Transformers Animated Swoop Toy Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dinobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated


Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: September 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Smasher ball weapon

Images:

*Images from Transformers.com.

Text from Transformers.com:
Like the other DINOBOTS, SWOOP prefers to be left alone on DINOBOT Island, where he can soar and dive without worrying about the DECEPTICONS taking pot shots at his wings. When he does have to return to the mainland to battle the DECEPTICONS, however, he enjoys the way people scatter when they see his shadow. That, and smashing trees with his ball and chain doesn’t compare to the satisfying crunch it makes when it bashes into DECEPTICON armor.

Prepare yourself for a battle of prehistoric proportions with this awesome figure! Detailed robot-to-beast figure features a smasher ball and chain weapon in robot mode and converts to a claw-ready Pterodactyl in beast mode!

Among the original five Dinobots, Swoop was unique in that he was the only member with an aerial beast mode. Unfortunately, he was also unique in G1 because his toy was probably the easiest to break in the original toy line. Surprisingly, despite how much kids love dinosaur-esque creatures (Pterosaurs aren't really dinosaurs) and flying things, another Swoop was not made until 2004's "Energon" line, and the results were shall we say, less than optimal (ok, it sucked). With the introduction of Swoop in "Animated", this aerial Dinobot finally gets a chance at having another figure, but are the results any better than before?

Beast Mode:
The Transformers design team has had significant experience with the general "aerial beast" form over the years. The years of Beast Wars and beyond saw several aerial beasts made including Skydive, Terrorsaur and Airraptor. The inherent difficulty with this form is how thin such creatures are and how you can make a good looking beast and robot out of them. In "Animated", Swoop is portrayed as a very sleek beast and robot, giving the designers an opportunity to create a figure that looks elegant in both modes.

Swoop is extremely thin, which is very nice to see. The designers definitely used the original Swoop as inspiration, the big giveaway being the head design which features a crest that sweeps back from the top of the head and a long, sharp beak (as opposed to a more rounded one found on some Pteranodons). This leads to a neck piece that goes to angled armor pieces which are clearly the robot shoulders. The front arms are connected to the wings, much like scientists believe a real life pterodactyl would have had. A tab secures each wing to the lower arm and each has three claws at the end. The robot legs also form the beast mode legs, with each larger in size than the arms and featuring angled designs and four claws on each.

Swoop is cast in four primary plastic colors: dark grey, light metallic blue, dark metallic blue and gold. Most of the main body such as the arms, shoulders and legs are dark grey. His wings and the armor on his back are cast in light metallic blue. Smaller parts such as the upper arms are cast in dark metallic blue. Finally, his claws are cast in gold. Paint applications are done up in gold, dark metallic blue and silver. Gold is used for some other jagged points such as the blades on his shoulders and his beak. Silver is used for an Autobot symbol stamped onto the forehead of the beast mode and the metallic blue is used for the chest and waist sections on the main body of the beast.

From looking at Swoop's fellow Dinobots, Grimlock and Snarl, you may wonder just where blue comes into play in the overall scheme of Dinobot colors when gold, red and silver/grey seemed to have been the primary colors of the original Dinobots. In fact, Swoop's blue color influences come from the action figure created in Japan for the Diaclone line that eventually was made into Swoop in the US (and later around the world). The Diaclone version of Swoop had a blue body in the center and a red crest. With that in mind, it is easy to see where that influence came from, and it is a nice nod to the origins of the Transformers toy line.

While his form is sleek and thin, Swoop has some nice detailing. The head is sculpted with sharp teeth along the edges of the beak. The crest is sculpted in two sections, a long crest and two shorter parts at the base. Triangular holes are made for the eyes and if you look into them you'll see the robot mode's eyes peeking out from behind the holes, an interesting design choice that appeals to me due to its unique nature. My favorite sculpted details are circuit patterns on his back and wings. All these are lines set at angles on his back and then leading out to his wings and ending in circular points. It looks fantastic and really emphasizes the robotic nature of the creature.

Swoop has thirteen points of articulation in this form. He can move obvious pieces such as his lower beak and his legs. I was also surprised to see that his heel claw on his feet can move as well. My favorite point of articulation are his arms and wings, which can move down and up in a flapping motion. In a (perhaps inadvertent) nod to a real life movement of the pteranodons, you can move his wings all the way down so he can do a four legged type walk using his wings and rear legs, something scientists believe the creatures may have done on land.

Swoop comes with a "smasher ball weapon", a flail with a spiked ball on a chain. This weapon can connect to the pegs on Swoop's feet by inserting the peg into the screw holes on the ball of the weapon. It doesn't look particularly elegant, but it does give him a "storage option" for his weapon in this form.

I really like this beast mode a lot. It has good posability, nice sculpting, cool colors with a nod to G1 and the toy that led to the original Swoop all at the same time.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon from his feet if attached.
  2. Straighten out the robot legs.
  3. Disconnect the robot arms from the wings.
  4. Pull the sides of the upper body out to the sides.
  5. Swing the front of the beast mode head down and attach the tab on the underside of the beak to the slot in his abdominal area.
  6. Push the side pieces with the shoulder armor back towards the center.
  7. Swing up the back piece connected to the wings and attach them to the tabs on the shoulder armor sections.
  8. Rotate the waist and then rotate the lower legs around.
  9. Place the smasher weapon into either hand.
  10. Pull the robot head up gently to extend the neck.

Robot Mode:
If you've watched any episodes of "Transformers Animated" with the Dinobots in it, Swoop's robot mode is pretty startling when you first see it. It's so show accurate even I was surprised, taking into account how well the designers have improved both sculpting and Transformers toy technology over the years. Like his animated counterpart, Swoop is all angular from his upward swept crest on his head to the shoulders splaying out to the sides down to his thin waist and V shaped waist piece. His legs are also very angular, going against the propensity for many animated figures to have curved and more organic looking parts. While the original Swoop did have his wings on his back, the way Animated Swoop's wings are mounted on his back make them look sort of like a cape if put together, and then like wings attached to a jetpack if swung outwards. Swoop's head and chest also pay homage to G1 Swoop through design elements such as the crest on his head, the beast mode head on his chest and the rectangular chest armor sections.

Swoop's colors from the beast mode carry over into robot mode, with light metallic blue used on the face and eyes. The dark metallic blue becomes more obvious here, especially around the chest and waist area. A bit more gold also shows up on the area around his face, making it look like his beak flattened during transformation and wound up surrounding his face. A tiny bit of black paint can be found on his mid-section, right above the waist.

In robot mode, Swoop has twenty three points of articulation, a huge jump from the beast mode. This is partly thanks to the wings and neck/head, which add rather uncommon points of articulation to the figure. I was also happy to see waist articulation worked into the figure as part of the transformation since it could have been easily glossed over had the designers wanted to be lazy. Because Swoop's shoulder and elboe joints are ball joints, I was surprised how well he is able to hold up his mace weapon since it is positively huge compared to his arm size.

Final Thoughts:
Swoop is simply one of the best Transformers to come out for the "Animated" line. He is show accurate, looks fantastic in both modes with great detail and posability. Highly recommended!