Transformers Animated Toy Reviews: Swindle

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Transformers Animated

Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: December 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Cannon, missile


*Images and text below from the Hasbrotoyshop web site.
SWINDLE is a one-robot black market. He's only a DECEPTICON by default, since they're the ones who most often take advantage of his unbeatable deals on armor, weapons and combat systems. If it shoots, explodes, or focuses light into a beam intense enough to melt high-grade armor, SWINDLE will sell it to anyone. Anyone who can pay his price, that is. Most of his inventory, he scavenges from those who fall in battle, but he doesn't mind helping a crippled AUTOBOT all the way to the scrap heap before stripping him of his weapons.

Join this mighty DECEPTICON defender in pursuit of the AllSpark! The slick SWINDLE figure is ready for battle at a moment’s notice. And when it’s time to bring in the real heavy hitters, convert this detailed figure from robot mode to a launching gyro missile in transport mode!

With a name like "Swindle", a character can only go so many directions. Based on the G1 character of the same name, "Animated" Swindle is a fast talking salesman, not too much different than his portrayal in G1. While the name "Swindle" has been used for many toys in recent years (including the Alternator/Binaltech who was G1 Swindle), none of them pay homage to his G1 predecessor quite as much as this one.

Vehicle Mode:
One of the most popular large scale vehicles is the Humvee. Originally developed as a military vehicle, this large scale vehicle went "civilian" and became all the rage of those who wanted an impressive (if not somewhat impractical) vehicle. This was the vehicle the designers based Swindle's vehicle mode off of. Swindle has many of the typical design aspects of a Humvee including a generally blocky design, a straight, front pointing front end leading to a mid-section with four doors and two windows on either side and a windshield divided into two smaller windows in the front. The rear section then slopes down at an angle. However, that's pretty much were real life influences end and the more creative details begin.

While most Humvees feature some type of large grille or cage cover on the front end of the vehicle, Swindle is more of a civilian styled vehicle with a typical front grille, headlights and bumper. The details however are a bit stylized. His headlights are in a trapezoid shape with two smaller lights running underneath. The middle section of his hood is raised a bit, giving the vehicle a larger profile. On the sides, there are small details like sideview mirrors and door handles in the sculpt. Where a normal Humvee would have a third window on the side, Swindle has a small rectangular module protruding out, giving it more of a high tech appearance. Looking at the vehicle from the rear, you'll find a row of three lights sculpted on top, and a series of rectangular details on the edges that angle downward. In between those details is a rear window and on the vertical part of the rear section are circuit like details on the sides and trapezoid shaped lights, similar to the headlights. If you look in the windshield windows, there is a beautiful tech pattern etched into them, a fine detail that I almost missed until I held the figure a few inches from my face.

Swindle's weapon is a large cannon with a circular barrel and end with a more box section in the middle. One of the character's visual traits was a glow that would emanate from parts of his body, and the cannon is a reflection of that with a black outer layer and a translucent purple inner layer. You'll note a rectangle with an "X" inside of it. This detail is borrowed directly from G1 Swindle's cannon. This piece mounts directly onto the top of the vehicle, and by pressing the purple switch on top, he fires a translucent purple missile.

Swindle is cast in three main colors: pale brown, black and translucent purple. The main color is pale brown, which seems to also have a greenish tint to it. Black is used on smalelr parts such as his wheels and the cannon. Translucent purple is mostly hidden in this form, though it appears in some interesting places including his windshield, grille and inside the cannon. A large purple and white Decepticon symbol is tampographed on his hood. Black coloring is used on the front of the vehicle where it fills in the border around the grille. A bit of purple paint is used on the cannon while metallic purple paint fills in the window rectangles on the sides of the vehicle. This paint scheme is based off of G1 Swindle's, where brown (albeit a darker shade), purple and black were his primary colors.

This is a cool looking vehicle mode, epecially with the big honking cannon on top. It's also an apt mode for a Decepticon who revels in the excess of profit and riches (Humvees are often associated with the rich and excessive fuel needs). It also does a nice job of paying homage to G1 Swindle's Jeep vehicle mode.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the cannon and set it aside.
  2. Pull the rear section of the vehicle back, then swing it down to reveal the robot legs.
  3. Swing each rear wheel down.
  4. Separate the halves of the vehicle's rear section to form each individual leg.
  5. Swing the middle panels of the sides of the vehicle out.
  6. Swing the front doors and the halves of the front of the vehicle out.
  7. Swing the panel with the two black pieces at the end down, then swivel each panel up so the black pods are over the shoulders.
  8. Swing up the robot head.
  9. Rotate the lower robot arms around so the halves of the Decepticon symbol face up.
  10. Swing the panels with the Decepticon symbol halves on them back.
  11. Swing out the thumb and finger pieces on each arm.
  12. Attach the cannon to the right arm.

Robot Mode:
When the Combaticon team was introduced in the television show and comic books, a couple of the characters were given fairly extensive design overhauls to create their animation models. Perhaps the most drastic change was G1 Swindle's look on the show, which was almost totally different than the action figure he was based on. It would not be until 2000's "Car Robots" series where that toy sculpt would be given a "proper" animation model that matched its look but stylized the details.

The difference between the G1 toy and animation model was significant. Whereas the toy had the front of the car becoming the back and a body plate making up most of the upper body, the animation model made it look as if the front of the vehicle became the front of the robot mode. His cannon was also simplified into a tube shaped one rather than the tube shaped barrel with a squared off back end like the toy. Now, after many years, Transformers fans now have a version that uses that design style, but with the aesthetics of the "Animated" universe.

Swindle's basic outline matches his "Animated" television show model very well. He has a stylized G1 "peg head" design (more on that later), small wing like armor on top of his arms, circles on his lower arms (though these are formed by the wheels) and very distinctive feet with rounded off edges and what appear to be thick soles on the bottom. Swindle also has two discs on his hips that are quite distinctive looking, a detail also found on the animation model. His cannon and two weapon pods over his shoulders complete this deadly looking sillouette.

Where Swindle differs from his animation model are some unavoidable details (since the figure transforms). On the animation model, his lower arms are just smooth chunks with hands at the end. Here, they have "vehicle parts" on them since they're made up from the front of the car. A similar phenomenon pops up on his legs which are just plain legs in the animation model, but here they have bits of the vehicle's rear end kibble on them. All that said, this is hardly enough to decry the figure as terribly non-show accurate, but it is worth ponting out in any review.

Swindle's head and torso are direct riffs on his G1 predecessor's animation model. Though not entirely formed by the front of the vehicle, his abdominal area and the lower section of his chest are all designed to look like compressed and shrunken down versions of the front of his vehicle mode, complete with trapezoid shaped headlights and a grille in the center. Only the top of the chest is actually formed from a vehicle mode piece, in this case the windshield section. His head design is a stylized version of Swindle's head, complete with a wide central crest extending out into two protrusions on either side with large eyes and a mouth. The smirk sculpted onto his face is perfect as it gives him the look of someone who is up to something no good. If you look under the head, it actually rests on what looks like a collar with a bolo tie, giving him the look of a stereotypical used car salesman - a funny and very apt detail!

This mode shows off a lot more translucent purple on his eyes, upper arms, fingers and thighs. If you put it up to the light, it looks fantastic, giving him a "glow" similar to the one seen on the television show when he activated all his weaponry. His "tie" and the circles on his hips are painted the same bright pink/purple color as the trigger and "X" on his cannon. The chest has a dark silver color on the middle sections including his faux grille. Purple can also be found on the lower portions of his robot feet. Aside from his cannon, the weapon pods, head and discs on his hips are all cast in black plastic.

Swindle's main weapon is of course his cannon. However he also has weapon pods over his shoulders and if you flip out his abdomen, you can swing out a gatling gun styled cannon (cast in black plastic), a feature he displayed in the animated series. The only problem with this is that the hinge this piece rests on is very loose. It does not take a whole lot to move the piece out. While it's not so bad it dangles, it doesn't always stay flush against the chest piece, which can be quite annoying. I've also found that the shoulder ball joints on my Swindle are slightly loose. Not a lot, and his arms pose fine with some manipulation, but it's just not as tight as I'm used to seeing on most Transformers.

Swindle has seventeen points of articulation in this form. This includes five in each arm and three in each leg. The weapon pods on his back can be swiveled out of the way to make him look like his non-combat mode, but I'm not counting them as points of articulation. If you did, it would add six points.

Final Thoughts:
Swindle is a well sculpted figure that pays proper homage to his G1 predecessor. However, the loose joint issues are really annoying and really ding an otherwise very nicely made figure. Normally, I'd ascribe this to perhaps just being my own figure, but I've had several friends report the same thing about their Swindles, so it is a line wide issue. Due to the joint issues, I knock this down to a "mildly recommended", which pains me because the loose joints are the only things I don't like about this figure.