Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $30 (depending on retailer at time of initial release); $12.99 at Toys R Us
Retailer: Asian Exclusive (Q2-Q3 2012); Toys R Us Exclusive in US Q4 2012
Most of the time when a Transformer comes out as an exclusive, they do so in one store chain or one region of the world. However, the Generations incarnation of Wheelie (along with several other figures including Swerve and Springer) are different. In the Summer of 2012, a series of repainted and retooled figures were released exclusively in Asia. The original intention was to keep these as Asian exclusives to attract that ever growing market. However, at San Diego Comic-Con 2012, Hasbro announced these figures would be brought to North America around November of 2012. The version being reviewed here is one of the Asian versions from a case pre-ordered before the North American release had been announced. The American releases came on the same cards as the Asian versions, however the figures were in vehicle mode as opposed to robot mode.
I recommend checking out both my Sergeant Kup and Autobot Electrons (aka Electro), both of which utilize the same base sculpt (but with different heads). This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Swerve's packaging design borrows the Generations packaging design seen on the "Generations" sub-line in 2012 with a red, mechanical looking background and character art in the corner. Ironically, the packaging from Asia had all english packaging while the US release featured Chinese characters to distinguish it as a special release.
Swerve's artwork is actually repurposed artwork from Sergeant Kup, appropriate since the figure itself is based on Kup. The head is different however, so there was some creative Photoshop work there. It is also interesting to note that unlike the previous Generations releases, Swerve is packaged in robot mode, not vehicle mode. The US release was then packaged in vehicle form, making the US releases easy to distinguish from their Asia market counterparts.
In 2012, Swerve was not an Autobot who had received a lot of attention over the years. He had his G1 toy, limited appearances in media such as the original TV show and even an incarnation in the "Universe" line. This was the first attempt to revive the character as part of "Generations", which seeks to update classic characters. Part of making this figure into a convincing Swerve was giving it a new head sculpt. The sculpt is a stylized version of G1 Swerve's head, complete with a curved helmet section that features a crest in the center and distinctive lines leading to a small rim right above the eyes. The face is a pretty standard face, and I was surprised that the designers did not give him "visor eyes" like the G1 toy (and 2014 Legends Class release). If you showed me the head sculpt with no context, I would probably have difficulty placing it as Swerve, but in context I can see where the inspiration came from.
Swerve is cast in the following plastic colors: red, silver, black, white, solid grey and translucent grey. That's quite the assortment of colors and they all fit in quite well with G1 Swerve's original primary red and white colors. Red is the primary color, with silver coming in second in parts like his forearms and thighs. Smaller parts are cast in black and white such as the fists and upper arms respectively. There are a lot of paint details on the figure done in colors that align with the plastic colors. This includes silver, white, black, red and light blue. The white and black are the most heavily used. You'll find those on the legs and the waist area. Silver is found on chest, face and parts of his shoulder armor. Red paint is used for an Autobot symbol on the center of his chest while his eyes are blue. The paint applications are used effectively, breaking up the red plastic color nicely. The colors are also distinctively Swerve's so it helps attach the identity to him even though this is much bigger and more powerful looking than his G1 counterpart.
There are twenty one points of articulation on Swerve. This includes six in each arm and four in each leg. He wields the same rifle weapon that came with Sergeant Kup. The weapon is gunmetal grey and fits nicely in either hand. All of the joints on the figure are still very tight and I had no problem posing the figure as I played around with it for this review.
Overall Swerve looks great in robot mode, but other than the colors and some connections to G1 Swerve's head sculpt, this largely looks like a new character. That's not necesarily a bad thing. The figure does look good, and the colors do evoke G1 Swerve in many ways
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the rifle and set it aside for now.
- Swing the knee armor up.
- Swing the back of the knee armor up and rotate it around.
- Push the robot feet up into the empty slots on the lower legs.
- Connect the two legs together.
- Swing the back panel up and swing out the hood piece.
- Rotate the hood piece and the middle section around so the vehicle mode grille appears in the front.
- Push the hood and cabin cover sections down.
- Swing the robot arms up, with the wheels on the shoulders facing outward.
- On each arm, rotate the panel on the lower arms around.
- Swing each arm forward.
- Swing the arms back, forming the sides of the vehicle.
- Push the panels that form the doors into place.
- Slide the rifle barrel into the hole towards the back, left side.
- Attach the top part of the rifle (with the holes) to a corresponding white peg towards the middle of the vehicle.
Like his G1 counterpart, this version of Swerve is mostly red in vehicle mode. There are some nice deco points. The inside of the truck bed is painted white (where the robot feet are) and black is used for the hood and windows. The top of the figure has a gigantic Autobot symbol in black paint. This is likely a nod to the heat sensitive "rub symbol" that was on the top of G1 Swerve's cabin section. The front end of the vehicle is silver, with the dark, translucent plastic on the headlights showing prominently in this form. One thing that was left out was painting the rims on the wheels. Something about not doing this always makes a figure look unfinished to me so that's one demerit with respect to this figures' deco.
The rods that allow you to clip "C Clip" weapons on the top of the cabin work like a charm, giving Swerve some much needed firepower in vehicle form! I'll also say this sculpt looks nice in the red/black/silver/white combination of colors.
At this time this figure will mostly be found through secondary markets. Of all the Deluxe figures released for this "GDO" series, this is probably the one I was (and am) least excited about. It's a cool figure, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't spend a ton of money to get it unless you love the sculpt that much or have to have every incarnation of Swerve out there.