Saturday, 1 March 2014

X2 Toys Strengthen Equipment - Generations Hoist and Trailcutter Upgrade Kit

With Trailbreaker (or Trailcutter as he is now officially named, but I will refer to him as Trailbreaker as that's who he is) and Hoist both making an appearance in the Transformers Generations line last year, gaps were filled in collections across the world.

But whilst both share the same mold, and are excellent figures, something was clearly missing - mostly in Hoist's case.

So 3rd parties answered the call, and did what they do best - created an upgrade kit.
X2 toys is a new one on me, and I have no idea if they have released any other products prior to this, so I have no opinion of them as a company before this.

Is the set worth the £20 it cost? Hit the button below to read the review after the jump

Alt Modes

I will start with how the set integrates into the vehicle modes. Anyone who has Hoist, or seen him and has any recollection of the original Generation One figure will tell you something is missing.
Hasbro chose to forgo giving Hoist his classic orange pick up gear. As he comes, he does not look too bad with just a crane, but the orange bits are probably Hoists most iconic feature.

So X2 toys have created a set for him, and it attaches very snugly into the hole where the crane does.

There is a peg hole for plugging in the crane, so no parts have to be left by the wayside.

They have done an excellent job of recreating his towing apparatus from the original toy, whilst modernising it to fit with a new toy and feel like it came with the toy to start with.

Hoist also comes with a laser arm, that replaces his right fist. It is stored on the back and actually fits snugly inside the truck bed - so its hidden away. The whole set just makes Hoists vehicle mode so much better, and without it it just looks dull and lacking.

Trailbreakers add on parts also attach in vehicle mode, though not quite as well as they do Hoists. Trailbreaker already comes with a canopy section, which also doubles as a really rubbish shield, so there was less for X2 to work with here.

The small pistol attaches to the top of the roof, and his gun arm also pegs onto the roof, but hangs off the back like maybe a spare can of fuel or a piece of equipment. It still looks pretty cool, but where as Hoists look like they were intended to be there all a long, with Trailbreaker they look more like add on parts that they could not integrate properly so just attached where they could. Its far from a bad look though, and it does look cool so don't my words as a complaint.

What is nice, is that they have matched the colours perfectly, so the parts do feel like they belong to the figure.

Hoists alt mode benefits the most from this, in that it raises it up quite significantly, Trailbreakers works too but more in the scheme of just having somewhere for them to attach and X2 making the best of a tough situation.

Robot Mode

This is where the set really grabs your attention, with both figures.

All the extra parts look like they were supposed to come with the figures in the first place. Nothing looks tacked on, or like some designer has taken liberties. Everything is very smoothly integrated and carefully colour matched. All of the paint work is subtle, and crisp with no errors on mine.

Again, its Hoist that is most visibly changed - he now his iconic Orange wings! They look awesome, and its amazing how much they add to him. There is some really nice grey paint on them too, which is very easy to overlook in the midst of just being overjoyed that he has his wings.

Not only do the wings look great, but the whole assembly transforms with the figure. That's right, there's no parts forming here. Once you have attached the back section, it never needs to be removed, which is a fantastic touch. Too often add ons and upgrades look great in both modes, but are not integrated in such a way as to allow them to stay attached during transformation.

The fact that this set actually has some transformation involved itself, just adds to the feeling that it is part of the toy. The wings are on ball joints and swivel up from the truck mode, and the whole assembly is on a hinge, so folds down to become Hoists back.

It does not fold entirely flush with his back, which is disappointing, but its the only downside to it and its a minor one.

Hoist's gun/crane can stay pegged into his hole and stay stored on his back without ever removing it from vehicle mode too.

His gun arm pegs into his hand from the underside, so replaces it. You can still see the hand from the side, but it is largely successful. The colour is even matched to the plastic on his arms, so it does not look off or anything like that.

Its easy to think that this set is worth it purely for the Hoist upgrades, as it is Hoist who benefits the most from it all. However, I actually bought the set mainly for a tiny piece that is designed for Trailbreaker.

He comes with a small black pistol, which fits in his hand a little loosely but still looks cool. It is a perfectly serviceable hand pistol, and a nice addition for a figure that did not actually come with a hand weapon, just a shield.

But the trick to the pistol is that it has a much more important function for people like me want the most G1 look possible.

Yes, it corrects a long standing error with this figure, and that was ability to have his radar positioned properly over his head, and have the shield attached to his back.

Finally, my OCD is satisfied.

Originally, the shield was designed to peg into a hole on top of the radar array, which meant it had to be positioned pointing upwards - rendering it a bit pointless.

But X2 toys recognised just how annoying this was, and came up with an excellent solution. The pistol pegs into a hole on Trailbreakers back, with sits too deep for you to just attach the shield to it. So the pistol acts as a connector, and you plug the shield into the peg hole on the top of it. Just brilliant.

Now he looks like his supposed to, with the radar array pointing forward, and the back missiles behind them. You get a much nicer, more accurate silhouette.

The other piece for Trailbreaker, is a gun arm. It would have been easy for X2 to just use the same piece has Hoist and few people would have complained. But they went the extra couple of miles, and built him a completely different gun arm with swivel for alt mode, and an extra mount for the pistol.

You can see here, that if you are a mad person who likes the radar pointing up, and also don't want Trailbreaker holding a pistol, you can attach it to the underside of the gun arm giving a double barrelled cannon arm.

Trailbreaker goes from no weapons, to angel of death with this set.

Its another example of just how well thought out this set is, with every thing being catered for, whilst still being remarkably simple.

Even the detailing and paint apps are subtle, but really well done. The whole gun arm does look like something right out of the More Than Meets The Eye comics, and that is a very good thing, as the figures design was taken from IDW's comics.

A sticker sheet also comes in the box, with extra stickers to cover the paint apps on the top so the extra stickers blend better. I have not added these, as I am quite happy with the amount of paint apps already on the figure, but they will add a bit if you choose to add them yourself.

If you have both of these figures, then you really need this set. It improves both figures quite significantly, and the level of care and thought that has gone into it is stunning.

Its a set that is so subtly done that it feels like it belongs to these figures, rather than looking like really overly detailed add ons that someone has done a great job with, but you can tell have been bought separately. Every part of the set is designed to fit with the figures, but make them look more different from each other.

X2 toys have hit this one out of the park, and I hope the pictures do a good job of conveying just how good this set is. I love 3rd party toys, but for me this is where I think they are at their best - making decently priced add on kits to vastly improve figures.

For £20 or so, it is a bargain and will make very good toys that extra bit better.

                                     Lets build something! Or go watch the Lego movie instead...

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  1. It's a nice work of toys. Nice toys as robots, cars and crains all seems very good and the information given in this blog also right. It is useful for all who works for this.
    4 Post Hoist

  2. Thanks, its an awesome set that really improves the original figures.

  3. really nice robot crane, i have a police car robot in my home

  4. Just the review the doctor ordered!