Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekly Transformers Feature: Hoist (Reissue)

Hoist art from the DW More Than Meets The Eye seriesSometimes I have these Friday features planned weeks and weeks in advance. Other times, I post something that I only thought about right before the post itself appears. This week is one of the latter. You can blame Jim Sorenson, who posted a review of Marvel issue #14 yesterday. Featured prominently on the cover is Hoist, who was among a number of Autobot characters introduced in that issue. I used to really like Hoist, although I have to confess that my toy has been sitting untouched on my shelf for the longest time. I figured this was an excuse to pull the figure down and clean it up.

Hoist Robot ModeHoist is perhaps unusual among moderately-well-known characters in that, although he is almost always depicted as having only one humanoid fist, his toy is perfectly capable of having two, as the fists and missiles are all interchangeable. This perhaps explains why the artists can't seem to decide whether Hoist is left-handed or right-handed. The art above shows a right-handed Hoist. I prefer a left-handed orientation, as in Hoist's original Marvel #14 appearance. Perhaps the fact that I, myself, am a southpaw makes me a bit biased, but I'm not alone. I've found more instances of a left-handed Hoist on the TFWiki than right-handed versions.

Hoist Vehicle ModeHoist's toy is a remold of the Trailbreaker toy, featuring a different head and with towing gear on the back of the truck replacing Trailbreaker's camper shell. Although the original Hoist was available in 1985, I have the 2003 Toys R Us Exclusive reissue. Like nearly all such TRU G1 reissues of that time, Hoist was priced considerably higher than many people were willing to pay, and thus the reissue became something of a shelfwarmer. Even after TRU slashed prices to single-digit levels, boxes remained unpurchased for quite some time. Good news for me insofar as it meant I could pick up Hoist fairly cheaply, but really bad news in terms of getting other reissues in the future. I blame the costs of die-cast metal.


  1. Hoist's depiction as a one-handed robot isn't entirely unique (Inferno and Grapple usually have gun-arms, too, as does Trailbreaker). Hoist is supposed to be a leftie, if you go by his original animation model, so I'm sure any modern illustrations that depict him differently have either been mirror-flipped, or the artist just wasn't paying attention.

    You're right about the Toys "R" Us reissues being inordinately expensive, but don't blame the die-cast metal content of the toys. A reissue like Hoist only cost TRU $16 per unit, but they turned around and sold them for $30, a markup of nearly fifty percent. The industry standard is about twenty or twenty-five percent, which means they could have sold the things for $19.99 and still turned a halfway decent profit. Actually, they probably would have made more money in the long run because I reckon there would have been far fewer unsold units lingering in the stores.

  2. I'll change "unique" to "unusual" (leaving "perhaps"). Thanks for the comments.

    (I still blame die-cast metal. Mostly just because I hate it--or more properly, I hate how so many fans seem to think it's so superior, for reasons that I've never felt stand up to scrutiny. This is a reasonably well-documented bias of mine.)


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