|Drift In Brief
| Drift is a creation of an Australian comics writer trying to make the most Japanese thing he could from an American toy line. Hasbro turned it into an exceptional toy with a great transformation and some of the best arm articulation on an Autobot to date, plus he has 3 bladed weapons. Well worth the $13-$15.
To date there is only one Drift toy, which is pretty amazing considering the brand's longevity. (New names are increasingly uncommon these days.) We can probably thank the recent notion of drift racing, which is where the character's name comes from in addition to his personality in the comics. He's largely presented as a smug, confident badass with swords and Japanese all over his person, essentially the synthesis of everything you loved as a teenager or as a young fan which currently represents everything that annoys you about those respective groups. But the important thing to remember here is that the toy itself is a personality-free block of consumer goods, and it's excellent.
He turns from a car to a robot, like hundreds of not thousands of Transformers before him. Since it's a new character there isn't a lot of history behind him-- Drift wasn't introduced to the world until the All Hail Megatron series in 2008, where his smirk annoyed legions of fans on message boards. Later, writer Shane McCarthy announced there would be a toy of his creation, which Hasbro seemed to deny pretty flatly. Not too long later, a toy of Mr. McCarthy's creation was shown at Toy Fair 2010, and as of today, those who know where to look can get one of the first (or perhaps only) characters in any G1-verse who made the leap from the page to the toy store.
Drift's articulation is so good you will punch someone in the face for all toys not being this great. The arms have shoulder joints, swivel biceps, ball-jointed wrists, and elbows with two joint each. Drift can actually hold a sword with both hands quite easily, something that other figures struggle to do.
The figure is about 6-inches tall, and smaller bladed weapons slide into holsters on his waist-- these were his doors in car mode. I have to admit I was skeptical that this design would work, but it does! The sword handles can fold down for storage to keep them out of the way, or you can fold them out so it's obvious that it is, in fact, a sword in his pocket wether or not he is happy to see you. It's also worth noting that the range of motion on the legs is excellent, allowing for a number of combat-friendly poses with his knee joints, hip joints, and swivel thigh joint. It seems the Transformers team took a cue from the other Hasbro action figure brands and really started to go nuts with this figure and the War for Cybertron Bumblebee and Optimus Prime.
Drift's head has no expression to speak of, which is unusual considering the character seems to be known for his smirk. Instead he has a rather plain face, with the helmet and chin that you would expect from having seen it in the comic books. Considering some toys do have a little more personality, like Bumblebee's smile, Armada Demolishor's gnashed teeth, or Armada Hot Shot's... drooling mug, it's an area that Hasbro could tend to explore more.
Transformation is fluid, so you won't be breaking off pieces by accident or anything. Open the hood of the car, spread out the arms, pull down the legs, massage the roof in place, etc. It's quite simple and so much fun you may even remember that the point of a Transformers toy didn't use to be an overly complicated pile of kibble, but rather a fun, speedy conversion from one form to another. This one excels in that capacity.
It's a car! We are not experts in types of cars, but this one seems to have four wheels and garish Asian writing on the side. Supposedly it translates to "Drift Racer" or something.
The car holds together nicely in vehicle mode, so you won't see arms flopping out or anything. Due to the unique placement of the wheels, it seems that you may have problems spinning the front wheels unless all the panels and pieces are massaged exactly in place. If you don't want him rolling off your shelf, this could be seen as a great accidental benefit.
With a smooth design molded in white plastic, the car looks fairly good despite having a mix of painted and clear windows. Headlights, grilles, even a spoiler add to the car mode's personality. Unfortunately, Hasbro opted not to include a funny novelty license plate like they have done in many of their recent car lines, so that area is simply blank instead.
On the bottom, you can store his larger sword. A clip is present to hold the weapon, but due to the sword's materials we're afraid it might start to deform over time. As such, for long-term storage, we suggest you store it elsewhere.
Drift includes a large sword and two smaller ones. Surprisingly, is more than a single-colored unpainted piece of plastic.
Each of the shorter swords have jointed handles, so the swords can be stored away in the doors in vehicle mode. The silver coloring of the blades looks great, but unfortunately does not match the color on the longer blade. Still, they're pretty great.
The longer sword is inscribed with Japanese characters which I was informed read "peerless under heaven," and there are painted details just above the grip. It's a nice touch, especially given how rarely accessories get any painted detail in the Transformers toy line. Oh, and they store nicely.
Drift is about the size of your average current "deluxe" car, the robot mode isn't unusually tall like, for example, Lockdown from Animated or Revenge of the Fallen.
From left to right: Brakedown (2009, Revenge of the Fallen), Sunstreaker (2008, Universe), Drift (2010, Generations).
Packaging & Shipments
This toy came packaged in the first wave style Transformers Generations packaging with a compliment of paper twist-ties, which are much more easily removed than the plastic and wire ones used for most of the past 15 years. The bubble also has a sticker advertising the HUB Network, a Hasbro-owned cable channel which won't launch until October of 2010, which at this moment is in the far-flung future.
It's about standard for Transformers these days-- mostly red, a big bubble, and not a lot of cross-promotion as of late. The only other toy promoted on Drift's box is War for Cybertron Bumblebee, and he's on the bottom next to the UPC.
The figure first hit stores in June 2010 with casemates Thrust, War for Cybertron Optimus Prime, and War for Cybertron Bumblebee. In the initial assortment, each shipped at two per shipping case.
While this is only the first post-Revenge of the Fallen new car toy we've seen, it's shockingly better than most we've seen out of Hasbro. Exceptional sculpting, a just-involved-enough transformation, great accessories, and the best articulation on any Transformers toy that isn't close to $100 makes this a must-buy. I don't care how much you hated the idea of Drift in the IDW Transformers comic book series, this toy is a fantastic addition to any G1-esque toybox of classic figures. Get one. Or, wait for the future remold as Blurr, as seen in the IDW comics. He comes complete with a sniper rifle.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased at a Phoenix, AZ Toys "R" Us in June 2010 for $11.99
Reviewed on July 9, 2010.