January 12th, 2009


Are you seeing this? Are you loving this?

Shortpacked!: A fun day for everyone.

I remember an Internet discussion from about a year ago, when all we had of the Transformers Animated line were some convention booth images and some stock photography. These were simple baby toys! Look how streamlined and cartoony they are! Well, they're very often deceptively simple.

Swindle and Blurr, part of Wave 5, are definitely in that category. Blurr's layered like one of those flaky Pillsbury "Grands" biscuits. Swindle, at least, is the good kind of complicated. Well, sort of. The first few times I transformed him, I kept pinching my fingers in his damn legs. Yow! But he's involved, and in the clinky-clicky way, not the shellformery Alternators way. Hooray!

Man, I was so stoked for Swindle. Back in the day, original Swindle was the only combiner-group limb that really stood out with his own personality. He could hold a whole episode or issue on his own, just because he was that fun. C'mon, he's the sleazy used car salesmen of giant alien robots! He'd sell his friends for parts! (And did, once.) Thankfully, art director Derrick Wyatt agreed, and made sure he showed up in season 2 of Animated. And he was voiced by Fred Willard! It was perfect.

The best thing about him is his head. It's huge, of course, and with even huger eyes. This is important. It's a faithful exaggeration of his original noggin. The robot mode, meanwhile, is an approximation of the original Swindle's character model -- which was completely different from his actual toy. Oddly, all of Swindle's Combaticon friends had character models that were completely different from their toy designs, save their heads. So (finally?) there's a toy that tries to duplicate the show model, with its Optimus-like chest windows and tummy-headlights, and the Megatron-like arm-mounted cannon. The tummy-headlights are unfortunately fake. The real headlights get covered up under his wrists.

(Hmmm, I wonder if we gave him a new head, if he'd make a good Animated Guitar...)

Swindle's Animated toy also duplicates the special pop-out weaponry he displayed in his television appearance. You can fold a rail-gun out of his stomach, and his "wings" can fold up over his head so his double-blasters can be rotated forwards. Nice synergy with the television show, there.

And, hey, his lightpiping is sculpted so that his eyes have his line-shaped pupils! That's extra awesome.

Oh oh oh! And when you load the spring-loaded missile into his launcher, the detailing mechanically switches from translucent purple to red, like it's powering up! That is extra extra awesome.

So, yeah, I strongly recommend him. I also recommend picking up Season 2 on DVD, so you can get to know him better, if you haven't met him already.