Hasbro's War for Cybertron toys have swung between things that look like the 1980s toys - be it the toy, or the cartoon model - or something a little more detailed. Huffer walks the line between the two, with some elements of his truck mode looking a lot like the Minicars toy I had since I was a kid, but with new additions that defy an obvious place of origin.
I love the original G1 Huffer [FOTD #189], I don't think Combiner Wars Huffer [FOTD #1,161] was great at the time and it certainly has not held up well, but this new guy? He's good. I assume Hasbro will give him another shot down the road, but for now, you should get this one.
It's a great update of the character as you remember him from the cartoon - the head has the purple helmet, silver face, and blue eyes! The original toy has a faceplate and weird silver eyes - they didn't look much alike. This is a slightly enhanced, less whiny-looking take on the Minicar. He's just a touch shorter than Siege Sideswipe, and is loaded with articulation. The original toy had moving arms. This one has 20 meaningful points of articulation, which is really just kind of mind-boggling for those of of us who grew up with (and were perfectly fine with) 2-3 joints on our robots. We were fine with it back then, but this is so much better.
The face doesn't have a ton of personality - Hasbro seems to have largely left its toothy grimaces, arched eyebrows, or otherwise expressive mugs in the 90s with their CD-ROMs, flannel, and grunge CDs - but the head is undeniably Huffer. The arms are silver, with black fists - the early renders had silver fists, which someone probably dropped because this arguably looks better. Also because the paint will undoubtedly scrape off over time, silver tends to not hold up well to paint wear.
Given the original toy had no weapons and the character is more famous for his grousing than his guns, Hasbro's decision to include two accessories was a surprise. A shield can cover his truck bed, giving him claws or an arm-mounted protective armor plate - with two colors of paint on it. Clearly, they had some money to burn here. The blaster pistol is similarly ornate, cast in orange and painted black. But that wasn't enough - the weapon can also split in two pieces to mount on the back of the truck in vehicle mode. This has an extra cost associated with it, and I'm not complaining. It's neat to see them give us a little extra plastic meat when the budget allows, and the figure doesn't look bare. I would have been completely happy to buy him with no accessories, too.
While the legs do seem quite over-designed, they're sufficiently Huffery. I would have preferred no weird toes, but it's not like old man toys will stop any time soon. I'm sure we'll see another attempt in 5-6 years, but I'd still be perfectly happy with this one.
The transformation is specific - I had it wrong the first time, thanks to all the tabs and slots. If you do it right, it seems easy, but there's a lot you can get wrong which results in a weird, tummy-draggy truck and nobody wants that. I got it right after some fidgeting, and the results are good. Not great - but good. They managed to make a much better toy than the weird chrome-armed accident I had and loved as a kid.
The truck is a little cute, just like the original - there are places to mount 5mm accessories, but the included 2-piece blaster is too tight of a fit The rear of the car (without the claw plate) can tow Optimus' trailer, and the claw itself has a couple of places to mount C.O.M.B.A.T. blast effects. Why you would want them there on truck mode, I don't know - but you can!
The truck rolls nicely, and the clear blue windows look great. It's close enough to the original truck that I can't complain about it, other than it is a little small. You get a lot of moving parts and deco, and color, so at least it's a $20 toy that feels like there's probably $20 of "worth it" in that alt mode. It's not overdesigned, it's got silver hubcaps... there's not much I would even think about adding to it. Maybe some chrome. What you get is what you should get in 2021 for this asking price.
Given that the previous $10 Huffer underpromised and underdelivered, this one has it all - an all-new strangely modern sci-fi blaster, some sort of shield/claw, and a robot that looks like the cartoon - minus the legs, anyway. I don't see any reason why any old and cranky fan wouldn't run out to pick this one up immediately.
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