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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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mAgic rAt's review of: Swindle

Name: Swindle
Faction: Decepticon
Sub-group: Combaticon
Function: Munitions Expert
First Cartoon Appearance: "Starscream’s Brigade" – Episode 63
"Make deals, not war."

Don't let Swindle's easy-going, good-natured personality fool you; within him beats the fuel pump of the most greed-driven street hustler. Without blinking an optical sensor, he'd trade Decepticon leader Megatron's right arm for a toaster if he needed the toaster badly enough (and if he could get the arm off of Megatron!) He is an opportunist without peer. He thrives on wheeling and dealing and seemingly is capable of procuring anything to fulfill the design and equipment needs of his armaments work. Although the weapons he builds are much appreciated, his fellow Combaticons know that Swindle's efforts on behalf of the Decepticons are a mere sideline to his actual purpose: He is solely concerned with himself, and most of his entrepreneurial activities are for his own personal material advancement. If he thought it were in his interest to trade with the enemy, the Autobots, he probably would. He is truly a one-robot "black market."

All right, Swindle....

I wanted this guy to complete my Combaticons and therefore Bruticus’. I was actually quite fond of the character in the cartoons. This guy had the mission to steal Metroplex’ transforming cog (or something like it), and actually had the guts to do this:

Galvatron thunders to Swindle as he approaches :“It’s about time you showed up Swindle!”

Swindle, in this supercool ‘Al Capone’ like voice: “Eh, Galvatron we need to talk. Errr... in private” ... “Look errr... I been thinkin’, yaknow... the Autobots would probably pay me a fortune for this little baby.”

Galvatron: ”One last time Swindle, give me that transforming cog...”

Swindle, putting his arms in front of his chestt: “Well whaddaya pay for it man? What’s in it for me?”

Now if that isn’t gutsy (or just plain dumb), I don’t know what is. This guy tried to SELL the product of his recovery mission to –- of all the fellas around -- Galvatron! Alright, the guy gets blown off his feet in one of Galvatron's rage-induced laser outbursts, but hey -- the guy lived to tell the tale! (Probably because he's Bruticus' leg too and Galvatron sure likes Bructicus -- the same reason why I bought this guy... but we’ll get to that later.)

Well, besides that plain outspoken character of a real swindler (what’s in a name?) and the cool voice, I liked that Willy’s WW2 Jeep design too, in the cartoon that is. Swindle’s colours were cool too, bright yellow and purple, like an Insecticon....

Because... well, once I laid my hands on this guy... boy, I sure was in for a BIG disappointment.

Alternate Mode:
Swindle’s alternate mode, the Jeep, looks like his fellow Combaticon Brawl has been polishing his tracks on Swindle’s hood, and the wheels look like some crossover between a chainsaw blade and the wheels of a monorail. The rear looks like the über-ancestor of a brick. No fenders, taillights, exhausts or whatever, just a big black square hole in that same brick. (Probably for Warpath to stick his barrel up into.)

The windshield, a plain yellowish-orange plate with a black sticker on it to make it look like a windshield, can actually flip down. But this isn't Hasbro's generosity, it turns out to be necessary for transformation. And that same windshield requires a scarier that, at the right scale, would be at least half a meter in diameter in real life. The rifle on top he’s carrying is about as big as the jeep itself... so I guess the guy was seriously overpowered with armament. It probably shot backwards to propel itself, it surely couldn’t fit an engine under the hood -- since that was already trashed by Brawl, remember? Well, to complete this list of disastrous design elements, that same, way-too-huge-gun doesn’t FIT in straight forward position as long as that even-more-stupid-windshield is UP. Oh man.

And then, just when you start to think things can only get better from here, you stupidly decide to transform this little sucker. Yep, there’s that sinkin’ feeling again.

Robot Mode:
Okay, turn your brains off again. Here we go for transformation. First, get angry at the stupid jeep. Get angry, and try to tear it apart. Now this won’t work coz the thing is solid as a rock. But try to get angry. Now, probably the big blocky rear-end of this brick has stretched out, to become the even as big and blocky feet of this robot. Feelin’ down yet?

Wait, it gets worse. Second -- and now I REALLY mean it -- get even more angry. Considering the last disappointment that shouldn’t be too hard, or you might already have passed away into total depressive numbness... but TRY! Tear the thing apart again, this time sideways. Again the thing won’t break down, but two blocky things appear which -- judging by the holes in them which can hold his guns -- would be his arms. Now here’s the worst thing about Swindle. These so-called arms, rotate 360 degrees. But NOT from the shoulder, from what would be the elbows!

Well, uuuhhh... OK. <<--Deep, very deep sigh-->>
I can still take it.
You too?
Hah, wait! This review here, this is about to become a parachute-less freefall into true designers' torment.

The solution WOULD be just not to move his arms, which would be fair enough to me. BUT that same oversized gun mounted on Swindle being a jeep, becomes his hand gun, and because he’s just such a MIDGET, and this gun was WAY oversized, this guy can’t get his feet (those brick-blocky things yes) to the ground if he’s gun is pointing to the ground! AAAAHHH!

So what you get is a guy as fat as Ultra-Magnus, as tall as Bumblebee, with a gun in his hand almost as big as one of Metroplex's rocket launchers, with arms rotating from the elbows! And you expect me to believe that there’s was absolutely no case of brain-damaged design going on here? Man, you just can’t make up such a robot by ACCIDENT!??! Right?!

Phwew... okay, okay, come back now. You’re a true die-hard review reader if you made it this far. Your mama can be proud! Now c’mon... it’s only downhill from here.

Because actually the only cool part of Swindle yet has to be transformed. The head! Fold back that ridiculous hood and windshield, and there it is! Now, I know, almost all heads of all gestalt limbs are kinda awkwardly small and blocky. But this one is actually quite well done. It has two Seventies pimp sunglasses style purple eyes, which are very much the same as in the cartoon. This only makes the rest of the grotesque piece of plastic all the more a painfully distorted memory of the cartoon, but I have to give some credit for those cool purple sunglasses.

Two thumbs down, that’s the verdict. Because the car doesn’t look good, for reasons stated above. Because the robot doesn’t look good, doesn’t articulate and doesn’t look like the Swindle in the cartoon even one bit. No gun on top of his arm. No bonnet for a chest or front fender for a waist. No purple and yellow paintjob. Nothing.

The only thing cool about Swindle as a toy is the fact that he’s a real Decepticon, in the sense he only exists for pain, torment, disgust and disenchantment. And that even when you DO get angry at it, it'll still make you suffer from the day you bought it: it just won’t break down! No, instead of giving up and breaking into little orange-yellow pieces, this guy here... will transform to its even uglier robot-mode! Nope, I really feel that by that time they were seriously underpaying the Takara/Hasbro design teams.

But here we are. Why do I have this guy? What’s the trick here? Nobody would have bought a Swindle right? Nobody, especially not me at the age of 7, because I was washing cars to get the cash. (I wasn’t good at ‘swindling’ heheh).

Except for only one thing: This guy is Bruticus’ LEG. You smart-ass Swindle. Lucky lucky you, you bastard Swindle. You have done it again. Even as a ugly little midget toy robot on my desk, you‘ve found some sucker washing cars to pay for you. You even get reviewed 20 years later! (All right I’ll stop now, I’m talking to it. I’ll always stop by then. They might talk back. It happens.)

Transformation: 4 - Bring a hammer! It might make it more challenging! No, really!
Durability: 10 - I tried man, I really tried. It simply refuses to die.
Fun: 2 - Maybe if you're dead and buried, to scare off the guy buried next to you. Bruticus is cool, so therefore still a 2.
Price: 1 - I would not even accept extra money with it! Only to complete Bruticus, but you might even try two Brawls for that! Anyway, eBAY says about $5 to $25. Won’t break your bank, but the ‘bot will break you heart.
Overall: 3 - It just isn’t worth it. G1, that’s OK. Very cool character in the show. That’s OK too. But this ‘brick’ has nothing to do with the wise-guy on TV.
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