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The common misconception is that Brawl is the only new mold among the Combaticons, but that isn't exactly true. While identified almost immediately as a retool of Rook, Swindle goes so far down that path that even calling it a retool doesn't seem right. Let's look at what parts are shared between Swindle and Rook.
The shoulder hinges, the neck plate, the combiner plug, the elbow joints, the pelvis, the hips and thighs, the knees and transformation hinges, and the ankle hinges. Along with the wheels, those few small parts are the only things shared by both figures.
With something like 90% of the figure new parts, do you still call it a retool? Or does it qualify as a new figure that shares engineering with another? As far as I'm concerned, Swindle is a new figure that has a few pieces duplicated from another. And it's the saving grace of this Deluxe wave.
I can kind of agree that the build seems pretty wide and beefy for Swindle, though it's just cause of the blocky shoulders. And that stops standing out pretty quickly. If I had a lasting complaint with the arms it's just that they seem a little bit too short.
I like the fake jeep details on the chest, especially since they don't resemble anything on the toy's actual vehicular anatomy at all. The shape of them certainly seems more geared for the Hound use of this mold than Swindle, though. Neither toy nor cartoon had headlights on the chest. The waist does match Swindle's cartoon design, so you can say the torso is a best compromise between both characters it'll be used for.
Swindle's head sculpt is basically perfect. About the only way it could be better is if it had a smirk. But it is ball jointed and can get some nice expressive angles.
The ratcheting in the elbows actually works here. Rook's instance of the parts never quite caught. You do lose the Hulk Hands connectors, sadly. The hip joints have good tension, and the knees get a solid 90 degree bend. Swindle still benefits from ankle tilts, though not as ranged as Brawl's. Swindle is put together really well. The tolerances for the articulation all turned out super nice. Nothing is visibly stressing or floppy, everything just feels good and works well.
The deco turned out nicely too. I like the pale yellow plastic color, and the metallic purple on the chest is especially nice. The spots of dark gunmetal on the limbs do good to break up those parts visually.
The only oddball is the light grey pelvis, but that's down to necessity and probably unpaintable plastic. There is a bit of grey elsewhere, though that's painted over so you can barely tell.
About the only thing I don't like on Swindle is the vehicle chunk on the back, because of how far it sticks out. And I actually think it looks bad to me because it angles closer to the body farther down. The upper part sticks out as far as Rook's backpack, but this doesn't look uniform, so it reads badly.
When transforming, you'll find that Swindle's neck plate has an extremely stiff hinge. Be sure to lift from its edge as much as possible, don't use the head for leverage. Apart from that, the only problem is getting the arms in place and lining up correctly. It can be fiddly, but what little else remains is easy.
I suspect this will be the hardest sell, as the vehicle mode is completely unlike the classic idea of Swindle. I'm really impressed though at getting a completely different vehicle type than Rook using the same engineering skeleton. I'll accept Swindle as this, though. It looks more combat oriented than just a jeep, and there are actual military vehicles along this line.
I had been worried the robot's arms losing the solid cover plate would be bad for the vehicle mode's looks, but they blend surprisingly well. It's not to say that you can't tell they're here, but an effort was made. From the correct angles, the fists are made to look like part of the seat backs. A nice try at blending them in.
The rollbar details help hide the squareness of the parts, so the forearms don't visually stand out badly.
With the rest disguised surprisingly decently, the shoulders look like big blocks sticking out, but they don't give away the rest. It works much better than I expected.
The roof helps of course, covering the most blatant areas of the hands.
Not everything lines up perfectly. The rollbar segments are never going to be perfect - believe me, I've tried. You'll probably find other little gaps here and there, things that only stand out because of detail between pieces that's supposed to be continuous. But I think at that point I'm just nitpicking to take up time. A better use of this time would be to point out how nicely detailed the vehicle mode is.
For some reason I really like the saddle bags on either side.
There's very basic suspension and other mechanical details in the front wheel wells.
Even things like tie down loops are present.
While impractical for a retail toy, I'd love to see one of these given a nice detail paint job to bring some of these elements out more visibly. On that deco note, mainly you just see gunmetal paint in vehicle mode. The rollbars and roof plate are painted in, and I like how that paint coverage blends in the robot elbow pieces.
Apart from a little purple peeking through on the back, there's not any colors besides the base plastic color and that dark gunmetal to be had. But other than a couple spots of molded rollbars that didn't get painted, it looks totally fine.
Swindle's hand foot gun is odd. If you saw the Brawl review already, you may have noticed it has the same shape barrels as Brawl's accessory, despite the outer shell being otherwise completely different.
This also has a port so it can mount as a turret, but I don't like this very much. I think the guns sit too far forward.
That's not easily helped, but I do think it'd look better if it sat farther back.
I'll again lament the loss of being able to equip Hulk Hands in robot mode, leaving you now only able to attach this as a shoulder cannon. How boring.
Swindle's other weapon is a triple barrel machine cannon.
It has a port so it can be turreted as well, a result I find much nicer looking.
And it makes a fine hand weapon.
If you want an even bigger turret, the gun pegs perfectly on top of the hand foot gun. It doesn't look any less goofy though.
Swindle's limb modes are perfectly simple. The leg is as usual the vehicle stood on end.
The arm needs you to pull the head halfway up - again, remember to use the neck plate as much as possible - then flip the roof plate up over it and extend the legs.
Swindle makes a surprisingly solid, clean looking arm.
It's doing the same thing as Rook's arm mode in that regard, but being more compact about it. I think that gives Swindle just a bit of an edge.
Sadly there isn't really a good place to plug Swindle's rifle in to the arm mode, like you can do with most other limbs. This is about the best you can get if you're really determined to keep everything together.
Swindle is unexpectedly excellent. Unexpectedly in part because of how not great the prior three Deluxes wound up being. But being that Swindle takes engineering from what I had thought was probably the best Combiner Wars Deluxe and makes fantastic use of that in an entire new body shell, it really shouldn't be a surprise that it's the figure I feel the best about. And in a way, I'm glad for that. Swindle is such a force of personality and the most prominent character among the Combaticons, having this turn out well is really important.
I won't say that it's good that out of an entire wave of four figures, only one is really worthwhile. That's actually pretty terrible. But you know, there are gonna be people who just want a Swindle, and the good news for them is this is the one figure that can actually stand entirely on its own. After near-total disappointment with the Combaticons, you bet I'm gonna hold on to this one victory as tightly as I can.
And now, we take a hopefully brief break from Combaticon reviews while we wait to get Onslaught in so we can finish off our coverage of the team. Combaticon Awareness Week may end, but if this feature has taught you anything, it should be that we're never done with Combaticons.
|Date||November 23rd 2015|
|Score||(9 out of 10)|
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