"Machine Wars" Hoist Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: 1997
Price Point: $4.99
Retailer: Kay Bee Exclusive
Accessories: Vehicle Grille/Blaster

Tech Specs
Name: Hoist
Motto: "Proper Maintenance prevents poor performance."
Transformation: Tow Truck
Hoist believes every Autobot should operate at peak efficiency levels at all times, which means he's a stickler for proper maintenance of both internal micro-circuitry and external structural integrity. He's always prepared to tow an injured Autobot in for repairs. And if fired upon in the line of duty, he'll quickly convert to robot mode and battle back with a vengeance!

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Strength: 8.0
Intelligence: 7.0
Speed: 4.0
Endurance: 8.0
Rank: 3.0
Courage: 9.0
Firepower: 6.0
Skill: 7.0

Hoist is one of the characters that Machine Wars plucked out of obscurity. Following his appearances in Generation One has a tow truck, Hoist pretty much disappeared from view. A tow truck once more, Hoist is back in the form of a toy that does hold resemblance to the original character. Note: The silver coloring seen on his front fender and grille were added by yours truly.*

(*Note (January 9, 2023: I purchased a new copy of this figure for the new photos in this review, so the silver coloring mentioned above no longer appears in my photos)

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode, Hoist is a tow truck. His primary color is dark brown. The towing mechanism itself is a slightly lighter shade of brown. The windows are silver and the tires are black. Stickers on the side of the vehicle show that Hoist is now part of "Wilk and Son Towing"! Also towards the front of the vehicle is a yellow and red stripe sticker.

Hoist has some nice detailing that is a little difficult to see because of the dark brown coloring. The top of the hood has some vents and a clever bit of thinking conceals the shoulder hinge as gas tanks. Although the solid dark brown color is plain, it is appropriate. Not all tow trucks are necessarily pretty or wildly adorned. However, some extra marks along the edges showing "wear" would have been a nice touch.

The only shame here is the use of the solid silver for the windows instead of translucent plastic as originally intended. If you notice, the silver piece actually protrudes a bit from the top of the cab. Had translucent plastic been used, this would have allowed for some nice "light piping" to make the windows seem like they are being lit up.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Begin the transformation by removing his front grille. Set this aside and then lift the hook mechanism on his back. This will activate his spring loaded transformation. Place the weapon in his hands and Hoist is in robot mode.

Alternate Weapon Configuration: If you take a look at the weapon, you will notice that the part that Hoist holds looks more like a small pistol than a cannon. You can actually detach the weapon piece and snap the grille section back onto his main body. This not only makes a good looking weapon, but it also keeps Hoist from having a huge hole in his upper body.

Robot Mode:
Hoist is still mostly dark brown in this mode. His robot head has a lighter brown running down the middle of his forehead and silver is used for the eyes. Originally, his eyes were meant to have light piping translucent plastic, but like his fellow Machine Wars basic sized toys, that feature was sacrificed to save costs. His elbow joint and part of his waist are also a lighter brown (the same brown as the towing mechanism). This is the mode where Hoist could have used some more detailing more so than the vehicle mode. He looks great and the details sculpted into the toy are cool, but it would have been nice to see them brought out more by some accenting along the edges. Still, the sculpt works and makes the Autobot look rather bulky despite him being a "basic sized" toy. Hoist has eleven points of articulation in this mode.

Hoist is a fun toy, and that's the most important thing to keep in mind. He even looks faithful to the original character to a degree with his visor eyes and mouth plate. He is worth a purchase if you can get him in the $5-$10 range. If not, spend your money on the current character using this mold, Tow-Line from Robots in Disguise. B+

Updated Thoughts (January 9, 2023):
As I took new photos for this review, I really marveled at how well this figure is well over twenty years old yet it still holds up wonderfully as an action figure.  It also strikes me that this figure could be seen as the precursor to many modern day gimmicks.  The spring loaded transformation is not too dissimilar from modern day 1-Step Changers.  The simplicity of the design is somewhat reminiscent of modern day Warrior Class figures.  This also represents a "classic" character in a new form, something we would see over and over again as the 2000's marched forward.  This is a fun figure and is well worth adding to anyone's collection.

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