"Generations" Autobot Drift Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: $10.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Long sword x 1, Small swords x 2

*My Drift photos were lost years ago in a hard drive failure.  I intend to restore them eventually.

Through the rich history of the Transformers universe, dozens of characters originated in a medium other than toys. Some in animation and others in print. The Autobot known as Drift is one such Transformer. Originally known as "Deadlock", this Transformer was once a Decepticon who then turned to the Autobot side and took on a new body and identity. Introduced in the IDW "Generation One" themed series of comic books, the character was created especially for the series and has gone on to become quote prominent in the IDW universe. It was not surprising that such a character would ultimately wind up in toy form. This "Generations" version of the character is directly inspired by his current appearance in the IDW comic books. This toy represents Drift as he appears on Earth once he took on an Earth vehicle form, and not the more Cybertronian version seen in a majority of the IDW comics.

Vehicle Mode:
Many Transformers are products of their time, especially those who pop up in fiction first. Drift is no exception. Inspired by the Japanese originated practice of "drifting" (a type of racing popularized in the US in the film "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift", this vehicle is a sleek car that looks like it is built for racing. Most of the vehicle is sleek and curved. The front end starts flat in front but then curves back to the windshield and out to the sides. The sides of the vehicle are not flat but instead curve inward and then back up to where the spoiler is set on the back. The cabin cover is also curved, with what appears to be an air intake mounted on top. It's a sleek and aggressive looking vehicle for sure, and closely matches the character's appearance in the comic books.

Some of the finer details in this sculpt include vent and grille lines sculpted into the front end of the vehicle. The headlights are sculpted with small circles in them, indicating where the light bulbs are. Other requisite details include twin exhaust pipes in the back, a raised spoiler that slopes downward, door handles, sideview mirrors and a license plate in between the exhaust pipes. It's a really cool looking car and would definitely catch anyone's eye if they saw it going down the street. I'm especially fond of the way the sides curve in before expanding outwards in the back where the wheel wells sit and where the spoiler is attached. The design of the spoiler is big and bold as well and I really dig the notched posts that the spoiler sections rest on.

Drift is primarily cast in white plastic. His other two colors are dark grey and translucent blue. The grey is found on his wheels and the translucent color is used for the headlights and windows. Paint applications are done up in grey-blue, grey, red and silver. The grey-blue is used to paint the rear window while the grey color is used on the rear of the car. Silver is used for the front grille as well as the sides of his wheels. Two different shades of red are found on the figure. The darker one is used on the rear lights. The lighter one can be found forming curved line details on the front and sides of the car. On each door is a Japanese word meaning "Samurai" in red. A bit of white paint is found on the top of the car, where it paints robot parts that form part of the cabin cover. It's slightly brighter than the white plastic so it's not hard to see if you look at that piece carefully.

Drift has a very simple yet attractive design. Making a vehicle mostly white is a bit of a gamble in toy form since it can easily look boring. However, the designs painted onto the figure work well.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Flip the car over and swing up the robot arms.
  2. Swing each door out.
  3. Swing the rear half of the vehicle down.
  4. Separate each half of the vehicle's rear section to form the individual legs.
  5. Move the robot foot pieces up against the lower legs.
  6. Swing the windows on each door in.
  7. Separate the halves that form the front of the car and slide the panels that form the hood piece over each half.
  8. Straighten out each arm.
  9. Connect the windshield to the chest using the translucent blue tab and the horizontal slot in the chest.
  10. Move the small arm on his back that holds the large sword out so it does not obstruct the legs.

Robot Mode:
Being part of a more Generation One oriented storyline, Drift has a very G1-esque design. His chest is partly made up of the front of the vehicle, he has clearly visible car parts hanging off sections of his arms and legs and his shapes are very angular and blocky. This does not mean he does not look sleek however. Several parts remain curved including the shoulder armor formed from the front end of the car, the windshield on his chest and the car sections found on his sides and lower legs. Even the angular sections are very sleek looking. Both his feet and his knee armor go from wide to narrow. His forearms have angles but go from wide to narrow towards the wrist. Even his thighs are not just simple rectangles but instead they widen out in the middle and narrow towards the top and bottom. These are very traditional "Anime" type design sensibilities for a robot and it looks really nice.

Several of the design aspects mirror those of the comic book character. First is of course the head sculpt, made up of a central crest with backswept details that protrude high above the central crest. This helmet armor forms over his face where it goes over the nose. He also has a very prominent chin and vent like sections on either side of his face. In many respects, his design resembles that of the Autobot triple-changer Springer, but taken to an extreme.

On both shoulders he has square sections that have circles above them, a detail taken straight from the comic book character. In another cool detail, flip the chest/windshield panel forward and you'll see a chest design underneath complete with rectangles in the center and circles on either side. This design is taken from the chest design used in the majority of his appearances in the comic book before he came to Earth and took on an Earth vehicle mode. This is a really cool touch that offers a level of detail to the figure you don't see often, but also ties into the fiction of the character. Some tiny details can be found on the figure that are inspired by his comic book design. Among them are two lines and an arrow on his legs (beneath the knee armor). His larger sword has several Japanese characters sculpted into them meaning "peerless" along with line details on the handle and a round, jewel-like detail in the center. The jewel and the general shape of the sword are taken straight from the comics.

Drift still has plenty of white plastic in this form, but several of his parts are a very, very dark shade of grey. It almost looks black, but when put next to the black on say, Revenge of the Fallen Bumblebee, there is a sharp contrast between the colors. The grey parts are mostly newly revealed robot parts including the chest, upper arms, fists and thighs. The head itself is cast in white, as is a panel that forms part of his waist area. His long sword is cast in a neutral grey plastic color while the smaller swords have dark grey handles and silver blades. For the most part this color layout matches the comic book character with some exceptions. For instance, in the comic book his entire arm was white, not just the forearm and shoulder armor.

Red details pop up once again in this form. On either arm is an Autobot symbol inside one of the squares on his shoulders. The area around his wrist, right where the fists connect is also painted red. He also has red lines on his legs, towards the bottom. Each of these details is found on the comic book version of the character as well. Silver paint is used on the face and a bit of gold is used in the central crest on his head as well as the horizontal line pattern on his waist. The gold is also found on the circles sculpted into his shoulders. I think it would be easy to say this paint scheme was not complex enough, but to be honest there is a clean simplicity that works for this character. Between the sculpted detail, the existing paint schemes (and taking into account how he looks in the source material) Drift looks fantastic.

Drift has twenty three points of articulation in this form. What's cool about this articulation is how much of it is useful. His shoulder and wrists are ball jointed, and several of his parts have double joints. His legs can move up and down on ball joints for instance, but they can also swivel outward on a swivel joint built into his thighs. I was a bit surprised to find that he did not have waist articulation, but if you look at the way his back panel is designed, it overlaps the waist a tiny bit. Still, twenty three points is quite a lot and I'm not complaining!

The articulation comes into play with the weapon play on this robot. Drift can hold the sword on his back in one hand or both thanks to the ball jointed hands. Tucked into each door from the car mode is a smaller sword (they're sort of like butterfly swords, but with squared off angled edges and no hook at the base). These too can be held in each of his hands. What's really neat is that the way the door windows fold in creates a slot that you can slide the long sword into, allowing him to store his sword on either side of his hip or on his back. I love attention to detail like this on any figure so this was a pleasant surprise.

Final Thoughts:
I've heard some folks put down the character of Drift. I really don't have a huge emotional investment in the character itself, but I do think this figure is a solid example of how the Generation One aesthetic of figures can be updated and still make a very cool action figure in this day and age without being some mega priced "Masterpiece". Highly recommended!