"Age of Extinction" One Step Changer Strafe Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Dinobot, One Step Changer

Age of Extinction

Strafe General Information:
Release Date: December 2014
Price Point: $9.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images with asterisks above and text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Strafe is back and he's tougher than ever! This Strafe changer fights his Deception enemies every time he can and he converts so fast they'll never be able to keep up. Flap his arms to convert him from mighty robot mode to dine mode in just 1 step, then flap his wings to convert him back again when the battle calls for it! The Deceptions will never be able to handle your fast-changing Strafe figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

As part of its drive to appeal to different segments of the toy buying audience, Hasbro has introduced different sub-lines of "Transformers" figures for the "Age of Extinction" toy line. One of these are the "One Step Changers". As the name suggests, the idea behind these figures is the ability to transform the figure in one step, keeping them in spirit with G1 toys like Jumpstarters and Battlechargers. Among the final wave of Power Attackers in 2014 was Strafe, the aerial member of the Dinobots from "Age of Extinction".

Beast Mode:
I have already provided many of my thoughts on the somewhat odd design for Strafe in my reviews of the Deluxe and Power Attacker Strafe figures. I still think it's kind of odd that Strafe has two heads even though he was originally inspired by the G1 Dinobot Swoop. However, in many ways this iteration of the character has shrunken down features. This includes the beast mode heads and wingspan, both of which are smaller than you'd find on larger scale figures. Given the size scale of the One Step Changers this is perfectly understandable.

Despite some parts being proportionally smaller, he still retains a lot of the same details as the other iterations of Strafe. This includes the serrated edges of the wings, the dual heads with crests and the various V shaped designs on the main body. The simplification does lead to two design compromises however. The robot arms and legs are clearly visible in this mode. The arms are on either side of the torso and the legs are set at angles on the back on either side of the tails in the center. A lot of fans will be turned off by these design compromises, and I totally get that since this is a simplified figure. If you are willing to accept them however the detailing on this mode is pretty cool.

Strafe is made up of two types of plastic. Most of the figure is made of regular plastic, but the wings are softer plastic (most likely for safety reasons). Most of the plastic is dark blue with some parts like the beast mode heads cast in black. A light metallic blue/silver color is used on the chest. The beast mode eyes are painted light blue. The wings have blue paint on them, matching nicely with the rest of the figure. A silver Autobot symbol is painted onto the top of the right wing. The colors are not super intricate, but they're very consistent with the other iterations of the character in toy form.

Strafe's wings are really the only moveable parts in this mode. You can move them on hinges at the base and in the middle.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Hold on to the wings and swing them down. As the wings move down, the legs in the back will swing down and the beast mode heads will swing in against the robot chest and the robot head will pop up. You may need to adjust the wings a bit to get them out of the way of the feet. This action works very smoothly back and forth.

Robot Mode:
While the beast mode shows some design compromises, the robot mode looks very much like a smaller version of the larger figures. This includes the distinctive appearance of the beast mode heads on his chest, the armor-like appearance of his torso and legs as well as the "pointed toes" on his feet. Also intact is his distinct head sculpt with the visor eyes and large crest on top. The detailing is really gorgeous on this sculpt, including the layer sof armor on the torso, the claw like fingers and layers o armor on his limbs. I also love the way the wings drape behind him in this mode, looking a lot like a superhero's cape.

This mode has mostly dark blue plastic, with black used on parts like his arms and the beast mode claws on the knees. The primary paint color is still the light metallic blue on the chest, but the other colors on the wings are still visible here as well. Finally, the robot eyes are painted light blue.

Aside from his wings, Strafe's only other articulation are his arms, which can move up and down. Each of the hands has a 5mm port allowing Strafe to hold weapons from other figures in the "Age of Extinction" toy line's "Generations" segment. On the bottom of the right foot is a metal circle that activates features on larger figures like Stomp & Chomp Grimlock.

Final Thoughts:
One Step Changer Strafe makes significant design compromises in beast mode, but the robot mode looks pretty spectacular for a "simplified" figure. I also appreciate the ability for Strafe to hold 5mm peg weapons (even though he doesn't come with any). Around early 2015 he's being heavily discounted on Amazon for around $6 and for that price he's fun to play around with.