Saturday, 21 May 2016

Transformers Generations: Combiner Wars – Swindle

Company: Hasbro
Year: 2015

I haven’t reviewed a Transformer in quite a while, but I have a couple more planned for the next couple of weeks…including one particularly big one that’s been eyeing me off from the shelf for a few months.

Though I’m definitely not all-in on the line, Combiner Wars continues to go from strength to strength with the release of the component Decepticons for Bruticus. Bruticus and his component Decepticons received figures relatively recently, during the 2012 Fall of Cybertron subline of Generations. However, as these were based on the game, they weren’t very G1-looking, and the actual execution got a bit of a mixed reception. But truth be told, I don’t remember Bruticus at all from my younger years of Transformers fandom. I don’t remember seeing any of his component toys (maybe Blast Off), as by the time I was old enough to really be interested in Transformers, the G2 re-releases were the ones on store shelves. Bruticus got one in 1994, long after they’d dropped off my radar.

Basically, Swindle is new territory for me, so you get to undertake the magical voyage of discovery with me. Apparently Swindle is a heavy retool of Rook (the Protectron), but they’ve done an impressive job of making him look totally different. He transforms between ‘bot and some kind of army jeep, just like the G1 version, but is now a little less squat and obviously a lot more articulated. The articulation is pretty much what you'd expect, and he moves very well. The main noteworthy feature is that he seems to have some sort of side-to-side swivel on his ankles -- it's surprisingly not part of his transformation, but it helps him stay balanced for deeper poses.   

On another note, I tend to prefer my Transformers without humanoid faces, but the purple sunglasses are a nice 80s retro-futuristic throwback, which in my book gives him an edge over some of his other befaced Decepticons.        

Swindle’s colour scheme is a nice desert camouflage in vehicle mode, but when you transform him to bot mode he’s actually got a lot of black and purple, along with a bit of dark, metallic grey. It’s not dissimilar to the colour scheme the Constructicons had back in G2, though somewhat more realistically executed (though I use this term loosely as realism doesn’t really factor in to Transformers). But speaking of G2, there will apparently be a G2 colour scheme repaint box set of Bruticus later this year too – I think I’ll pass on that one though, it’s a little too 90s neon for my tastes.      

And for those who like the mould but not Decepticons or the colour scheme, you’re in luck! Swindle has undergone a further retool to become Autobot Hound, who's be part of Sky Reign (who looks awesome, by the way).

In addition to his gun and his hand/foot piece for becoming part of Bruticus, Swindle is also packed with a copy of Robots in Disguise #12, which has been rebranded as Combiner Wars #4. It’s a good read – and reminds me that I need to pick up some of the IDW compilation – even if it doesn’t actually include Swindle in there. Still, that’s oddly appropriate, given that Swindle’s characterisation is all about ripping people off.   

I don’t plan to complete Bruticus; his combined form is pretty cool, but some of the regular bots just don’t grab me. But overall, Swindle is a great standalone character for any Decepticon collection. And even if you don't want Bruticus, he still works as a Cyclonus limb too.   

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