Swindle is a sneak who is mainly concerned for himself. He's a smooth-talker with a gift of gab and bluff who can wheedle people into seeing his way... at least, long enough to get what he wants. He actually gets along very well with his Decepticon "partner" Starscream, but how much of that is a ploy to catch the Decepticon unawares has yet to be seen. Swindle lacks the strength of character to be a good guy, but suffers too many pangs of conscience to be a bad guy, try as he might.
- Japanese name: Grid
- Hungarian name: Svindli
- Polish name: Kanciarz
- Ukrainian name: Moshenneek (Мошенник, "Swindler")
Swindle was discovered in a forest, and subsequently claimed by Starscream as his Mini-Con partner. Starscream used Swindle's power to prove the strength of his Powerlinx-activated Null Laser Cannons.
Swindle would continue to serve as Starscream's partner, and apparently developed loyalty to him, but it is unknown if this was genuine or a result of the Mini-Con servility program. Swindle went with Starscream when he temporarily joined the Autobots (and when he subsequently left them), and would later use his inherent Mini-Con powers to upgrade both himself and Starscream after the latter had been severely damaged by Nemesis Prime.
Their partnership ended in tragedy on Cybertron. In his final stand, Starscream Powerlinked with Swindle and shot a futile blast at Unicron. Just before being torn apart by Unicron's energy bolts, Starscream broke the linke with Swindle, sending him to safety. Swindle lamented his partner's death, while Optimus Prime assured him that Starscream's long battle was finally over.
It is unknown what became of Swindle after this.
Dreamwave Armada Comics
Swindle was a resident of Mini-Con Village C52. He was part of the mass effort erecting an Energon Dome to protect their village before the Decepticons attacked. When Cyclonus burrowed under their defenses and brought down the dome, Swindle was captured and sent to a Decepticon Chop-shop for mecha-sectioning and re-wiring.
It was Swindle's bad luck the next day when Starscream chose him for the attack on Cyber City. While the Mini-Cons left at the base staged a mass breakout, Swindle was left with the Decepticons for a million long, long years...
After the Mini-Con reactivation signal brought the Decepticons to Earth, Swindle pretended to have escaped from Starscream in order to gain the trust of humans Carlos and Rad. They promised to bring him to the Autobots for protection, and successfully evaded a Decepticon attack, but Swindle betrayed them to the Decepticons. Megatron intended to merge humans with Cybertronian technology and create a power source, much as he had the Mini-Cons. Rad was outraged, they had escaped, but after a million years of slavery, Swindle believed his freedom was the Decepticons' to give. When Megatron subsequently refused to free him as promised, Swindle liberated a group of captured Autobots who drove the Decepticons off. Swindle briefly believed he had won the freedom he had tried to buy, but Starscream activated a retrieval device, yanking him back into custody.
Swindle was among the Mini-Cons summoned to the Moon by Dualor. When the Fortress was destroyed he returned to Earth in an escape pod and was subsequently recaptured by Megatron, who had the foresight to implant tracking tags in his Mini-Cons.
Swindle was allowed to rejoin his fellow Mini-Cons for the joint battle against Unicron. He took part in the ceremony at the Loop which badly damaged the chaos bringer.
Ten years later, Starscream appeared without Swindle. Swindle's fate remains unknown.
- Starscream with Swindle (Max-Con, 2002)
- Japanese ID Number: MD-02
- Swindle was available only with the larger Decepticon Starscream, transforming into an Indy-style race car. He is designed to fit between Starscream's Null Laser Cannons, and can also be clipped on the underside of Starscream's jet-mode cockpit, deployed by pressing down on Starscream's canopy. The Takara version has merely the tiniest of tone changes to its color.
- This mold was redecoed to become Zapmaster, and is the basis for the mold used by Mirage and Top Gear.
- Starscream Super Mode with Spark Grid (Max-Con, 2003)
- Japanese ID number: MD-09
- In Japan, the toy known in the Hasbro line as Thundercracker was instead a "powered-up" version of Starscream, and the Mini-Con followed suit. In this "Spark" version, Swindle is almost completely identical to Zapmaster.
- Starscream with Swindle (Built to Rule, 2003)
- For the Hasbro Built to Rule building block system, Starscream came with a small, building-block-based version of Swindle. This version can be rebuilt from robot mode into something kind of vaguely resembling a race car. Sort of.
In Japan, a tiny PVC micro-figurine of Swindle was released with the Mega Super Collection Figure version of Armada Starscream. Like the other Mini-Con PVC micro-figurines in the series, the soft-plastic pegs that keep his arms in place were painted over, and as such are susceptible to snapping off if you try to move the arms. Extra-special caution should be taken with these parts.