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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review: Long Haul

Name: Long Haul
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Transport
Sub-Group: Constructicon / Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Voyager Class

Long Haul is too bitter to be an effective soldier on his own. Despite the fact that he is part of one of the most destructive and terrifying Decepticon squads of all time, he is too often treated as little more than a cargo hauler. Other Decepticons sling their gear into his bed without a second thought, and order him to carry it around for them. Rather than confront them, he’d rather grumble about it privately, then stop on the way and destroy whatever he’s been given responsibility for.

Long Haul’s movie design was circulating the net at a very early stage prior to any official announcements of the Constructicons’ inclusion in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (although there were rumours). It seems likely that this design was merely a superb piece of fan artwork in the rough style of a Bayformer. Rough, because in some ways Long Haul looked a bit too traditional for a Michael Bay Decepticon.

As it turns out, the designs flying around were fan art, created by Josh Nizzi. However, in a uncharacteristic moment of sanity, Michael Bay hired Josh to design ‘bots for the film, and used the Long Haul design! (And thanks to this decision, we also have Jetfire and the new Megatron design, amongst others.)

So, as unlikely as it seems, this excellent design made it into the actual film, albeit for only a few minutes of action. And, unlike Bonecrusher from the first film, who also had only a fleeting appearance (but did fight Optimus Prime!), Long Haul has received a decent scale figure (although he did not fight Optimus Prime…).

And this is also the only Movieverse Constructicon to be G1 Constructicon Green.


Alternate Mode:

Long Haul has always been a dump truck, and Michael Bay has not changed this. However, Michael Bay has made him a huge dump truck. But, that is one of the reasons Michael Bay is the right man to bring Transformers to the big screen in live action – he is a master of cool machines, massive action sequences and big explosions. And he chose some of the biggest constructions vehicles in the world for the Constructicons. And for the component parts of Devastator. What a guy. What a guy…

Anyway.

Long Haul transforms into a Caterpillar 773B rock truck (i.e. very big dump truck). Measuring 6” (15cm) long and 3 ” (9cm) wide puts him at 1/62 scale, and makes him a very chunky Voyager Class figure. But, to put this into perspective – Demolishor’s Terex steamshovel can fill this truck with a single shovel-load, and still have rock to spare! (Take-home-message – Long Haul is big but Demolishor is huge!)

I saw these trucks being transported in Botswana this summer, and they moved them in halves – and they were big!

Enough of that. We get the point.

The dump truck mode is highly detailed, with rivets, bolts, panels, ladders, railings, metal walkways, pistons… It’s awesome! As mentioned, he is Constructicon Green, with black details and a red stripe, ‘1214’ printed in white, a red stripe and a Decepticon insignia in black on the left-hand side. The windows are clear plastic, as are the various headlights. Unfortunately, the green of the bed does not match the rest of the figure, but this is a minor issue.

No robot parts are obvious in rock truck mode, but his hands are folded in plain sight above the rear wheels, and, while blending in at a distance, do not stand up to closer scrutiny.

However, that can be forgiven when you realise the bed can be tipped, with ‘realistic’ functioning pistons! That really does make up for anything (if you’re a fan of industrial construction machinery, like me!).

The alternate mode is simply awesome!


Robot Mode:

Long Haul’s transformation is not complex, nor particularly special. However, it is satisfying and fun, rather than annoying and frustrating (as many of the ROTF figures are becoming…). However, some very minor changes would have resulted in a far more film accurate robot mode, while still allowing for a comparatively simple Transformer, as we shall see. Why these were not incorporated, I have no idea – especially considering the handful of subtle and unnecessary touches already in place.

Standing 8” (20cm) tall (excluding shoulder wheels which may be positioned as desired), he’s a decent sized Voyager figure. However, unlike his blocky alternate mode and chunky Movie design, the figure is rather lanky by comparison. While many of the fantastic design elements are in place, the overall effect is one of a stretched or starved version of the hulking film character. However, there are some nice touches, such as the way in which the kibble from the front of the truck folds around each thigh, recreating the detailing on the movie design nicely, or the way in which the front wheels reposition to be in a more film accurate position – two relatively subtle and unnecessary design elements. While the Mech-Alive spinning gear in his chest is rather unimpressive (indeed, I didn’t even notice it for a week!), the pistons in the arms, and springs in the legs are perhaps the most fun gimmick in any ROTF figure. Detailing really is amazing, and dull gunmetal metallic paint brings out much of this, with a few dashes of silver, and plenty of green, black and red. The head is superb – the best ROTF sculpt I own (although there is no light piping – instead solid red blocks out the back of the head).

There is some weird fibble on the chest, with the front of the truck recreated on either side, with the number ‘1214’ printed twice even though it is only present on one side of the truck. This is made stranger by the fact that the real truck front is fully visible on each thigh, number and all! (I think the toy designers may have been confused by the concept art, which shows the front of the bed forming these bars, with ‘CATERPILLAR’ split between each side. If this is what the designers were trying to recreate, you’d have ‘12141214’ printed in the centre of the bar at the front of the bed in truck mode – which would be weird. So, I conclude, they were confused.)

Articulation is pretty good, and the figure has good balance – even with the top of a dumper truck hanging off his back! However, the panels hanging off each arm tend to restrict posability, and the lack of rotation at the wrist makes for very awkward looking poses. The rear wheels have a degree of posability themselves, and can be positioned as desired – so long as your desired position is not the same as in the film… You can get close – but not quite. The addition of a simple hinge in the bar supporting this assembly would have gone a long way to resolving this, as would have additional articulation in the wheel assembly. Two relatively simple options, yet ignored, just like the wrists.

While lacking these simple features, Long Haul does possess a spring-loaded swing-out blade in the panels on each arm. While I don’t recall Long Haul having these in the film, or engaging in close combat (doesn’t he just launch missiles at folks from a distance, and take a pummeling from human artillery?), they are nicely detailed with glyphs and other features – not that you’d be able to tell easily as they’ve been cast in totally clear plastic…

So, overall, Long Haul has a mediocre robot mode with a few really nifty features and some superb detailing, but nothing overly special. He could have been so much better with just a couple of minor tweaks, and still come out far simpler than most ROTF figures.

Despite all this, he has great charm, and is, conversely, one of my favourite ROTF figures. My recommendation is to grab him if you’re a fan of construction machinery, or to check him out in person before committing the 25 quid they’re after for Voyagers these days.



Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 5 – Relatively straightforward and more traditional than other ROTF figures. It won’t take you long (even the first time), but in this line, that’s refreshing in itself.
Durability: 7 – He is generally solid – however, the various railings feel brittle, and he came out the package with stress marks on some. They seem to be of the same ilk as Voyager Mixmaster’s mirrors – and my Mixmaster came missing a wing mirror! So, I don’t hold out much hope for the long-term survival of Long Haul’s more fragile components.
Fun: 7 – Fantastic fun in dumper mode (the bed works guys, and has moving pistons!), but the robot mode is nothing special (but has cool moving pistons!). A few tweaks would have allowed for a more film accurate robot mode and better articulation.
Price: 5 – I don’t know if it’s just my area, but ROTF Deluxe figures seem to continue to increase in price. Thankfully this is not the case for the already overpriced Voyager figures. The average shelf price seems to have dropped from 24.99 to 22.99. Not that I have seen Voyager Long Haul anywhere in the UK though. I believe US prices are more or less similar in numerical value (i.e. around $25), which is only good value if you live in the UK. I’m very thankful Long Haul was send over the pond by Clay!
Overall: 6 – Objectively, Voyager Long Haul probably deserves a ‘6’. He’s nothing spectacular, but he does deliver on traditional values. He is overpriced, and there are more exciting ROTF figures to spend your money on (and no shortage of choice!). I personally would award him an ‘8’, as I love construction vehicles, and I like the fact they’ve not tried to be too clever with the transformation sequence for a change – plus, despite lack of articulation, the robot mode looks cool!
 
 
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