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Transformers Animated
by yo go re

I saw, recently, someone say that Transformers Animated is a slap in the face to every Generation 1 fan. The person who said that is a moron.

Swindle is a one-robot black market. He's only a Decepticon by default, since they're the ones who most often take advantage of his unbeatable deals on armor, weapons and combat systems. If it shoots, explodes, or focuses light into a beam intense enough to melt high-grade armor, Swindle will sell it to anyone. Anyone who can pay his price, that is. Most of his inventory, he scavenges from those who fall in battle, but he doesn't mind helping a crippled Autobot all the way to the scrap heap before stripping him of his weapons.

Now how can a series that digs deep enough to update an obscure character like Swindle be a slap in the face? Animated is built on the bedrock of G1, and goes out of its way to honor everything that's come before. It's always great to see people talking smack about things they clearly don't understand. Congratulations, dumbass!

In G1, Swindle's vehicle mode was a tan jeep thing, an outdated old thing allegedly based on the FMC XR311. Of course, he and the other Combaticons were meant to be based on WWII vehicles and the XR3111 wasn't in use until the early '70s, so make of that what you will. Animated's Swindle gets around this entirely, by taking the form of some non-specific Humvee. In fact, the episode he showed up in was even titled "Society of Ultimate Villany" - so no wonder he's an "SUV." The vehicle mode is a little more than 4½" long, 2½" wide and 1¾" tall, not counting the roof-mounted gun.

Changing Swindle to a robot is pretty easy, but still involves changing around quite a bit. The G1 toy was a total brick, but this one actually gets some poseability: a swivel neck, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, hinged thumbs and fingers, balljointed hips, swivel thighs and hinged knees. As a robot, Swindle stands about 5½" tall. He's more olive than brown, and has purple detailing. He's also the only Animated Decepticon who doesn't have red eyes.

Swindle's robot design is based more on the G1 animation model than the actual toy: for instance, the fact that his chest is a windshield and he has a grill on his stomach - that stuff may have been true in the old cartoon and comics, but the 1986 toy had all that flipped onto his back as kibble. As a nod to the character's origins as part of a combiner, his head is shaped like a connector plug. Now how much would you pay!?

But wait! There's more! In the episode, Swindle revealed that he hadn't sold all the weapons systems he'd salvaged: in fact, most of them seemed to be integrated into his frame. The toy has an "attack mode," in which a Gatling gun pokes out of his abdomen and two blasters rise up over his shoulders. It's not quite the massive arsenal seen on the show, but it tries. And of course, we haven't even mentioned his big cannon, which plugs into his arm just like Megatron's. The gun is nearly 4" long, and fires a purple missile - and when you load the projectile, the gun's interior changes from orange to purple. Pro!

Swindle is a very fun figure. Sadly, we'll never see Animated versions of the rest of the Combaticons, so he'll never end turn into Bruticus' leg, but you could always pair him with Classics Onslaught and have them reminisce about the old days. So act now! Supplies are limited and operators are standing by. Every Swindle comes with an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee,* so what do you have to lose? Order now!

-- 03/24/09

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*I guarantee you won't get your money back.

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