"Transformers Prime" Arms Micron Swerve Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Arms Micron, Autobot, Voyager

Arms Micron

General Information:
Release Date: August 25, 2012
Price Point: $40.00 (Prices varied depending on retailer)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: Sou Micron Weapon

Swerve

In late 2011, the Transformers: Prime toy line kicked off in most markets around the world. However, Japan would go in their own direction, creating a line known as "Arms Micron". Instead of just re-releasing the "Prime" toys, Takara designed an entire campaign revolving around Microns (aka Mini-Cons) that were included with the figures. These Microns were often packaged as small model kits with stickers used for detailing. There were dozens of these Microns released, some designed to combine with each other to form more powerful weapons. "Arms Micron" was also distinguished by using minimal paint applications on the figures and instead providing sticker sheets for them, adding to the "model kit" theme. This line ran until around the end of 2013.

Transformers: Prime featured a core cast of Autobots and Decepticons, adding other characters in over the years, but it was always implied that there were many other Autobots who served with Optimus Prime who were not in the series (Tailgate was one tragic example). However, when Takara Tomy wanted to expand their "Arms Micron" line, they looked towards an unused alternate head for the "Prime" Deluxe Class Ratchet figure. Originally this head sculpt was going to be used for a Transformers Prime Gears figure, but that was never released. Instead, the designers at Takara Tomy decided to use it for this Swerve figure (which is appropriate since G1 Swerve was a redeco/retool of G1 Gears).

Swerve is a redeco and retool of War Breakdown, so check out that review. This review will focus on the changes made to this figure for this release.

Sou Review

Sou is Swerve's Arms Micron partner. His name appears to be a play on the letters "S.W." (when you say those letters as a word it kind of sounds like "Sou"). Why "S.W."? Well, his partner is Swerve so this may be some type of funny play on that. Many other Micron figures in this line had similarly weird names so this is consistent with the rest of the line.

Robot Mode:
Sou is a rather generic looking robot, but that is kind of his charm. His head design has classic Transformers design elements such as a crest on the helmet, a mouthplate and visor style eyes. His torso and limbs are all angular and robotic looking bits complete with a control panel like design on the chest. He has some nice angled shapes on the shoulders and the sides of the chest, offering up some sleek designs on an otherwise blocky robot.

Sou is cast in red plastic. The feet have red, silver and blue stickers on them. Similarly colored stickers are found on the bottom of the chest on either side. The rest is left unpainted. There is a smokey grey piece of plastic on one side that you insert over an Autobot symbol sticker.

There are four points of articulation on this figure. The arms can swing up and down and the lower legs can rotate in and out.

Transformation to Weapon Mode:

  1. Swing the robot head down.
  2. Swing the saw blade and arm on the back forward, then rotate the blade around.
  3. Rotate the lower legs out with the pegs out to the sides.
  4. Swing the legs forward at the hips.
  5. Swing the arms back.

Weapon Mode:
Sou is a saw in weapon mode. However, his design features treads sculpted into the arms, however there is no way to arrange the arms to make sense as a vehicle so I am going to chalk this up to a design element that was abandoned in the final product. Still, having a saw blade weapon is particularly viscous and I can imagine Swerve doing some serious damage to a Decepticon in battle.

As part of the Arms Micron system, there are a bunch of attachment points on Sou to combine him with other weapons. There is a 5mm port on one side of the saw. Each arm also has 5mm ports on it. The pegs on the legs sticking out to the side offer more attachment points. Finally there is a 5mm peg on the bottom.

Swerve Review

Robot Mode:
Swerve never actually appeared in the Transformers Prime animated series, however an image of him did appear in the sequel series Robots in Disguise. In that episode he looked very similar to his G1/IDW Publishing comic book counterparts. However, this figure is a redeco/retool of the War Breakdown sculpt. That means he does not look like a G1 Mini-Bot. Instead he looks like a hulking, powerful Autobot warrior! Even the head is not particularly "Swerve-like" since it was originally intended to be Gears. Even then it's a highly stylized take on the character, with the sides of the helmet coming down to the sides of the mouth it kind of resembles the bars that would cross over G1 Gears' face in robot mode. In all honesty, if it weren't for the packaging and colors, you would never be able to figure out this was meant to be Swerve. That's fine by me since this is a version of the character from an alternate continuity.

This figure is made up of red, off-white, black and translucent blue plastic. The face has some silver and off-white paint on it, but most of the details in this mode are provided by stickers. The waist/hip area has blue and black stickers on it. The knees have silver stickers and the feet have black stickers. The red and off-white colors definitely help make this figure Swerve, but I honestly wish there were some painted details instead of just relying on stickers for detailing.

Swerve has sixteen points of articulation in this mode. This includes the head, waist and four points in each arm. Being part of the "Arms Micron" play pattern, there are a ton of 5mm connection ports. Here's a rundown:

  • To the right of the head is one connection point.
  • Behind the head there are two ports.
  • The back features a port in the middle of the spare tire.
  • Behind each shoulder is another connection point.
  • Each forearm features two ports.
  • Each fist has a port.
  • Each leg has a connection point on the sides.

Thanks in part to the figure behing very stable and solid (no loose joints here) you can attach a lot of weapons and the figure still stands firmly.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach any accessories attached.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Swing the top part of each forearm down and around.
  4. Swing the back armor piece out.
  5. Swing each foot piece back into the lower legs.
  6. Swing the chest piece up (this will also move the arms up).
  7. Swing the vehicle mode grille section up.
  8. On the top of the chest, push the two panels together.
  9. Rotate each arm down.
  10. Swing each arm in (under the chest panel piece).
  11. Swivel the shoulder armor up to form the front wheel wells.
  12. Rotate the forearms so the windows face out to the sides.
  13. Swing each of the forearms up to form the cabin section of the vehicle.
  14. Push the windshield halves together and connect the shoulder armor panels to the sides of the front bumper.
  15. On each lower leg, swing out the inner panel from the rear wheel well sections.
  16. Rotate the waist section around.
  17. Fold each leg forward, tucking it under the middle of the vehicle.
  18. Rotate the rear wheel well panels so they align with the front wheel wells.
  19. Swing the back piece down to form the rear of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
In G1, Swerve was a truck in his alt-mode. From that perspective, this truck mode fits this jacked version of the character. This sculpt is the same as War Breakdown's, complete with a high front end and a really chunky middle/back section with panels sticking out a bit on the sides.

This mode mostly shows off red plastic. The windows are translucent blue plastic. The front grille and bumper are painted with silver and gunmetal grey respectively. Silver paint is also used on the side view mirrors. The wheel in the back is black. Stickers are used for the smaller windows on the sides and back. Both doors also have red and silver Autobot symbols on them. I would have liked a bit more paint, like say, silver on the sides of the wheels. Still, it looks good and the colors work as a callback to the G1 version of the character.

In keeping with the "Arms Micron" play pattern, there are plenty of attachment points for Micron weapons:

Over each front wheel well is a 5mm port right above the headlights.

  • There is a 5mm port on the top of the hood section towards the right.
  • There is a port right behind each front wheel well.
  • The top of the cabin section has three 5mm ports set in a triangular pattern.
  • The rear features a port in the spare tire and two pegs.
  • In addition to these points, there is a bar on the rear section to attach a "C Clip" weapon, something that has common in
  • Transformers figures for a little while in the early 2010's. This can also be used in the robot mode.

Overall there is a lot of potential play value here. I am also happy to see the gimmick does not interfere with the aesthetics of the figure.

Final Thoughts:
The base figure Swerve is based on made for a great Breakdown figure. As Swerve, the figure is a bit odd since it does not really fit any previous incarnation of the character. Still, a cool toy is a cool toy and this sculpt qualifies. Some fans may find this slightly less desirable than other versions of this sculpt since the character never appeared in Transformers Prime but it still makes a fun toy to add to your collection.

Pros:

  • Excellent sculpt.
  • Good articulation.
  • Fun play value via the "Arms Micron" system.
  • A fun way to use a head sculpt that would have never been released otherwise.

Cons:

  • I would prefer painted deco over stickers.