"Generations" Combiner Wars Swindle Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: December 2015
Price Point: $18.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hand/Foot/Weapon, Blaster

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The Transformers battle doesn't get any bigger than this! Transformers Generations Combiner Wars figures combine to form giant super robots. Build the most powerful Combiner robots from Transformers lore, including characters like Superion and Menasor, or come up with a different combination!

This Deluxe Class Swindle figure can become part of a Bruticus Combiner build. Collect all 6 Combaticon figures (each sold separately) to build a Bruticus figure. Swindle is always looking to make a score. He'll cut a quick deal or pull a fast con -- anything to bring in a profit. His wheeling and dealing isn't limited to gear and weapons. He'll sell out anyone, Autobot or Decepticon, for the right price. He combines with his fellow Combaticons to form Bruticus. Onslaught forms the torso, Decepticon Vortex and Decepticon Blast Off form the arms, Swindle and Brawl form the legs, and Decepticon Shockwave becomes a Combiner weapon. Collect all 6 Combaticons figures to build a giant Bruticus Combiner robot. (Figures are each sold separately.) The Combiner Wars universal connection system makes this Brawl figure compatible with Voyager Class Combiner Wars figures, so there are numerous combinations that can be created. Bruticus 4 of 5. This Swindle figure changes from robot to off-road vehicle and back in 12 steps and, with a blaster accessory, comes ready for battle. It also comes with a collectible Combiner Wars comic book featuring a Hasbro-exclusive Swindle cover, specially created character content, and a look inside the Transformers design desk. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

 The theme for the "Generations" segment of the "Transformers" toy line in 2015 was "Combiner Wars". The segment reintroduced Combiners from the past in updated forms(with some new elements thrown in for good measure). The idea is to take lessons learned from the Bruticus released a couple years ago and create better Combiners featuring a Voyager Class central body piece with Deluxe sized limbs. To spice things up a bit, some of the Legends Class figures released for "Combiner Wars" will be able to serve as weaponry for the combined giants.

The final wave of Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures in 2015 brought out the long awaited Combaticons! It's quite appropriate for the Combaticons to bookend the first year of "Combiner Wars" as it was the last Bruticus figure that inspired this line. Swindle was part of the last version of the Combaticons but this time out he is a retool and redeco of Protectobot Rook. While it is a good idea to check out my Rook review before reading this one, the retooling is so extensive on this mold that it is practically a new figure.

The packaging for this wave of the Deluxe "Combiner Wars" figures is significantly different then the first wave. The first wave was a typical bubble on card, with the character art printed onto the card and a separate trading card featuring art from the "Transformers: Legends" mobile app. The back of the cards contained a ton of multi-lingual information with photos of the figure and a diagram of a Combiner made up of four Aerialbots and Dragstrip.

For later waves, a lot was changed. The card now features a repeating pattern featuring "Combiner Wars" characters on it. The back of the card has a brief bio of Swindle with less legal information all over the place. Laid on top of the card is a comic book with Swindle's package art. Since the comic adds some extra weight and thickness, the bubble put on top of the card actually wraps around the edges and is taped onto the back to hold it in place. A sticker wraps around the edge of the bubble mentioning combining into Bruticus. The figure is in a tray inside the bubble in robot mode. There is no more trading card included with the figure.

One of the most interesting points of this new packaging style is the back of the comic book. It features a full page bio of Swindle written from the perspective of the the Decepticon Communicator, Soundwave. It focuses on his IDW Publishing protrayal, especially with mention of the Tyrest Accord, but it also showcases his G1 "con man" personality. Overall the packaging for this final 2015 wave of the Combiner Wars Deluxe figures is much more robust than the first wave.

Much to my surprise, Swindle features new accessories and not just redecos of Rook's! His blaster looks like a machine gun with three small barrels and a rectangular back section. The blaster has a 5mm peg and a 5mm port on the side to attach an additional weapon to it. This echoes the functionality of G1 Swindle's toy where a smaller cannon attached to a larger cannon. His other accessory is the hand/foot/weapon piece. Unlike Rook who had one designed with rockets at the end, this one has two barrels. The design has some nice line detail on top and raised grooves on the sides. Again calling back to G1 Swindle there is a 5mm peg on one side for him to hold and a 5mm port on the other so he can connect both weapons together. I really like these weapons. Most "Combiner Wars" weapons don't give you both a peg and a 5mm port in the same accessory.

Robot Mode:
Before I wrote most toy reviews, I spend some time staring at the figure, looking at it from different angles and getting an overall feel for the toy. When it comes to retools and redecos, I pay special attention to how the piece is different than its predecessors. When I did this for Swindle I was struck by how much this figure has been retooled for this release. Sure there are certain sections that carry over directly from Rook, but I would say at least 80% (if not more) of the parts on this figure are new. Here's a rundown:

  •     The head is an all new sculpt based on G1 Swindle's animation model and toy head. It features the distinct flat panels on the sides of the head that were part of the "Scramble City" style of 80's Combiners. On top of that the brow section of his "helmet" comes down over the nose while the face has visor eyes and a mouth.
  •     The chest panels are new featuring design elements that appear to be part of the front of the vehicle mode split in the middle to accommodate his "Combiner" joint. You'll find details like bits of a windshield and parts of his grille.
  •     The lower section of the torso also features sculpting differences from Rook. There you'll see two round headlights and a grille in between them. This design comes right from the G1 animation model for Swindle, which differed quite a bit from his toy.
  •     The shoulders are all new pieces featuring raised circles that look like bolts, bars set at angles and vent lines. It's a really complex looking design and you can really see a lot of work went into it.
  •     The forearms are a new design, featuring bars (from the vehicle mode) curving from the front to the insides.
  •     The lower legs are all new pieces featuring more bars curving from the side near the knees down to the area under th eknee armor. The sides have cylinder and pouches from the vehicle mode. The curved bars seem to echo the bars from the vehicle mode, as if they curved into this form during transformation.

With all these new parts Swindle winds up looking rather bulky and powerful. His G1 counterpart was fairly chunky too, so there's some precedent in that respect.

Swindle is cast in tan, black and silver plastic. The tan colored plastic makes up most of the figure including his shoulders, forearms, torso and lower legs. Silver is used on the middle of the waist section. Black is used on smaller parts like the elbow joints, the head and the thighs. Interestingly, a silver panel is set against the back of the head where it appears light piping plastic may have been considered at one point.

The paint colors on this figure include black, purple, light blue and gunmetal grey. The black is found on small sections of the chest. The purple is used to paint most of the chest and the top part of the waist. The light blue is used on the chest where the "windshield" halves are located. The gunmetal grey is used on his head and the aforementioned tubes on his forearms and lower legs. Like his G1 animated counterpart, Swindle's eyes are purple. Rounding out the deco is a small Decepticon symbol tampographed onto his left shoulder. While the animation model had his Decepticon symbol on the center of his body, the left side may have been chosen since G1 Swindle's toy had his Decepticon symbol on the left leg. That's just speculation on my part however. Overall the colors on this figure are true to the character and they look great!

There are fourteen points of articulation on this figure. That may sound below average, but consider that four of these points (the shoulders and hips) are ball joints, allowing for a wide range of motion. Swindle can hold weapons with 5mm handles in either hand or you can connect such accessories to the 5mm ports on his shoulders. Since his back piece is different than Rook's, you can no longer store a weapon there. Instead his weapons have to pretty much remain in his hands or attached to his shoulders.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1.     Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2.     Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3.     Swing the back piece down.
  4.     Turn the robot head around then swing it back.
  5.     Rotate the forearms in so the tubes on the insides of the forearms face forward.
  6.     Swing the arms back and attach the tabs on the robot mode's back to the corresponding grooves on the shoulder pieces.
  7.     Swing each lower leg out to the sides then push them up and in.
  8.     Swing the heel pieces up.
  9.     Swing the panel from the robot mode's back, snapping it into place.
  10.     Weapons can be attached to any of the three attachment points, two 5mm ports from the shoulders and one peg in the center.

Vehicle Mode:
It is remarkable to look at this vehicle mode and compare it to Rook. Whereas Rook was an armored ATV Swindle is a jeep in vehicle mode. Unlike his G1 jeep mode, this one has a ton of detail on it. My favorite details include:

  1.     Raised headlights on the hood of the vehicle flanked by panels of armor plating. The center also has some nice cross hatch patterns.
  2.     The rails which form the cabin section of the vehicle have really nice detailing including armor plates and sections where the tubes are thicker, indicating connection points.
  3.     The sides of the vehicle have three pouches on them. I love this design. It adds to the fantasy of this being a vehicle that humans drive and the detailing on the pouches is awesome, down to buckles!
  4.     The tube and line details from the robot shoulders now come into play as parts of the vehicle form, looking like a continuation of the rails in the center of the vehicle.

If I were to cite one weakness of the sculpt, the robot fists are very obvious in this mode. That's about it.

It's pretty incredible to say this, but in this form the only parts which carry over from Rook are the robot elbows (visible in the back of the vehicle) and the wheels. Everything else is brand new and that's above and beyond your average redeco/retool.

Swindle has two main plastic colors in this form: tan and black. The tan color makes up most of the vehicle, with black visible on the robot elbows and the wheels. The deco in this form is focused on the rails on the cabin section which have all been painted gunmetal grey. The center of the hood has a small Decepticon symbol tampographed on it. Sadly that's about it. There are a couple deco points I really think should have been painted in. This includes the headlights, the sides of the wheels and the rails on the robot shoulder segments. Sadly while the sculpting knocked it out of the park, the deco in this form leaves a bit to be desired.

Swindle has three connection points for weapons in this form. The main one is a 5mm peg on top of the vehicle. The back has two 5mm ports on the robot mode shoulder segments. My favorite thing to do is connect the hand/foot/weapon piece onto the main peg and then connect the smaller blaster to it. This echoes the way G1 Swindle's weapons combined and connected to the middle of the vehicle mode.

Transformation to Arm Mode (from Vehicle Mode):

  1.     Lift the section that forms the cabin cover.
  2.     Swing each leg down, then connect them together.
  3.     Swing the heel pieces up.
  4.     Swing the robot head up so the back of the head aligns with the back of the shoulder pieces.
  5.     Swing the cabin/hood panel all the way up and push it against the robot forearms.
  6.     Swing the connector piece on the robot torso up.
  7.     Take the hand/foot/weapon piece and swing the fingers out and swing the thumb piece left or right (depending on which arm you want Swindle to be).
  8.     Connect the fist to the port on the bottom of the robot feet.
  9.     The blaster weapon can be connected to the fist.

Arm Mode:
Normally I don't really like arm modes to be too chunky looking, which Swindle totally is. However in this case Bruticus' very name indicates that he is meant to be powerful and merciless so having Swindle forming such a blocky and powerful looking arm totally fits.

This mode reveals a nice combination of colors, showing off all of his colors including tan, black, silver, gunmetal grey and purple. If you have him form the left arm the Decepticon symbol from the symbol on the robot mode shoulder faces forward.

There are eight points of articulation on this arm. This includes an "elbow", part of the forearm and of course the Combiner joint itself. The hip joints on my Swindle were a tad loose, so I had to add some nail polish to the ball joint to tighten them up. That helps this mode significantly since those joints act as elbow joints.

Transformation to Leg Mode (from Vehicle Mode):

  1.     Swing the front end of the vehicle down.
  2.     Attach the foot piece to the port that is revealed from the previous step.
  3.     Swing the Combiner connector piece up.

Leg Mode:
I'm very much a traditionalist so seeing Swindle as a leg just feels natural. Also thanks to the really blocky nature of the vehicle mode, this is also a very solid looking looking leg. Most of the functionality is similar to the vehicle mode. If you're looking for a place to connect the blaster weapon you can attach it right to the peg in the middle. I actually prefer this as it looks better than just having the peg sticking out.

Final Thoughts:
Swindle is an excellent example of a redeco and retool. He makes you wish all redecos/retools were this extensive. The design has great touches that were unexpected and pay good homage to the G1 incarnation of the character. That said, the vehicle mode deco leaves something to be desired and having the hip joints loose was disappointing. Despite those two flaws, this is still a worthy toy to add to your collection.

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