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Long Haul

Transformers Combiner Wars
by yo go re

Since we're going to be reviewing all the components of Devastator separately, let's begin with the heart of the team - or more accurately, with the butt.

Long Haul is a dump truck. He's always a dump truck (except when he's inexplicably a crane). According to the fiction, he can carry up to 90 tons for 1200 miles - that's the equivalent of taking the space shuttle from Cape Canaveral to Augusta, Maine. Which seems like kind of a dick thing to do, since space shuttles don't do too well in the wet and the cold.

The truck is massive - it's 7½" long, 3¾" tall and 5⅝" wide. It's even big in-universe: there are ladders ahead of the front tires, so a driver would have to climb up those, then walk across the flat surfaces to get back to the cab; and then how would you even see the road from way up there? The truck is, of course, bright neon green, with four rolling black wheels, silver hubcaps, purple windows, silver headlights, and black detailing for the smoke stack, grill, and fuel tanks.

Unlike G1 Long Haul, the way he converts does not allow you to pretend the bed of the truck is tipping up to dump its contents. However, it is designed to carry around all the various pieces of Devastator kibble: the chestplate rests on top, the two pieces of the gun after that, then the chest wings and the forearms go in the rear. When you're trying to get the wings in place, remember the fronts of them go together in the middle, or they won't fit. Still, it's awesome that he can truck all that stuff around for you.

To convert Long Haul, tip the entire front end and the bed of the truck up and forward. Pull his arms out to the side before folding the grill down - the instructions show it the other way, but that's wrong. Spin the waist around, tuck the truck bed into his back, unfold the feet, and raise the head. All done!

Long Haul isn't too thrilled with his unglamorous role in the Decepticon cause, but he understands its importance. Along with his fellow Constructicons, his function is to help build the massive energy-recovery installations that fuel the Decepticon onslaught. But he'd much prefer the excitement and glory that come with being a full-time warrior. And he knows better than to tell anyone of his secret desire - Megatron allows no dissent among the Decepticons ranks.

The original Long Haul had a head that was very flat (from front to back), but still had a rounded cap. This time the head is a fully 3D piece, but in order to maintain the illusion of the old style, there's a black panel behind his head - viewed from the proper angle, it looks a ton like it did in the '80s. His head is a rounded bucket with a red visor and no other features.

The robot's proportions make him look very tubby. He stands just under 7¾" tall, which is big even by Voyager standards. But then his arms are really spindly, and his legs are massively thick - so thick, they look like they still need to be transformed. Plus, there's huge a huge block of kibble on the front of each knee (to say nothing of the even bigger piece of kibble covering his butt). Overall, he looks very awkward and ungainly, which doesn't necessarily do the character a disservice.

His articulation will vary depending on where you bought him. In addition to some minor paint changes, one of the differences between the Hasbro and Takara releases is that the Japanese Long Haul (ロングハウル, Rongu Hauru) has working elbows and biceps. Did cutting those really save that much money in America? It must have, or else why would Hasbro bother? His head is a balljoint, but there's a hinge right behind it that keeps it from doing much more than swivelling. There are also joints at the shoulders, waist, hips, knees, and ankles.

For times when his massive bulk isn't enough, the instructions show Long Haul armed with the back half of Devastator's gun. The Takara release also comes with a black laser pistol that Hasbro's lacked - it can be held in either hand, and stowed on the vehicle in that mode.

Speaking of Devastator, let's look at Long Haul's Combiner mode. Unlike the other five Constructicons, the easiest way to turn LH into a bodypart is to start at the robot mode and work from there. Fold the forearms up, rotate the waist, retract the feet, and unfold the kibble from the knees. Those big blocks open up to provide spots for the legs to plug into, which is much more secure than G1's weird wing-plate thing.

Although Long Haul's altmode is fun, with its ability to carry all the Devastator kibble, his robot mode looks weird and there's nothing flashy about his combiner mode - but really, what could be a better representation of Long Haul than a workmanlike toy more valued for its ability to carry other toys' junk than for its own qualities?

Hook | Long Haul | Scavenger | Bonecrusher | Scrapper | Mixmaster

-- 02/02/16

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