Yup, you said it right, the elbow was designed in that way to facilitate the transformation. The head is on a swivel joint where you need to remove the screw underneath to remove the head to swap it out. You have 2 heads, one for Prime and one for Nemesis Prime. As for the paint chipping, this sample has gone through rounds with a few Chinese reviewers. Probably manhandled by them. Yes, that would be my assumption too. I have a feeling that the final retail version will be the same.