Generations San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Swindle Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: July 2012
Price Point: $99.99 (included in five pack with Onslaught, Blast-Off, Brawl and Vortex)
Retailer: San Diego Comic-Con/Hasbrotoyshop Exclusive
Accessories: Blaster

2012's big "Transformers" multimedia event was not a movie, but rather a video game. Following up on the success of "War for Cybertron", High Moon Studios was due to release "Fall of Cybertron" in August of 2012 so a large portion of the "Generations" toy line became dedicated to characters and designs from the game itself. One of the key characters in the game is Bruticus, the Combiner giant formed by the team known as "The Combaticons". One of their members, the always scheming Swindle was part of this release.

The existence of a new Bruticus figure caused quite a stir among fans. For years we've wanted a new Combiner figure, and lucky for the fandom at large we now have one. Even better? This guy was composed of five Deluxe Class figures, each one with its own unique transformation and identity. Before the initial retail release of this figure, the summer of 2012 saw the release of the entire set in a special box (with different colors)as a San Diegeo Comic-Con exclusive. This guy sold out within minutes of being available on Hasbrotoyshop and by the following week went for easily double the price on ebay. No doubt, this is one figure tons of Transformers fans wanted!

While all the San Diego Comic-Con Combaticons were packaged together, I will be reviewing each individual robot separately for the sake of space (otherwise the review will involve insane amounts of scrolling). Here are links to the other reviews for your reference:

Vehicle Mode:
In Generation One, Swindle transformed into a military jeep with a cannon mounted on top. Paying homage to that iteration of the character, this new version of Swindle transforms into the Cybertronian equivalent of a jeep with a cannon on top. However, the idea seems to have been to take all the elements of his G1 vehicle form and do two things: a) Make it look more alien and sleek b) Make it look more aggressive. On both these counts, Swindle's vehicle mode succeeds.

First, the sleek and alient look. Unlike Cybertronian vehicles of the past, there's no distinct driver's seat or cabin section for a passenger. Instead, this looks like a self contained vehicle meant to serve as the alternate form of a Transformer more than a disguise on Earth. His entire shape is smooth and curved from the front end to the back. The hood has a raised section in the center and angled lines sandwich a large exhaust pipe on each side of the vehicle towards the back. Add to this several key details such as the six tubes sticking up from the hood (looking like a high powered engine), the claws in the front of the vehicle and his big, thick tires and this looks like a vehicle that can definitely handle itself off-road. If you look at the way some of the details on the front end work out such as the thin, triangular headlights and the high grille, he almost looks like some type of animal roaring with claws deployed forward. It's a fantastic looking vehicle mode.

Judging by the screen capture above, Swindle is quite accurate to his CGI model. He has all the major features such as the six tubes, his cannon and the design on the sides of his wheels that resemble a face (and actually look like a symbol used on the menus of the video game itself). The major difference in design between the CGI model and the figure appears to be the placement of the weapon, which has been moved forward on the toy to allow the rear section to form the robot legs without having a hole in the center. This is a minor point and I think most fans will be able to tell this is "Fall of Cybertron" Swindle right away.

Swindle is cast in three colors: light tan, black and purple. These are the "game accurate" colors, which amount to a very subdued color palette versus the brighter version that will be released at mass retail. The colors fit the character however, who had variations on tan/brown colors as his primary color (depending on what media he was in, even the toys had a couple different shades of brown for the G1 Swindle). The purple parts aren't really visible here unless you flip the vehicle over, but they're present. Black makes up the wheels and smaller section ssuch as the claws in front and panels on the back. Paint details are done in four main colors: metallic purple, silver, gunmetal grey and black. The purple is used to great effect on the hood, headlights and four rectangular sections on the back section of the vehicle. You'll also find it on the sides of the wheels, painting details that emulate the "glowing" parts of the CGI model. The silver is used for his weapon and the exhaust pipes on the top and sides of the jeep. The gunmetal coloring is found on the aforementioned six "tubes" on the front of the vehicle and on panels behind the weapon on the top of the vehicle. Finally, a spot of black coloring is used to paint the front grille and a large Decepticon symbol on the hood. All these colors are good approximations of the CGI model. However, on the model the gun remained black and the tan color was far less pronounced than what we have here. There's a big difference between creating something for the screen and having it in physical form in your hands, and I think Hasbro did a great job of coming to a nice middle ground for Swindle.

As mentioned above, Swindle's weapon attaches to the center point on the vehicle. That's about it in terms of functionality in this mode beyond his wheels spinning, but what's neat is the design of his weapon. There are two 5mm pegs stickout the sides of the weapon, allowing you to attach more weapons to it, creating a super weapon. Or if you wish, you can just detach his weapon and replace it with a weapon with a 5mm peg of your choice. Some may bemoan not having more functionality in vehicle mode (such as C Clip joints or more holes for weapons) but I don't. This guy has to do quadruple duty as a vehicle, robot, arm and leg for Bruticus so having this basic level of functionality works great in my book!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1.     Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2.     Pull out the parts on the sides with the exhaust pipes and swing them down.
  3.     Pull the front part of the vehicle forward.
  4.     Straighten out the rear portion of the vehicle to begin forming the robot legs.
  5.     Swing out the black robot feet pieces.
  6.     Split the rear section in the middle to complete the two legs.
  7.     Rotate the upper body around.
  8.     Swing the robot arms out to the sides.
  9.     Swing up the robot head.
  10.     Attach the tabs on the back of the claws to the slots near the waist pieces.
  11.     Rotate the exhaust pipes on his forearms around.
  12.     Place the weapon into either hand.

Robot Mode:
In Generation One Swindle's robot mode was a rather squat, blocky one. This new incarnation of the character is much more sleek in design with some thicker parts to give him a look of power. If you look at the screen capture above you'll see the figure is a good representation of the CGI model, however there are some key differences. Unlike the CGI model, his uper body piece slopes downward, with his head set behind the six tubes from the vehicle mode engine. His arms are also set lower than what you see on the CGI model and proportionally speaking he's a lot thinner in the center than his thicker, more bulky looking video game counterpart.

Where this robot mode does properly borrow from its CGI roots are some of the larger design elements. His robot head is similar in design to the CG model including a high central crest and visor eyes. Interesting note, this head sculpt appears more based on the Binaltech/Alternators version of Swindle than the original Swindle from Generation One such as the visor eyes. The central panel on his chest is raised, flanked by the headlights with the grille under it. Other details include his feet with two "toes" in front and thin knee armor that comes up over his thigh a bit. The only detail that kind of bugs me a bit is the chest/head section. The way his chest slopes down looks a bit odd on its own, especially compared to how the CG model actually looks, but it's not a deal breaker.

The same plastic colors from the vehicle mode carry over here. This time out however a lot more black plastic shows in the form of the head, upper arms, mid-body, thighs and feet. The tan plastic is found on his upper body, shoulder armor, forearms and lower legs. Interestingly all the paint decos from the vehicle mode form a bulk of the details in this mode. Between his chest and lower legs, the purple and gunmetal details manage to give him most of the color he needs (and mirror most of the CG model's colors). Some of the newly revealed paint details are on the shoulder panels where the upper parts are painted purple with gunmetal on the raised lines. One the head are silver and purple details. The silver is on his crest and the face. His eyes are painted purple. I really do like the paint decos and I appreciate how well the vehicle mode colors work for the robot mode. The only colors I would have added would have been a bit more purple on the wheels to reflect how they look on the CG model.

There are fourteen points of articulation on this figure. I have to admit, when I first saw these figures at Toy Fair I wasn't confident articulation wouldn't be sacrificed in the individual figures for the sake of giving them alternate modes as limbs for Bruticus. I am very happy to see that this isn't the case. He has a variety of joints from ball joints on the arms to swivel joints on the thighs. Both of his hands can accomodate 5mm peg weapons and his joints are tight enough to hold up various weapons that I tried out (including Mech Tech weapons from "Dark of the Moon"). Swindle's weapon has two pegs on the sides that allow you to attach additional weaponry as well.

Leg Mode:
Start with Swindle in vehicle form and swing up the purple connection point underneath the hood of the jeep. Then flip out the robot feet and connect it to the connection point on Onslaught (he can form either leg). The purple joint has a hinge with a ratchet joint that allows you to "bend" Bruticus' leg at the knees.

Arm Mode:
Start with Swindle in vehicle form and swing the purple connection point up so it's now pointing to the side. Swing the robot legs out. Behind each lower leg is a hand for Bruticus. Depending on which arm you are creating (left or right) you have the choice of swinging out a hand that matches that side. Connect the purple joint to the connection point on Onslaught's shoulder.

Both of these limb modes work very well. Swindle is very stable as a leg thanks to his width. His arm mode is a bit thick but proportionally speaking it works out very well and the hand looks great and can hold weapons without a problem. I can't say I have a preference either way and I was very happy to see that the designers made sure Swindle could become either limb. This was a major feature of many of the old G1 Combiners and to see it brought into a modern day design is awesome.

Final Thoughts:
Swindle is a cool figure and makes for excellent limbs for Bruticus. Considering how much functionality had to be compressed into one figure, some of the liberties taken with the CGI design are understandable.

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