Armada Toy Reviews: Hoist

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Autobot


General Information:
Price Point: Supercon
Retailer: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart etc.)
Release Date: July 2003
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3 Advanced
Accessories: Refute Mini-Con figure

Hoist is one of the last few new molds to come out of Armada for the Supercon price point. The name caused some confusion among some fans initially. While the figure is named Hoist, he appears in the television show as a revamped version of Smokescreen, indeed he is still called Smokescreen on the show. Indeed, Hasbro has said that it was made with the intention of being an upgrade to Smokescreen, although as we will see, the toy bears a resemblance to another
Transformer altogether. Hoist is packaged with Refute.

Refute Review

Vehicle Mode:
Refute is some type of futuristic lifting vehicle. He is mostly orange with dark blue arms in the front and side. At the rear of the vehicle are two blue exhaust pipes on either side. Some brown is tossed in there for good measure on the rear wheels. The driver's area is painted silver. The sculpt of this toy is interesting, it's like they crossed a high powered funny car with something extracted from a construction vehicle. The effect is neat and very "sci fi" looking. The fins on the back and the exhaust pipes are great touches. His Powerlinx point is located on the underside of the vehicle at the middle.

Roll the vehicle along and the arms open and close as if grasping something. This is called the "Adventure Mode" according to the instructions. Heh. The sculpt is very neat, but you have to look at it carefully to notice since the orange color drowns out some sculpted detail. He's got neat lines running from the mid section to the front. The "fins" look like they're sitting on top of some type of engine, and the arms have pistons molded into them. A neat vehicle mode overall with an interesting aesthetic.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Slide the rear of the vehicle back on each side.
  2. Stand the vehicle and swing Refute's arms forward.

Robot Mode:
Refute's vehicle mode colors carry over into this form. He's mostly orange and dark blue, but more dark blue shows up thanks to his waist and upper legs. In this mode, Refute brings to this G1 old timer's mind two different classic Transformers. On the upper half, those lifter arms to the sides of him remind me a lot of the Insecticon Shrapnel. But then his lower legs remind me a lot of Huffer, mostly due to the orange color, the blocky shapes with the big wheels on them. I'm sure that's more of a coincidence than anything else, but it's a fun one.

Refute has five points of articulation, which include (surprisingly) waist articulation! His arms are designed to have claw hands and not regular hands, which is kind of odd, but Mini-Cons seem rather diverse in design of various body parts, so it's not hard to accept at all, in fact, it makes him look a bit more distinctive. His face has a really cold expression on it, mostly due to the slanted look of his blue eyes which just scream "Do you feel lucky punk?!"

Refute is a cool little Mini-Con. Not as neat as Liftor (who came with Smokescreen), but neat in his own way.

Hoist Review

Vehicle Mode:
Hoist is a futuristic shoveler in vehicle mode. He mixes a very blocky and strong aesthetic with a sleek, curved one as well. The outer sections are very big, rectangular and bold looking (along with the huge shovel mechanism). The center cockpit/driver section is curved and smaller while the treads are also a bit small. The net effect is that the smaller center and smaller lower section make the two large side sections look that much bigger and bulkier, creating a very cool looking design like something you'd see out of a sci fi film.

There's quite a bit of detail on this guy too. His treads have wonderful mechanical design work in them. His left side has armor plating, vents, tubes and lines filling out sculpted detail. The right side has the same type of details, but done differently, giving him an asymmetrical look. The middle section has some tubing running over the front grille of the vehicle as if attached for added protection.

Hoist is mostly white, brown and dark blue with some muted orange as well. His windows are painted silver and small details such as vents on his left side and the Autobot symbol on the
right side are painted red. Metallic light blue paint has been applied to the tread sections for added color. Although simple,t his color scheme works very well. One doesn't expect a construction vehicle to be deco'd in a rainbow of colors, and these "Earthy" colors work well for the toy. For those curious, the "S.D. 74" on the left side refers to "San Diego 1974", an in joke among Hasbro staff (and no, I don't know what the actual joke is). The shovel on the shovel arm has some silver on it to resemble wear and tear on the shovel itself, a nice touch.

Mini-Con Gimmick:
The Mini-Con gimmick for Hoist's vehicle mode seems to have been designed to be as unintrusive as possible. On the right side (where the shovel arm is) you will note that the small section toward the black has a dark blue plastic spring loaded bar flipped out. Attach a Mini-Con to the end and the bar flips back, allowing you to push the smaller section forward and moving the crane. Once you've done this, you can detach the Mini-Con and use the gimmick, the blue piece does not seem to snap back unless you place it there.

Hoist has two dead Powerlinx points on either side of the vehicle mode. Also, if you flip up the end of the left side, there is a dark blue Powerlinx point there as well. The top half of the vehicle can move around 180 degrees.

Hoist has a very neat looking vehicle mode that looks fantastic and is fun to play with.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing out the treads so the light blue sides of the treads face each other.
  2. Swing the robot legs down.
  3. Rotate that lower body section around.
  4. Swing the small brown/orange section at the ends of the legs in and flip out the orange pieces to form the feet.
  5. Rotate the side pieces down, and then pull them out slightly, an accordian like joint will be revealed that angles upward.
  6. Flip the brown pieces on the left arm forward to form the hand.
  7. From the rear of the center section, flip the blue panel up to reveal the robot head.
  8. On the shovel arm, you can pull up the small "thumb" near the shovel.

Robot Mode:
Once we get to the robot mode, it simply has to be said: someone at Takara (where the head sculpt was done) has Beast Wars Dinobot on the brain. Although one can interpret this head design as a modification of the Smokescreen head, it bears an incredible resemblance to the CGI model used for Dinobot in Beast Wars. From the crest in the center, the way the lines of the face are (including the eyes). The resemblance is amazing, and I have a hard time believing
it's a coincidence.

Dinobo-errr Hoist is a turn around from Smokescreen's design. Whereas Smokescreen was short and squat, Hoist is thinner in many places and more streamlined. His arms are of course huge, but the rest of him is small such as his chest or his legs. His legs are where most of the new detail comes from in this mode. The joint where the treads swing out has little extensions on them that look like saw teeth. His legs have vent like details on them while the sides look like they have air vents or thrusters of some sort. Surprisingly, although his feet are relatively thin pieces, the toy has no problems standing at all.

The same Mini-Con gimmick that is used in the vehicle mode can be used here. However, now that the vehicle is essentially unfolded, you can rotate the arm around so the shovel isn't always pointing down. The left hand has a dead Powerlinx point built into it and you can still use the two other points on his upper arms to connect Mini-Cons.

Hoist has fourteen points of articulation, including waist, knee and hand articulation. I'm counting the shovel mechanism as one point of articulation even though it technically moves several joints to perform the "shovel action".

Hoist is quite a bundle. He's fun to play with, looks cool and has cool poseability. Highly recommended.