Cliffbee.com: Binaltech Swindle Toy Review

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Name: Swindle
Series: Binaltech
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Munitions Expert
Alternate Mode: Droptop Jeep Wrangler



JEEP MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 16.5cm Width: 12cm

   A mustard yellow Jeep Wrangler with an open roof, Swindle has a rollcage in place of his roof, and while there's no tarp, it's a safe bet that this Jeep would have a cloth roof stowed somewhere. The rollcage is black die cast metal, and most of the truck body is also die cast metal. He has a plastic black spare tyre case on the back, and black plastic front and rear bumpers. Being an open cabin, all the details are there - the front and back seats are grey plastic, as is the dashboard. The steering wheel is on the left side, and is a soft black plastic, along with the rear vision mirrors, which have chrome mirrors painted onto them. The yellow is quite a bit lighter than the tan of the original Swindle's tan but this is still quite believable as the conniving Combaticon.

   Being a Binaltech there's a lot of detail on this toy. As mentioned, he has a steering wheel - as well as a park brake, radio and A/C vents, glove box and gearstick, which is the same soft black plastic as the mirrors. He's a manual, BTW. If you open the doors, you'll notice they're lined with black plastic, that features moulded doorhandles (there are also black doorhandles on the outsides of these doors). The front windshield is clear -plastic, save for the wipers which are painted black. The tyres are rubber and the wheels chromed silver, along with his bull-bar. Incidentally, this bull-bar is removable, but shouldn't fall out on it's own.

   The ridiculous level of detail of the Binaltech toys is present here, and details come out a lot more on Swindle's yellow than they did on Hound's dark green. On either side, just in front of the doors, are the words "Jeep WRANGLER SPORT" - the Jeep is raised, and also appears on the front bumper, and on the spare tyre. The front headlights are transparent plastic, and the front indicators are transparent orange, the rear lights transparent red. Also, at the rear on the left side is a moulded and painted petrol cap. He has a Decepticon logo on a white background as a license plate on the front and a silver muffler on the back. You can really see the moulded hinges and rivets now, the same details blended into the background on Hound.

   Other than the obvious colour change, the differences between Swindle and Hound in Jeep mode are the addition of the bull-bar, bigger tyres with different tread and wider, chromed hubcaps. The most apparent of these is the bull-bar - in fact it wasn't until I placed Swindle and Hound together that I noticed the different wheels. Incidentally the spare tyre is the same size - and ends up being smaller than the tyres on Swindle.

   This is one of the more playable Binaltech vehicles. His doors open and close and his wheels roll, just like the others. I suspect the soft plastic on the rear vision mirrors is a lesson learned from the rigid mirrors of early Binaltechs, which stick out quite a bit. This makes the toy more durable, no doubt, and combined with the metal rollcage, make this a fairly sturdy Jeep. As with the other toys in this line, the hood lifts to reveal an engine block.

   The other cool feature they've added for vehicle mode play value is suspension. Both the front and rear wheels are on springs - so if you're rolling him over terrain he'll cushion himself (and anything in the cabin)! This feature works really well - if you push down on the Jeep it'll collapse and then spring back into place.

   The high standards that Binaltech have set are continued in this vehicle mode, which is one of the more ambitious of the Binaltech vehicles to date. The colours are good and certainly in contrast to those of Hound. While it's a bit of a departure for Swindle, it's quite believable, even if he loses his military look.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Too complex to describe in detail, so I'll summarise. The hood becomes the chest, the arms fold out from inside the hood (they're the engine block). The rollcage comes apart, parts folds into his legs and back. The rear becomes his legs, the head pops out from within the hood and the spare tyres opens up revealing his hidden handgun. This is not a difficult transformation, although it's quite involved and the knees have to be done right.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 14.5cm

   Again mainly mustard yellow, although with a black head, upper arms, hands, feet and thighs, and a purple waist. The chromed bull-bar forms a centrepiece in his chest, which is the front of the jeep. Swindle now has wings in the form of his Jeep mode doors. This robot mode looks nothing like the Combaticon robot mode, but the Jeep fronted torso resembles the cartoon version of Swindle - which never really looked that much like it's toy. Nonetheless this is an attractive colour scheme and the overall look works quite well for Swindle.

   The small Decepticon logo on his front license plate is visible on his chest - as well as the "Jeep" just above it - and now he also sports a large Decepticon symbol on the hood, just in front of his head, thanks to a clever little flip-over panel. You can actually display this in vehicle mode, and while you're not really supposed to, I get the feeling the designers made sure it's possible to do so. His handgun is a small black plastic affair, more of a pistol than a rifle.

   The head has been remoulded for Swindle, it's not as boxy as that of Hound (of course, being a square-peg combiner, G1 Swindle's head was boxy). It has a single, transparent purple eyestrip (no lightpipe) and a silver face. It's not really the face of Swindle, but I get the distinct impression the designer was trying to get away from the square head, especially since Hound's head is so square.

   The front wheels of the Jeep are stowed just behind the hips, and can get in the way of the waist's poseability, but only because the suspension can be activated. The spare tyre sits on the side of the lower left leg, and is somewhat kibbly there. This bugs me a little because it sticks out somewhat, but it doesn't get in the way of anything. Parts of the rollcage hang off his back, and the windshield is also on his back - just like on the cartoon Swindle.

   Swindle has very complex legs. The rear of the truck is heavily transformed now - the rollcage and seats have folded in, the bumper is now the toes, with the outsides of the bumper being on the insides of the feet. The legs are far more complex than any other part of this toy and are most unlike the Combaticon legs. Incidentally, if there are ridges just below the knee joints, you've mistransformed the knees and your Swindle is probably back heavy. This fooled me initially on Hound - those ridges should be under the knee joints.

   Another hallmark of the Binaltech line is good articulation. His head is on a ball joint, his shoulders and hips are also ball joints. The elbows and knees are hinged, the wrists rotate, the thumbs are opposed and the index fingers can open and close, while the other fingers open and close as one. The ankles have three hinges each, meaning he has full motion in the ankles - something unusual even for Binaltech toys. The ankles and big, flat feet make Swindle very versatile, since he's stable in many poses, although he can be a little back heavy.

   Considering what they had to do with the Jeep mode, this is a great robot mode. The poseability is superb, the colour scheme is good and again manages to turn this mould into a credible Swindle toy. The only real flaws in this mode are the kibble, namely the hip wheels and the spare tyre, but the issues they create are minor.

VARIATIONS

   A repaint and retooling of Hound. There is also a plastic Alternators version. Alt Rollbar is a repaint of Alt Swindle.

OVERALL

   This is a very ambitious mould that works very well, and while it's believable as Swindle the G1 semblance is probably weaker on Swindle than any other Binaltechs to date. This is a great mould and if you missed Hound I'd definitely grab him, but if you're not keen on repaints you might want to skip him. Personally I still think Swindle is worthwhile, simply because he represents only the second Binaltech Decepticon. An added incentive is that the yellow Jeep mode shows up the finer details of the mould better. Probably my least favourite Binaltech, since there are some things that don't quite translate such as the spare tyre and resculpted head, but the line sets itself a ridiculously high standard - 8.5/10

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