Transformers Review: Tow-Line (Energon Deluxe Knockoff)


Intro:
            When I first started collecting Transformers seriously back in 2004, the majority of my collections consisted of Energon/ Superlink figures – albeit knockoff figures – as the franchise began to make its way back to the mainstream market. Since the end of the Beast Machine TV series, it would take several more years before another original series would make it to national TV in Malaysia – Energon/Superlink.
            2003 – 2006 were probably the pinnacle years for knockoff figures. Most knockoff figures (which I would literally call as the original 3rd Parties) released during these times were very commendable. Some are so good that they are virtually indistinguishable from the original, save only for the trademark engravings and the Transformers insignia.
            Of course, some of these knockoffs have inferior qualities compared to the originals – what do you expect when you compare a RM14-action figure, and an RM 56- action figure?
            Tow-Line was one of those that I have bought in 2005, thanks to a friend of mine – Hocus Pocus – who sent it to me all the way from Kuching, Sarawak. It isn’t a popular character, in fact in never even appeared in the animated series, but I already knew of its existence through various fan page. This was a character that would rely on his intellect, rather than relying on physicality to solve problems.
So when Hocus Pocus told me of its availability in Sarawak, I knew I had to get him.

Alternate Mode:
            Tow-Line’s alternate mode is a van with no specific models, but I would imagine it to be a van that is most likely to be used by reporters or for spying missions, due to the satellite thingy on top.
            Tow-Line is overall 2 shades of blue, red in front and a red stripe running from front to back.
            The van itself is pretty detailed and the kibbles are minimal, with most robot parts are well hidden from view.

Robot Mode:
            Through out the years, I’ve been wary of Van-formers. Until then, most Van-formers, no matter how good or bad the vehicle mode was, the robot mode was guaranteed to be horrible.
            Just take a look at G1 Ironhide and Ratchet; they are definitely the Top-2 contenders for the ugliest Transformers on the 80’s.
            Tow-Line, however, fared way better, and even far exceeded my expectations if I have to say so myself. The van splits into 2 components: the robot itself and a battle platform.
            The battle platform isn’t exactly stellar, but despite being a knockoff figure, he is surprisingly detailed. The paintjob may be a bit sloppy, but the carved details are all there!
            The antenna device that was previously mounted on top of the van can now be wielded as some sort of cannon that can be mounted onto the platform.
            The top half on the van now transforms into the robot itself. The robot mode is perfectly proportioned and I really do love the detailing exhibited here.
Tow-Line and Reveal the Shield Wreck-Gar
            His face looks kind of serious and unlike most knockoff figures out there, this guy literally has some heft to it.
            Articulation-wise: the head rotates, but the movements are heavily restricted; the shoulders consist of a ball joint and a hinge; the elbows and hips are on ball joints as well; the knees bend as if they are double-jointed; and finally, the foot pieces tilt forward, but mostly due to transformation.
            The robot mode is good and there is also a slot on his left shoulder pad for him to mount his Energon Star.
            Overall, Tow-Line’s robot mode is absolutely fantastic.  

Overall:
            Tow-Line’s mold is very good – so good that it would later be reused for Transformers Timeline Ironhide and Ratchet.
            For a knockoff, he is absolutely fantastic, and for most cases, it is indistinguishable from its original version.
            Based on its characterization, it’s sad that the character was not used in the animated series itself.
            Highly Recommended.

            Final verdict: 9.5/10 

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