For the past year or so Hasbro has focused their G1 Transformers toyline on the ”Combiner Wars” theme. Combiners, for those of you who may not know, are the big Transformers that are created when you combine a bunch of smaller ones. There were many combiners in the vintage toyline but for some reason Hasbro had shied away from including them in their modern Transformers toylines until now. Since launching the Combiner Wars concept last year they’re released updated versions of the Aerialbots who form Superion, the Stunticons who form Menasor, the Constructicons who form Devestator, and the Protectobots who form Defensor. In addition to all of those remakes of vintage combiner teams Hasbro has also created brand new combiners made up of fan favorite characters who hadn’t previously been combiner components like Optimus Prime and Hound. It’s a good time but an expensive time to be a Transformers collector.
I haven’t bothered collecting any of the newly created teams, because I already have modern-era, but pre-Combiner Wars versions of Optimus, Hound and the others, but I have purchased the new CW versions of Superion, Menasor, Devestator, and Defensor.
The latest vintage combiner team to get a Combiner Wars makeover is the Combaticons who form Bruticus. Bruticus is one of the coolest combiners (with a name like that how could he not be?) but I honestly didn’t know if I would bother buying the CW versions of those characters. The reason being that Bruticus was the rare exception to the no combiners rule seemingly instituted by Hasbro for the past 10 years. A modern Bruticus figure was released as part of 2012’s “Fall of Cybertron” toyline which was based on the Ps3/XBox 360 game of the same name. Vanessa got me all 5 Combaticons for Christmas that year and Bruticus has been looming over the rest of my puny Transformers ever since. I really didn’t need two Bruticuses (Brutici?) on my shelf where space is already an issue.
However, the thing about Combiners is that while the fully combined giants are really cool the smaller robots that make them up are sometimes really cool too. For example, First Aid is one of my favorite Transformers characters. I couldn’t bear to display him as simply Defensor’s leg so I swapped him out for one of the Stunticons so I could display him on his own. Swindle is another awesome character who is so much more than just a limb. I actually considered buying two of the 2012 Swindle so I could display one as an individual while still having a complete Bruticus on display. I didn’t end up doing that so my collection has essentially been Swindle-less since I opted to display my lone 2012 Swindle in leg mode.
The release of the Combiner Wars Combaticons presented me with the opportunity to buy a new Swindle figure that could finally be displayed as an individual character. He likely would’ve been the only CW Combaticon I bought had I found them at regular price but Toys R Us had them on for half price over Christmas so I bought all four of the limb characters; Swindle, Brawn, Blast Off, and Vortex.
This Swindle figure is a re-tooled and re-painted version of the Protectobot, Rook that was released a few months earlier. Obviously I’d prefer it if all Transformers had their own unique sculpts but this body works quite well for Swindle and it’s different enough from Rook, especially in vehicle mode, that it doesn’t look like a complete clone. In fact I think this is probably the best Swindle figure to date despite the fact that it’s modified version of another character. The 1986 original was a boxy turd of a figure and the 2012 version was too flimsy and too science fiction in design. This figure is sturdy, it’s relatively cartoon accurate, and it’s got plenty of articulation.
My favourite thing about this figure is the newly designed head. It looks exactly as it should. The shape is right and it has those big purple sunglass lense-like eyes that are his trademark. This is a cool figure and I’m glad to finally see this conniving, double-crossing, greedy con man get his due. 9 out of 10.