Tuesday, 11 September 2012

#26: Huffer (1984)

I need a Huffer toy in my life. Not just because like me he's "cynical, hard-boiled and pessimistic", but because I'm still suffering from envy from about 28 years ago. See, my friend Rob had him, and I always wanted that little orange truck robot to myself. I mean, look at him. He's so darn cute. Mainly because he's built that way, the original Japanese Microchange toy being superdeformed in the first place, but he's still cute. Huffer would probably hate that.

Another reason I wanted the toy was the fiction. No, not the G1 Marvel comic (although he was an ever present in that, at least for the first few years of publication), and definitely not the cartoon (where he was, let's face it, a whiny little gimp), but the Ladybird fiction. He was in a few stories, billed as the Autobot's go-to guy for engineering (rather than Wheeljack, as in the cartoon), but the story where he got the chace to shine was 'Autobots Lighting Strike' - and he didn't disappoint. He was awesomely miserable, crotchety and grouchy. He was also an engineering whizz, who was terribly good at his job (so much so that in Decepticon Hideout his work was of such a high standard that the Autobots had to mess it all up again - read the story to find out why). So Huffer, even though he was a tiny orange truck, was always awesome to me.

They toy, it has to be said, has problems. To be fair, it is from the mid to late 1970s. But still, the arms were never that great (on Huffer or Pipes, the retool/repaint of the mould), looking very much like smokestacks slapped on the side of a robot. Which, let's face it, is exactly what they are. Because he's VERY early G1 though, he gets a pass. That, and the fact that the rest of him more than makes up for it, the cab becoming the top half of the robot is a master stroke, and his legs actually look like legs and not a joined together lump of plastic.

All in all then, Huffer's as great a toy as he is a character, just like 99% of all the Minibots are. Great little toys that could be carried anywhere, and in the fiction, usually with bags of characterisation, just for that reason. Huffer, I salute you. Not that it matters of course. Life. Don't talk to me about life.

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