While Crosshairs was my favourite of the new Autobots introduced in Age of Extinction, the movie-verse incarnation of Drift was a very close second. Being a Samurai-themed robot design replete with swords-slashing action is one thing, but the true icing on the cake is being voiced by the legend, Ken Watanabe. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really liked his design as well. I especially like the part that some others find somewhat unsettling, his intricately designed, exceptionally expressive face.
The toyline for Age of Extinction could not have been an easy thing to design. Trying to make toys that represent what was shown on the screen is darn-near impossible. Rather than the bulkier, somewhat blocky designs full of straight lines from the previous three movies, all of the Age of Extinction designs are more svelte, with rounded edges.
The entire Autobot cast seems to go out of its way to make it even more difficult; Crosshairs has his trenchcoat, Hound has his extreme rotundity, but Drift doubles down with not only a hyper-specific, samurai armor design but also by being a triple-changer that turns into a made-up helicopter and a very real car, the 2013 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse.
While his aerial alt mode, an attack helicopter of made-up design, is easier to design around, it would be virtually impossible to do all three modes properly in one toy. The made-up design is shown to be quite small, as helicopters go (this is in line with the fact that Michael Bay has expressly stated no inexplicable size changing will be happening in the movies) but the toyline solves the issue by simply giving his helicopter alt mode to another toy altogether.
Honestly, I think I should be more annoyed by this than I am. Ultimately, I think I’m ok with it because I can appreciate three appropriate, well-designed modes without the hassle of having to accept design flaws brought on by trying to put too much into one toy. Notice, however, I type “three appropriate, well-designed modes”. Naturally, with two separate toys, there are four modes total, but the helicopter mold is a one-step, which means his robot mode is… well, yeah.
I take it back, I guess there is the fun factor. For a kid, this one-step between attack helicopter and samurai with arm blades would be a lot of fun to play with.
And I do really like that helicopter alt mode, even if it isn’t entirely screen accurate it’s close enough. Luckily there’s the deluxe class toy to make up for any failings the one-step’s robot mode may exhibit.
I also like that the character has so fully embraced Japanese culture. The use of earth accents and mannerisms has never bothered me, because I assume a race of giant mechanical beings whose defining characteristic is their ability to adapt would do exactly that and adapt beyond the shapes of their adopted worlds to absorb the cultures as well. Plus: giant robot with swords.
The deluxe’s use of the reverse side of the door panels as samurai armor pieces is a nice touch; turning what would otherwise just be kibble into detail. I also like the headsculpt on this one, though a superior headsculpt would come along shortly.
Superior headsculpt and giant robot with swords. Those are the two
excuses reasons I give for owning this,
There really is no other logical reason. As a retool of Dark of the Moon Skyhammer (a toy I liked a lot), this voyager class Drift is even less screen accurate as a helicopter and — with the exception of the aforementioned head — entirely inaccurate in robot mode. Still, that headsculpt is fantastic.
And now an even giant-er robot now with giant swords.
That can then be joined to form a single, giant sword.
Somewhat ironically, this mold’s helicopter mode is also a made-up assault helicopter.
Yes, I was almost entirely sold on this toy based on the headsculpt, but had it been put on a lesser toy, it would have been much more difficult to justify buying.
Luckily the Age of Extinctioni cast is small enough that I have the room to display all three together. Naturally, with the One-Step in alt mode
You know who didn’t take any justifying to buy? This little guy.
Also, he came with the Kre-o build of my favourite Dinobot, Slug. In the movie, Drift is seen riding Slug into battle, which leads to the two being paired in the funny and very cute Chapter 3 of the “How To Ride Your Dinobot” shorts.
While we’re on the subject of justification, you know who would be impossible to justify buying?
For a mere $1100 (plus shipping) this polystone statue from Sideshow Collectibles and Prime 1 Studios and “featuring LED light-up eyes and interchangeable hands with swords” could be yours. All the intricate detailing is truly stunning.
And, once again, oooooooh that headsculpt.