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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Knightdramon's review of: BT-09 Swindle

Name: Swindle
Allegiance: Decepticon (Destron)
Function: Munitions Expert

Swindle is a remould of the fourth BT figure, Hound. I remember seeing pictures of Swindle as early as July, but he was released in November. I have no idea why they delayed him that much.

Not owning BT Hound, I was fascinated when I came across the Alternators version (EU) at a store. I picked him up and, much to my surprise, his door broke a few minutes after I opened him. Ever since that, I lost faith in the alternator version of the toy and was afraid that Swindle would be similiar.

So, Swindle arrived in the mail a few days later (twice he did!), and I was instantly pleased upon discovering how sturdy a toy he is. He is the second Decepticon in the line so far, and doesn't disappoint in the least.

Vehicle Mode:
Like I said earlier, Swindle is a remould of Hound, who was modeled after a Jeep Wrangler (really basic design, really nice). Admittedly, Swindle would look plain if the differences were only in the colour scheme. No, it goes far beyond that...

An obvious and welcome addition to the mould is the front grill. Covering the entire front area and being chromed, it's hard to miss it. It also sports two headlights, but they are chromed as well (minor, minor complaint...)

One more thing that immediately gets your attention is his tires. Gone are Hound's puny tires with gray hubcaps. Swindle features big, bad tires with chromed hubcaps. This is very pleasing to the eye, as it brings out the colour of his tires even more.

Swindle is coloured in a yellow, mustardy tone. It's not as intense as Tracks', but it's really nice. A minor drawback is that some of the plastic pieces that connect to die-cast (on the hood) are painted in a slightly different tone.

Functionality-wise, Swindle's doors open (and don't break off), his hood can open to reveal the engine, he's got suspension on all four tires, and his spare tire 'door' opens, but not in the way it does on the real car. The Jeep mould doesn't use the 'wheels turning in unison scheme' because, admittedly, it would be quite difficult to fit that mechanism in, considering the way he transforms.

This line is based on realistic vehicles (so far), so any G1 purists that want a big gun mounted on his backpack will be disappointed. I believe Swindle looks better in this vehicle mode rather than in his G1 military jeep.

Robot Mode:
After getting the arms out of the front part, splitting the back part and turning it around, messing around with the door and seats to become a trendy back pack and getting his head out, Swindle is ready to kick some Autobot rear fenders.

Before analyzing his articulation points, let's take a moment and gaze at him. A lot of black and some purple now adorn his body, clashing with the yellow and chrome and creating a unique effect. According to his booklet, this body was intended for Trailbreaker, but was used for Swindle instead. That explains the head sculpt. There isn't much to say about it...it has a black helmet with a crest above the eye visor and vents on the sides (reminiscent of the Seekers). His face is absolutely gorgeous, sporting a serious grimace and a purple visor, with eyes beneath it (actually, they are moulded on the visor). I really like the idea of using Autobot bodies as Decepticons. There's just something fascinating about iconic Autobot faces being Decepticons!

Articulation wise, Swindle suffers from the same thing all BTs (except for Meister and maybe Grimlock) do; he's got great articulation on a pair of limbs and not so great articulation on the other. In Swindle's case, his legs are great, featuring ratchet ankle joints, knees, and the traditional ball joint connecting the leg to the waist. He's got 6 points of articulation on each leg (seven if you count his toes).

His waist can turn, but not as freely as you'd like because of the wheels attached to it. His arms are short and fail to impress me. They have 5 points of articulation each, but are built in a way that they can't stretch to the sides. With just a slight modification they could, but I'm not about to cut parts off of a Binaltech.

Unfortunately, Swindle has neither his original G1 guns nor any from Trailbreaker. Instead, he comes with a puny excuse for a handgun, which is stored in the spare tire. Mine holds it really well on his left arm but can't hold in properly with his right. Go figure...

Just to add icing on the cake...

Packaging:
Swindle's packaging is the standard BT silver window box, with windows on both openings of the box, so as to show the toy inside more prominently. On the back of the box is a picture of the toy in both modes along with text and six pictures advertising his features in both modes. For the robot mode, Takara has incorporated a theme used for Gundam models: Head and hand pictures. A really nice feature I'd like to see in other lines as well.

As with all Binaltechs, Swindle comes with an awesome display case coloured in black and bearing the Decepticon insignia and Swindle's name, along with the Jeep logo.

He comes with an illustrated booklet, which, aside from the instructions, features a manga drawing of Swindle in robot mode. Definitely one of the best parts of the line so far.

Finally, Swindle comes with a collector's card. A coloured drawing of him is on one side, along with his serial number and function. On the back are pictures of the figure in both forms and something like a small bio.

Overall, as with Dead End, Swindle is superior to his mould brother. It might be the 'evil' scheme that's appealing, it might be the re-moulding, but it's a fact. A must if you don't own Hound or if you want to bolster your Decepticon ranks (Yay, now there's two of us, versus 6 Autobots). Highly recommended.

Transformation: 5. Neither difficult nor frustrating. The only thing to take notice of is the head transformation. If you don't transform it as depicted on the instructions, it will scratch paint off of the hood.
Durability: 9. Nothing loose, nothing prone to breaking. Just watch out for that paint scratching.
Fun: 8. Lots of poses you can put the toy in, fun vehicle mode for running over Autobots, but...give this guy a better gun!
Price: 6. For some unknown reason, I'm only finding him in the 35-40$ price range. Get one now before it climbs up to 50$!
Summary: 10. I just couldn't see myself not owning this figure. Maybe because I'm a 'Con lover, maybe because it's more impressive than Hound. Really, a million reasons.

 
 
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