Release Year: September 2005
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Swerve is not a name some Transformers fans may recognize. While there was a Transformers Universe toy with that name last year, this is clearly intended to be the G1 Mini-Bot reborn in a new form.
Swerve is rather different from most other figures in the Alternators line in that he does not have a Binaltech equivalent figure currently in stores. Should Takara ever put one out, it will be months after his release domestically. However, he is not an original sculpt, but rather the third use of the sculpt originally put out for Binaltech Tracks. Check out his review as well as that of Alternator Tracks for details on the toy. This review will cover the changes made to the toy for this release.
Swerve's vehicle mode is a Corvette Z06, the same as Tracks. This sleek form is quite different than the original truck mode G1 Swerve had, which is cool in that it shows a sort of evolution of the character. No sculpt changes have been made at all. Small details such as the Z06 logo on either side of the car and the lights in the front retain the same colors as Tracks' equivalent parts. The only small detail to change is the license plate. Rather than being the typical white, this one is silver. On one side is an Autobot logo and then to the right is the name "Swerve".
The primary color of the vehicle is red. This is a very appropriate redeco color choice as once upon a time, the original G1 Tracks had a red version that was quite hard to find. This was even depicted on packaging artwork, confusing many kids who wound up with a blue Tracks instead. Years later, E-Hobby would take it upon themselves to release a "Red Tracks" as Road Rage. Having a "new" red Corvette Transformer is a rather natural progression from the blue of Tracks and the black of Ravage. Also, red was one of the primary colors used on G1 Swerve, albeit a darker shade, so it also works as a homage color.
Hasbro miscalculated a bit with the colors. While most of the car is a dark shade of red, the top section of the car (over the cabin) is painted a lighter shade. Unlike other Alternators where this is very minor and barely noticable, here it is quite glaring. This sounds worse than it is. While it certainly would have been nice for the color to be more unified, the vehicle mode still looks good, just a bit uneven in tone.
As if to up the incentive to purchase this figure, Hasbro decided to include the flame decals that Binaltech Tracks came with to place on the hood (I have decided not to put them on). What is fascinating is they are the same exact label sheets created for Binaltech Tracks, so they still have his name on them.
The one thing you have to give Hasbro is that they developed a really striking color set with Swerve's robot mode. Swerve's primary colors in this mode are red, black and gold. Mot of the black parts from Tracks have carried over such as the lower legs, feet and lower arms. The parts that are gunmetal on Tracks have been replaced with gold. The black parts such as the waist and lower legs have gold paint applications whereas the gold upper arms have black paint applications. A bit of the color differential from the vehicle mode peeks t hough here. The chest piece, meant to simulate the cabin of the vehicle mode is painted the same, slightly brighter shade of red as the cabin section now on the back. In contrast to the plastic piece at the center of the chest, which is sculpted in red, there is a color variance.
Swerve features a new head sculpt, which is a stylized version of the G1 toys' head with a helmet, crest and visor eyes. I must confess to being very pleasantly surprised that a relatively unknown character such as Swerve received the treatment of a whole new head sculpt. The helmet section of the head is gold, with the horizontal brow piece painted red. His eyes are painted red, which I found interesting. For the most part, Binaltech and Alternators have followed the convention of keeping Autobot eyes blue, as they appeared in the television show. However, Swerve's G1 toy had red eyes, thus this is appropriate. The face is painted silver, contrasting nicely with the red.
For the most part, all of Swerve's joints are just as tight as those on Tracks. However, the two hinges that his missile launchers rest on are much more loose than the same parts on Tracks or Ravage. They are still posable and hold their position, they just do not feel as tight. This could be just mine or possibly due to the tooling having been used several times already.
I have a personal affinity for the G1 Mini-Bots, of which Swerve as a member. That combined with his rather unique status as an Alternator with no Binaltech equivalent (yet) makes him a most interesting piece. However, he really is one of those toys meant for completists. If you already have Tracks, then you're not missing out on much except for a new head sculpt. I recommend him definitely, but I can also understand how some people would have reservations about buying a third version of this toy.