Release Date: July 27, 2013
Price Point: $275 (Part of boxed and/or bagged set with Megaplex, Strika, obsidian & Skywarp)
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Botcon 2013's theme was "Machine Wars", a story set in a near-apocalyptic war where Autobots struggle to save their world from Jhiaxus' forces, cloned from other Transformers such as Megatron. The "Machine Wars" were originally a small line of Kay Bee Exclusive figures in 1997 consisting of new sculpts and previously released sculpts with modifications. One of these characters was Hoist (aka Autobot Hoist nowadays) who was one of the few characters to retain a vehicle mode keeping theme with his Generation One incarnation: a tow truck.
In the "Machine Wars", the figure uses the "Generations" Sargeant Kup sculpt as its base, but employs the use of the new head used for Autobot Electrons, who was also part of the Botcon 2013 "Machine Wars" series. Check out those two reviews for a good, granular look at the basic sculpt behind this figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
For the "Machine Wars", Hoist has traded in this tow truck form for a pickup truck vehicle mode instead. Sure he can't really tow anyone around anymore, but in theme it works well enough for a redeco/retool. No modifications were made to the sculpt for this mode, so he looks the same as Sargeant Kup and Autobot Electrons in this mode in terms of sculpt.
Where Hoist is very distinctive is his deco. Using the original 1997 "Machine Wars" Hoist as inspiration, the primary plastic color on this vehicle is a dark, metallic grey. It's not quite as dark as the 1997 Hoist, but it is definitely of the same tone and one glance immediately evokes its 1997 predecessor. The windows and headlights have been cast in clear plastic, but they have silver painted behind them, another detail borrowed from the 1997 version. There is some red-brown paint on the front bumper and the rear section uses red paint to color the rear lights. Most Transformers have sculpted rear lights in vehicle mode, but it is not often to see them painted, so when you do see an example, it tends to stand out from the crowd. Here it looks great. Another small deco component are the small rectangles under each door. They have been painted yellow and help bring out a sculpted detail that could easily have been overlooked. Yellow is also used on the front to paint the round lights under the headlights, an unusual deco point that draws the eye due to how uncommon it is.
There are two tampograph patterns which drive home the connection between this vehicle and its 1997 predecessor. First, running from the front end of the vehicle all the way to the rear lights is a yellow and red line (yellow on top, red on the bottom). This is directly inspired by similar details on the 1997 Hoist. Behind the rear wheel wells are the letters "W&S" with the word "Towing" underneath. The "W&S" portion is red with a yellow backdrop while the word "Towing" is in yellow. This tampograph is inspired by the sticker from the 1997 Hoist which read "Wilk and Son Towing". I love the way this modern day figure has managed to take so many deco aspects of the 1997 version and incorporate them into the design in a clean and recognizable fashion. Overall I think this vehicle form looks great!
Trasformation to Robot Mode:
- Flip the vehicle over and swing each of the front wheels out to the side.
- Swing out each of the robot arms to the sides.
- Holding the main body of the vehicle, pull the cabin section and hood piece of the vehicle up.
- Tuck the hood panel behind the windshield.
- Swing the cabin section back, which will rotate the main torso section around revealing the robot chest and head.
- Extend each of the arms.
- Pull the halves of the truck's rear half apart.
- Swing the inner panels on the truck bed down to reveal the robot feet.
- Swing panels on the sides of the area near the knees in, then push those panels down to form the knee armor.
- Place the rifle in either hand.
The original 1997 "Machine Wars" Hoist was mostly dark in color, but one of the (relatively) lighter colors used on the figure was a red-brown color used on the towing hook in vehicle mode. This version of Hoist takes that color as inspiration to give Hoist additional plastic and paint coloring in this form. In this form, his arms, thighs, parts of the torso and his rifle weapon are all a red-brown color. It's dark, but relative to the dark grey it stands out nicely. This red-brown color is also expressed as paint applications on parts including the head, the waist and the knees. Other colors in this form are carry overs from the vehicle mode such as red and yellow on the center of the waist and below the knee armor. The red and yellow stripes from the front of the vehicle wind up on the chest, giving Hoist a visually robust look. To top off all these colors, his eyes and parts of the chest are silver, adding a nice metallic splash of color to the figure.
Hoist shares the Botcon exclusive head sculpt also used for Autobot Electrons. While the head sculpt is more accurate to Autobot Electrons, the general theme of having a "mouthplate" with eyes and some greebles on the top of the helmet do a nice job of evoking Hoist's head from Generation One even though it doesn't replicate it.
Sadly, all is not roses with this figure. Due to a manufacturing error, the shoulders on Hoist are not assembled properly. The dark grey shoulder piece should be reversed from the way it is assembled, meaning the small "bump" on the shoulder armor should be facing out, not in. In terms of functionality, this doesn't really "harm" the figure in that it can still pose, transform etc. However, what it does do is restrict the inward movement of the shoulder joint slightly and his shoulders loop like they're 'drooping' a bit. Truth be told, it doesn't affect the figure to a huge degree, but it is a shame that this error was made on all the Hoist figures not just a few select pieces.
All the joints on this figure are nice and tight and the weapon's "clip on" feature works fine. The "spring" loaded transformation bits on the upper body also work well, so other than the shoulder issue there are no functionality worries here.
Hoist is a fantastic redeco and the sculpt fits the character very well. Indeed, had it not een for the shoulder issue I would have considered this a home run and a highly recommended figure. However, taking the assembly error into account, I'd say I do recommend this figure, but you'll have to decide for yourself how much the shoulder issue bothers you at the end of the day.