Articulation: 14 total points - swivel neck; 3 points in each arm: ball-joint shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinged elbow; swivel waist; 3 points per leg: ball-joint hips, thigh swivel, hinged knee
Colors: Molded green, black, grey, orange, clear yellow; Painted green, orange, black, silver, yellow.
Accessories: Tow hook/gun
Release Data: Released in the United States in August of 2013 at a retail price of US$12.99
When an Autobot is seriously damaged in the field, he goes to Autobot Ratchet, but for everyday aches and pains, Hoist is the most trusted guy around. There's no strut or spar Hoist can't fix, and no malady so baffling that he can't diagnose it. He supplements his vast knowledge with an easy bedside manner that makes him well liked by his fellow Autobots, and universally acknowledged as the expert on everything from wrist rust to scraplets.
Hoist is the foregone conclusion. From the moment you find out there will be a Generations Trailbreaker (or cutter, whichever) you know that it's only a matter of time before it gets Hoisted. But I can hardly complain about that. While Trailmix might finish out the 1984 Diaclone car updates, Hoist is another part of piecing together the 1985 lineup, making him no less important.
...okay, let's be honest: the only reason anyone remembers Hoist is because
he was a movie star one day and got himself welded in to an energy collection
tower with Grapple another time. Even having a Spotlight dedicated to him, he's
gotten very little else in the way of character building since those cartoon
episodes. And Swerve even managed to basically steal the Spotlight out from
under him. Maybe with some more time Hoist can get some alternative memorable
existence instead of having to fall back on his TV residuals like so many
actors with stalled out careers.
Hoist's positive qualities depend almost entirely on not setting out to do anything fancy or unusual as an action figure. This shows even just with the way the body is designed. Big, square, wide boxes everywhere. It has that perfect quality of being a robot made from chunks of vehicle that Transformers always should demonstrate. Looking at Hoist is like looking at any of the really great Classics-family figures from the past several years that really excel at conveying the traditional style of a Transformer.
The articulation carries on the successful model of doing average really well. The arms have a great freedom of mobility despite the absence of any manner of doubled joint. The shoulder ball joints have a big, wide range of motion but use deep set sockets so the arms stick close to the body when in an at-rest pose. Long cut out channels on the top of the arms give the ability to reach all the way out to the side so you lose nothing on posing for the sake of keeping the arms from looking like they're held on by long, thin stems. The elbow hinges do only go to 90 degrees, and though I would have liked to see more if I was going to make one change here it would be to place the elbow a little higher up. The forearm is oddly short because of where the elbow hinge was worked in. It may have been done on purpose so the figure's arm can bend around the chest, but it feels wrong in other situations. The arms are attached to the front wheels, and rotate up in to proper position on swiveling panels. Those are meant to hook around the truck mode's side mirrors, but typically don't. It seems like generally the transformation joints are tight enough to hold in position regardless, but in a case where the fit is not so great it's likely the arms would be less fun to deal with. As it is my Hoist has one shoulder ball joint a good bit tighter than the other, and it took a bit of working with it to get it to relax just enough that it wouldn't overpower the base panel on that side. If you do need the panels to try to hold the mirror tabs more, you can try to angle the wheels a little more inward and that might help a little bit.
The legs thankfully don't rely on the same kind of friction tricks and are more straightforward typical. Neither the hips nor knees have enough bend to reach the kneeling pose I frequently use as an articulation benchmark, but the hips do 90 degrees forward or backward, and only slightly less sideways and have a really satisfying amount of grip on the ball joints. Plenty to support a pose, but not so much that the movement stops being smooth. The knees again bend only to 90 degrees, but at least they're in a sensible place along the length of the leg. The only thing to watch out for is that you don't push the shins to the side accidentally. That's a vehicle transformation step and while they hold in place just fine to keep position in robot mode, the force needed to slide them out is very little. The toes are able to point down a bit, but so far I haven't worked out any practical reason you'd want them to. They have a soft stop partway to being folded back though, so you can support some active poses with the toe being folded a few degrees up instead. Hoist also comes with a waist joint that you might entirely overlook in normal handling. It can swivel without limitation, but there's a good chance that doing so will pop the tab that holds the chest down.
Hoist has his own unique head which is certainly a Hoist head albeit slimmed somewhat from what might be expected. Cartoon fans may be disappointed the head is not cast in dark grey. I am personally disappointed in the visor coloring. This mold doesn't do fantastic with light piping to start with, so the way the clear plastic is colored is going to be important in order to maximize what it's able to do. Naturally with the intent of a yellow visor you'd expect a really clear, bright yellow. Nope. The visor is a murky, desaturated yellow that even with a light straight behind it barely lights up and shows almost no color at all. Without the light the visor looks dark and kind of dead. At this point, I can't even imagine why the clear visor was kept at all - a touch of yellow paint over the front surface would have been vastly preferable if this was the best we could get in a "clear" material. The head is also partly glued together, so a DIY job to brighten Hoist's eyes will also be difficult to accomplish without a really steady hand.
I love Hoist's deco. The shade of green chosen is fantastic, bright and vibrant and reminding me more than a little of the color of sour apple hard candy. I always did love sour apple candy. Using safety orange as a secondary color is another easy way to produce a favorable response in me, and the two together just look so right. It's a pile of color saturation with just a bit of silver here and there to act as a refuge when your eyes just can't take it anymore. The paint job doesn't do much special for the sake of the robot, but as is frequently the case the positioning of where paint apps fall has been tweaked from Trailcutter so that you're not drawn to the same details on both toys.
One Trailcutter detail you can't help but be drawn towards though is the
forcefield projection array sitting up behind the head. A great design
oversight in my opinion that this wasn't an optional structural piece that
could be swapped out when changing the mold from Trailcutter to anyone else, or
at least made so it can be folded out of sight.
The one real design trick the toy has involves a neat collapse of the truck's hood and roof in forming the chest, letting the whole mass become the upper body and make a bigger chest instead of using a trick like the original mold where it folds down to form a gut. Part of this includes a hinged panel that sits in the middle of the hood in truck mode. Take care where exactly you apply pressure during transformation because it's very easy to push that back inward and it's not always easy to undo it. You might be able to press up on the underbody of the truck when the robot arms are folded in and get the panel pushed back out that way, but sometimes there's little choice but to take several steps backwards until you can reach it directly.
Along the same line, take care when transforming back to robot mode to push
that panel in before you start trying to fild the hood, and to tilt the roof
back first. I've heard of situations where damage happened with just a little
bit of pressure with the wrong order of part movement here.
Regrettably this is the weakest state of Hoist. Not for structural reasons. The truck is pretty sturdy and most everything locks together enough. I do have trouble with the roof being completely flush with the body and sometimes the wheel alignment, but it's far from anything where a complete collapse will happen with the lightest handling. No, the weaknesses are in different areas.
Hoist compacts down a lot in transformation. While the robot is a little on the short side, the overall bulk of the individual parts keeps it from looking or feeling too small, but such is not the case for the vehicle form. In scale terms, it's a lot more at home with Scout vehicles than other Deluxes. It might not look too bad with orion Pax, but Orion is another case of a tiny vehicle form, so that's far from a saving grace. Hoist also just looks really... empty. With the camper shell traded in for a tow hook, Hoist more plays up the modified pickup angle, but the "still covered" bed looks really bare with only the tow arm by itself back there. An upgrade kit is in production to put some of the junk back in Hoist's trunk, but the trade from large shell to this seems more than a little uneven. There just should have been more to give the illusion at least of more equipment or conversion in the process of making this vehicle be a tow truck.
Only a small square in the middle of the roof is regular green plastic, the rest is clear and of course had to be painted over the non-window surfaces. Said green paint is considerably darker and slightly metallic in drastic contrast to all the adjoining plastic. The effect visually is that the roof looks like it wasn't painted enough over a dark color and the base plastic is bleeding through. In short, it makes it look like bad QC which I find a greater crime than just poor color matching. On the other hand, Hoist gets painted hubcaps which does a good deal to dress up the vehicle's appearance. The doors have black and yellow warning stripe blocks painted on too. They look pretty goofy taking up almost the entire door panel surface and being only on the doors. I don't necessarily think having more stripes would have been the answer, but maybe a different type of caution marking in its place. This reminds me a lot of Universe Smokescreen where the racing deco was executed in a way that looked like just trying to include specific elements from the original without exactly comprehending why.
The rear wheels roll great, no problems. The front wheels aren't as easy.
Being part of rotating blocks, they're built so only the outward facing portion
in vehicle mode turns. That by itself means there's more friction against them.
It's compounded as some alignments of parts make the moving surfaces catch
around the fenders. Now, if you don't really care about your Transformers being
able to freely roll in their vehicle modes, this won't be any bother for you,
but otherwise this can tend to be frustrating. And of course the projector
array is still hanging out, mounted a couple feet above the truck's roof.
In place of Trailcutter's camper shell, Hoist has a tow arm to mount in the truck's bed. It's hinged at the base (and can swivel around its 5mm peg) and has another hinge in the middle and articulated hook. On my example at least the midpoint hinge is not very strong, barely enough to hold up the weight of the remaining segment of arm after it. The base hinge is considerably stronger, which is important for the secondary function.
In a clever move, the tow arm folds in half at the middle hinge and forms a gun. It's a relatively simple weapon, though a targeting sensor is sculpted on top of the barrel. It's decently large, and has the entertainment value of being marked down its length with hazard stripes. The main value comes from that it's just a clever way of disposing of a necessary vehicle component and providing a weapon accessory to the toy that's not just a handheld tow hook or something similarly uninspired. Unfortunately mine was assembled incorrectly so it can't quite fully take on the weapon mode, but it's more than close enough for me to appreciate the intent. Thanks to the wealth of 5mm ports over the figure, there's multiple options for storing the gun when you don't want Hoist armed. or you can attach it in tow arm configuration so that Hoist can ...pull stuff off a high shelf, or something.
Hoist is not without elements that bother me, but in embracing a middle of the road design method for the robot mode the functional aspects are pretty solid. Plus the design aesthetic itself is really good, and made better with eye-catching colors. While I've made more than a little issue out of what I don't like, the majority is very small things that can either be easily ignored, or overcome with a little intervention by the consumer. A third party addon kit might not solve everything, but it's nice to know the option will be there.
Hoist scores Very Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale, and between the two uses of the mold Trailcutter is probably the better figure. If you're only going to get one use that'd be the one I recommend. Hoist is still a nice enough toy straight out of the box but ultimately requires you to forgive more than Trailcutter. Even so, being a mildly flawed reuse of the best mold of the previous wave still seems more of a compliment than a condemnation in any case!
"...were you always that tall?"
|Date||September 11th 2013|
|Score||(6 out of 10)|
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