Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Armada Hoist & Refute and their repaints


My original Hoist review contained the following "Refute rolls along with his jaws/arms/whatever opening and closing - he's got a geared gimmick and will connect with Cyclonus and work. "

Refute is the Minicon packed in with Armada Hoist. I've no idea what kind of vehicle he's meant to be ! In the Armada story Hoist is an upgrade of Smokescreen, whose Minicon was Liftor, a forklift truck. Refute may be meant to be something similar (and indeed may be an character upgrade of Liftor)

The main body of Refute is long and orange more racing car like than a piece of loading machinery - there's even four exhaust pipes sticking out the back ! The body is moulded in bright orange - different from the orange used on Hoist's shovel arm, waist and feet - and unique to the Minicon in this set. His rear wheels are the same brown as Hoist's legs and shovel (see Japanese information bellow) and his "claw", robot arms & upper legs are the same grey/blue as Hoist's bumper, left elbow and Minicon ports.

Refute's Minicon port is on his underside allowing him to be wrist mounted as a claw weapon. Alternately rotate him so his back is facing and use him as a quad cannon with the exhausts forming the gun barrels.

What's odd about Refute is that he has a gear gimmick just like the Destruction & Adventure teams. It is strongly suspected that hoist was meant to be the second toy that could power the gear gimmick, possibly through a port on the shoulder of his shovel arm where the Autobot symbol now is located. Roll Refute along and the claw opens & closes.

TF: Pull out the back of the vehicle, rotate at the waist and stand on the rear.

Robot has bending hips, rotating waist and bending elbows on arms that are far too thin. His claw is raised either side of his head Shrapnel style. The head itself is huge, far too big & tall for the robot which is itself amongst the taller Minicons (beaten by Rollout)

In Japan he was known as Sparklift and available in MC-11 with Supermode Grapple. Grapple's original Micron was called Lift so I think we can be sure that in Japan at least he's a powered up version of Lift (Liftor). Sparklift also has a small paint difference to Refute - his wheels are moulded in silver plastic matching Supermode Grapple's shovel & legs. They are also available in MS-07 with the Adventure team.

Universe Refute

Refute returns in the Universe "Battle in a Box" series as an exclusive to the Meijer and Kohl's stores in the USA. They were also released through the Entertainer in the UK. He's packed in with a Decepticon version of Hoist recoloured, slightly remoulded to remove the Autobot symbol and renamed as "Ransack". also in the box are Autobot recolours of Smokescreen & Liftor.

Refute's wheels stay brown matching Ransack's legs. His claws and robot arms & upper legs are now pale blue, again matching the bumper on Ransack. His body is cast in a bright green - a horrible car crash of colours.

I've long maintained that both of these rank amongst the worst repaints I've ever seen. This is what my original review of Ransack said: "Horrible. And as for the green Refute that just clashes badly with the rest of him....... "

But I've been thinking. What if the colours ended up on the wrong bits ? Move the green to where all the purple is on Ransack. Move Ransack's purple to his legs and Refute's wheels. Get rid of the brown or move it to Refute. You then get an eminently sensible Constructicon Scavenger with colours close but not exactly like the G1 originakl (scavenge and ransack aren't that far removed in meaning so you can see where they plucked the name from) packed with a Minicon you could have easily named Shrapnel for a second G1 hommage.

Micron Booster Clamp

In Galaxy Force in 2005 four Armada toys - Hoist, Sideswipe, Cyclonus & Blurr - were substantially remoulded to resemble older toys and to link their gimmick to a Galaxy Force planet key. These toys were then put in VS packs: Longrack (Hoist) came with Runabout (Sideswipe) and Blurr (Blurr) came with Buzzsaw (Cyclonus). What the toys didn't come with was the Minicons their predecessors had. By this time Fandom had worked out that the Minicons were (mostly) being made on the same parts trees as the larger toys and wondered what had happened to the parts for the Minicons. In due course these then showed up in Micron Booster V3.

Clamp is a repaint of Refute - Hoist's Minicon - and nominally is Longrack's partner. Clamp's a more sensible colour scheme than the last Refute repaint we saw with Ransack But teal green - why ? you have total freedom on his body colour as it's separate from anything in the main toy - and red (same as the excavator's hands) clash slightly. Gimmick still works which is a blessing.

There's a fourth version of Hoist out there - the Armada 2006 Dinobot. Somewhere out there they may be another new set of Refutes waiting to go with sandy coloured rear wheels and bright blue claws & arms ......


Hoist (and Wheeljack) are the last original mould Supercon toys for Armada and come after a bad patch of new toys in this size class. Hoist is in the Cartoon the upgraded form of Smokescreen. This new toy is an excavator - only the second one of this size ever done in Transformers after Grimlock (RID) / Build Hurricane (Car Robots). What we get here is a white cabin which can rotate round 360 degrees on top of brown tracks (moulded with embedded wheels) and an orange arm ending in a brown shovel. When I see construction vehicles I automatically think yellow (not Constructicon green !) but the colours used here are sensible and realistic. The name Hoist I connect with tow trucks but save using the Grimlock name (surely better used for a Dinobot) I can't think of anything more appropriate for this toy.

There's four Minicon ports on the toy, one each side of the cab and one on each side of the back of the cab - these are moulded in the same grey blue plastic as the grill on the front of the cab. The Minicon post behind the shovel arm is meant to power a gimmick that unlocks the shovel arm for use - there's a tiny piece of blue plastic behind & under the shovel arm that prevents you from moving the arm and this is meant to spring back when you place a Minicon on the post. It doesn't and in fact on mine it's now broken and won't even lock in place. This leaves the gimmick permanently active - push in on the post on the back of the cab that the shovel arm is attached to and watch the arm extend & spring forward then automatically pull back on release. Great for knocking other TFs over with ! I remember demonstrating this to John Cullen in the pub the London TMUK mob drank in on Charring Cross road and him loving it - it's a great action feature in keeping with the toy's function.

There is some speculation that Hoist is meant to power the Adventure and Destruction team's gear gimmicks - indeed Hoist's Minicon Refute also has a gear gimmick. I suspect this would have been mounted where the Autobot symbol is on the shovel arm (or possibly on the side where the Minicon port is) It's a shame it's not included as I feel it would have added to the toy.

TF: Rotate the tracks so they're as under the cab as it's possible to be and the little wheel between them is at the front. Unclip the tracks from each other at the back and fold each track out to the side and forward. Fold the connecting pieces out so they're flat against the front of each track and fold the feet up. Pull each track/leg out the side slightly and then fold down under the vehicle. Swing the shovel arm down at the front so that the Autobot symbol faces forward. Swing the shovel out to the side 90 degrees and fold down the claw/thumb in opposition to the shovel. Swing the opposite side of the cab down at the back to form the other arm, folding the claw out at the end, then rotating at the bicep joint so the larger claw is on top. Fold the head up from behind the cab and turn to face forward.

The resulting robot is *VERY* posable almost at the BW deluxe level, with adjustable feet (clever) that can either be flat or slightly bent in at one side making a slightly spread legs pose the default, forward bending knees (as well as a sideways joint from the TF), ball jointed hips, shoulders - that swing out about 20 degrees from the side of the toy as well as turn, left arm has a bicep swivel and a bending elbow, an opening claw as his left hand with the right arm ending in the shovel which looks big at first but works better than you think and there's even the opposable claw/thumb against the shovel. His head - mounted on a ball joint -is moulded in the same brown as the treads and has a resemblance to the Beast Wars toy Dinobot which is quite neat because Dinobot was repainted as Grimlock which was the name of the previous TF deluxe excavator.

He's got four Minicon posts - two on the side of each shoulder, one at the top of the right shoulder, and the other in the left palm. If you flip the right arm round - so the shovel is extending out the back of the shoulder - you end up with 2 otherwise symmetrical arms with minicon posts at the end of either arm..... Time for some fun. Try to reinact a great Death's Head moment by placing Sky Blast on the end of an arm as a missile. Indeed you can connect the entire Requiem Blaster onto the end of the arm using Skyblast or at right angles by exposing the hole on Payload. Or try putting Ransack onto a post to form a grappling line attachment for him - his good interaction with Ransack is another little clue to him perhaps being meant as a gear powering toy. A little further experimentation shows that putting some blu tack on the posts allows the original Ultra Magnus large fists to attach to this..... or plug a Zoids Blox (Z-Builder) Block into the end of the arm which can act as a hand and let him hold most TF (and many Zoid) Weapons. OK he doesn't have 5mm peg holes for hands but makes up for it by having plenty of Minicon ports on his arms allowing him to use most of the combined Minicon weapons.

Wow. For what is possibly to be the last original Armada Supercon - only repaints known of at this time - this is the best. It's a fantastic toy - and that's even including a minicon that's no good - best of this size for Armada and an absolute must have in my opinion. If I was forced to choose just one Armada toy then this would be it, and I rather suspect he'd be floating in my all time top ten Transformers list. He's that good and towers over the rest of the Armada Supercon line.

Hoist was available in Japan as Micron Legend toy MC-11 Grappe Super Mode (Grapple) and also in giftset MS-07 with the adventure team strengthening the thought that he may originally have been meant to be powering their gear gimmick. The Japanese version swaps a silver/grey for the brown.


Ransack is a complete train wreck of a repaint ! He's Armada Hoist - which was a favourite of mine in the line - the white is now purple, with pale blue replacing the blue grey on the shoulders and bumper on the front. The Autobot symbol has been flattened and replaced with a Decepticon symbol painted on. The legs/tracks are virtually unchanged in their brown and orangeness. Now the orange sort of works ok with the arm, but I'm afraid the brown just makes it look like the new body has been stuck on the old legs - and then the old head was stuck on top. No offence but this really is a half arsed repaint. The legs/tracks needed to be a different colour, and to be honest this was possibly crying out to be done with a green body and purple legs as a constructicon Scavenger homage. Horrible. And as for the green Refute that just clashes badly with the rest of him.......

I've long maintained that Ransack and his Minicon Refute (repainted in Green) rank amongst the worst repaints I've ever seen. But I've been thinking. What if the colours ended up on the wrong bits ? Move the green to where all the purple is on Ransack. Move Ransack's purple to his legs and Refute's wheels. Get rid of the brown or move it to Refute. You then get an eminently sensible Constructicon Scavenger with colours close but not exactly like the G1 original (scavenge and ransack aren't that far removed in meaning so you can see where they plucked the name from) packed with a Minicon you could have easily named Shrapnel for a second G1 homage.

Hopefully the Galaxy Force Longrack repaint will ease the pain of what's happened here !


Longrack is a remould of Armada Hoist in the colours of BW Neo Longrack.

An odd choice perhaps ? Well both of these have very mismatched arms, with the larger arm on the right. Hoist has gained a beautifully moulded and coloured mini version of Longrack's head. Hoist's "rear of shovel mechanism" has been remoulded to vaguely, and I mean *VERY* vaguely resemble a Giraffe head. His right shoulder has a remould and that's where the force Chip goes. Without the chip the shovel can't move, which was some of the original intention of Hoist's Gimmick.

Colourwise all the white is now yellow with brown stripes applied on the cab, and the legs - whether brown or orange are now grey. Red replaces the blue/grey for the hands and shovel while the cab bumper and robot shoulders are a very dark blue

It's a Very nice colour scheme that works as both animal and construction vehicle. He has a Cybertron Autobot Chip.

Overall - lovely job, favourite of the 4, makes up for the horror that is Battle in a Box Ransack.


Dinobot is part of a boxset of Beast Wars characters in their pre Beast Wars vehicle forms that was for Botcon 2006. As well as Dinobot it included the other four Beast Wars Maximals from the start of the first series: Optimus Primal (a Cybertron Crumplezone repaint), Cheetor (Cybertron Clocker), Rhinox (Cybertron Landmine) and Rattrap (Cybertron Ransack)

Dinobot uses the Longrack version of the Hoist toy but with one modification - it has the original Dinobot like head. All the white is now brown with gold stripes, the orange is gold, the grey/blue is a very bright blue and the legs are all beige. The shoulder panel has a purple Predacon symbol painted on it.

It's a decent enough repaint, but I suspect the only reason for choosing it as Dinobot is the head.... Though the Dinobot = Grimlock thing and Grimlock being the name for the Cybertron Excavator may also have come into play.

Possible Future Repaints

You know what I'm going to say. Constructicon Scavenger ! It has to be done. Along with Armada Wheeljack as Sideswipe and Night Slash Cheetor as Cheetor this is one of the most obvious repaints that's never been done. Make it happen Hasbro !

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