Cliffbee.com: Monster Trucks Patrol Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Monster Trucks Patrol
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Ground Transport
Components: Big Hauler, Heavy Tread, Hydraulic & Slow Poke

Thanks to Demonac for loaning me Big Hauler for this review.



Big Hauler

TRUCK MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 3.5cm Width: 2.5cm

   A grass green monster truck with big black tyres sticking out to the sides, Big Hauler has black windows on his cab. He's meant to be a long nose truck cab, and has exhausts moulded behind the cab, twin horns and some lights on top of it and a truck grille at the front. There's even some very rudimentary suspension in the back wheel bays.

   On either side of the cabin itself are grip panels, which don't really belong - they're not much more than an attempt to hide the robot arms and I suppose they achieve that as well as you could expect. While the arms represent the only distinct shortcoming of the truck mode, a lack of colour holds Big Hauler back for me. Let's face it, the monster truck idea had already been visited the previous year in Mudslinger, and Big Hauler doesn't really bring anything new to the idea.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the back out to form his boots, stand him up and position the arms.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 4cm Width: 2.5cm

   There's a little more colour now - his chest, head and thighs are yellow and his groin and face blue with his arms and boots green. The colours mix fairly well, although they do make for a fairly bright robot. The blue on his face doesn't seem to mask any detailing there, so I suppose while the dark face is no loss in itself, the lack of facial sculpt is. The front tyres sit on his shoulders and the rear wheels on his ankles, the front bumper hangs over his head sort of like a hood, although it doesn't leave the face is shadow. While this is a much more interesting colour scheme than the truck mode got, I'm disappointed with the face.

   The boots don't work for me, since the feet are the very back edge of the cab with pointy exhaust stacks as outer toes - and the feet stick out about a centimetre from the otherwise flush boots - which is a lot for a toy at this scale. There are crude moulded hands and some simple details on his chest, but there's not really any detailing on Big Hauler that stands out.

   The shoulders rotate but for some reason sit higher on his sides than they should - the head is flanked by shoulder blocks. The hips can bend as one, the knees bend separately, but the only real posing options you get are standing up or sitting down - even then the latter will lean back thanks to the big tyres on his ankles.

OVERALL

   I am underwhelmed. The truck has no notable flaws, but it's uninspiring and plain. The robot mode has more interesting colours, but lack of detail, bad feet and limited movement hold it back also. Not a Micromaster I like much, Big Hauler gets 3.5/10

Heavy Tread

DRAGSTER MODE
Height: 2cm Length: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   An orange dragster with two grey engine blocks, one in front of the other, Heavy Tread has a small open cockpit behind the engines and a spoiler behind that. Heavy Tread has two giant treaded wheels tyres at the back underneath his spoiler and two sets of smaller tyres at the front. On the one hand this isn't really a Monster Truck but on the other hand it's the most distinctive vehicle mode in this patrol and dragsters are rare in the Transformers line.

   The rear and front tyres spin although the second set (just behind the front pair) are simply painted on. This isn't really different to most other six wheeled Micromasters so I won't complain. The engines are stepped - the rear one is higher than the front one, and both have six cylinders. Despite the originality here, this vehicle mode really is comical and out of place - perhaps a racing truck would have worked better. Still, I've give him points for effort.

   Later note: According to Autobus Prime, Heavy Tread is actually based on a pulling tractor - perhaps a racing version of one of these vehicles. A quick googling reveals tractor pulling to be a drag racing style event from the USA. While it doesn't raise my opinion of this toy, it does help him fit into the patrol better.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the front down to form his chest and flip the spoiler over to form his legs. Stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 2.5cm

   Now orange and blue, Heavy Tread has an orange chest, orange arms with two tyres each on shoulder pylons and orange boots while his groin, thighs and head are blue. His face is painted gold and is actually quite detailed, but it's utterly wasted, since the chest doesn't fold down properly masking the small face. The boots are a single piece and the spoiler forms a giant kneecap which slopes upward, and it looks really stupid - especially when you consider this toy has no feet.

   The arms swing back and forth, with the pylons swinging back as you lift the arms. The arms themselves are the slender sides of the dragster mode, meaning they are overshadowed by the jutting out chest and giant kneecap. The end result is a dud robot mode. I can't really think of anything positive here.

OVERALL

   In case you haven't worked it out, I don't think a lot of Heavy Tread. Sure, the dragster is a welcome change but it doesn't quite fit the theme of this set. The dragster isn't in itself a great vehicle anyway, so when you add that to the poor robot mode, Heavy Tread is a particularly weak Micromaster - 1.5/10

Hydraulic

TRUCK MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 5cm Width: 3cm

   A blue 1980s 4x4 (think Gears, as opposed the modern SUV junk), Hydraulic has grey front and door windows and unpainted windows on the rear. As you'd expect he has big black tyres and there are some hints of orange visible underneath. The moulded detail is more or less similar to that of Big Hauler - wheel bays including rear suspension, hood lines, front and rear lights, grille, roof and hood lines. The level of detail is actually above average for a Micromaster and the hood lines impress me. The blue works and while the robot mode arms are somewhat visible on the sides, they're not as big as Big Hauler's and everything else here works so I don't mind them so much.

   The play value is what you'd expect - the tyres roll and that's it. I don't expect much else of Hydraulic in this regard, although on mine the arms have a habit of flopping down (but this may just be wear on mine). A better truck mode than those of Big Hauler or Heavy Tread, although relative to a lot of Micromasters it's not really anything special

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the back over to form his boots, stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 3cm

   Now orange and blue, Hydraulic follows the usual pattern with an orange chest, orange head and thighs and blue arms and boots. His face and groin are painted white. The facial sculpt is kinda limited but the white paint brings it out very well. The black tyres sit on his shoulders and the sides of his ankles. This is a decent colour scheme that's reminiscent of that other Micromaster monster truck, Mudslinger.

   The shape of this robot mode isn't perfect - the thighs sit back relative to the chest and boots, which both protrude. The arms are short and the torso boxy - but at least he has feet and his boots are even separate pieces. The only meaningful poseability his is the swinging arms, which takes what could otherwise be a nice robot mode and makes it somewhat mediocre. Still, it's one of the better robots in this set.

OVERALL

   While Hydraulic is far from a memorable Micromaster, he's one of the better toys in this set. His robot mode isn't anything special but the truck mode impresses me, mainly through some great detailing for a Micromaster. 5/10

Slow Poke

TOW TRUCK MODE
Height: 2.5cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 3cm

   A yellow tow truck, Slow Poke is a 1950s pick up with a tow assembly in his tray. The towing arm is grey with a little hook hanging off the end while the cabin has dark blue windows. As you'd expect the tyres are big black affairs. The robot arms sit inside the rear wheels and are the least awkward of the visible arms in this patrol since there are no wheel bays at the back (ie they can pass as suspension units or something). OK, I'd rather the arms being flush, but relative to his mates Slow Poke deals with the arms well. The front is curved as was often the style on cars in the 40s and 50s and features moulded headlights on the fenders and a grille wrapped around the engine block while there's a sunroof on the roof.

   With a towing arm that can lift up, Slow Poke has more play value than his teammates. The tyres roll of course, and while the arm isn't going to tow anything, I'm happy they moulded it as a separate piece. Taking this into account, along with the relative rarity of Transformers tow trucks (Slow Poke was only the second), this is my favourite truck mode in this Patrol.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold the front over to form his boots and stand him up. Yes, it's very much formula, but he's the only rear-transform member of the patrol.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 5cm Width: 3cm

   With a green chest, green head and thighs, yellow boots and arms, Slow Poke is by the numbers. The two main colours work well together and are joined by a blood red paint on the face and groin. The red face is a little dark, but since he has a mouthplate rather than mouth it's not really obscuring detail. The cabin forms the feet while the tyres sit on the sides of his shoulders and knees.

   Slow Poke's robot mode has the best proportions of this set. The cabin makes for well formed feet and the arms are the right length. The tyres on his knees look better than the tyres hanging off ankles of Big Hauler and Hydraulic. The knees swing independently and the hips can bend as one but the swinging arms are Slow Poke's only meaningful movement. Despite the limited movement, this is the best robot mode of the group thanks to it's visual appeal.

OVERALL

   The best of the set on both modes, thanks to a solid robot mode and a solid and unusual vehicle mode. Slow Poke isn't a great Micromaster, but he is a pretty good one - 7/10

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of.

THE PATROL OVERALL

   In my opinion this is the weakest Micromaster Patrol, both in concept and execution. You can see the designer struggling to make the four distinct from one another. The patrol ranges from Heavy Tread who is a waste of time to Slow Poke who is actually a decent toy, but even the relative strength of the latter isn't enough for me to recommend the set. I would recommend Slow Poke on his own - and maybe Hydraulic - for Micromaster fans, but this isn't a set worth hunting down - 4/10

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