Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Generations Trailcutter & Hoist

Generations 30th Anniversary Trailcutter

Poor neglected Trailbreaker. He's probably had the least amount of remakes before this figure of any if the Diaclone Autobots: just 2011's RTS Legends Trailcutter and 2013's Beast Hunters Cyberverse Trailcutter spring to mind. I've seen it argued that Universe Spychanger Ironhide is meant to be Trailbreaker but you could argue that it's also a homage to the then unreleased in Transformers Diaclone Ironhide colours. He didn't get a reissue till 2008 (Sunstreaker, Mirage and Wheeljack are still waiting). Classics Updates of the Diaclone cars started in 2006 with Mirage, followed by many more in Universe 2, Generations and Reveal The Shield. Left on the shelf at the start of 2012 are just 3 of the Diaclone Cars: Trailbreaker, his mould brother Hoist and Skids all of which are due updates in the 30th anniversary portion of the Generations line.

The 30th Anniversary deluxe when released in the USA came packaged in robot mode with a comic book. In Trailbreaker's case it was Spotlight Trailbreaker, underlining how he didn't want to be known as being just the robot who produced forceshields. The UK/European version omits the comic book (boooo! :-( ) and, somewhat ironically, shortens his bio note down to just one line: "Deploys an Impenetrable Force Shield"! If you're after the spotlight comic that should have come with him then Download it here from Comixology OR Order the Dark Prelude tpb containing it from Amazon (which also contains the comics for all the other toys in Generations 30th Anniversary deluxe Waves 1 & 2).

To transform into robot mode: Turn the head round and fold down. Pull the chest up. Fold the body back at the waist. Fold the feet in and slide the lower legs up over the upper legs - it's hard to describe this joint, a hinge bellow the knee connected to lower down the inside of the leg - but Universe Sideswipe *really* needed it. Straighten the arms. Fold the shoulders inside the underside of the chest/bonnet locking them together. Unfold the sides of the lower arms. Fold the hands in. Fold the arms into the car with the sides of the lower arms becoming the door. Fold the handle into the shield and lock onto his back.

That's a lot easier to describe than it is to do. The arms in particular are a pig to get right!

Trailcutter's vehicle mode resembles the original Trailbreaker Toyota 4WD Hi-Lux camper truck. There's diagonally mounted windows between front and side windows which change the look a lot bit the main difference is the appearance of two guns projecting over the front window and the force field projector array, usually found behind the robot's head, on top of the vehicle. I can cope with each if they were fold out extras but they look odd here. His doors each gave a 5mm peg hole in them, with another mounted in close proximity just behind each door. There's another two 5mm peg holes on the top of the vehicle, so you can tool him up with any spare weapons/Minicons that you can find. Why two holes on the top? They're close next to each other so it's hard to mount two weapons in them. One in the middle would be better as we'll see much lower down.

To transform back to robot start by removing the top portion of the flat bed, with it's attached missiles, to form his shield from which a handle folds out. This leaves you with a pickupish truck which boded well for a decent Hoist repaint. Fold the arms down from under the vehicle and then out to the sides. Fold the hands out and fold the forearms closed. Pull the back of the card out to the sides slightly and back to form the legs. Fold his feet out. Fold the Front of the car forward and then down to form the robot's chest. Lock the arms in place with the shoulder plates notching on the vehicle's wing mirrors. Fold the head up and turn round.

Trailcutter's robot mode is quite a chunky chappy. Comparing him to his original version most of the distinguishing features are there just moved around and modified a bit. He's mainly black, with some red (knees, elbows and shoulder paint) and grey (upper legs and hands). But somehow he just doesn't feel like Trailbreaker. I can't quite put my fingers on what it is though! Generally he holds together well but the shoulder plates can come unpegged and you'll occasionally get a wrist panel flopping open. Articulation is good: bending knees & elbows, swivel bicep, turning waist, ball jointed hips & shoulders and a turning head. The head includes a blue lightpipe for his visored eyes and features a grey face more along the lines of the cartoon model than the faceplated original toy. He's got 5mm peg holes on each shoulder, wrist and knee plus another in the top of his head array, which can pivot backwards, and another pretty inaccessible in his back. You can use the head array plug to mount the shield on..... but to do this the array needs to be folded back. There's no way to get the missiles pointing up and the array facing forward which means it's impossible to duplicate what is for many the signature look of the original toy. The shield has a handle that can be folded out for Trailcutter to hold as a traditional shield or it can be pegged into his wrists as a double barrelled weapon. Again there's no way to simulate Trailbreaker's missile hands look.

Trailcutter is, to my mind, a good toy. He's probably had more playing time than any of my other Generations toys. He's just not a great representation of Trailbreaker. There's too many features that are limited or not quite right.

Trailcutter appeared in the Generations 30th Wave 1 case with Megatron, Orion Pax and Bumblebee who were all packed at 2 per case. This wave is the only Generations 30th deluxe wave to reach the UK, exclusively through Toys R Us, where they're missing the comics. He was sold in Japan in a 2 pack with his repaint Hoist.

See also: TFW 2005's Trailcutter gallery

Generations 30th Anniversary Hoist

G1 Trailbreaker's repaint and considerable remould Hoist has had a fair few versions over the years. It's the default name for a Transformers tow truck, but most of them haven't been green and orange like the original (I'm still waiting for a properly coloured version of the flipchanger) or have been green versions of a non tow truck toy like the Legends Hoist created from Legends Trailcutter with no alterations to the vehicle mode. The best version of Hoist is probably ROTF Hoist which hits most of what I need from a Hoist dead on.

So how does Generations Hoist do?

Badly. Very badly.

Gone is the shield and missile array. The head's been replaced too, with something that looks like Hoist's G1 head, and that isn't too bad, if a little thin. Black becomes green and red becomes orange so well done on getting the colours right. It's what replaces the shield that's the problem. It's a towing hook on an arm. Just a towing hook. It plugs into the back of the cab and doesn't really stretch much over the back of the vehicle. The hook and the arm pivot, and there's another pivot half way along. To be honest the vehicle mode just looks like there's something missing with all of Hoist's bright orange towing gear not there. The missing missiles, that pointed over the cab with Trailcutter, draw attention to the back of the head poking up through the top of the cab something that's not nearly so noticeable with Trailcutter!

Robot mode is nearly as bad. The towing hook becomes a gun, which is ok but Hoist never had a gun, he had wrist mounted missiles/tools. Gone are his signature wings behind the head something I'd hoped to see on a Generations version.

Honestly I feel conned. Much less plastic than Trailcutter, it doesn't feel decent enough value for money. He'd have worked better with Trailcutter's shield in orange and the hook hanging off the back of that. (that then would mean the tow arm would be lopsided, because there's two holes). I ordered Hoist cheap off with his wave mate Thundercracker and by the end of the day he arrived he was in the toybox.

Hoist shipped with Thundercracker and various wave 1 repaints. He wasn't sold in the UK ( if you need one) and by the looks of it some online retailers had their orders shorted of this wave. It's a cheap repaint wave but Thundercracker is the better toy having all the parts the original does and a huge weapon :-) In Japan Hoist was sold in a 2-pack with Trailcutter.

See also: TFW 2005 Hoist Gallery.

X2 Toys XT-003 Strength Equipment

It seems I wasn't the only person who felt that way about Hoist because X2 Toys very quickly announced an add on kit for both Hoist and Trailcutter.

The main part and selling point of the set is an add on for Hoist: it fits over the back of his truck bed building it up and providing a hole for the tow arm that allows it to sit further back. It totally changes the look of the vehicle mode. Once attached it remains in place when you transform the toy, folding down to form a backpack. From the backpack mode you can fold out a pain of wings, mounted on ball joints, to give Hoist his signature look. Top stuff. It's a simple piece but it improves the toy no end.

Hoist also comes with a replacement hand cannon: tab it into the underside of his right fist and then rotate the fist back into the wrist straightening the cannon out. Another missing element added into our toy. The hand cannon can have the gun/tow arm mounted on it to form a bow, which is nice, and in vehicle mode stores on top of the added on tow gear piece. Well done for integrating in both modes. The original version was grey, like the toy, but there's a second chromed version out there. Beware of the peg: I tired to mount it on the hole on the side of the wrist but it's slightly too big and stressed the peg hole :-(

Of course Trailcutter can use the hand cannon too but he has his own cannon which is more a two piece job made of a black plastic panel, which pegs into his left wrist, and a gun barrel, which like Hoist's cannon, is either grey or chrome. It looks decent in place, and like Hoist's cannon stores in vehicle mode by folding up and pegged into the top of the toy.

The final piece in the set looks like a little black gun and can be used as such by either toy. as well as storing on top of the cannon add on in vehicle mode. However the peg hole on top of the gun, which is set further back than the handle, hints at an alternate function. Insert the gun handle into the inaccessible 5mm hole in Trailcutter's back, with the barrel pointing down. This has the effect of moving the socket back and up so that you can plug the shield into it which gives the robot his "missiles behind the shoulders" look while allowing the array on his head to be turned forwards. It's a little piece of plastic but it does a very effective job.

I'm not keen on third party Transformers toys: Transformers is a Hasbro/Takara/TakaraTomy/Songkong toyline. However I do like some of the various add on kits and this is a particularly good one. It boosts both toys, especially Hoist, by adding in fan favourite features that Hasbro didn't include. I'd say this kit is a must if you got Hoist!

Future Repaints

The obvious Hoist repaint, his Machine Wars version is probably a no go due to being too close to Trailcutter's colours and having been done on another toy for Botcon 2013. However MW Hoist was repainted in Yellow as Hubcap, green and purple as Car Robots Wrecker Hook/Towline, Clear Orange and Green as Car Robots promo Wrecker Hook and Black, Red and Blue as Robotmasters Wrecker Hook.

Then we break the Diaclone colours out: The Hilux Wrecker (what became Hoist) was also available in Red & Yellow and Blue & Yellow while the Hilux Camper (Trailbreaker) had additional Yellow and Blue versions.

While most of them may not be suitable for retail I'd lay money on there being Botcon versions down the line!

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