The Amazing Spider-Man Battle Hauler Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Generation One, Heroes, Jumpstarter, Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

General Information:
Release Date: May 2012
Price Point: $9.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

*Official photos and text below in italics from The Official Hasbro Web Site.
What’s more powerful and unpredictable than the web-slinging enemy of evildoers everywhere? It’s the Flip and Attack Battle Hauler! One minute it’s a speedy vehicle for the forces of good, and the next minute it converts to a powerful armored attack bot! The Flip and Attack Battle Hauler uses TRANSFORMERS technology to convert from vehicle mode to bot mode and back again so it’s a double threat to the enemies of peace and justice. In vehicle mode, pull back and let go to make the Battle Hauler charge into the fray! The vehicle automatically converts in an instant to bot mode, so your powerful SPIDER-MAN bot will be ready for whatever his enemies throw at him!

Includes 1 converting vehicle. Ages 4 and up.

Spider-Man JetIn the days of Generation One, the dominant gimmick in any Transformers toy line was the transformation itself. However, additional gimmicks wound up getting added on to figures over the years to make them more interesting. One of these gimmicks from the early days of Generation One was the "Jumpstarter" technology. The idea was a Transformers figure that transformed by itself. You pulled back the vehicle in vehicle mode and it had a motor inside that propelled it forward and then transformed it into robot mode automatically, "jumping" into robot mode. Only two Jumpstarters were released in Generation One, but the two characters have gone on to be featured in Transformers media including the recent "Last Stand of the Wreckers" comic book mini-series.

With the release of the 2012 "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Avengers" movies, part of Hasbro's toy lines for each of these films includes the release of transforming robotic figures using the old "Jumpstarter" technology. In general, these figures are a bit smaller than their G1 counterparts, roughly qualifying as a Deluxe level figure. Unlike the current Star Wars Transformers, these figures are not being marketed as "Crossovers" Transformers. However, they do mention "Transformers Technology" on their packaging. Interestingly however, outside of this small use/mention of the "Transformers" logo, there is nothing else on the packaging mentioning Transformers such as trademark information mentioning Takara Tomy.

Robot Mode:
Unlike the sleek Spider Jet (which was my first review from this toy line) the Battle Hauler is a big bruiser of a machine. Everything about this robot form screams "rough and tough machine of destruction". If you took out some of the "Spider-Man" elements (which I'll go into in a bit) this guy would fit in with most modern Transformers toy lines in aesthetic. The design is bulky, with lots of hard angles and wide designs. There are layers of armor sculpted into figure such as on the chest and legs. The arms are also very angular in design, looking more robotic than organic. The tank treads and weaponry sculpted on his arms and legs respectively also hint at an alternate mode meant purely for combat. Throw in quad-missile launchers on either side of the chest and this is a design that caught my eye (in a good way) as soon as I saw it up close!

Tough robot or not, this figure is part of a Spider-Man line, and thus many of the armor plates and head sculpt are inspired directly by old Webhead himself. The head sculpt is similar to the Spider Jet's, with Spider-Man's trademark mask with curved/slanted eyes in front, but machinery in back leading down to tubes on his neck. The collar around his neck and the plates that form the center of the chest all have Spider-Man's "web" pattern along with the Spider symbol from "The Amazing Spider-Man" film. Additional "web pattern" details can be found on the sides of his arms and the front of his lower legs. The detail on this figure is really nicely done and the whole idea of Spider-Man of all characters represented by a gigantic, bulky mecha is awesome in my book!

The Battle Hauler is cast in dark blue plastic, matching the blue often seen on various incarnations of Spider-Man's costume. This darker color suits a war vehicle such as this and considering its absence from the Spider Jet it's most welcome. Yellow is used for the cockpit section, which winds up in the somewhat unfortunate position between his legs (it really can't go anywhere else considering the vehicle mode's design). The "web" designs on his head, torso and lower legs are all colored red, with the Spider symbol itself painted black. Black is also used around the eyes with the insides painted white. A bit of grey paint is used on the arms for the elbow joint and the treads. The missile tubes inside the mech's chest are painted silver. I find this color scheme a bit more intricate than the one on the Spider Jet and I like it a lot.

There really isn't much posability to speak of here. The arms can move up and down and the head can turn slightly each way. Of course, given the figures' primary gimmick, extreme posability is not why you would go for such a figure anyhow.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Spider-Man uses the old "Jumpstarter" style transformation. The legs of the robo latch onto the hook on the chest. Pull back the vehicle until you hear a click and then let go. The vehicle will roll forward on its own and in a few seconds, it springs the legs forward and lands in robot mode. With Generation One's Jumpstarters, one of the complications with the figures was balance. They didn't usually land on their feet, so adjustable weight balances were put on their heads for you to play with to get them just right. The figures in this line don't have such balances, but overall they perform well. I tested each figure out with five successive transformations and only one out of those four times did the figure not land on its feet.

To transform the figure back, just push the legs up and connect them to the hooks on the chest. If the hook is out of alignment, you can just roll the wheels on the back a bit and let them spin so the hook readjusts.

Vehicle Mode:
As cool as I think the robot mode is it's the vehicle mode that totally locked in my love for this figure. First off, if you take a look at its general shape, it bears strong resemblance to the Generation One Jumpstarter known as "Twin Twist" who was also a bulky vehicle that transformed into a vehicle with two drill bits in front. Instead of drill bits however, the Battle Hauler has two large cannons flanking the central cockpit. On the top of vehicle (on what was the robot's legs) are additional cannons that look like machine guns along with small rockets sculpted into the sides. On the side of each tread (the robot arms) there are small tubes indicating more weaponry. I find this design cool and funny all at the same time. Sure Spider-Man has had armor before, but I'm not sure he's ever been quite as heavily armed as this! Taken altogether, the Battle Hauler winds up with fourteen weapons in this mode!

In this form, we do get to see some colors that weren't obvious in robot mode. The two cannons in the front flanking the central cockpit are painted silver. Silver is also used on the four cannons on the top of the vehicle and the machine guns on the sides. Red and white paint are used on the rockets on the sides. The cockpit itself have windows painted yellow. These brighter colors offer a really nice contrast against the dark blue plastic. My only wish would be for a few more paint details on the sides of the arms, but that's really nit picking. This figure looks great!

Final Thoughts:
I'm a big fan of powerful vehicles and robots that look like bruisers. The Battle Hauler definitely qualifies as both of these. Mind you, this is not a super articulated robot with a complex transformation scheme. It's totally based on one gimmick and a cool sculpt, but if that's cool by you then by all means pick this guy up. Highly recommended!