Sunday, 23 March 2014

Quick And dodgy review. Trailbreaker and Hoist

Trailhoisthead
I love these two characters.  Then I heard about their Generations Upgrade and was excited.  Then I saw the wave 2 of Beast Hunters refill local shelves and pretty much gave up on Australian Transformers distribution and imported the two pack of these guys from Japan.

One slow day at work and some happy snaps with my phone camera result in this quick post today.  Both Trailbreaker and Hoist are the same toy, just with different face sculpts and accessories.

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The box is a nice little two pack, much like Megatronus and Orion Pax.  I guess this is a good way to cover up the smaller size of the deluxes now.  The back contains their Bios and the side has their stats.  Sadly cards are no longer included.

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Nice box art, although hoist looks very chesty.

Since they are packaged in robot mode, that’s where I will start. They appear small, but in reality they are the same height as Classics Rodimus.  The figures have very touch looking robot modes, chesty with thick arms and legs.  Now for Trailbreaker this makes sense with his shield ability you could think of him as a bit more of an action fellow but for me, it just doesn’t quite match Hoist all that well.  I always thought of Hoist as a paunchy, less active kind of fellow.  You know, like a fat, out of shape tow truck driver…

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The head sculpts are fantastic taking a nice load of influence from the recent comics and G1 cartoon I believe.  I love the expressions on Trailbreaker’s face especially.  I am sure Hoist’s would be good too, if his face lead to expressions…  Hoist has potential for light piping in there, with the tiniest of blue translucent plastic in there for his eyes, but they have been painted over and with the lights mounted on his back, actually getting any light in there is next to impossible unless you twist his head around 180 degrees.

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The articulation on these guys is wonderful!  Since all the joints are unhindered by the clean sculpt of the limbs and body you can get some nice poses out of them.  One area of concern is the way the shoulders ‘plug’ (and I use that term loosely) into the chest.  Much like Orion Pax they use the side mirrors as pegs, but it fails to clip in very securely.  luckily for me though the joints are really tight, so between the two it’s been enough to keep them in place.
Joint list for those interested:
  • Ball shoulders and hips.
  • Mid-thigh, bicep, waist, neck swivels.
  • Hinged Knee, elbows, wrists and toes (from transformation).
The balance isn’t bad either although his heel pieces could have been a touch larger to help at the back.  As it is it is quite acceptable.

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Overall ambient sculpting is pretty good as well.  I was afraid he’d be a hollow piece of rubbish (like Grimlock) but despite being hollow, they have covered it up fairly well and added some sculpting to inner details, such as inside the areas where the wrists fold away and some nice piston details on the lower legs.  The bonnet of the car becomes the chest of the robot, as opposed to the stomach of the robot.  Adding to their ‘heroic’ proportions.

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They come with different accessories which also make the vehicle modes different.  Trailbreaker comes with a tray cover with a couple of laser gun things on it, which can become a shield and Hoist comes with a crane, which rather cleverly transforms into his robot mode weapon.

Trailbreaker’s canopy is clever in that there are a variety of configurations to it.  It has a plug on the back, as well as an extra fold out piece to increase the surface are AND a flip out handle. Very nice.  Hoist’s is just a gun.

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They can also be mounted on the back of the robot, which is where I have mine for trailbreaker, adding a bit more to his force-field array.  Recently I have been putting Hoist’s crane over there and wrapping it on the spotlight above his head to try and cover them up a bit. 

The robot mode for these two is pretty good.  Trailbreaker works really well and it makes for a solid body for Hoist, but to me it just doesn’t feel like Hoist. Which is odd, since the originals were the same toy with different trailers, just like we have here. I wish they had taken off the spotlights for Hoist.

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Going Fishing.

Transformation is pretty simple and the hardest part I found was orientating their forearms into the proper angle to get a good seal on the door part of the car.  They become fairly beefy looking utes/pickups, think Prime Bulkhead with a back tray and you’ll know.  Due to the transformation however, they become very small beefy utes/pickups-that-are-like-Bulkhead.  The legs fold up over the thighs like and accordion and it makes them tiny.  Another oddity, but something I quite like is that through the transformation and Autobot symbol appears.  The only problem I have here thought is I wish it showed up in robot mode and disappeared for vehicle mode.  No good being a robot in disguise when there is a tribal marking making it different to every other car out there….

Once again, the vehicle mode is the same for both characters with the only difference being the trailer part (and colour of course). Paint work is very nice.  I like the colour for Trailbreaker, but I kind of wish that Hoist had the strips running down the back panels as well.   The heel spur forms some kind of… fuel tank? Maybe…

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Trailbreaker works really well.  The shield forms his canopy cover and he actually looks pretty tough.
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Hoist on the other hand…. His crane is a bit short and the height of the tray is too high to be a tow truck.  This vehicle just doesn’t really work for him I think.  there is also a very slight change in the green between the plastic and some paint on the side “windows,” which appear to have some sort of combat grill on them.
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The roof lights also get in the way of the crane.  I can imagine a crane truck needing some lights, so they’re not as annoying as when in robot mode, but they aren’t really needed either.

Without their accessories, they look a bit naked.  They also look OK with them swapped around as well.
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To finish this off, I guess I find myself torn a little bit as the toy is pretty good for Trailbreaker, it just doesn’t quite fit for me as Hoist.  However, even though I complained about the lights on the top of hoist, it turns out they were there on the G1 toy AND the cartoon as well.  Perhaps Hoist should have had his wings included as well. 

I suspect that this can be seen as an accurate update for Hoist and my perceptions of Hoist over the years have changed.  For which I can’t really fault the toy, but my feelings still stand.  I still don’t think the vehicle mode works as well fro Hoist as it does for Trailbreaker regardless of my character perceptions and he would have benefitted from more of the orange and black stripes as well I think as the green is a bit overwhelming.  Despite these misgivings, these two figures are very nice little toys.  I haven't seen Hasbro’s version so I can’t say which I prefer.  Although I will say this, at least in the Japanese toy world, he IS called Trailbreaker and not Trailcutter.
G1 Trailbreaker and G1 hoist linkies.

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