Cliffbee.com: Cybertron Swindle Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Swindle
Series: Cybertron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Dune Buggy



BUGGY MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 9cm Width: 6cm

   A lemon yellow Mad-Max style dune buggy with some olive along the sides and charcoal plastic tyres, Swindle also has some brown highlights and a big rear-mounted olive gun. He's a repaint of Hardtop, and apparently they're brothers. He's a lot brighter than his brother and has a different paintmask, although like his older brother, or anywhere else here. While the yellow is quite bright, the dull olive, charcoal and brown make for a fairly sensible colour scheme. It's not quite as nice as that of Hardtop, but makes more sense.

   The cabin itself has an open roof, but behind this is a yellow block where the cannon mounts. Other than a hollow undercarriage from the back and a visible robot head inside the cabin, this is a pretty good buggy at this size. The face is not visible and there's a little seat inside the cabin, so the head doesn't really trouble me, and unless you peer in you wont see the head anyway - and it's darker than on hardtop which is good to see.

   As nice as this buggy mode is, the best part is the cannon. It _really_ suits the Mad Max style here and can turn around in its mount. If you plug his blue Planet Key (code: s4mr) into the black base of the cannon, the inner section of the barrel flips out, extending the barrel. Both longer and shorter configurations look good, although in this mode the extended cannon is a little niftier. The ridged wheels spin quite well, making a lot of noise as they do so, he'll roll a foot or so if you push him off on a hard surface.

   As repaints go this is a fairly good one. The head inside the cabin is less visible, and Hasbro's penchant for yellow repaints doesn't make this a bad toy, thanks to the dull colours at the bottom of the car. The colours vaguely match those of G1 Swindle too, which is nice to see (especially at a time when Hasbro is using this name ad nauseam). The buggy itself looks good and the weapon works well as does its gimmick.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the cannon, unclip the front wheels and lift them up on top of the bonnet. Flip the sides out and into the sides of the bonnet, then fold in the front of the car underneath the seat to form his chest, and fold the seat down to form his chestplate. Unfold the arms, rotate the waist and fold down the legs. Give Hardtop his gun and turn down the rear wheels on his boots as heelspurs.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9.5cm Width: 6cm

   With yellow limbs, olive thighs and groin and brown head and chest, Swindle has a very attractive robot mode. The charcoal chestplate is painted silver (the paint mask is the inverse of Hardtop's), with a Decepticon symbol that Hardtop lacked in robot mode. The face is yellow with silver eyes and the details come out really well. If anything the colours here are an improvement on his brother's, since there's no random arm paint this time.

   Swindle has boxy, poseable limbs, big boots and an overall stocky appearance. This robot mode looks like something out of the Marvel G1 comics, and the detailed face really makes it look good. There are hints of the buggy mode, notably the floodlights for feet and the mount on his left knee. The chestplate no longer looks like a seat, but still makes a nice feature - especially with the allegiance symbol Swindle sports.

   The Planet Key gimmick still works although the gun suits better if it's not extended, since it can sit lower without scraping the ground. The charcoal block sits on the right side of the gun, so he'll do better holding the gun in the right hand - otherwise the Planet Key will push into his chest.

   Swindle is well articulated, and nothing is impeded. The head and waist both turn, the shoulders and hips are ball joints while the knees and elbows are hinged. The heelspurs do a great job of stabilising the toy, the footprints are fairly big and the long gun can also act as a counterbalance in various poses. The end result is a very poseable figure with a wide array of stable poses, including quite a few that would cause most Transformers to fall over (leaning back, on one leg, etc).

   I _really_ like this robot mode, and Swindle's paintmask has some minor improvements that make me like it even more - especially the face. Swindle is a fantastically poseable little toy that also looks good. There's nowhere to stow the Planet Key other than in the back of the gun, but you can easily set it aside.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although as mentioned he's a repaint of Hardtop. I have to admit I like the 'brothers' aspect of his bio, which harks back to Sideswipe and Sunstreaker.

OVERALL

   This remains my favourite Cybertron mould, and in truth I think this repaint is slightly better than the original, thanks to some clever changes to the robot mode paintmask. There's a G1 feel here, but with modern articulation. The colours work well - especially for a repaint - while weapon is well designed and manages to not be reliant on the key, like so many Cybertron toys. If you don't have Hardtop, grab this guy - 10/10

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