"Transformers Vintage G1" Swerve Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Generation One (Vintage G1), Mini-Bot, Mini-Bot, Wal-Mart Exclusive

Generation One Vintage G1 Reissues

Swerve

General Information:
Price: $7.86
Retailer: Walmart Exclusive
Release Date: 2018
Accessories: None

Official Photos above and text in italics below are from Walmart.com:

  • Re-creation of the original G1 Autobot Swerve figure
  • Inspired by the styling of the 1986 G1 release
  • Vintage decoration and sticker decals
  • Tech specs showing the capabilities of Autobot Swerve
  • Autobot Swerve believes molecular structure is the window to understanding
  • Includes: figure
  • Figure scale: 2.4 inches
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts may be generated. Not for children under 3 years.

Experience the figures that started it all. This Transformers: Vintage G1 Autobot Swerve figure is designed like the original G1 version -- including figure styling, packaging, and art inspired by the 1986 G1 release, plus classic tech specs and accessories. (Re)start a vintage Transformers collection with this Autobot Swerve figure.

If Autobots had driver's licenses, his would be revoked. A menace on the highways. Doesn't pay attention to where he's going or the orders he's being given -- easily distracted by anything. Hands' sensors can determine physical and chemical properties of metals. Goes 120 mph, with a range of 500 miles in car mode. Gets into lots of accidents.

This Autobot Swerve figure converts between truck and robot modes in 4 steps. Clip out and save the on-box tech specs to share, then see how this figure compares to other heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons (each sold separately). Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

*Special Thanks to fellow fan Griffin for picking up this figure for me.

As of 2019, Transformers will be thirty five years old, making it one of the longest, continuously running action figure toy lines on the market. Of course, as time passes, so does the potential for nostalgia, especially for the original series that started the toy line. Recognizing this, Walmart announced a series of "Vintage G1" figures based on the sculpts of several Generation One figures. Going as far back as May 2018 with an official annoucement in July 2018, the "Vintage G1" line began being listed on Walmart's web site. However, some of the figures were easier to find than others, especially the Mini-Bots. However, around the end of 2018, the Mini-Bots hit Walmart in large numbers as part of a "Bumblebee" movie themed display at some Walmart stores. After the new year on 2019, newer shipments began to trickle into stores as well.

During the G1 era, Swerve was just a character who appeared in a couple episodes of the cartoon and was largely forgotten by the time "Beast Wars" rolled around. However, as the years rolled along the character became a convenient name to use for a red and white redeco of other figures. You can see this in the "Universe" series, "Cybertron" and even in the live action movie franchise. The character's popularity grew recently when he became beloved by fans of the IDW Publishing comic books which helped the G1 incarnation of the character return as a Legends Class figure. This "Vintage G1" release brings things around full circle.

Like many of the Mini-Bots released in 1986, Swerve was a redeco and retool of a figure from 1984. Specifically he was a redeco and retool of Gears, one of the original Autobots who came to Earth on The Ark.

Packaging:
There have been many reissues of G1 Transformers figures over the years, but aside from a line of keychains many years ago, the Mini-Bots have never been reissued on cards based on the original G1 packaging. The packaging for the Mini-Bots is a recreation of the G1 card and bubble packages. The front of the card has a large G1 style "Transformers" logo at the top. The character's artwork is very prominent in the middle, set against a grid pattern that itself lays on top of a red, orange and black gradient. The effect is striking and grabs the eye instantly. When looking at these figures on shelf versus other Transformers packaging and other toy packaging such as Nerf, it is striking just how eye catching and colorful the original packaging was.

The figure itself is packaged in robot mode, so a photograph of it in vehicle mode is set on top of the character artwork. The lower left hand side of the card features the classic 80's Hasbro logo and a yellow and black rectangle with the name "Autobot Swerve" inside of it.

The back of the packaging features a smaller version of the Transformers logo and the beautiful artwork featuring many of the 1984 characters battling it out in space. Below that are the character's instructions. On the right side is the character's tech specs which have been mostly recreated directly from the original G1 packaging. However, the section with the character's stats (Strength, Intelligence etc.) has been replaced with a similar looking section without the need for a translucent red "Tech Spec Decoder" to read the stats clearly.

The above description covers the United States and Canadian releases of the Mini-Bots. However, other countries received them too, and to conform to the laws of those countries the packaging was altered significantly. First, the front of the cards featured extra text in different languages (you can see this in my scan above of the front since my Swerve came from Australia). The biggest change is on the back of the International packaging which completely omits the tech spec and replaces it with legal information in multiple languages. While I understand the legal reasons for this, it is terribly unfortunate as it really detracts from the "vintage" look of the packaging. Tech Specs were a huge part of G1 and to be missing that is sad. I am glad the North American cards kept them for more of that "authentic feel".

Robot Mode:
When Hasbro and Takara worked on creating a "new" line of Mini-Bots for the 1986 line of Transformers, they did not just slap a new coat of paint on previous figures and release them. Instead, they went all out, replacing significant portions of each figure to create new characters. In the case of Swerve, the entire plate that creates his head and torso was replaced. On top of that, the thighs and the front of the lower legs were also replaced. The result was a robot mode that looked very different from the source figure: Gears. Part of what helped is the face sculpt. Here, the face has a round "helmet" section with visor eyes and a distinct nose and mouth. This is very different from Gears' more "abstract" face design. On top of that, the torso design is very different, featuring more rectangular and angled designs than Gears. The thighs have a different design too, most notably missing the row of vertical lines near the knee area. Finally, the lower legs have a much more rectangular and angled design. I really appreciate just how much effort the designers put into making Swerve different from Gears.

Another way Swerve differs from Gears is his color scheme. Swerve is made up of maroon, white and black plastic. The white makes up most of the robot mode, with the maroon parts focused on the arms and the back. Each of his (very prominent) wheels are black plastic. Swerve's "helmet" section is colored bright red, contrasting beautifully with the white plastic. His face is silver and his eyes are painted blue. These are details carried over from the "Encore" release of the character. The G1 version had its entire face painted red. Additional details are provided by stickers. One is a rectangular sticker featuring various lights, looking like the 80's idea of a futuristic computer console. The other sticker is an Autobot symbol in the middle. Finally, the thighs are vacuum metallized silver, giving him a "machine like" appearance. Overall this deco is beautiful, and the color combination of red and white would go on to inspire many future redecos named Swerve.

Swerve has four points of articulation: the arms and legs. That was very typical of Mini-Bots at the time but modern day fans who did not grow up with G1 might find it limited.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Push in the arms.
  3. Swing the lower legs back.

Vehicle Mode:
Thanks to the changes made to Swerve's lower legs in robot mode, the vehicle mode winds up looking different from Gears, at least from the middle back. The front section retains the same details as Gears, even the distinct "M" sculpted into the hood (which at one time stood for the toy's "Microchange" name: "Micro Robot 04 4WD Off-Road". He also has the same, distinct curved windshield as Gears. However, the back looks blockier and higher than Gears thanks to the shape of the legs.

This mode shows off much more of the maroon color, with the white focused towards the back. The front grille is vacuum metallized silver. Part of the hood and windshield are black. A heat sensitive symbol can be found on the top of the cabin section. However, due to the size of the symbol it is attached sideways so it will fit properly. Like the other symbols used in the "Vintage G1" line, this is not an exact reproduction of the original symbols. First, the shape of the outline is different, with a more pronounced chin piece. On top of that, when you rub the symbol it pretty much goes to a red/orange color and back to black. The original G1 symbols went through quite a few colors, including green and blue depending on the temperature.

Final Thoughts:
Swerve was always a favorite toy of mine, long before I saw him in the G1 cartoon. I love how different the figure is from Gears and the colors really pop. Highly recommended!

Pros:

  • Significant retool and redeco.
  • Nice combination of paint, stickers and vacuum metallized parts for a redeco.
  • The packaging for this figure is beautiful, well worth getting one to hang on your wall on card.
  • No loose parts, everything holds together nice and solid on this figure.

Cons:

  • Some fans may not like the limited articulation on this figure, especially if they are more used to modern day figures.