Transformers Hoist
Transformers Hoist
Transformers Hoist
Transformers Hoist

Hoist was one of the retooled Autobot cars issued in the 1985 series of Transformers, based on the same mould as Trailbreaker. In common with fellow retools like Smokescreen and Red Alert, the actual mould changes had been made for the Diaclone line, where the Wrecker version of the Toyota Hilux had been made available in red or dark blue colour schemes. For Transformers, the main body was coloured green.

Since his 1985 release, Hoist was reissued in 2001 as a limited edition twin-pack with mould-cousin Trailbreaker and then in 2008 as the 14th figure in the Encore series. The latter was again released in tandem with Trailbreaker (the duo sharing an instruction sheet), though this time the figures were sold separately. Some minor changes were made to the figure, which I'll cover as and when below.


Most of Hoist's basic vehicle mode is nicely done, following the pleasing Trailbreaker. It's solidly made with a satisfying diecast bonnet section, chromed bumper/grille and wheel hubs, rubber tyres, transparent plastic windows and so on. Looked at from a logical point of view the colour scheme is a little odd (not that the Diaclone ones were any saner), green and orange certainly being an interesting choice. For the reissue, Takara have replaced the striped stickers of the original in favour of a tampographed paint application, which certainly improves durability, and also removes the white outline on the original, which helps. Bizarrely, the Autobot symbol on the bonnet is also painted on now, but the sticker sheet also includes the logo - I'd have thought it was more hassle than it was worth to redo the sheet, apart from the fact the sheet is different to the 2001 example, having the Encore numbering. More importantly, the mould itself is showing signs of mistreatment, and getting the sides of the vehicle (i.e. the robot arms) flush involves a little more fiddling than should really be necessary. Like Trailbreaker, it also suffers from awkward windows on the doors, which are half made up of clear blue plastic for the robot shoulders and half opaque plastic covered with an unconvincing sticker in a totally different shade of blue.

The big change compared to Trailbreaker is of course the towing rig replacing the rear box on the back end of the truck. Sadly, it's not very impressive - while my memories of the Hoist I had when I was 7 are pretty hazy, on the reissue at least it's made of very cheap soft plastic. Even on the original it generally shows up as low-rent compared to the materials used on the bulk of the figure, with the flat plastic emergency lights a particular problem. His wheel lift just sort-of rests on top when not in use, though it does fit most of the other Autobot cars when folded down and can be popped off the rest of the towing thing entirely if it's getting in the way. It's not a success though, especially as most of Hoist's head is visible under the orange, standing out nicely in dark green just to make sure.


Much like Trailbreaker, Hoist has a decent if fairly straightforward transformation. It's nice and smooth, and one of those fun ones that are in a nice, logical order, and you can do more-or-less in the same fashion and time as Hoist himself does it in the cartoon. The only real difference from Trailbreaker is that the towing stuff gets in the way a little, though this is exacerbated a bit by an overly-tight join on my reissue. The good thing is that the whole apparatus can just pop on and off easily. Like most of the Autobot cars, he needs a few additional parts to round him off - fists or missiles to go into the wrists, and a pair of orange wing-like parts attach to the emergency lights for decoration. The wheel lift part can just hang there loosely, so I've got into the habit of popping it off in robot mode (though it's still present in the pictures). Hoist also comes with the same three-barrelled launcher included with Trailbreaker, but I leave this off to provide a little more variance from the latter (aside from the head and the different parts on the back, the robot modes are naturally the same); for the same reason I always go with Hoist's character model arrangement of one hand, one missile (the missiles look a lot more like guns, it had to be said). Irritatingly, Takara's lax quality control struck my example, and the chrome clip connecting the left forearm was absent - thankfully the remaining parts just about grip where they're meant to, as returning it to Japan wasn't feasible. If you buy a Takara figure, you have to be prepared for poor QC.

The robot mode is a little clumsy, but paradoxically looks a lot more like Hoist than Trailbreaker looks like Trailbreaker. Marvel were actually pretty good at making the retool characters look different, and for Hoist they followed the actual toy design, meaning he looked fairly cumbersome anyway. The only real change to the robot mode (aside from the paint applications carried over from the vehicle mode) is that the eyes are painted blue to fit in with Takara's policy of making pointless changes for minor gains in terms of cartoon accuracy. Conversely, Hoist's head (black in the cartoon) is left green, not that I'm complaining as the green looks much better. Still, while Hoist has a good excuse for looking clumsy, the bottom line is he does look clunky and awkward. Movement is restricted to the shoulder, elbow and the wrist (where the spring-loaded fists can be rotated). He looks good on the shelf with fellow Autobot cars, but as is par for the course for the range, has no real articulation or play value.


At the time of writing, three years on from the Encore release Hoist can still be found new for £20-25, which is about right. If you spent twice that on a mint, complete original he will disappoint. Despite Hoist being more cartoon-accurate, Trailbreaker is still the definitive version of the Hilux mould, mainly due to the weak, awkward towing arrangement and the latter having a much better colour scheme. Beyond that, what you see with Hoist is what you get and there are no hidden surprises, pleasant or unpleasant.