Swoop, like all the Dinobots, started his existence in Takara’s Diaclone in 1983. As part of the sub-series Dinosaur Robo, he was No. 5 Pteranodon. This version was perhaps the most different from the G1 version of all the Dinobots. The Diaclone version’s chest was painted in a metallic blue color. The sculpt was considerably different as well: the upper and lower beak, wing tips, and tail, came to sharp points, and the lower beak was cast in a hard plastic. Similarly, his dinosaur feet and rear landing gear were cast in hard plastic, with separate rolling wheels. This version also included a chromed hard plastic sword and a small plastic and die-cast driver that could ride between the large engines on swoop’s back. Swoop was designed by Koujin Ohno. The US Patent, titled Reconfigurable dinosaurian toy (aka Transformers G1 Swoop) was filed on May 1, 1984 (U.S. Patent No. USD286419 S).
Swoop transforms into a robotic Pteranodon, sporting broad chrome wings, and a transparent beak and head. His back carries large silver engine-like apparatuses decorated with stickers and black paint. His soft rubber feet can fold down into faux landing gear, and he can deploy a working metal landing wheel from his red die-cast chest. His beak, tail and wingtips all end a rounded, blunt end. His head is hinged such that he can either look forward from a flying pose, or stand on his hindlegs and look down over his chest. His head is detailed with painted yellow eyes, and mechanical details on his lower beak that can be seen through his clear upper beak. His transformation is relatively simple. The large jet engines swing down to become his lower legs, his chest divides in half, and this dinosaurian beak becomes the center of the chest, revealing his robot face on the back half of his head. Swoop’s robot mode is well-proportioned, despite being by far the smallest of the Dinobots. His wings, though folded, still extend out to his sides. He can wield a combination of his two silver and red missile launchers and his soft rubber red sword. Swoop can also use his missile launchers in his dinosaur mode by mounting them under his wings like a jet, a trait unique among the Dinobots. He is also the only Dinobot not to include a non-firing gun.
Swoop’s design is a disaster waiting to happen. The hinge holding the upper beak is very thin, and the clear plastic is particularly brittle. Once the upper beak is gone, the protruding lower beak soon follows, frequently broken off at its base. Due to his shoulders needing to be pulled out in robot mode, many vintage samples have their arms ripped off at this joint. If the landing gear is left deployed, it can snag and shear off flush with his die-cast chest plates. To make matters worse, tampering with his torso in order to replace parts can cause the miniscule spring-loaded buttons on his back (that click his legs into place for dino mode) to shoot out and become lost. Relative to all these issues, Swoop’s long, thin wings are relatively sturdy. Relatively. Swoop should always be handled carefully, and none of his joints should be moved beyond their natural stopping points.
Swoop has a number of minor variations, the most notable variant affects his wing hinges. In the early version, the wing hinge can bend down slightly, angling his wings toward the ground in Pteranodon mode. Later versions only allow the wing to unfold flat.
Swoop was available in 1985, except in the UK. Due to the popularity of the Dinobots, he was available again in 1986. He was available in 1991 in Europe as part of the Classic Dinobots. He was also available as a mail-away exclusive in Japan during Operation Combination in 1992.