"Age of Extinction" Power Attacker Strafe Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Dinobot, Movie (2007), Power Attacker

Age of Extinction

Strafe General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); May 17, 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $12.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images and text below from The Official Transformers Web Site:
Gear up for power-punching action with the Power Attackers! This mighty Dinobot Strafe Power Attacker figure converts from robot mode to beast mode, just like Dinobot Strafe always has. But when he's in robot mode, his arm snaps out in a spin attack that will knock any Decepticon on his tailpipe! When he needs the strength of a monster, he converts in 8 easy steps to 2-headed dragon mode! Convert, spin and pound with your Dinobot Strafe Power Attacker!

  • Includes figure.
  • Dinobot Strafe Power Attacker converts from robot mode to dino mode.
  • 2-headed dragon mode.
  • Power Attacker figure has a spin attack.
  • Changes in 8 steps.
  • Ages 6 and up.

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 "Power Attackers", a set of figures that feature relatively simple transformations and some type of action feature. This varies from figure to figure, but for the most part they rely on some type of spring mechanism. One of the first figures in this wave is the aerial Dinobot known as Strafe. Many G1 fans will probably still recognize name "Strafe" as belonging to a Technobot, one of the five team members who combined to form the giant Computron. In this universe however, he's the aerial member of the Dinobot team.

Robot Mode:
In the "Age of Extinction" universe, the Dinobots are ancient Transformers who took on monstrous alt-modes, mostly based on dinosaurs. In robot mode however, their forms resemble old armor worn by humans in ancient wars. In that respect, Strafe actually has that in common with both Grimlock and Autobot Drift. His "armor" look is mostly centered around his head design and the design of his lower body. The head has a sleek, rounded design with a narrow "visor eye" that resembles the openings on old helmets worn by knights. He has a thin, tall crest on the top of his head, adding to this medieval appearance. The lower half of the body also seems to have influences from human armor. The waist and thigh area looks like it's covered in layers of overlapping armor with well defined horizontal lines separating each "fold" of armor. The lower legs and knee armor look like the lower half of some knight's armor, especially with the toes coming to an upward point (this could also be interpreted as having Samurai-based influences such as Autobot Drift). Either way, it is a really interesting way to bring human influences to the design of an alien robot.

The rest of Strafe's robot mode is interesting in a different way. His chest design has very fluid yet jagged looking designs roughly arranged in a "Y" shape. There's something almost organic looking about it and it's a really intricate pattern. His arms are mostly angled, with sharp looking claws at the ends for his hands (but don't worry, they won't hurt anyone). Attached to each arm are his beast mode wings, which collapse in this form, but they still look like huge blades attached to his arms (more on that later). You also see bits of his beast mode in this form including his beast mode feet (at the knees) and the beast mode heads (on the back). This hints at his savage alternate mode and meshes well with his armor-inspired designs.

Strafe is cast in black and blue plastic. The black looks a bit metallic in some light, so the shade is a bit lighter than a flat black color. Parts of the wings are cast in a light, metallic blue color and use PVC plastic as opposed to the harder ABS plastic. This is necessary since the wing ends come to a sharp point at the end and the sides are kind of thin. It doesn't affect the appearance of the figure at all.

Black, light metallic blue and metallic green are used to provide deco on the figure. The black is used on the blue plastic to provide additional details such as on the lower legs and wings. The metallic blue is very light in shade and at first I thought it was just a plain silver. However looking at the silver joints next to it, there is a clear color difference. There's also a dark metallic blue color used to paint over the flat blue plastic. This is most notable on the waist/thigh armor. The metallic green is used for both the robot and beast mode eyes, offering some deco consistency between the two forms. There's actually quite a bit of color on this figure and it looks great.

There are ten points of articulation on this figure. That may sound odd but keep in mind this figure is not a "Generations" style figure, but rather a sub-line focused around a gimmick rather than a complex transformation and articulation. Given that, ten points is a good amount. Four of these are in the arms, one is in the legs at the knees. His action feature is a strike based on the blades on his arms. You put his arm up, then you push him to the side at the waist and let go. When you do so he'll spring back in a sideways striking motion. This is very much like the motion used by 80's He-Man figures. It's a fun feature, and the blade-like design of his wings really helps sell this as a weapon strike. You can lock his upper body by pushing up a small tab that connects into a hole on the back. Undo the tab to allow the waist to move.

The main weakness of this mode comes with the design of the legs. They are slightly bent at the knees, with the upper body and thighs angled back slightly. Unfortunately that means if his arms are down to his sides, he typically winds up falling backward. However, if you move his arms forward a bit, he balances just fine.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Push the robot head down into the chest.
  2. Swing the ends of the wings out.
  3. Swing the beast mode tails down.
  4. Rotate the beast mode heads around and swing them forward.
  5. Swing each of the lower legs up.
  6. Swing the beast mode claws up.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Strafe is an odd mutated Pteranodon featuring two heads and two tails. While he is considered a "Dinobot", technically Pteranodons were not dinosaurs, but they are strongly linked with them. In "Transformers" lore, the G1 character Swoop was a Pteranodon so it's no surprise the form made its way into this incarnation of the character. However, the two heads and tails were different enough that this guy has a different name, something I'm oddly glad about. It helps this guy stand on his own as an individual rather than being held to expectations of G1 Swoop.

A lot of the detailing in this mode carries over directly from the robot mode, including the arms and chest. However, new parts take center stage as well - most notably his beast mode heads. Each is thin with a crest that extends behind the eyes. The beaks have teeth sculpted into them and the eyes have raised lines that give him a mechanical appearance. The other parts that feature heavily here are the wings and tails. The wings are nice and wide, giving him the grand appearance worthy of this beast mode. The sculpting breaks the wing "membranes" out into sections, looking like pieces of armor that have been welded together. His tail has the segmented look that "Bayformers" favor, with the ends coming to sharp looking points. This is a deadly looking beast for sure and definitely a creature that would spell trouble for Decepticons.

Color-wise, the beast mode heads are black, mounted on blue neck pieces. The wings are blue and soft metallic blue plastic at the ends. Black paint is used to color details on the blue portions of the wings along with Autobot symbols. The metallic blue paint provides some detailing on the top beak and metallic green is used for the eyes. The tail is made of the same soft, metallic blue plastic as the wing ends, allowing them to look sharp while not being dangerous.

There are eleven points of articulation on Strafe in this form. This includes four in the head/neck section, four on each arm, the beast mode feet and the tail. You can still use his "Power Attack" gimmick in this form, but now it seems extra fierce if you imagine him slashing with his wings while snapping at his enemies with his beaks!

Final Thoughts:
Strafe's design is an interesting one, and it fits with the "Knight/Samurai" theme of the other Dinobots. The dual heads in beast mode seem more odd than cool to me, but that just makes me tend to think of him more as a Kaiju than a "dinosaur". Overall, this is a fun toy. It's not for those looking for a complicated transformation and high levels of articulation. However, I do credit it with having a decent multi-step transformation and some really nice sculpt detail. Recommended if you want a fun toy to mess around with, not a high end collectible figure.