Cliffbee.com: BotCon Huffer Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Huffer
Series: Convention Exclusives
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Construction Engineer
Alternate Mode: Tow Truck



TOW TRUCK MODE
Height: 5.5cm Length: 9.5cm (truck, 13 with hook) Width: 3.5cm

   An orange truck cab with blue on his grille and headlight assembly and towing arm, with some light blue just behind the cab and black on the hitch area. Huffer is a G1 inspired repaint of Cybertron Armorhide. The windows are painted silver and mnuch of the front is painted orange (the colour map has been changed significantly here) while the top of his towing arm is also painted orange. There's back text on the doors reading, "CYBERTRON WRECKING SERVICE" while the six tyres and windowshades are black while the hook is light blue. There is a backwards facing Autobot logo stamped on the sloping roof. The colour scheme is quite attractive, although it looks more like the New York Knicks than the orange and purple Huffer we saw in G1. That's not to say this doesn't work as Huffer - but the homage isn't all that obvious.

   Huffer isn't really designed as a tow truck - he's more of a semi trailer cab, complete with hitch at the back. So while Huffer wasn't traditionally a tow truck the truck itself is the right shape, and the towing arm can always be removed anyway. Doing so reveals the robot fists at the back, so I'd recommend leaving it on. Either way I can live with this mould as Huffer.

   There's not really a lot of play value here, but then there rarely is on basic vehicles. The towing arm itself is fixed, but the hook can swing back and forth. The hook itself is facing forward, which isn't much use for towing, but I guess it's just twisted on the cable. All six wheels spin, but if you roll him on a hard surface the ridges often prevent all six from actually moving - he's fine on a rougher surface like carpet. There's a slot on the right side of the towing arm into which you can slot the Planet Key - finally a Cybertron tow that can _stow_ the key somewhere other than the activation slot! It looks tacked on, but at least it can attach. The key is transparent orange which is a really nice touch.

   While this is a fairly straightforward tow truck mode, it's a good one. The colours are vastly different from those of Armorhide, and the paint mask is completely different, which I appreciate. The choice of blues over purple weakens the homage somewhat, but it still works. The towing arm might not move around, but then it has to double as a handgun, and plugs into a socket that splits apart - that it clips securely is enough for me. There's enough moulded detail here to make this a good truck mode - doors, lights, grille, hubcaps and even wipers are all clearly visible.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the tow arm and set aside. Lift up the roof of the cabin, which will split into two halves. Extend and straighten to form his legs, slide the boots out to the sides and flip out his feet. If straightening the legs didn't do so, unfold his waist properly. Stand Huffer up, split the hitch section and swing around to the sides to form his arms. Rotate the shoulders and elbows to bring the arms into position, flip up and rotate the head (it stows at 90 rather than 180). Give Huffer his gun.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9.5cm Width: 9cm

   A short, wide little fellow - which fits Huffer quite well. He's largely orange again with light blue thighs and upper arms, a blue head and groin and black feet, kneecaps and forearms. His face is painted white and his eyes red. His chestplate is the upside down grille and headlight section while that Autobot logo is on his right shin. Again Huffer's colours work well, and the homage is a little stronger now - although again the use of blue over purple dilutes it.

   The unorthodox transformation provides a whole bunch of visible truck parts here. The boots are the roof while the keepcaps are the windshield, the chest is the grille section of the truck, upside down. The rear two sets of wheels sit on the outsides of his forearms. Even without the wheels this is a wide robot mode, Huffer is a very stocky little fellow with a blocky chest.

   The play value here is great for a basic. The head turns while the shoulders, elbows and hips are ball jointed and the knees hinged. The waist doesn't really move but can fold back as part of his transformation. The gun will only plug into Huffer's left hand on mine for some reason (Armorhide can hold his in either), so I guess Huffer is a southpaw. The gun can slot into either hand. Huffer is quite poseable and while he doesn't have proper heelspurs, action poses are possible.

   And then there's the gimmick. Plugging the Planet Key into a slot on his back will lift up the chestplate and push out eight orange missiletips underneath. While they don't fire, this bank of missiles certainly looks impressive. It's sort of possible to deploy them in truck mode, but you have to squish the key in, with the towing arm removed. While the gimmick doesn't in itself have any play value, it's one of the more worthwhile key gimmicks, certainly at this size class.

   A good robot mode with lots of well-integrated truck elements, great articulation and a worthwhile key gimmick. Again it's evident that the designer was paying attention, from the slide-apart boots to the detailed facial sculpt to the transformable feet (which could easily have been skipped, but make the toy look better). Huffer's colours work quite well again, with a slightly stronger tribute that before - although the absence of purple is still not quite ideal

VARIATIONS

   Huffer was sold exclusively at BotCon 2007 and was likely limited to a single production run.

OVERALL

   A very worthwhile basic mould already - all the little things done right on this mould. The truck mode is detailed and makes clever use of both the gun and Planet Key while the robot mode is poseable and has a good key gimmick. Huffer is a good repaint and while the weakish tribute is unusual for the recent BotCon toys, the colours look good and the mould does fit the character quite well. I don't know that I'd recommend this figure over the much cheaper Armorhide, but if you have the means and chance, this is a repaint I do recommend - 8/10

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