The metallic blue is the most heavily used. You'll find it on large armor panels on the sides, but also on smaller sections like some trim on the area behind the cockpit window. Silver is used on the cockpit window, and orange is used to paint an Autobot symbol on the cockpit. Black is found on the section behind the cockpit where it is used to mirror the front grille of his car form. It's a really nice paint job and I think it looks fantastic.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Flip the figure over and you'll see a dark grey piece towards the middle. Push on this a little and the front and rear halves of the vehicle will fold up into the robot mode. You can adjust the position of the arms and slide the claw weapons on them up and down. You can also push the rotor blades together or leave them as they are in vehicle form (this is more of an aesthetic choice than anything else).
I think it's fair to say that the helicopter mode was kind of forced in the movie. It is clear from Drift's CG model and toys that his "primary" vehicle mode was a car, so throwing in a helicopter mode puts some significant demands on designers to come up with a robot mode that looks like the one seen in the film. No matter how you cut it, being a One Step Changer you're going to wind up with parts of the vehicle mode appearing in this form. To that end the cockpit of the helicopter winds up on his torso, the rocket launchers are on his legs and of course, the rotor blades are on his back.
All that said, the robot mode still manages to incorporate a lot of the elements from the CG model seen in the movie. This includes the elaborate head sculpt with a large central crest, the armor panels on his upper arms and thighs as well as the car grille on his chest. Even with the torso being made up mostly of the helicopter cockpit, Drift is easily recognizable as the character from the film. Even better, the details look really great. The armor on the arms and legs in particular are sculpted to look layered and with the ridges in front seen in the CG model. Even is face includes the beard and pronounced cheek details seen in the movie.
The same colors from the vehicle mode carry over here, but now we get to see gold on the head. The metallic blue colors are also physically closer to each other now, so they really pop against the darker metallic blue plastic.
Drift's arms can move up and down, and that's about it for posability. His forearms each have a dual claw weapon built into them. These can slide back and forth or even rotated around if you want them out of the way. While his fists look like they're sculpted to accommodate 5mm peg weapons, they don't (bummer).
This version of Drift isn't super screen accurate, but as a One Step Changer he looks great and he's fun to play with. If you're into the One Step Changers at all, this is a fun addition to your collection.