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TRANSFORMERS TOYS AND MERCHANDISE SECTION

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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Sir Auros' review of: Tow-line and Skyfire

Name: Tow-line
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Repairs
Sub-Group: NA
"Follow the rules."

Name: Skyfire
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Warrior
Sub-Group: NA
"As you command."

For some reason, these two and the Skid-Z and Windshear set go for ridiculous amounts of money on ebay. I don't recall them being very rare when they came out, but they've become highly sought-after now it seems. I was able to buy my set loose and complete recently (total $12 after shipping), but missed out on an auction for a loose Skid-Z and Windshear. Of the two sets, this was the one that I was less interested in mainly because of Tow-line, but I was pleased to win it anyway.

Both of the figures seem a lot smaller than I remember them being and I have mixed feelings about purchasing them now. They are fairly nice figures, but I wonder if I would have felt justified buying them when they came out in the Deluxe price range. I'm not sure what the molds sold for when they were packaged individually and sold in the Machine Wars line.

Vehicle Mode:
I'm not sure what type of jet Skyfire is and I've never seen a tow truck that looked anything like Tow-line, but I can tell you this about both of their vehicle modes - they do a piss-poor job of hiding their robot modes. This is likely due to their share gimmick which was basically a one-step transformation. Yep, a transformation that requires the flipping of one part of the figure (Skyfire's nosecone and Tow-line's hook) to have a nearly fully transformed figure. The only real effort in the transformation is moving the arms.

Skyfire has a good paintjob (very Decepticon), but the jet looks kind of dwarfed like how the G1 minibots looked like dwarfed versions of the vehicles they were based on. Tow-line's paintjob is hideous and the sculpting really doesn't look much like a tow truck. The clearly visible arms on the back of the truck are the worst offenders though. Skyfire good, Tow-line bad.

Robot Mode:
Both figures are well-articulated, but unlike most other figures that utilize the ball-socket joints, these seem to be very stiff in their movements and there are certain angles that are hard to position their limbs (especially the arms) in. I'm still not sure what causes this, but it's something I've never encountered with a figure with a ball-socket joint. Tow-line has a lot of flash on his arms and Skyfire has a little bit too, and that's something now rare in Transformers (and was unacceptable in 2001 too). Flash, in this context, is what you call the excess plastic that forms around the seams of a mold when it's cast. Nowadays molds are made so that this very rarely happens, but apparently the Machine Wars molds still had these problems and they weren't corrected for the Robots in Disguise versions of the figures.

Both figures have weapons (though Skyfire's is significantly cooler than Tow-line's) and both look pretty good in robot mode. Skyfire resembles a G2 Cyberjet and the only problem I have with the figure in this mode is that the head can only move to the left or right and can barely do that. Tow-line has more problems, but I didn't hate this figure as much as I thought I would. It is lime-green and the head does look awkward the way it's positioned, but aside from that and the flash issue, it's a decent robot mode with good articulation and sculpting.

Transformation: 7 - Interesting gimmick, but it hurt the whole "robots in disguise" aspect.
Durability: 8 - Ball-socket joints are notoriously durable, but it's been three years since these figures came out and Tow-line already has chrome-wear.
Fun: 9 - Super articulation = super fun.
Price: 3 - Awful. I paid significantly more than the initial price for the loose figures and that felt like a steal.
Summary: 7 - They're decent enough figures, but nowhere near as great as the high prices and demand would lead you to believe.

 
 
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