Review: Transformers AOE Deluxe Strafe (Evolutions 2-Pack)

Like I mentioned in my Slug review, Swoop is immediately recognizable as one of the core Dinobot trio, and… wait, Strafe? Like the G1 Technobot? White and red space jet with big orange guns? Well, that’s kind of an odd name reuse to give the pteranodon Dinobot, but Swoop never did have two heads… but then, Grimlock never had horns and Sludge Slog never had gigantic red spikes. But sure, the two heads kind of resemble the two guns in G1 Strafe’s alternate mode, so if that’s how Hasbro wants to play it, fine by me… but to include a redeco of Classics Mini-Con Swoop in G1 Dinobot Swoop’s colors, call it G1 Strafe, and give it G1 Strafe’s tech specs and card art…?

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Dinosaur Mode

Names aside, Strafe transforms into a two-headed robot pteranodon. Why two heads? Because why not, I guess. This is a pretty nice dino mode with a very impressive wingspan. The tail(s?) is/are made of that soft, rubbery plastic, but are much more easily malformed than the kind used on Slug and Scorn, and in-package they are curved up to the side, which works fine for robot mode, but looks really odd in dino mode. I’m sure you could straighten them with the old hairdryer trick, but I can’t be bothered. His two swords/lances/spikes can mount on the underside of his wings, and his crossbow missile launching weapon can mount on his back, though I prefer to leave it off. His wings can move up and down for convincing flapping action, and they can even swing down enough to pull of a decent “landed” mode. Oh, and the two heads can open their mouths, and his legs can move at the hip. Not bad!

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Transformation

Strafe is by far the most straightforward Dinobot to transform. His arms detach from his wings, his robot head flips up, his dino heads flip down, and his legs straighten out. Boom, robot mode. It’s not really a flaw against the toy, as I’m not really sure how else it could have been done, but it’s a shame we don’t see anything particularly innovative or intuitive in this conversion.

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Robot Mode

Despite the underwhelmingly simple transformation, Strafe’s robot mode looks fantastic. The dark blue, black, and silver make for a cool and striking color scheme, and his massive wingspan makes him look downright intimidating. The two dinosaur heads become really cool shoulderpads without having to split in two like Slug and Grimlock. Strafe continues the knight theme primarily just in his head and boots, though the former does not seem to be based on any historical helm. His two swords can remain on the wings or be held in his hands, but poor Strafe is stuck with gorilla arms and thus cannot properly hold them. The one bit of articulation his wrists do have (rotating downward) allow for a decent variety of poses that still look good, but it is a real bummer. Also, his arms have a cavity that looks the perfect size for his hands to flip into, but no such joint is present to allow it. Huh. He can hold his crossbow rather well, if sideways.

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Wrists aside, Strafe’s articulation is fairly good! His head is balljointed so he can look all around, his shoulders are balljointed and can even pivot inwards thanks to being connected to the wing joint, though it does bring the wings forward as well. His elbows have a deep bend, his biceps swivel, and he does have waist articulation, which is always a plus. His hips are balljointed, his thighs swivel, his knees could be considered double-jointed, but the regular knee bend is enough and it looks rather bad when you bend the transformation joint. His feet have no joints, but are sculpted at an angle, so standing is no issue.

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Mini-Con Strafe

Deluxe Strafe is technically a part of wave 2, but before his regular release showed up on store shelves, the TRU exclusive “Evolutions 2-Pack” appeared for the same price as a regular Deluxe, with a completely unchanged Deluxe Strafe packed in with a G1 Swoop redeco of Classics Swoop… as Strafe. Despite being called Strafe and advertised as G1 Strafe, Strafe looks a lot like G1 Swoop. He’s a Mini-Con, so his robot mode is essentially a brick with limited balljoint shoulders, and his pteranodon mode has no useful articulation whatsoever aside from an opening mouth. For what is essentially a free figure, I really like him.

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Overall

Strafe, Swoop, whatever you call him, this is actually a pretty nice Dinobot toy. He’s very simple and his wrists are a bit of a bummer, but he does what he needs to do and he looks great in both modes. He’s definitely not going to be dethroning Scorn on anyone’s list, and he may not be as interesting as Slug, but Strafe is not a bad toy by any means. The wingspan alone makes him fairly impressive, and once you mount him on a stand, you can get some pretty awesome poses out of him. I’d say he’s worth a purchase, especially if you can find the Evolutions 2-Pack.

Where to Buy

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