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Drift - Transformers 4 Age of Extinction - Generations Deluxe Figure

Height: 13cm (head height).

Articulation: 19 total points - ball-joint neck; 5 points each arm: double-jointed shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinge elbow, hinge wrist; 5 points each leg: Universal joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinged foot.

Colors: Molded blue, clear blue, gold, and black. Painted metallic blue, silver, black, gold, and red (Bugatti logo).

Accessories: Swords x2, Daggers x2.

Release Data: Estimated release date of May 16th, at a suggested retail price of US$14.99.

Author: RAC

Autobot Drift used to fight for the Decepticons. Now, he wields his swords against them, alongside the heroic Autobots!

Yeah, that's pretty much the character we've seen in IDW up to now. Many fans were not exactly thrilled with Drift as he first appeared in the comics, primarily because he was sort of fanfiction's excesses personified. He was a Japanese/samurai-themed Decepticon defector with a mystical bent. Yep. But James Roberts did what James Roberts does, and went and turned him into a person- and a fairly interesting person at that!

But of course this is not that Drift, really. This Drift takes inspiration from that character, but the live-action Transformers track record pretty much just means that IDW Drift was used as an artistic starting point for the designers and director to go wherever.


Robot Mode

In this case, they went with a much more literal interpretation of the samurai idea. Drift's torso, shoulder plates and thighs are all meant to invoke the O-yoroi style of armor most commonly associated with the samurai. Likewise, his head is meant to resemble a kabuto of the typical suji-bachi style. His face is... odd. The mengu facemask on a samurai's helmet was often made to resemble oni or other terrifying monsters- Darth Vader's faceplate was inspired by such masks, as was Bludgeon's. Drift's face, especially in his package art, is a robot face designed to look human and goateed and more relateable than many of the faces we've seen on movie Transformers before. The end result of these influences colliding is very Lawnmower Man. With maybe a dash of Transmutate. On the toy, the face skews a little less human, which keeps it from falling facefirst into the Uncanny Valley. What it ends up looking like primarily is a facemask rather than a face. That impression is furthered by the lack of lightpiping, or at least functional lightpiping. It's there, but it doesn't seem to work as intended, leaving Drift looking a little bit dead-eyed.

Otherwise, it's a pretty nice looking figure. Age of Extinction is going for a more humanoid look for its Transformers, so while Drift still looks pretty baroque in that movie-detail way he's got a very human silhouette. (One fascinating note: while otherwise Drift is largely symmetrical, the details on his upper arms are completely different.) But he doesn't have seventeen eyes or weird goat-legs or any of the stuff that kind of turned me off with earlier movie figures. He's more "safe" in terms of design, and as a cranky old fan that suits me fine. He's also in two attractive shades of blue- again a plus for my personal aesthetics. And of course he has the very traditional Transformers aspect of having a big pile of car on each calf and his back. It's not an excessive amount, but it's one of those "please ignore these for the toy to have the shape we really want" deals. Nothing unusual or crippling for a Deluxe, especially a movie Deluxe.

The head swivels unrestricted, and has enough upwards and side-to-side tilt that you can get some expression out of the pose despite the limits imposed by the kabuto. The shoulders are the hinge-and-swivel combination, swiveling in a full circle and raising the arms out well above shoulder level. The sode(shoulder armor plates) are actually separate from the arm and hinged on their own, which is a nice touch. If you're going traditional, they'd be strapped to the upper arm, so no real need to move them though. There's a pre-elbow swivel and an elbow with a nice, firm ratcheting action and 90 degrees of flex. There are hinges in the wrists that allow them to bend inward a bit which makes for some interesting variety of posing, though a vertical hinge would probably have been more useful. It's not really used for transformation either, so I guess the designers just thought these would be neat. I can't disagree! Drift also has open hands with (partially) defined fingers, which is pretty standard for movie toys.

No waist joint- the position of the back-kibble would make it entirely useless anyway. The hips are a swivel/hinge combo, with strong ratcheting on the hinge part, which makes posing pretty solid. There's excellent range on both axes, though you do have to swivel the thighs out to the side to make the most of the forward movement. The thigh armor (haidate) is mounted on the lower leg, and obscures the hip jointing elegantly. It does interfere with some poses, though. But the most restrictive-feeling joints on the figure are the knees and ankles. The knees actually flex a full 90 degrees, but the angled car bits like to ride up with wear and interfere with the knees. The ankles are technically a transformation joint but do allow Drift to lean into his step. Overall, the legs allow for some decent samurai-esque posing, but fall a bit short of allowing Drift to kneel convincingly.


Transformation

The shoulders become the front quarter panels, the calves become the rear end and quarter panels, a very small part of Drift's chest becomes the grille, and the entire top of the car is lowered into place off of the back. The back of the roof is supposed to peg into the legs to keep it down, but so far I've been unable to make that work entirely. The tabs take some arranging otherwise as well, but not enough to be super-frustrating.




Vehicle Mode

Drift is a 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse- nice change from the GM stuff that was typical of the previous movies, and the fastest street-legal car in the world. As often happens, the seams and panel lines created by transformation do interrupt the streamlined shape of the car, but it's not the worst case of that I've ever seen (that'd be Universe/Henkei Ironhide, for the record). It avoids a lot of the pitfalls of car Transformers: the windows are all rendered in the same medium (clear plastic) and the head and tail lights are painted. There are finer details that didn't cost out- the outer ring of each tail light should be red, the intakes on the front should be black like the grille -but the biggest omission is that there should be some silver on the back end of the car. That mechanical detailing poking up out of the back end is actually the engine- kind of an important detail to leave unpainted, but "not enough paint" has pretty much plagued Transformers in the past 5 years or so. One piece of paint detail I kind of like: there's a black Autobot symbol on one side of the car that, in ordinary viewing conditions, really can only be seen when the light shines on it. Since the Autobots seem to be in hiding for the first part of the film, that seems appropriate.

Other than that, it rolls fine, and has storage for all of Drift's accessories, which is pretty nice.

Accessories

True to his source character's Generations toy, Age of Extinction Drift comes with more swords than he can actually hold: two matched pair with pegs on the sides for storage. Since the longer swords are not patterned in any way after real-world swords, I'm just going to call them katana and have done with it. They fit in his hands best with the pegs facing outwards; it's not a perfect fit because you're genuinely putting square pegs into round holes. But they stay. The smaller swords I'm going to classify as tanto, the traditional Japanese name for any short dagger. They're too short to be wakizashi, which were the swords shorter than katanas used for indoor fighting. The tanto, for whatever reason, fit better with the pegs facing inwards.

Of course, Drift can't use all four weapons at once. But luckily there's storage for all the ones he's not using, and for all four at once if you push it. There are a pair of sockets on the outermost layer of his back kibble that are designed for the tanto, which are meant to stick up in the manner of the banners that samurai wore to keep you from killing people from your side (nobori). You can just have the handgrips sticking up instead, but it's trickier to set up. The next layer down, there's a pair of sockets for storing the tanto in vehicle mode. If you angle and cross the katana, you can store them there well enough. The outer one is never quite as secure as I'd like, but for improvised storage it works pretty well.


Closing Remarks

I'd say Drift is Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale. He looks good and has no major structural or deco flaws, comes with a decent amount of accessories that can be stored in both modes, and does a pretty good job of executing his samurai motif. His leg articulation's a little obstructed by the design, but it's difficult to see how that could've been avoided. The vehicle mode needs more paint (especially on the engine) and the Robot Mode is also extremely blue- though the contrast between the light blue and the rest of the body is better in person than it looks in the photos. And the top could lock down a little better- a problem I hope to be unique to my copy of the figure, but watch out just in case. Overall he's on par with what we've been getting out of regular Generations so far this year, and not as ugly as previous movie toys. We're off to a decent start.

Sample figure provided by Hasbro for the purposes of this review.



ReviewerRAC  
DateMay 8th 2014  
Score 6 stars (6 out of 10)  
Reads10117
LinkAoE Generations Drift Gallery  


AoE Generations Drift Gallery Image Gallery


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