Buzzworthy Robots in Disguise 2000 Universe Tow-Line A Scraphook Repaint based on a Hoist/Hubcap repaint
Transformers Generations Legacy Evolution Deluxe Target Exclusive
Item No.: No. F7017 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Blaster, hook, hook mount Action Feature:Transforms from vehicle to robot Retail:$24.99 Availability: July 2023 Other: No parking means no parking!
The 1990s and early 2000s were an exciting and weird time to be a fan of Transformers, with some really big leaps in engineering giving us enhanced articulation while people bashed heads trying to figure out of vehicles or creatures were the path forward. After a massively creative Beast Machines gave us action features on stylized beasts and vehicles, Robots in Disguise would shift directions back to vehicles with a few new molds and some recycled offerings. This Robots in Disguise 2000 Universe Tow-Line is based on a "basic" toy that was sold in a 2-pack for $10, which itself was originally released in Machine Wars in 1997. Except this time, it was in Mystery Machine-ish colors. The original toy is pretty nice, and this 2023 update throws out the simplicity but keeps the distinctive colors and head design.
Unlike Sky-Byte, Optimus Prime (Super Fire Convoy), and Scourge, Tow-Line didn't exactly make a tremendous impact as a character that fans would keep reaching back toward time and again. Actually this is the first time he got a new toy in these colors in two decades, and the colors are a shockingly good match. T hat green plastic - now swirly, which scares me a bit - looks like the original US release. I don't know if this means it'll get GPS or not... but if it does, I assure you, I'll be dumping a lot of toys and exiting buying a lot of new ones. I should not be concerned my toys will crumble to dust.
I assumed we'd get a tribute to Energon Tow-Line first, but this bigger, beefier green guy is no slouch. I have the US release of this figure because I picked it up on a lark in college - the 2-pack was $10 here and also included a gray and purple jet named Skyfire. The entire 2001 Robots in Disguise line was, in some respects, sort of the last gasp of G2 (along with an encore in Universe) and I guess that makes this new 2023 Tow-Line an honorary G2 capsule member. Garish repaints of existing toys are always welcome, and this one matches the original's spirit so closely I couldn't say no. It's too nice.
The robot toy plays exactly like Scraphook [FOTD #2,529] with a less serious head. You still get the spiky spare tire, the chrome pipes, the hook, and the shin-mounted blasters. Articulation is pretty good and he holds together rather well for the third (so far) iteration of this engineering. I love the weird head and the color-matching is top-notch. The purple hands look great, the only thing I didn't love was that the bluer green plastic (thighs, forearms) don't quite match the paint. It looks good, but it's not the perfect match that the painted bits are to the RID original. It's also worth noting he doesn't have light-piping, and is all the better for it - the orange visor pops nicely and doesn't seem dim in a dark room, like some other toys.
This is a robot figure that may not be for people without a sense of whimsy. Taking a perfectly nice tow truck and giving him armor and spikes and tons of gear isn't true to the original toy or cartoon, but also, it's a big cheerful ridiculous toy and I love it. If you have a sense of joy, I'd recommend giving it a look to hang out with the Scourge you probably bought and maybe the Sky-Byte shrine you have, too. And we can hope they do a few more to go with them.
Transformation is the same as others with this mold, but for whatever reason the arms seem to fit together a little bit better. The feet are the car's hood, the arms are the back, and the chest and head area become the cab section. Aside from the accessories, you don't have to pry him apart.
The truck mode is pretty good. It's preposterous for there to be an armored tow truck... or at least, it was, and it probably won't be in a few years. This one improves on the original mold in that the hook can rotate so you can actually use it to tow other vehicles. That's useful. You can also mount all the accessories on it, and he has painted wheels too. It looks good. If it were a Hot Wheels car, I'd recommend buying that too - it's just a nice design. You can connect other 5mm accessories to it, and the engine pops off if you like. Hasbro did a nice job here. You can also tear off a chunk of him and replace it with other toys that share this engineering like Scraphook and Axlegrease. It's charming and it looks like a toy - I really appreciate that. Too many toys look like Serious Collectibles these days, and I don't need that in my life. I want toys, please and thank you.
I like toys with bright colors, and this one delivers. It stands out in seas of relatively restrained - but good - designs. But I don't want 1984 cars that look like a respectable person might own it, I want a ridiculous green truck that looks like a kid won a Mad Max coloring contest.
This green truck is a wacky and weird toy, applying a cute color scheme to a Mad Max-esque design. It doesn't make sense, but it works - and unfortunately it's not close enough to the original as to prevent fans for asking for another go at it. It's decent, it's big, and it's better than nothing - and given some of the other excellent Buzzworthy toys to hit clearance, I assume this one might as well. Unless, of course, it's in stock at full price during the Christmas shopping rush later this year. Target has slashed so many new exclusives by 70% this year that I would never want to say "wait for clearance." But I will says support the kinds of things you want more of, and if you're on the fence, it's worth the $25 and no doubt would be worth a discounted price, too.
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