"Age of Extinction" SDCC 2014 Exclusive Strafe Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Comic-Con Exclusive, Deluxe, Dinobot, Generation One

Age of Extinction

Strafe General Information:
Release Date: July 24, 2014
Price Point: $159.99 (In a boxed set with the Ark playset, Grimlock, Snarl and Slug)
Retailer: San Diego Comic-Con 2014 and Hasbrotoyshop
Accessories: Swords x 2, Missile launcher, Missile

Images:

*Text below from Hasbrotoyshop:
Deep beneath Mount St. Hilary, from the command center inside Autobot headquarters, Grimlock orders his Dinobots to attack! They emerge from the primordial sludge, charging forward to swoop down on the Decepticons with a terrifying snarl and the sheer will to turn the toughest Decepticon into slag.

The battle between the Dinobots and the Decepticons is on again in this San Diego Comic Con exclusive 4-pack! This is a force of Dinobot figures you can only get at SDCC, and it's chock-full of dino rage! Your Grimlock figure will lead your Strafe, Dinobot Slug and Snarl figures into battle, and all 4 convert from robot mode to dino mode and back. Dino up with the Dinobots Generation One exclusive 4-pack!

Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. Includes 4 Dinobot figures and instructions.

  • Dinobots Generation One 4-Pack includes 4 Dinobots
  • Includes Grimlock, Strafe, Dinobot Slug and Snarl figures
  • Ages 8 and up

"Age of Extinction" features a kind of Transformer that fans have been wanting to see on the big screen since the first movie: Dinobots. Originally introduced in the "Generation One" cartoon series and toy line, Dinobots have appeared again and again over the years in the "Transformers" toy line. Going as far back as "Beast Machines", the Dinobos have represented a sub-group of characters that often played by their own rules and generally represented great power. The Dinobots Grimlock and Swoop even made an appearance in the "Energon" toy line. In more recent years, the Dinobots even made an appearance in the "Power Core Combiners" line as well as the "Generations" toy line.

Almost as soon as they were announced, fans wanted these new Dinobot toys in the familiar silver/black/red/gold colors that were used on the original Dinobots. After much waiting, Hasbro announced that there would be a San Diego Comic-Con 2014 exclusive featuring just that! Included with this set is a special box that folds out into an incredible playset based on the Generation One "Ark" as seen in the animated series.

One of the characters included in this set is Strafe. While the two are different characters, Strafe is heavily linked to the Generation One Dinobot Swoop, the only aerial member of the team in the original series. Swoop didn't get a lot of attention in the Transformers toy line for many years, but he has popped up from time to time. Way back in 2003 there was a Swoop (aka Terranotron) exclusive at Wal-Mart. Later there was a Swoop in the Energon series and a Mini-Con in the Classics line (which would be given a G1 Swoop inspired deco as "Dark of the Moon" Rav). Years later he would appear as a character in the Transformers Animated series. However, this is perhaps the biggest "Swoop inspired" appearance of a character in years just in terms of sheer media exposure via the "Age of Extinction" film.

This figure is a redeco of the Deluxe Class Strafe sculpt from the main "Age of Extinction" toy line. You'll want to check out that review for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Beast Mode:
"Age of Extinction" Strafe features the rather odd design of having two heads in beast mode (which despite me having reviewed two toys of the character I still find a bit odd). However, his overall design is similar enough to G1 Swoop that many of the design elements from Swoop carry over nicely. The major plastic choice that grabs your eye are the wings, both of which are covered in vacuum metal silver which looks brilliant. The body section under the wings is cast in red, similar to the original Swoop. The red is a tad lighter in shade on this figure than G1 Swoop, but the contrast between the silver and the red is just as appealing.

Several of the details on the head are meant to mirror G1 Swoop's appearance. These include:

  • The top part of the head is cast in clear plastic while the bottom is red.
  • The crest is painted red.
  • An Autobot symbol is painted on the top part of each beak.
  • The eyes are painted yellow.

The homage doesn't end there. Look on the wings and you'll find several tampographed details including two red curved sections on each wing and several details that look like wires and machinery. These call back to stickers that were featured on the original Swoop's wings.

Other details on the figure differ from G1 Swoop mostly out of necessity. The long tails are cast in soft, black plastic (G1 Swoop only had a small, stubby tail). Also the beast mode legs have clear plastic on the feet instead of red as seen in the G1 figure. This clear plastic is also used on the swords mounted under the wings (which are analogous to G1 Swoop's missile launchers). However, the designers did take the extra step of painting the ends red with a black circle to resemble how G1 Swoop's missile launchers looked with their missiles inserted. Despite these differences, the homage on this figure is clear and he looks amazing. He's instantly identifiable as inspired by G1 Swoop and the red and silver contrast is simply striking.

The various joints in this mode are nice and tight including the wings and the legs. The missile launcher still attaches to his back nice and fires without a problem. An interesting note: the inside of the 5mm ports on his wings do not have vacuum metallized silver allowing for a snug fit of his swords and allaying fears of the vac metal being scraped off or cracking by repeated insertion and removal of the swords/missiles.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the missile launcher and set it aside for now.
  2. Flip the figure onto its back to see most of the robot mode parts.
  3. Swing out each of the beast mode legs and rotate them around.
  4. Disconnect the arms from the wings.
  5. Push the outer sections of each wing in.
  6. Swing each of the beast mode heads outward towards the shoulders.
  7. Swing the robot head up.
  8. The beast mode heads and be folded to cover parts of the chest or be moved back.
  9. Place the missile launcher into one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
The way the plastic parts break out on the tooling for this figure, it's not really possible to fully replicate Swoop's appearance without a ton of paint. However, given the structural differences between G1 Swoop and Strafe, I think the designers did a nice job including details that call back to G1 Swoop. These details include:

  • The head is cast in black with a silver face.
  • The chest has two, thin triangular details painted in silver, a call back to a similar sticker design on G1 Swoop's chest.
  • The lower legs are silver with black painted on the middle of each lower leg.
  • Each arm has yellow and green details on it, which reflect the colors of stickers that were applied to G1 Swoop's forearms.

While this is not a slavish homage, I have to say the way the colors break up on the figure look great. The regular "Age of Extinction" release is mostly blue and black so there's not a lot of color variety. In this case however there's a lot of color break up. For instance on the arms the shoulders are black, leading to red upper arms, silver forearms and then red hands. This "break up" also happens on the legs and looks great.

The missile launcher still works well and the swords/missiles can attach to the sides to create a large sized crossbow weapon. All the joints are tight on the figure as well (not shocking given that the sculpt hasn't been used that many times).

Final Thoughts:
Like the other Dinobots in this boxed set, I'm am very impressed by how well this came out. Despite the challenges of the plastic breaking out differently the deco and tampograph details work brilliantly as a homage to G1 Swoop. A really fantastic deco on a cool figure.