Cliffbee.com: Superlink Swindle Toy Review

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Name: Swindle
Series: Superlink (Energon)
Allegiance: Destron
Alternate Mode: Tank

Note: I have the Japanese version of this set, so I'm going with the Japanese names partly because of the G1 links and partly because Hasbro's reuse of names in this set is so random..




TANK MODE
Height: 5cm Length: 10cm Width: 5cm

   A metallic olive green tank with very dark brown painted treads and a charcoal and olive green turret, Swindle isn't terribly similar to his G1 namesake. Instead he's a clone of his teammate, Brawl, with colour scheme that creates a different feel. This green is actually more realistic than Brawl's green, which I like, but the G1 fan in me can't help wish this toy was a shade of brown. Anyway, Swindle has some silver highlights but lacks the paint on the sides that Brawl has - which serves to accent the detailed mould on this toy.

   The turret is a little broken up, since it unfolds to become the arms and chest of the robot, and while the robot fists are visible on the back it still works as a turret. The charcoal dominates here, which helps quite a lot since it helps the seams and fistholes hide. This turret is also where most of the action is. The front of the turret sports Swindle's spark crystal, which displays well from the front. On top is a rear-facing moulded Decepticon symbol, painted black. All of Swindle's teammates have purple Decepticon logos, so this is a little weird. I suspect this was changed as part of Swindle's light-vs-dark colour scheme, which contrasts with Brawl's brighter, simpler colours (and more complex paint mask). The turret rotates right around, and while turning it will reveal the gap between his robot thighs, it clicks back into the forward facing position so you wont end up with a floppy turret as the swivel gets looser over time. The exposed thighs aren't as much of a problem as they are on Brawl, since the exposed thighs are the same colour as the tank itself.

   Swindle is armed to the teeth, with the built in twin canons on either side of the turret, twin gatling guns moulded onto the front of the tank and his blue Energon weapon, which clips into the fists (which is why they're visible) and gives him a further two barrels along with a radar dish. The main canons can rotate up and back to about 130, even with his extra weaponry on top, which I find quite impressive - the original Brawl's turret rotation was hampered by the attack guns but this time the attack add-on doesn't get in the way at all - even the logo is still visible between the blue canons.

   Aside from the turret there's not much else in the way of play value, although he does have plastic wheels underneath to roll on, which is really all I ask - let's face it, tanks don't do much but roll, aim and fire. At this scale I think a working missile launcher is asking too much, and it would place restrictions on the robot mode that I'd hate to see.

   As I said, the G1 fan in me laments the fact that this doesn't really evoke the G1 toy, but this is an excellent tank mode for the size and in truth Swindle gets a better colour scheme than Brawl. The great play value and clever colour scheme wins out over nostalgia.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the Energon weapon if attached, fold out the arms. Rotate the platform on which the turret rests 180, swing down the head and rotate so his face is pointing forward. Fold out the treads so that they form panels sticking out and down to the sides, which will allow you to clip the shoulder joints onto the sides of the torso. Fold down his feet, unclip the legs from each other, collapse his chestpanel onto the torso, position the arms and forearm cannons, give him his handgun if you like.

   This is a satisfyingly complex transformation for a basic, but it's not difficult. It deals with problem of what to do with the turret better than any previous tank Transformers (while some used the turret as arms, none of those had movement).

ROBOT MODE
Height: 11cm Width: 8cm, 13.5cm "wingspan"

   Now a mix of olive green, charcoal and brown, Swindle again looks nothing like his G1 namesake. His chest, head, forearms and are canons are charcoal while his upper arms, groin and thighs are green and his boots brown. While his tank mode paintmask was quite minimal, the painted boots make Swindle's colours now more varied that the rather monochromatic Brawl. Swindle sports green gunpods on his shoulders and has a silver face with blue eyes, although the small apertures mean his lightpipe fails. This is a good colour scheme, and has a Combaticon feel about it, despite not really matching G1 Swindle.

   So now he has eight barrels before adding his handgun which provides another two. The side canons from the tank mode are the forearm canons, which are targetable. The gunpods on either side of his head have three small barrels each and sit far enough away from his head to work as shoulder-cannons, even if they do attach to the back of his head. I actually find that the Energon chip is a little big and prefer leaving it off, but there's no problem with this, considering how well armed he is anyway.

   The treads, dangling from his back, attached behind the shoulders, are very much kibble, but don't really get in the way and can fold back and hang backwards if you prefer (as I do, since it reduces the dominance of green). If you're going to have vehicle mode kibble, unobtrusive and concealable is the way to go. The other aspect that counts as a flaw is the shape of his feet - being the front of the tank they're flat panels, which is a little out of sync with the rest of this robot mode. The upside is the gatling guns now make great heelspurs for big feet, making him easy to pose, even accounting for the big treads hanging off him.

   Poseability is excellent for a basic toy, even better when you consider that he's a Gestalt limb. The head and waist turn, the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees are all ball joints while his ankles are hinged and the canons on his forearms rotate. As already mentioned, the feet anchor him quite well, so the articulation isn't wasted, and the treads can act as supports for action poses that would be unstable on other toys.

   Aside from the weird feet, this is a really good robot mode. The colours are good, he's bristling with weaponry, and the play value surpasses what you'd expect of a basic. The treads are worthwhile kibble, since they're able to stay out of the way and actually help with pose stability, and work as a sort of "cape" if you leave then out to the sides anyway. I do feel that Brawl's colours work slightly better in robot mode but both have different looks, thanks to the different paintmasks and themes.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of, although the as yet unreleased US version will be called Blight.

OVERALL

   Two fun modes, weaponry galore and colours that really work and make for a great toy. The tank mode is better than Brawl's, the robot slighter inferior. From a G1 fan's point of view Swindle isn't a fantastic homage, however he's still a great toy in his own right. If you're only getting one toy of this mould, I'd recommend Brawl if nostalgia motivates you and Swindle if realism interests you. If not for the robot feet I'd give this a perfect score, because it's a great basic - 9/10

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