In the entire history of Transformers, there is probably no character more self-serving than Drift. A badass ex-Decepticon who killed a bunch of Autobots then eventually joined them? Uses swords for weapons? Transformers into a car with kanji on the sides based on a Japanese Drift Racer? It’s like someone played too much Initial D and wanted to make a character based on it… still, as annoying as his backstory and portrayal are, there’s one thing that can’t be denied: He’s one awesome design.
Drift’s car mode is (unsurprisingly) very Japanese-automotive inspired. It’s a nice sleek design and fits in with the other Classics-style Autobots very well. On each of his doors he’s adorned with the kanji for “Samurai” unlike the katakana for “dorifuto” like in the comics. I much would have preferred the dorifuto (Drift) katakana from a stylistic point, but I guess it would be pretty self-serving to have your own name tattooed on your body, even if it is in a language Drift probably can’t read (though it’s probably something he would do…). All of his wheels roll very easily, thankfully, avoiding a problem I’ve noticed on way too many figures these days.
His car mode holds together pretty well thanks to the rather frustrating pins/holes used to keep his spoiler and hood in place. He does have a lot of visible panels but they aren’t nearly annoying as his wavemate Bumblebee. His transformation is what I would consider to be “satisfyingly complex”-it’s not overly complicated but once you figure it out he becomes a real joy to transform.
Drift’s robot mode is, simply put, awesome. I love his design. With the exception of the sheathes on his hips, he doesn’t have a very Samurai-esque look to him, which is a huge plus in my eyes. If he had a more Samurai motif I think it’d be a little harder to take him seriously. Behind his chest armor he actually has a chest based on his Cybertronian robot mode-a nice little touch.
Personally my favorite part of his design is his head. It’s gorgeous. It makes me think of Tigatron from Beast Wars (who was, coincidentally, rather samurai-esque in the Japanese versions of the series). It’s angular and really striking, even having a bit of a Gundam chin. Oh, and he has light piping. Can’t have a cool figure without light piping!
But where this guy absolutely shines is his articulation. Oh my god, Hasbro went above and beyond with Drift. Double-jointed elbows with swivels, wrists on hinged ball-joints, and double-jointed thighs/hips. It’s amazing; this guy beats out even some of the most articulate Beast Wars and Robots in Disguise figures in terms of his joints. The only things that would make his articulation perfect are double-jointed knees (which are hard to engineer on a figure this size, I’d assume) and ankle joints, but his ankles/feet are thick enough that it doesn’t really matter.
And of course, his wide array of joints means only one thing-he can do awesome poses with his swords! Yes, he can hold his largest sword with BOTH hands-a rare feat, I know; and his two smaller swords store in the sheathes that were made from his doors in vehicle mode. These have hinged handles which allow them to stow away much easier during transformation. The largest sword is stored under the car in vehicle mode, and is adorned with-you guessed it-more kanji. It translated to “peerless under heaven” I guess… man they really want me to hate this guy. The swords are all made out of the softer plastic to avoid breaking, but you need to be careful to not let them warp. If that happens, just dip them in hot water for a few seconds.
Whether you like the character or concept of Drift is kind of irrelevant where his toy is concerned-it’s just plain awesome. He’s a super-poseable badass with lots of fun swords, what’s not to love? Of course, if you’re not into swords, or kanji and the character bugs you THAT much there’s always Blurr-same mold, new head, and guns instead of swords-something for everyone! So drop by the FP store and grab yourself a badass samurai weeaboo or a fast-talking blue sniper-it’s up to you, and it’s a win-win.