Series: Robots in Disguise
Function: Autobot Tow Truck
Alternate Mode: Tow Truck
TOW TRUCK MODE
Height: 4cm Length: 11cm Width: 4.5cm
A lime green tow truck with transparent orange windows and sunroof, Tow-Line has black plastic wheels with chromed hubcaps, a purple hook at the back, and lots of spearmint green, notably on the front and rear fenders. On the sides are orange and purple pinstripes and the words "TOWING SERVICE" in red towards the rear. There are big fuel tanks on the sides, as well as smokestacks, that are painted silver, while the front grille and bumper are chromed silver. There's a red Autobot logo stamped onto the hood, which is offset slightly to the left on mine - a minor factory defect.
There's an awful lot of colour here, and in truth there's too much going on. The two greens work fairly well, and I'm glad he has transparent plastic on his windows, something the original Machine Wars toys of this mould both lacked. Both Hoist and Hubcap were essentially monochrome toys with solid grey windows. Tow-Line's probably a little bit too colourful, but he's more interesting. Given the transparent windows, silver smokestacks and chrome grill, I prefer Tow-Line's colours, although only just.
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. The forearms are spearmint, with purple fists - pretty conspicuous on a lime green truck. The hook sticks backwards from between the hands, and doesn't move.
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, although at least now they've painted them silver to resemble fuel tanks, whereas in Machine Wars they were just kibble. 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. Most of the colours underneath are fairly dark, so you don't see the purple bits, although under bright light his face stands out.
Play value is limited to rolling Tow-Line along on his plastic wheels. Despite the bad colours, this is my favourite version of this mould as a truck, simply because of the more realistic finer details. Having said that, I won't call lime, spearmint, purple and transparent orange a _good_ colour scheme. It's still a fairly poor truck, with the robot arms so obviously visible and some odd colour choices.
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.
Height: 9.5cm Width: 7cm
Surprisingly the two greens and purple almost work in this mode, mainly because the mix of greens makes sense now. His forearms, hips and lower legs are spearmint, the hands and elbows purple and the rest more or less lime. The purple is dark enough and sparse enough to fade away as dark rather than standing out as purple. The transparent orange is now on his chest and head and also works better in this mode - While his mouthplate is silver the eyes are orange, with a pretty good lightpipe, giving the orange some purpose. He has a spearmint forehead, which suits quite well. Considering the combination of colours, this colour scheme works fairly well. It's still very bright, but as with the truck mode, Tow-Line is better than his Machine Wars predecessors thanks to a more involved colour scheme.
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 Tow-Line a truck facade without a protruding chest. The Autobot symbol is now on his belly - 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.
This mode is easily the more playable - his 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 Flipchanger moulds, but it's still the best part of this mould.
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 got some flaws, including limited poseability and a pot belly, Tow-Line's robot mode is the better of his two mode, and you get the feeling the colour scheme was designed around this mode.
A Machine Wars repaint, as mentioned, he is a slight repaint of Wrecker Hook from the Car Robots line - which is essentially the same toy sold in the Japanese market. There was a semi transparent version of Wrecker Hook.
The best version of this mould, Tow-Line has a weird colour scheme but the paint job has more detail than the previous versions. It's not a mould I recommend searching high and low for - the main reason I got him was because he came with Skyfire, a toy worth getting. If you want Skyfire, or want at least one version of this mould, grab Tow-Line, otherwise, you can safely skip him - 5/10