Cliffbee.com: Movie Swindle Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Swindle
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Chevrolet Colbalts Sports Car (thanks for Fit For Natalie for the model)



CAR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 13.5cm Width: 6cm

   A rather realistic looking red sports car with a rounded rood and two doors, Swindle has transparent windows, some silver on his doors and silver Decepticon logos on the rear fenders. The headlights are composed of transparent plastic while the grille is painted black and there's a tiny Decepticon logo hood ornament. The colours and general feel strongly remind me of G1 Cliffjumper, although this toy is a Decepticon. From what I understand, Swindle _is_ based on an actual vehicle, but is not a licensed replica as with many of the movie toys. But then, he's not actually in the movie. At any rate, it's a decent colour scheme which has a G1 feel about it, and while it may not be licensed, I do appreciate the fact that Swindle's car mode is nonetheless quite realistic.

   There are some cool moulded details here, such as the grille, doorhandles, rear vision mirrors and detailed hubcaps (which are painted silver). The back end is kind of choppy, however. The taillights and license pate are moulded with almost no detail and there are quite a few seams - some which are quite obvious. There's also a button on the back of his chopped up rear window, which activates the gimmick (I'll come back to that later). The end result is a very good front half and a rather compromised tail end. The window transparency is a mixed blessing - the idea is nice but there's a lot of folded up robot visible and nothing in the way of seats.

   The gimmick is... underwhelming. Having said that, it's not really meant for car mode anyway. Pressing the button causes a transparent pipe-thing to stick out the back. Okay, it's a cannon, but in that position it's more like an exhaust on steroids. It does give Swindle some play value here, although it's hardly inspiring. The plastic wheels roll, although not particularly well.

   Visually Swindle's car mode is nice, provided you don't look from behind - the back end is a mess, frankly. Still, the overall impact is quite nice and the shades of G1 here appeal to me. The play value is minimal and there's a lot of junk visible through his windows, but this car mode still works fairly well on the strength of the realistic car design.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   "Open" the doors, unclip the rear fenders, flip out the feet and fold out his heelspurs. Pull the doors out the side sides, lift the central rear section up and rotate the waist. Push the rear section in to form his midriff - the groinplate will flop down and reveal the torso cannon. Fold down the bonnet to form his chest, the centre flips (silly automorph, but at least it works), to reveal the head. Rotate the arms down from inside his doors, rotate the doors up to form shoulderpylons. Fold the rear window pieces on his legs in to form kneecaps.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 15cm Width: 11cm

   A red robot with grey arms, waist and thighs, Swindle has the front of the car on his chest and a mashed up rear as legs. There's _another_ hood ornament logo on his chest, and above that is one of the most unusual heads I've seen on a Transformer. Swindle's head is very long and his face is a giant grey camera. While I don't dislike the execution of this idea - it is fairly well represented - the idea itself is awful. The colour scheme is pretty good (again there are shades of Cliffjumper), but the robot mode is dominated by the head.

   To be fair, Swindle is clearly identified on his card as a drone, so the camera face works in that context. Still, it's an ugly head. The arms are long and he has bow legs, which isn't as bad as it sounds - more distinctive than anything else. These two aspect also work for a drone, giving him a sub-par intelligence feel, which is what you want from a drone, I guess. The doors on his shoulder look great - even if they do make Swindle something of a shellformer.

   The gimmick is... disturbing. The cannon pops out of his waist, and is quite phallic. Typically it'll activate during transformation, which is probably a good thing. The trigger is located on his backside, underneath the roof. So to press the button, you're essentially sticking your finger somewhere you don't want to be. And when you do, the cannon pops up. As I said, disturbing. The gimmick itself _is_ a nice idea, even if the activation is traumatic.

   The poseability is fairly good in his limbs, not so good on the torso. The head is actually on a ball joint, but there's hardly any movement available. The waist turns during transformation but is fixed now. His shoulders are _very_ free ball joints - you can pretty much do anything with them. The elbows are hinged and his wrists are ball jointed, and can fold in but not out. The hips are ball joints, and while they don't move very far forward the overall movement is good. His knees are hinged with rotators while the feet swing back. The heelspurs and feet anchor the available action poses well. Swindle's hands are open, but when you have a gun in your torso, I guess open hands works.

   Swindle's robot mode is quite weird, and the wacky choice of a camera for a face really dominates everything else. Still, the drone theme is quite well executed really. The tastes here are unusual -and he's likely to not gain too many fans - but at least the designer's effort is focused. The action poses are somewhat limited his hips but the shoulder joints are great. The gimmick isn't far short of obscene, but otherwise it's a thoughtful robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. Camshaft is a repaint of Swindle.

OVERALL

   Swindle has a pretty good car mode, a creative and thematically strong robot mode with some good poseability. Yet he's dominated by an unusual head, and carries a gimmick that's really not suitable for children. We've had phallic gimmicks before, but in this case the method of activation really takes things too far. I do like Swindle, but the flaws bring him down below most of the movie toys, and the head really bothers me. The head does help with the drone theme, but Swindle's overall look wont suit too many fans' tastes. Not the worst of the movie toys, but as a figure that doesn't actually appear in the film, he's one you can easily avoid (I grabbed him on special) - 5/10

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