Cliffbee.com: Machine Wars Hubcap Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Hubcap
Series: Machine Wars
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Damage Control
Alternate Mode: Tow Truck



TOW TRUCK MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 11cm Width: 4.5cm

   A canary yellow tow truck with grey plastic windows as well as what looks like a grey strobe rack on the roof, Hubcap has black plastic wheels and a black hook at the back. On the sides of the tray and on the doors are yellow and black danger-stripe stickers, although the yellow on these doesn't match the much brighter yellow plastic at all. This is an uninspired colour scheme, and you get the feeling it's only called Hubcap because it's yellow - it doesn't remind me of the yellow Porsche 944 at all.

   The back section is essentially two side panels doing a bad job of hiding the robot arms, which are meant to be machinery or something, but are fairly obvious from the top view. And being yellow, they can't hide in the shadows - something they manage to do on Hoist. The hook sticks backwards from between the hands, and doesn't move. The front grille has some silver paint, but it's very subtle and the headlights are unpainted.

   The transformation might be simple, but it takes it's toll on this vehicle mode. Sticking out on either side are the gears that the arms pivot on, they're big dome shaped things that are largely cosmetic rather than functional - he'd be better if they'd skipped this feature. The other thing that bothers me is the gap underneath the truck, which is to allow for the front to fold down and become the chest. Which would be fine if it didn't leave this clear gap, making the truck look incomplete. Again the choice of yellow doesn't help matters, since the gap can't blend into the dark colours of the toy, which it can do on Hoist.

   Play value is limited to rolling Hubcap along on his plastic wheels, which isn't terribly exciting. As you can probably tell, I don't think much of this tow truck mode. It's not a very good mould, it doesn't fit for Hubcap and the colour scheme is both dull and garish. The arms and gears are nothing but robot kibble and the non-existent play value doesn't make up for his flaws.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Lift up the hook and theoretically he'll transform himself. In reality the arms wont flip right out, because the gears that stick out the sides and end up on his shoulders provide resistance, so you'll have to finish flipping out the arms. You're meant to detach the grille and fold it over to form a handgun, but the grille panel just sits on top of the gun. Detach the gun, pop the grille back and put the gun itself in his hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 9.5cm Width: 7cm

   Hubcap's still too yellow for his own good, although not quite as garish as he was in truck mode. His eyes and the windows on his chest are grey, as well as the back of his head - thanks to an abandoned lightpipe. The elbow joints and forehead are black, along with the rear wheels on his shins, and it's this black which breaks up all that yellow. There are some red painted details on his cheeks and foreheads, which give the face some definition - and this is probably the only real advantage he has over Hoist, whose face is far too black. While it's the better of this toy's two modes, it's still an awkward fit for Hubcap.

   The torso is boxy, thanks to the side panels of the truck sitting on the outside of the torso, The front of the truck forms the torso itself, and points down, about 30 off vertical. This sloping truck effect works fairly well, since it gives Hubcap a truck facade without a protruding chest, although it does give him a slight pot belly. As I said before, leave the grill attached. It not only adds kibble to the gun, the lower torso looks incomplete if it's not there.

   Remember how I said this is the better looking mode? Well, that's partly because of the chest, but also because you can do stuff. He's poseable. The shoulders rotate, and have hinges allowing his arms to swing out to the sides. The elbows and hips are ball joints, and the knees are hinged. The hips are restricted by the side panels, but he still has some poseability. The articulation isn't as good as the other Machine Wars basic moulds, but it's still the best part of this mould, and easily the best feature of Hubcap.

   The gun location is quite cool, but the gun is pretty much a rectangle with a barrel on it. It's boxy and short, although better short than short with the front of a truck stuck to the back.

   While it's his better mode, this is still a pretty poor robot mode. The yellow is still a bad colour choice, and the possibility isn't enough to save him from the flaws of this robot mode.

VARIATIONS

   Released concurrently with Hoist. Tow-Line of RiD is a repaint of this mould.

OVERALL

   A bad name reuse that falls well short of the mark, Hubcap is my least favourite of the Machine Wars flipchangers. If you want this mould, get Tow-Line or even Hoist - although even then the mould itself isn't anything to write home about. Unspectacular play value and bad colours mean this is a toy I'd recommend _not_ getting - 2.5/10

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