Cliffbee.com: Animated Swindle Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Swindle
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Decepticon
Alternate Mode: Humvee



HUMVEE MODE
Height: 4.5cm (8.5 with cannon) Length: 12cm Width: 6cm

   A beige armoured truck with black plastic tyres and transparent purple front windows, Swindle has a black front bumper and transparent purple grille, a large purple Decepticon logo stamped on his hood and painted metallic purple windows on either side. There's also a large black cannon which can plug into the top of his roof. The colours are clearly tributing those of G1 Swindle, although the beige here has a distinct green tinge to it whereas that toy is actually a tan colour. Either way, the colours work well for both the vehicle and the character.

   While realism isn't a strength - or even a focus - of the Animated line, this truck is fairly credible. It's not trying to be an actual Humvee, but the basic idea is the same, and in creating a stylised Humvee, the designer has effectively created a believable generic armoured truck. The sculpt is simpler than you'd expect of a truck with functional armour, but not quite as simple as on many Animated vehicle modes. There are a couple of seams with gaps slightly larger than I'd like - mainly on the sides, but for the most part this is a good truck mode.

   The play value here is mixed. The wheels roll but there's not quite enough table clearance - he'll scratch underneath rather than roll freely. The cannon on top has a grey button on top and slits along the length with orange inside them. Pressing the button causes the single transparent purple missile to fire - and it'll easily fly a metre - which causes the orange slits to turn purple. Reloading the missile causes the purple to change to orange, giving a sort of powering-up effect, which I really like. You can plug the cannon into a hole on the front right fender which is intended for robot mode if you like. The missile fires quite well and the power-up is simple but works very well, so I'm happy enough despite the low clearance.

   A good vehicle mode with good colours which tribute the G1 character well - and the roof cannon also helps the tribute. Swindle is more realistic than some Animated vehicle modes, despite retaining the overall feel of the line. The cannon's play value is fun and the detailing is convincing - it finds the right mix between Animated's simple style and a vehicle mode which doesn't look "kiddie".

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Set aside the cannon, fold the rear tyres underneath the truck. Lift up the rear side doors, split the front and swing the fends up to the sides and swing down to form arms, pivot the hood halves over the fenders as forearm panels. Swing the rear down to form legs, split the boots. Fold up the waist panel - it doesn't lock into place and tends to sag forward. Fold back the roof, flip up his head, rotate the rear doors now on his back to form shoulder cannons. Fold out the hands and plug the fusion cannon into the outside of his right forearm.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 13cm

   A beige robot with purple and some black - there's less black and more purple now - Swindle has a black head with gunmetal face and huge transparent purple eyes (and a decent lightpipe). The upper arms, thighs and hands are composed of transparent purple plastic along with the windows on his chest. The groinplate is sculpted and painted to resemble the front of a truck - a feature taken from the G1 cartoon rather than the original toy. The Decepticon logo is visible on his forearms - well, half on either forearm. Again the colours work well visually and sell the tribute nicely.

   While the vehicle mode isn't overly stylised, the robot mode is. His boots are fairly stock, his forearms are very stocky and his head is big, wide and flat-looking. The proportions largely match each other, so while Swindle is stylised, his proportions do work visually despite his not being especially robotic. The legs and torso have a lot of gently curving lines, which are typical of this line, and the face has an uneven smile which is also a characteristic of Animated. While I don't really like the basic idea, it works well enough here that I'm happy with the result. The head is clearly based on the G1 character's head - it resembles both the cartoon (shape) and toy (prominent eyes).

   Swindle has a variety of weapons available here, including the missile launcher (which looks like a fusion cannon) on his right forearm. The missile launcher gimmick is retained, and again works well. The cannon is a little too heavy for his arm - the shoulder will sag slightly - but this doesn't really hamper poseability. There are black shoulder cannons behind his head - they actually attach to his backpack rather than his shoulders. There's a black gatling gun hidden within his groinplate - it folds out and protrudes like a belly button - and surprisingly, managed to not look phallic. While this one is small and not especially impressive, it's a very nice feature that the designer could have simply skipped, so it's a welcome inclusion.

   Swindle's poseability is pretty good, with a couple of limitations. His head turns while the shoulder cannons can also turn and pivot sideways. His shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows are hinged and there are well concealed rotators in the upper arms. The hands are claw-like, but don't look like claws - they open and close like claws while still essentially looking like hands. His waist is fixed while his hips are ball jointed and his knees are hinged - again there are well concealed rotators in his thighs. The feet are fixed while the rear wheels serve as heelspurs. The fusion cannon on his right arm does create some balance issues for Swindle, and the groinplate can fold down at times, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with the poseability here.

   A good robot mode with interesting weaponry and sensible stylised feature, Swindle provides a good tribute to the G1 character and has a good colour scheme. The play value is good and the poseability is quite useful. The groinplate should really attach properly - there are clip on either side, but the engineering is just plain wrong. Aside from this notable flaw, it's a good robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   With a good vehicle mode which looks credible enough while still retaining the stylised feel of Animated and a good robot mode with sensible proportions and nice features such as an array of weapons and a false truck front for his chest, Swindle is one of the more impressive Animated toys. The tribute and colours work well and his play value is good. The poor engineering on his groinplate is a notable flaw, and it's really something that should have been addressed. I'd recommend this toy despite that flaw, but it does drag him down needlessly - 8.5/10

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