I still have a bunch of Transformers from Siege left to review, and I do hope to get to those eventually, but a few weeks back I got in the first wave of Earthrise Deluxe Class figures, and I thought it would be fun to be topical and current for a change. Plus, I was really excited to open one of these and that motivated me to squeeze in a second review this week. I can’t even begin to tell you what a triumph of time management this is! Anyway, this assortment consists of Wheeljack, Hoist, Cliffjumper, and Ironworks. I’m going to go for Hoist first!
I’m delighted to see that Hasbro hasn’t changed the package design from Siege to Earthrise. The artwork is still as gritty and wonderful as ever and the figure is packaged in his robot mode. Earthrise is the second chapter in this War For Cybertron Trilogy and as the name suggests, Hasbro has moved on to giving the robots proper Earth vehicle modes. It’s an interesting way of doing things, although with the scattershot character selection it means we’ll have some characters, like Hoist here, with only an Earth mode and no Cybertron mode, while presumably we’ll have someone like Ironhide with only a Cybertron mode. On the other hand, characters like Starscream and Optimus Prime are getting both, so who knows. Let’s start with Hoist’s alt mode…
And you can’t get much more faithful to the G1 alt mode than this! Hoist is a rugged looking tow-truck with a satisfyingly boxy 80’s aesthetic. That includes sharp angles (actually even sharper than the original toy!), flared wheel wells, and big chunky tires. I love it! The body is hunter green with black and yellow hazard stripes running down the sides, and he’s got a bold Autobot insignia crisply printed in the center of his hood. The front grill is painted silver and features translucent blue headlamps and fog lights. Some sculpted detail here includes three sections of grill and what I presume is supposed to be a coiled winch. The towing rig in Hoist’s bed, and some of the undercarriage, is cast in bright orange plastic, completing that familiar G1 deco perfectly. The windshield matches the plastic used for the headlights and the side windows are opaque black plastic. Finally, Hasbro is continuing to experiment with weathering, and that’s evident here by the silver spray around the edges of Hoist’s hood. I think it looks fine.
I’ve got to say that I’m smitten with this alt mode. It’s a fantastic update to the original toy, it feels like quality, and everything looks so incredibly clean and sharp. But that’s not to say it’s perfect. The body rides high on the wheels and you can see a little too much of the robot mode in the exposed undercarriage. The way the arms are just angled down there kind of reminds me of Siege Hound, only they’re even more prominent here. I also would have rather the light box on top of the cabin be painted silver to match the grill and the wheels. I’m also not a big fan of having the windshield translucent and the side windows painted a different color. But these are all gripes that I can set aside, because all in all it really is a great little truck.
And yes, the towing plate is articulated and can fold down to allow Hoist to tow one of his fallen comrades out of a hot spot!
Transforming this guy took me a couple times before it felt natural. It’s a little less intuitive than I expected, but it gets the job done. Like his alt mode, Hoist’s robot mode is also slavishly faithful to his old G1 design. There isn’t a lot of effort spent in smoothing out the design, although the proportions are improved and this modern version actually has a visible pelvis, rather than a pair of legs coming out of the hood. Utilizing the car bumper as a chest (like Prowl and the Datsuns) will always be my favorite Autobot design, but this one works well too, with the windshield taking on role of the chest and the hood pointing down to become the abdomen. This is undoubtedly a solid looking bot mode! The coloring remains faithful to the alt mode deco and I think the positioning of the weathering spray makes more sense in this mode. Although, I’m surprised they didn’t add some to his feet as well. If I were to nitpick the coloring here, I would just say that I wish the white parts were painted silver.
When viewed from behind, Hoist ain’t exactly pretty, but he’s not too bad either. His tow gear becomes a backpack with the two “wings” angling upward off his shoulders. He’s got a little hollow leg thing going on in his lower legs, but that’s nothing unexpected from a Deluxe these days. And then there’s those arm panels. Yes, they are totally faithful to the design of the original toy and that’s a good thing for keeping up tradition, but it’s also a bad thing for the overall workings of the toy. With the more modernized aesthetic and articulation, they feel rather out of place. And I can’t help but think that a few strategically placed hinges would have served to pack them up nicely and out of the way. Although, in fairness, I hadn’t remembered that they were included in the animated Sunbow design. Ultimately, I can go either way on them. At first I did not like them at all. But after playing around with the figure a bit, I’m finding that I don’t mind them nearly as much as I thought I would.
The head sculpt embraces the old Sunbow animated design a lot more than it does the original toy, and I’m happy with that. The “helmet” is painted black and his mouth-plate is gray. There’s no light-piping in effect here, instead the visor is simply painted blue. But it looks good and the color pops surprisingly well.
Hoist comes with a chunky orange funnel-like gun, which can be held in either hand. When it is held, however, it looks more like a natural extension of the arm, which is something that Hoist had going on in the old cartoon. Even the toy had the option to replace the hands with a missile-like weapon. I’m not sure why they went with orange, but I don’t hate it. It works well with the existing deco and I like that it preserves the option for him to have two hands if you want. You can also peg the gun into either side of his vehicle mode to give him a little more firepower.
I’ll confess that I was a little iffy on Hoist when I first got him out of the box and started playing with him. There were a few design elements that I thought could have been done better. But after just a couple transformations and a little bit of fiddling, he has more than won me over. He’s even going to stay on my desk for at least a few days because I can’t stop playing around with him. More than any other recent Transformers release, Hoist here feels like a straight up update to the original toy, and that’s not a bad thing at all. I don’t think he reaches the heights of Deluxe Perfection that we saw in a line like Titans Return, but he’s still damn good and I’m eagerly awaiting the remold into Trailbreaker!