Allspark Galleries Update: AoE Wave 2 Deluxes Drift, Strafe and Slash!

Time for another Allspark toy gallery update!  This time, we are working with Autobot Drift and Dinobots Strafe and Slash.  Overall, I’m pretty pleased with these figures.  They have lots of positive that make them fun, however there are a few issues that take them down a notch in my opinion.

Let’s start with Drift.  Before I get into the toy, I want to make note that just like the comic character, this guy was a Decepticon.  I hope we get more of his back story in the movie, perhaps via a short flashback scene.  I’m not expecting it, but it would be a nice surprise.
Drift’s vehicle mode is a Bugatti.  He sports a nice two tone blue paint job, with a black spoiler and blue tinted, clear windows.  He looks decent in this mode, but one of the complaints I have is that it is difficult to get everything to lock together tightly, leaving larger breaks in the surface of the car than I think is acceptable.  Additionally, while the instructions say to store the swords under the body of the car, there is not enough clearance to get them under there without them bending under the vehicle as the tips press the surface below.
There are 16 official steps in Drift’s transformation.  To transform him, pop the doors out, pull the shoulders down, pop out the hood/top and lift it up.  Rotate the top around and rotate the back window area to the top, forming the “backpack” where you can store the smaller blades.  Rotate the head panel around and up, then use the tab on the back to lock the backpack in place.  Rotate the feet down, and in a step not in the instructions, rotate the leg side panels down before rotating the back window areas behind the legs.  This will greatly improve his range of movement in the legs.  Otherwise, those back window panels block the movement of the knees.
In robot mode, Drift has 17 points of articulation.  He poses dramatically enough, but the panels on the thigh areas can be a little problematic.  His knees will bend enough if you follow the previously mentioned extra step, and the toy seems to be designed to do just that, as otherwise the leg panels have no real reason to be able to move backwards.  The sculpt is nice and detailed, but I absolutely hate the face.  First of all, I think they may just have trouble painting that part of the mold without applying so much paint that detail is lost.  Secondly, the image on the front of the cover shows a serious face, and one might imagine that a former Decepticon would be a little less than “shiny happy”.  The expression on the toy is almost creepy it looks so happy.  The hollow eyes even give it a Michael Meyers kind of look.  shudders
In spite of these issues, Drift is still a pretty fun toy.  He even gets easier to lock together in car mode after you have done it a few times.  I highly recommend this for older Transformers fans, but if you have younger kids who want a representation of Drift, go for one of the simplified figures and save a confused parent the frustration of transforming him.

Next up is Swoo…er, Strafe.  Of note in the bio is that he “swoops down on his enemies”, a clear reference to he is really is.  I personally don’t know why the name change happened, but the toy and the character are more important to me than that particular name.  The Toys R Us Evolutions version has a picture of G1 Strafe, the Technobot, on the packaging, which adds more clarification or confusion, depending on your point of view.
In pteranadon mode, Strafe sports a beautiful blue color with black highlights, as well as a greyish gradient on the wings, broken up by a scale/lightning design in black.  He is a very striking figure in this mode, and I love how his swords can store on the wings and his crossbow can be stored by shoving the shaft if the arrow into his…gluteus, maximus.  Yeah, that’s unfortunate, but it looks good and isn’t too distracting.
Transforming him is easy.  Officially he has 13 steps.  Start by pulling the leg panels down and rotating the legs around one by one.  Disconnect the arms from the wings and rotate them beside the body.  Pull the dino heads apart, fold them down towards the chest and pop the head up into place.  The wings can be stored behind the figure by rotating them downwards, with the tail popping through the gap in between them.  He has 13 points of articulation, with an additional 6 if you use the wings in this mode.  I really love the way he poses, but there is one negative.  The dreaded “curling arm syndrome”.  This is never acceptable, especially in a figure that was designed for older child fans and collectors.  He loses a cool point due to this, but he is fun enough that I can almost forgive.  Almost.
Overall, I think Strafe is a solid figure.  He is fairly simple to transform, so he is not very challenging, but he makes up for it by being a cool mutated dinosaur with two heads that can be used as additional weapons.  He does have some sharp points, so don’t get him for the very young TF fan you have at home.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.

The last bot on my menu for this post is Dinobot Slash.  I can’t help but get “Welcome to the Jungle” stuck in my head every time I say that name while looking at him.  Slash is an appropriately feathered raptor, and he is armed to the teeth in both modes.  His dino mode may be my favorite so far, and with an additional ‘brute mode” that I will discuss shortly, he robot mode goes from OK to awesome.
I raptor mode, Slash looks super dangerous.  His claws and teeth really give the impression he was made to render cyberflesh.  The added feathers and spines on his body say “stay back!”  Slash is colored with a very organic teal, yellow and green color scheme, highlighted by black.  He does not photograph nearly as nice as he looks in person.  Raptor mode sports 11 POA.
Slash has 13 official transformation steps.  Basically, you pull the upper head and teeth back and lock them into place behind what will become the legs, while also rotating the neck panel around, forming the shins and the feet.  Turn the figure around and pull the tail behind it.  Rotate the arm section around and over the back of the body, locking it in onto the dino legs/robot arms.  Rotate the arms around, rotate the lower dino legs around, then push it down towards the arms to reveal the hands.  Rotate the legs around at the knees and you are done.
In robot mode, Slash has 11 points of articulation.  That would be enough, but he also suffers from “curling arm syndrome”.  Fortunately, there is what I consider a nice fix for this.  With a name like Slash, and being as dangerous as they claim he is, I think a “brute mode” is very appropriate and, if you will pardon the pun, maintains him well “armed”.  All you need to do is backtrack the transformation on the arms to get them into raptor mode.  Voila!  Slash now has more points of articulation and actually looks like someone who would “slash” his enemies.  I’m likely going to leave mine like this.  For those who prefer the official look, he does still pose nicely, in spite of the arm limitation.  His raptor arms store his battle axes, and they are made of a rubbery material and simply pop out.  Even set this way, he looks like he will kill you and be done with it.  I’m thinking the TF design team may have a horror fetish, between this and the look on Drift’s face.
I do recommend this figure for all Transformers fans 8 and up.  His transformation strikes a good balance, being difficult enough to be a small challenge without being hard to transform or too simple.  He loses a point for the curling arms in robot mode, but gains multiple points for the unofficial brute mode.  Buy him without reservation, have no regrets.