|Specifics: fiction appearances|
Capitalist first, Decepticon second, Swindle is a con-man, a cheapskate, an opportunist, a hustler—or as he would put it, an entrepreneur. Unlike his fellow Combaticons, the Autobot-Decepticon war is to him merely an opportunity for networking, cutting deals, and making profit. He's an expert on all manner of weaponry and their market prices, and he prides himself on being able to sell anything to pretty much anybody. All he needs is a smile.
Swindle can combine with the other Combaticons to form Bruticus.
|“||It's...it's not my fault, Megatron! This greed is built into my personality component!||”|
—Swindle, after selling the other Combaticons's remains, "B.O.T."
Thanks to his brief time housing the Matrix in his mind, Buster Witwicky experienced a series of dreams outlining the future of Cybertronian technology: the Special Teams. These dreams were random and chaotic at first, as he was chased through his dreamscape by Combiner robots and witnessed the Combaticons merge into Bruticus. After Optimus Prime joined Buster in his dreams, the information became more linear, and the Autobot and human beheld a future scenario in which Swindle and the Combaticons joined forces with the Stunticons against the Protectobots and the Aerialbots. Working off this information, Wheeljack began to conceive a way to reverse-engineer and improve upon Devastator's combination technology. Unfortunately for the Autobots, Soundwave had managed to tap into Buster's dream frequency, and the Decepticons received the same information to build their own Special Teams.
The Combaticons joined Megatron on a mission to invade the company Energy Futures Industries in order to steal a hydrothermocline, which the Decepticons wanted to take for their own energy resources. This mission resulted not only in success for the Decepticons, but also in the death of Autobot leader Optimus Prime, despite Swindle's individual failure in his part of the mission.
Swindle soon accompanied his fellow Decepticons to a new base in the Caribbean, at which time Megatron disappeared and Shockwave assumed command of the Earth-bound Decepticons. Shortly afterwards, Shockwave dispatched Swindle and the other Combaticons to assassinate Galvatron, who was buried under lava at Mount Verona, but they were defeated by a trio of human women and the Throttlebots.
Swindle (and the other Combaticons) battled Defensor on several occasions, though without great success. He had better success during the Decepticon ambush of the Autobots on the Moon, where the Autobots had gathered to resolve a leadership dispute. Swindle attacked Brawn with his Scatter Blaster and commented that although Brawn was not a great Autobot warrior, he would have a bright future as spare parts (presumably to be sold at a premium by Swindle himself). When the combined forces of Blaster and Grimlock managed to pierce the ship's protective force field, Ratbat commanded all Decepticons on the surface of the Moon to return to the ship and retreat.
Swindle also served as part of the "friendly" staff on the beach of the Decepticons' Caribbean island when the Decepticons used the base as a human vacation resort. Swindle was there to serve every need that the humans might require.
Swindle gave Megatron a tour of the Warworld when the Decepticon leader forcibly took command of the Decepticons back from Bludgeon. This ultimately led to a chamber where many new Decepticon bodies awaited, needing the Matrix to give them life.
He was later seen briefly as part of the first wave of defenders when the Warworld was attacked by the next-generation Cybertronians commanded by Jhiaxus after the Autobots and Decepticons had forged an alliance of necessity against said forces. Swindle's fate was not revealed, but considering the Cybertronian troops—led by the traitor Starscream—killed several Decepticons and ultimately overtook the battleship, it didn't look too good for Swindle.
Swindle was originally a Decepticon criminal on Cybertron who apparently got caught and had his personality component locked in a detention center, where he was stuck for millions of years. He was eventually liberated along with five other prisoners by Starscream, who installed Swindle into an old military jeep found at Guadalcanal on Earth. Starscream dubbed the Decepticons "Combaticons" and ordered them to help him defeat Megatron. While Swindle and the others were not too happy with this, Starscream blackmailed them into it anyway. The plan eventually failed, and Swindle and the Combaticons were banished to an asteroid along with Starscream.
The Combaticons later escaped the asteroid and attacked Cybertron together as Bruticus. After being defeated again, Swindle and the Combaticons were reprogrammed to be loyal to Megatron. It's debatable how well that reprogramming took with Swindle.
Megatron next ordered the Combaticons to steal fighter planes by using Middle-Eastern criminals as go-betweens. Swindle was the personal ride of Ali, the thief leader, and led the caravans with parts to Megatron. He later merged with the others to form Bruticus, who was defeated by the Aerialbots as Superion.
Bruticus was next defeated by Defensor, and Swindle was the sole survivor of the team. He proceeded to sell the parts of his comrades to various people for a sweet finder's fee. Megatron was less than happy with this, however, as he had just constructed a giant death-ray for Bruticus to wield for him. No Combaticons, no Bruticus. Swindle tried to plead off his greed as a programming flaw, but Megatron wasn't having any of it. He installed a bomb in Swindle's head and gave him 15 hours to rebuild his fellow Combaticons or suffer their fate. The most elusive piece was Brawl's personality component, which had been raided from a junkyard by some high school kids building a homemade robot. Swindle had to fight through a trio of Autobots in order to recover the personality component, but succeeded in time to have the bomb removed.
Swindle is plainly a team player.
After the Decepticons were exiled to a burnt-out husk of a planet called Chaar, they dropped dangerously low on energon. When the Quintessons arrived to make a deal, the Decepticons deferred to Swindle's skill to bargain a reasonable price for their services.
On another occasion, Swindle singlehandedly infiltrated Metroplex for Galvatron and miraculously managed to fend off a lone Autobot pacifist like First Aid to steal the city-bot's transformation cog. After returning from his mission, though, Swindle's greed got the best of him, and he attempted to make Galvatron bid for the cog. After Megatron put a bomb in his head, why Swindle thought bargaining with the even less stable Galvatron was a good idea is anyone's guess. Lucky for Swindle, Galvatron was in one of his less manic phases at the time and only blasted the greedy Combaticon a few times instead of ripping out his primary fuel pump with his teeth.
In 2006, Swindle, along with Motormaster, finally became so dissatisfied with Galvatron's leadership that he openly grumbled that the Autobots would be doing the Decepticons a favor by killing Galvatron. Cyclonus interpreted this as treason, but Swindle brushed him off. Both he and Motormaster warned Cyclonus that if Galvatron's madness wasn't cured, the Unicron-forged pair would face rebellion.
Later, Swindle was one of several Autobot visitors to the general hospital where Jessica Morgan was being treated for her spine injury (that the Decepticons caused in battle with the Autobots). As part of Bruticus, he was later infected with the Hate Plague.
In 2003, Swindle used his contacts to reverse-engineer the Cosmic Rust virus and ensure a large percentage of the Autobot force on Earth was incapacitated. When the Autobots joined forces with Earth's manufacturing industries to create the Binaltech project, Swindle worked with Starscream and his Decepticon faction to infiltrate the project for their own ends. Using modified cerebro-shell technology to turn human workers into sleeper agents, the Decepticons managed to sneak some of their own personality components into the facilities and replace them with those of the Autobots planned for the new bodies. Therefore, the Central City Institute of Technology thought they were upgrading the Autobot Trailbreaker, only to have Swindle come online instead.
Swindle's bait-and-switch wasn't totally effective, though—the Binaltech warriors only had their weaponry fully equipped and activated after coming online and arriving at Autobot City, so Swindle was not equipped with functioning versions of Trailbreaker's force field and other abilities, having to instead outfit himself with armaments from his own munitions depots. He was also banned from the Binaltech electro-cell recharging centers after his ruse was uncovered, and therefore had to rely on the Exponential Generator technology provided by Starscream's human ally, Doctor Arkeville. Though upgraded since its inception, the generators were historically unstable (like, "might blow up an entire planet" unstable).
Swindle sided with Starscream when the Seeker tried to usurp command of the Decepticons from Megatron (what a surprise) shortly after the onset of the Cybertronian civil war. He assisted in the interrogation of Laserbeak instead of joining Shockwave in the assault upon Iacon.
Millions of years later, Swindle, along with his fellow Combaticons, was imprisoned by Shockwave, presumably as war criminals under the terms of the new peace treaty with the Autobots. He was sprung by Starscream after the Nemesis's crew returned to Cybertron, though. Wonder what that cost him. Starscream then brought the inactive Combaticons with him to Earth and gave them new modes based on deactivated vehicles from a nearby abandoned military testing ground.
When Sunstorm appeared on Earth, the battered Combaticons were ordered by Starscream to combine into Bruticus and deal with the crazed zealot. It did not end well.
The repaired Combaticons were brought to Guadalcanal, where they could hone their somewhat lackluster combat skills and listen to Starscream's long-winded aspirations of glory. When Swindle commented on Starscream's mental state, Brawl agreed, stating that he'd like to pull the Air Commander's cerebro circuits straight out of his faceplate so they could get a better look at them, to which Swindle suggested a "deal" for this to happen. Starscream overheard their conversation and informed the smaller Decepticon that the only "deal" he needed to worry about was how Starscream would deal with Swindle for his scheming. Starscream nevertheless let it pass for the moment in order for the Combaticons to test themselves against the magnificent Autobot Sky Lynx. Unfortunately, the Combaticons did not fare well when the crafty Autobot split into his two forms, with Swindle, Brawl and Onslaught nearly getting crushed by the Lynx's right paw.
This was the least of their troubles, however, as Predaking showed up as soon as Sky Lynx was deactivated. As the Combaticons closed in on the Predacon combiner, Swindle had trouble keeping up with the rest of the group before they formed Bruticus. This encounter also did not end well.
Shortly prior to the formation of the Decepticons, Swindle was working as a lackey for Megatron during the height of his gladiator period.
In modern times, Swindle was an arms dealer being hunted down by Ultra Magnus for violating the Tyrest Accord. He managed to deal for his freedom 29 stellar cycles ago by selling Magnus information on the whereabouts of Scorponok. Magnus recently caught him again, but it's so far unknown if Swindle managed to bargain for his freedom once again.