"Transformers Universe 2.0" Decepticon Drag Strip Toy Review

05/10/22

General Information:
Release Date: Fall 2008
Price Point: $15.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Asia/Australia Exclusive, HasbroToyShop & Marshalls Stores (US)
Accessories: Blaster

In 2006, the Classics line was launched, reimagining G1 characters in new, yet familiar forms. This line would eventually evolve into what we know today as Generations. In between Classics and Generations was Universe, the second time that name was used for a line (causing many fans to refer to it as "Universe 2.0"). Universe featured several redecos of Classics figures released as "Special Editions". These figures were a limited release, used as exclusives in the Asian and Australian markets. They would also be sold through Hasbro Toy Shop (the ancestor of the modern day Hasbro Pulse) and oddly, Marshall's discount stores in the United Sttates. One of these figures was a redeco of Mirage as the Stunticon Drag Strip. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
The "Special Edition" Universe figures were all packaged in special boxes. Back then, Deluxe Class figures were still primarily on bubble cards (and in vehicle mode to boot!). These figures were instead packaged in black boxes in robot mode. The front featured artwork of the character and you could open up the panel to reveal a tech spec inside on the left and the figure on the right. The back of the packaging showed the figure in both modes. In many ways, this packaging would kind of predict the future where it would be commonplace for Deluxe Class figures to be packaged in robot mode inside boxes at retail.

Robot Mode:
While this version of Drag Strip may have been a "Special Edition", the actual tooling did not receive any special treatment. The sculpt remains unchanged, even featuring Mirage's very distinct head sculpt. After many years of not having really played with this figure (or its other redecos) I found myself remembering how fond I was of its design. The robot mode is very unusual with extreme angles and proportions that would likely not be seen in today's Generations line. It showed a willingness to be a bit experimental with the designs of classic characters like Mirage, and in this case Drag Strip benefits from not being a carbon copy of his G1 predecessor.

Since there are no tooling changes with this figure, it relies heavily on the deco to "sell" the figure as Drag Strip, and it doesn't do a bad job at all. The figure is mostly made up of yellow and black plastic. The yellow is lighter than the one used on G1 Drag Strip, but when you take into account the deco it winds up calling back to the G1 version nicely.

The paint colors on this figure include silver, purple, red and yellow. The silver is nicely distributed from the torso all the way to the feet. Red is found on the eyes, arms, weapon and feet. Purple paint is used on the head's "helmet" section (while the face is blue, a callback to G1 Drag Strip) and the waist area. The finishing touch is a tampographed Decepticon symbol on the chest. Overall the deco on this figure looks fantastic and I can definitely see it being an alt-universe version of Drag Strip.

This figure has twenty points of articulation. The arms along each have five points of articulation including ball joints at the shoulders and swivel joints on the upper arms. Combined with the wide width of his feet, Mirage has fantastic stability in a variety of poses. The front of the vehicle mode detaches to form his blaster which can fit into either fist. As if to remind us this figure is from another era, the fists do not have standard 5mm ports. Instead, they are slightly smaller.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Swing each fist into the forearm.
  3. Swing the forearms up over the top half of the arms.
  4. Swing the center of the chest up to begin forming the front of the vehicle mode.
  5. Swing the chest panel up.
  6. Rotate the waist around.
  7. Swing the robot arms down at the shoulders. S
  8. Swing in the two forearms underneath the front half of the vehicle. Each forearm has a clip on the elbow area that fits into a slot on the waist piece.
  9. Swing each lower leg up and over the thighs.
  10. Tab the two halves of the lower legs together.
  11. Swing the spoiler forward.
  12. Attach the weapon to the front end of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
The original Drag Strip transformed into a six wheeled Tyrrell P34 race car, but for this version he is a more standard Formula Race Car. I really dig how the vehicle mode has an interesting upward curve going from the middle to the back. The vehicle has a very sleek and fierce look that still holds up over a decade after its release.

This mode mostly shows off yellow and translucent red plastic in the driver's area. Red paint on the spoiler, sides and front end add some nice contrasting color. Silver is also found in the middle and front areas. The connections to the front wheels from the main body of the vehicle look like a metallic gold color which looks beautiful. Another detail that instantly puts this deco above many modern day decos is red paint on the sides of the wheels. Most modern day Transformers toys flat out ignore this so it is great to see (even if it is on an older figure).

Final Thoughts:
Since this Drag Strip was released we have had an actual combining version in Combiner Wars and a different combining one in Legacy. Still, this figure is a really fun artifact from another time when Classics/Generations-style Combiners were still many years away. Nowadays this piece would probably cost you somewhere between $25-$50 USD, which isn't bad. To me, this is more of a curiosity piece for completists than a "must have". Still, I like this figure quite a bit and it was a fun trip down memory lane writing up this review.

Pros:

  • Very unique and interesting sculpt.
  • Very nice deco in both modes that call back to G1 Drag strip.
  • Good articulation.

Cons:

  • Some fans may be disappointed that this figure does not Combine with anything else.
  • I personally would have liked a new head but it's not a huge deal.