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

Name: Swindle
Function: drone
Scale: 1/32

Swindle is a satellite character in the Movie universe: the toy is based on a model from the various video games. Fittingly enough, every store I've gone to seems to have the thing in droves...

Alt mode:

Swindle's car mode is a Chevy Cobalt. I had to look it up since it's rather generic two-door car, so it's appropriate for Swindle's drone status. The toy itself is a fairly faithful reproduction aside from numerous breaks in the rear window to allot the transformation.

Unfortunately, Swindle's red parts are cast in one of loudest reds I think I've seen. In the wrong light, he's actually a bit straining on the eyes. The gray bits painted on the door add to the problem because of the contrast. In different colors, Swindle's car form would be fine, but as he comes, Swindle is a bit unremarkable sat next to other movie figures.

Robot mode:

Swindle, the robot, is an odd kettle of fish. I like the overall design because it's so odd. Swindle has high-heeled cleaved feet, arms that arch straight out, a cyclopean head, and gut-gun. Unlike the vehicle mode, Swindle's robot form will not likely blend into the background of a toy shelf.

The articulation is decent too, so Swindle isn't simply a static display piece. While he can't compete with the likes of Bumblebee, Swindle can be positioned into a number of threatening stances or comedic poses. He can lean forward aggressively, or cover up his eye with both hands. Most of his articulation seems to be for either of these two themes.

The only thing I don't care for is the angle of head. It sits too far back and looks up, courtesy of an overzealous spring mechanism. The simplest way to fix this is to jam the rotating chest piece into the groove of the gun, but that doesn't hold very well. The other, better way is to pop the head off and use a Dremel with a 105 bit to clear a space for the neck joint to rotate forward like it's meant to. This allows the head to move forward and turn left and right. Another method is glue a small piece of plastic at the top of the gun barrel to serve as a stop for the spring-loaded rotating piece. It's a subtle change, but an important one. In makes Swindle not look like a turtle with its head stuck in its shell.

Here's how to do the modification, and here's what it looks like afterwards. His neck can turn now!

Transformation: 7. Quick and easy to make the robot, but the car mode is fussy about clamping together.
Durability: 7. Overall, Swindle is perfectly sturdy, but the parts cast in clear plastic (especially the windows on the knees) seem to be the first pieces that would pop off or break.
Fun: 8. He's not thoroughly articulate, but I find the gun-bellied cyclops entertaining in its quirkiness.
Price: 8. Swindle is pretty standard fair for the deluxe bracket.
Overall: 6. Swindle shouldn't be at the top of anyone's list. He's a fair toy, and wonderfully different, but I do think the shade of red strains the eyes. Also, given the figure's poor stock profile, Swindle is a bit of a fixer-upper straight out of the package, and that may dissuade more folk from picking him up. I quite like the little bugger, but Swindle is not the pinnacle of the Movie line. He's worth grabbing eventually, though!
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