Release Date: Q1 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Amazon, Target etc.)
*Images above and text below in italics is from Amazon.com:
Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle. Huffer is a brainy engineer Autobot who always finds a way to get the job done. This Huffer figure looks just like him and he’ll be a match for any Decepticon who tries to take him on. Armed with a blaster, he converts fast from robot mode to semi truck mode, and no enemy can hope to escape him. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro
The Legends Class of figures continues its run in 2015 in "Combiner Wars". While there are new sculpts being introduced in this segment, there are redecos and retools of previous Legends Class figures in the mix as well. In the case of Huffer he is a redeco and retool of Optimus Prime with Roller. Due to cost considerations this release removes the Micro-partner figure and instead replaces it with a trading card featuring "Transformers Legends" style artwork featuring the toy itself. Check out my Optimus Prime with Roller review for detailed thoughts on the sculpt itself. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first. No matter how you slice and dice it, this figure looks like someone stuck Huffer's head on Optimus Prime's body. The windshield windows on the chest, the grille details in the mid-body and the horizontal line details on the lower legs all scream "Optimus Prime". Personally I feel that Huffer deserved his own, brand new sculpt. However I also understand the need to use tooling and sculpts for cost reasons, so this is one of those figures that makes two parts of myself conflict with each other: fan boy versus "guy who understands the realities of economics in the toy world". Frankly, the former is more fun and the latter is a downer at times! I'm very aware that this alone will probably be a deal breaker for many fans (good thing there are plenty of other figures to buy!).
All that said, the reality of the situation is the designers did the best they could with what they had. The head sculpt actually looks fantastic (honestly I would expect no less). The "helmet" section is round like Huffer's was in G1 and he has distinct, diamond shaped eyes with a face that sports a nose and mouth. The body on this figure may not be very "Huffer-esque" but the head sculpt certainly is.
Another way the designers really tried to get more of G1 Huffer's design in is the deco. Huffer is cast in orange, blue and dark grey plastic. The orange and the blue are his key colors and the main colors found on G1 Huffer. The contrast between the bright orange and the darker blue color is striking and really draws the eye. Silver is the main paint color here. It's used on the forearms (echoing G1 Huffer's silver arms), the chest windows, the rectangular pattern in the center of the chest and the lower legs. He even has some partly hidden silver panels painted right under the chest. They're partly obscured by the chest panels so I appreciate the care taken to paint them instead of "cheating" and leaving them unpainted. Silver is also used on the face and his eyes are light blue, both callbacks to his G1 head design. The finishing touch is an Autobot symbol printed in the middle of his chest. While the use of Prime's body for Huffer can be perceived as lazy, the designers definitely put strong effort into the deco of the figure.
All ten points of articulation on this figure are nice and tight, which is cool given that this is the fourth use of this sculpt (if you include the Japanese release of Legends Optimus Prime). His rifle is the same as Prime's and it's cast in dark grey plastic. It fits nice and snug in either fist. Functionally there are no issues with this figure.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the rifle and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Push the head down into the chest.
- Push the two chest window panels together.
- Rotate the mid-body/waist/legs section around.
- Swing up the panel with the truck grille and headlights on it, then push it in to line it up with the chest panels.
- Rotate each arm in so the panels on the sides face forward.
- Swing each shoulder section back.
- Swing each forearm piece in to form the sides of the truck cab.
- Swing the robot legs up using the hinge at the middle of the robot body and connect them together.
- Push down the wind vane panels.
- The rifle may be attached to the hole on the top of the cab.
While the robot mode is very "Optimus Prime-esque" even with the new head sculpt, there's less of this sense in vehicle mode. This is partly due to Optimus and Huffer having shared similar vehicle forms in G1. Both were truck cabs with a flat front end. Even though Huffer was smaller than Optimus, he was able to tow Optimus Prime's trailer once in the TV show so this truck mode fits the character perfectly.
This mode is mostly orange plastic, with very little of the blue plastic showing through. You only see a bit on the top and sides. The dark grey plastic gets to take center stage since it is used for all six wheels. While the robot mode certainly had a lot of silver paint, the vehicle mode isn't slouching in that department either. Silver is used on several parts including the row of lights on the top of the vehicle, the grille and both the horizontal and vertical headlights. It's also found on the sides of the vehicle on the spare tanks. The finishing touch on this deco are Autobot symbols on both doors. I really like the deco on this figure. It stays true to the character's G1 design and it's bright and engaging.
Right out of the gate this figure has two things working against it: it's a redeco/retool representing a character who rightfully deserves his own sculpt and it doesn't have a Mini-Con or Micron partner (at the same price point as Optimus Prime who came with Roller two years ago). If that alone turned you away I wouldn't blame you. However I cannot in good conscience say that this is a "bad toy". I think it looks good and it's fun to play with.