Release Date: December 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
This super-smart Autobot Pipes figure picks up junk gadgets like they were treasures! He’s a super robot fighter and he’ll be a match for any Decepticon who tries to take him on. When he’s in robot mode, he’ll fend off Decepticons with his powerful blaster – and he’ll run them over when he’s in semi truck mode! Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
As 2015 draws to a close one final wave of Legends Class figures was released which included Buzzsaw, Chop Shop and Shockwave. While the rest of this wave featured retools or all new sculpts, one member of the wave was just a direct redeco: Pipes. Based on the Autobot introduced in 1986, the original Pipes was a redeco and heavy retool of the G1 Huffer figure.
The sculpt used to bring Pipes into "Combiner Wars" was originally released as Legends Class Optimus Prime. Later it was released as Nemesis Prime. More recently the figure was given a new head sculpt and deco and released as "Combiner Wars" Huffer. In a sense, history is repeating itself since Pipes and Huffer do have a G1 connection, however this figure features no retooling. It is a straight up redeco of Huffer. I reocmmend checking out my previous reviews of this sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Pipes is packaged in a blister set against a rectangular backing card. The card features a large segment of Pipes' package art in the front with a black bar and the modern "Transformers" logo over the black bar. Pipes' package art is all new artwork based on the figure. It is different than Huffer's package art and is not borrowed from the now defunct "Transformers Legends" mobile app game. The "Combiner Wars" logo is in smaller letters at the top. The back features multiple languages and a brief bio of the character with photos of the toy in both modes. Included in the packaging (set behind the figure) is a collector card featuring a full view of Pipes' artwork. Similar in style to the first wave of "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures, this card has no bio information on the back but rather a segment of the Autobot symbol.
G1 Pipes had a very distinct color scheme, consisting mostly of a dark blue and white color with some vacuum metallized silver and some black. In his new incarnation Pipes retains blue and silver with a touch of red (G1 Pipes had red eyes) but the shades of these colors are totally different than his G1 counterpart. Rather than the distinct dark blue of the G1 figure, this guy has a lighter blue. The silver colors are your standard, metallic silver plastic (making up the panel his head rests on, the middle of the body and the thighs). Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with these colors. They look good together and they are eye catching, but there's a particular visual punch the dark blue and white of G1 Pipes had that this figure lacks.
The rest of the deco uses silver and red paint. The silver is used pretty extensively. You'll find it on the lower legs, chest, forearms and the inner panels of the torso. The eyes are painted silver, though on my copy the brushwork wasn't precise so a bit spilled out onto the face. The red offers a nice counter balance to the silver. Here it's used on the lower legs and face. Rounding out the deco are two Autobot symbols. One is a smaller symbol in the center of his chest. The other is a large sticker on his left shoulder. It appears a sticker was used because this type of plastic doesn't hold tampographs well. If you feel it, the surface is slightly rougher than the rest of the plastic on the figure. This large symbol is a direct homage to a large symbol that was set over G1 Pipes' shoulder.
All the joints on Pipes are nice and tight, which is good to see since this is the fourth run of this tooling (I'm counting the Japanese release of Optimus Prime). Pipes includes the same rifle that came with Optimus Prime (cast in black). I find myself wishing a new weapon had been cast for him that resembled his original cannons and that he had been given two of them. Of course, we didn't get a new head either so that's a bit of a pipe dream (ahem).
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the rifle and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Push the head down into the chest.
- Push the two chest window panels together.
- Rotate the mid-body/waist/legs section around.
- Swing up the panel with the truck grille and headlights on it, then push it in to line it up with the chest panels.
- Rotate each arm in so the panels on the sides face forward.
- Swing each shoulder section back.
- Swing each forearm piece in to form the sides of the truck cab.
- Swing the robot legs up using the hinge at the middle of the robot body and connect them together.
- Push down the wind vane panels.
- The rifle may be attached to the hole on the top of the cab.
While the robot mode leaves a lot to be desired in terms of representing Pipes, the vehicle mode does a fine job. Like his G1 counterpart his is a boxy truck with some modern flourishes. This mode shows off mostly blue plastic with black wheels. Silver is used pretty extensively on sections like his windshield, grille and headlights. The large Autobot symbol from the shoulder armor in robot mode is prominently displayed on the wind vane and there's even a touch of red at the back from the robot legs. I did find myself slightly disappointed that the side windows were not painted silver. Given that this figure required no additional tooling and it is the second domestic reuse of the base sculpt, you'd think a tiny detail like this would be easy to add in.
Unfortunately this is one of those rare occasions when Hasbro missed the mark with a redeco (and potential retool). Fans were already asked to swallow this sculpt as another former Mini-Bot with "Combiner Wars" Huffer already this year. Taking the same sculpt and not changing it at all for Pipes is just a bit much. A new head and a darker shade of blue would have done wonders for this toy. I'd only recommend getting this figure if you are a completist, a huge fan of the character or don't already own this sculpt in one of its previous incarnations.