Name: Roadhauler (was originally slated as Hauler)
Series: e-Hobby exclusives
Function: Transport/Resource Exploration
Alternate Mode: Crane
Height: 6.5cm (27cm if you extend the arm right up) Length: 15.5cm (23cm if you extend the arm) Width: 5.5cm
Hauler is a spearmint green truck mounted crane, with an extendable crane arm on top. The hook at the end is chromed silver. This hook is quite delicate - a lot of second hand Grapples (of which Hauler is a repaint), including mine, come with broken hooks. The headlights, grill and rear ledge are also chromed silver. The windows on the cabin are transparent purple, as are the strobes mounted on top of the roof, to give him a Constructicon theme, although they're a lime rather than spearmint green. It's still pretty close, though. There's an Autobot symbol painted on the front of his cabin, and there's also another on his sticker sheet I'd recommend putting on top of the roof, which you can see when you raise the arm. You could also put it on top of the arm's outer sleeve, if you prefer. The rear platform under the crane assembly is die cast metal.
This is now a pretty old model of truck, it'd be early 1980s. While he doesn't look antique, it is a little dated. The sides of the truck are formed by the robot arms and there's a hollow bit in between them. Whilst it's not very noticeable, it's there.
These drawbacks are relatively minor, and he has some very cool bits. The first is the fact that the arm extends, and has a chromed support arm that can clip underneath the outer sleeve or swing out and rest on the back of the cabin roof to support the crane. You have to unclip and reclip it when lifting the arm, since it actually clips the head piece into place. The cabin can fold forward to reveal a seat inside (for a Diaclone pilot). There are green and black warning style stickers on the arm and its base (actually the base ones are painted).
In terms of play value, Hauler's blessed with six wheels that roll (and rubber tyres), as well as the cabin and arm as mentioned. The joint at the arm's base ratchets - this was a change to the mould for the 2000 reissue of Grapple. There's not really too much more you could ask, aside from a metal hook, since this one is quiet fragile. It can grip stuff, but I'm not sure I'd want to put too much weight on it, especially not on a limited toy like Hauler.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Spread the rear wheels slightly, then pull down the wheelbase and fold it forward 90° to form the legs. This waist hinge ratchets and clips into place - another mould change for the 2000 Grapple. Fold the feet forward. Unclip the arms from the side and swivel them forward. swing the arms down and fold back the silver tabs on top of his shoulders. Insert his fists (or missiles) into his wrists. Fold the crane arm back to reveal the head, swing the head up and attach the head assembly to his chest.
Height: 17cm Width: 8cm
Still very much spearmint, Hauler's robot mode has a fair bit of black thrown in, with the chromed headlight & grill section now on his waist. His groin, fists, knees and head are black. The chest & waist are the front of the truck, and he has tyres on the uppersides of his feet and on his hips. The undersides of his feet are die cast metal.
His face is silver and well sculpted, there's a fair bit of detail. His eyes are blue, as on the TCS Inferno he was released concurrently with. Behind his head is the base of the crane arm.
Hauler's got a couple of weapon options. He comes with a black handgun as well as three chromed silver missiles which can insert into the wrists, which double as missile launchers. If you like you can take one fist out and give his a missile launcher/laser, Grapple and Inferno had in the cartoon. You can always give him two but then he has no hands.
All of Hauler's poseability is in his arms. His wrists rotate and his elbows bend. There's two sets of joints in his shoulders, giving him full poseability. Combine this with the missile launchers and he has some play value. The missile launchers don't shoot all that far, it must be said.
Weak missile launchers aside probably the only weakness to this mode is the lack of a waist. The wheels on the sides are the widest part of his torso, and sit at about where his waist should be. Otherwise this is a decent robot mode.
A recolour of Grapple, as mentioned. In essence, this guy's based on Grapple - a yellow crane appeared in More Than Meets The Eye. It didn't transform, it was referred to as Hauler. It _wasn't_ identical to Grapple, whom appeared later in the series, he had a slightly different headlight array, a boxier cabin and was more yellow than Grapple. But it was clearly meant to be the toy that was (presumably) later named Grapple. Also, he had a single-shot appearance in Transformers: The Movie.
Still, the "Hauler" name hung around, and in 2003 Takara released Hauler as an eHobby exclusive. He's technically called Roadhauler for legal reasons, but was announced initially as Hauler).
A very nice recolour of a pretty good toy, Hauler's great. Of course, for those like me who always liked to think of Hauler as a distinct character to Grapple, the release of this toy is a great thing. Unless you got him from eHobby at the time of release (as I did), you may find him a tad pricey, being a limited production toy. If you can get him at a decent price, Hauler's a toy I'd recommend - 8.5/10