Mini-Warrior Rager/Huffer (Legends Class, iGear)

Name: Rager (Huffer)

Line: 3rd Party Transformers

Series: Mini Warriors

Size Class: Legends (-ish)

Producer: iGear

Year of release: 2011

Yes, the double name hints at the content of the review: this is another 3rd Party Transformer that I got at the LCC. And again it’s an homage to a classic G1 character. Wonder if you can guess which one (if you somehow missed the title).

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This is Rager and he resembles… oh to hell with it! Unless you know very little about Transformers you recognize him instantly: it’s friggin’ Huffer! A small orange/yellow truck with twin funnels, sounds familiar?

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The cab’s front features nice details: the grill pattern is cleverly used also to cover lights which ups Rager’s toughness in this form. This cab makes me think of a riot control or a roadblock breaker vehicle more than a simple utility truck. And later on you’ll see that it fits this guy’s overall theme.

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The rear is ok, obviously it contains some robot parts but they are neatly compacted to a satisfying degree, no complaints there. The funnels, though, are a mixed sort in my eyes. They certainly do work, especially when viewed from a distance, adding both a nice color contrast and a welcome variety to the vehicle’s line. On the other hand from up close you can see that the interesting sculpt is messed with the ball joints showing from behind and one can’t help but wonder: shouldn’t those ends point backwards?? Yeah, they should and this could’ve been fixed with a simple swivel joint for each. Also, and this I found the most annoying from a photographer’s point of view, the funnels don’t attach to the truck’s side, don’t click into their positions, they are just there. Yes, the cab has round-shaped edgings but they offer very little assistance and the vehicle shape’s stability is endangered each time you touch it.

Size comparison time!

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As you can see at the beginning of the review I estimated the Class as a Legends. So here are two other Transformers trucks from this class: Generations Optimus Prime and Motorbreath, an exclusive recolor of Reveal The Shield Optimus. In GEN Opie’s review I admitted to my utter ignorance concerning trucks in general so I have no idea what kind of size Rager’s alt mode would have in real life, but I guess it’s a sort of semi truck, so it’s probably a bit too big for the other guys. But don’t quote me on that. What I do remember is the fact that occasionally Huffer pulled Optimus’es trailer in the show and his truck mode then was visibly smaller than Prime’s, so there you go. You can quote me on that coz I watched the show a lot.

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And throwing in the only other Legends-sized Transformer I got, Generations Thundercracker, because why not. Let’s use these guys for comparison of robot modes as well.

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Rager is short but sturdy, looking accordingly among other figures of Legends Class. Of course in this case that’s obviously not accurate, as Huffer was significantly shorter than Thundercracker, not mentioning Optimus. I’ll get back to the size matter later on. For now marvel at his posture: he definitely looks like a guy who can break through a roadblock, regardless of the mode he’s in. He also has a face of someone… in rage. And that directly references the original G1 character.

I must confess I have a soft spot for G1, especially the early Marvel comic books series. I just loved how the story and the characters gained so much depth compared to the animated series. The tv show was fun but rather light and more adventure and combat oriented, while the comics explored various Transformers’ emotions, motivations, weaknesses and traits of character other than ‘a leader, a brute, a joker, a scientist’ etc. Now, that was something new and truly welcome for a kid like me then – it reminded me of X-Men, another comics franchise that I’ve loved for all those years. Transformers kept this more mature approach to telling the story of giant-robots-from-space for quite some time, I remember reading few UK-exclusive issues years later and enjoying them too. But for me the essential time was the very beginning, when there were only few Autobots and even fewer Decepticons active on Earth and therefore writers could present most of them to a satisfying degree. Those who remember the plot of Ratchet’s lonely quest against Megatron know what I mean.

Huffer also seemed to be one of the Autobots given more attention. He was the Ark’s brilliant engineer and also the crew’s main naysayer, always focused on repairing the ship and getting the hell out of this weird green planet, away from the conflict with Decepticons and humans alike. He did carry out other missions and performed well, even confronting Megatron himself once, but he always had this attitude. In the tv show they made him this always nagging comic relief character, but in the comics he was a genuine robot with a depression, home-sick to the point of pondering whether switching sides wouldn’t prove more beneficial in terms of returning to Cybertron. Add this to his enormous strength in a rather tiny body and you got a character so much more appealing and complex than Bumblebee. But noo, it’s the oh-so-friendly and loyal boy-scout on a scouting duty who won the place in the spotlight! And soon Huffer became one of background Autobots, being present only to fill frames during group scenes, until he finally got seriously damaged and put away in a stasis state awaiting the publisher’s attention… I mean available spare parts.

And this image of Huffer is in my opinion perfectly represented by Rager. Those muscular arms and massive chest are made for heavy lifting, handy both for work- and combat-related purpose. The color scheme matches both the G1 character and toy design, with the face of this figure much more accurate to how he looked in the show and comics.

All right, let’s get down to business and test Rager’s posability, with a little help from Motorbreath here.

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High-kicking – check.

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Bending knees more than 90 degrees – check.

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Posing for a ‘Prime wants YOU kicking Decepticon ass for the Autobot army’ poster – check!

Rager just can’t help looking cool and bad-ass and it’s not like he’s trying to avoid it. He embraces coolness and Bad-Ass is his middle name. Check his cybertronian driving license if you don’t believe me: Rager Bad-Ass Huffer, originating from Epicville, occupation: Engineer… of Pain!!

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Of course Rages comes packing and what is more bad-ass than dual-wielding? I’ll tell you what: dual-wielding really cool-looking revolver-style pistols!

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Take a loot at those puppies. Just… just look at ’em! I have seen many creatively designed and nicely sculpted Transformers firearms, but I can safely say that for me this lil’ guy takes the grand prize. I only wish those sported a bit of silver paint apps here and there to highlight that awesome shape. I wonder how many of you think of what I’m thinking looking at a robot armed with twin revolvers…

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A western-themed showdown at sunset! I bet not many Decepticons would dare to confront an Autobot looking like this.

Actually some could, as Rager’s guns fit smaller universal sized Transformers hands. You know what I mean, some have this larger size grip, like most Deluxe figures, and some use this smaller size, like for example Motorbreath. So he can wield Rager’s weapon but will he do it with all the style and cockiness like a pro bad-ass would?

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I didn’t think so!

So how is Rager, apart from bad-ass and filled with rage? In terms of Transformers figures he is… ok. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy posing him and seeing him on my shelf a lot, but he is no breakthrough. He feels a lot like Generations Optimus of Legends Class: has good posability and nice, G1-accurate design, but that’s mostly it. Yes, his paint job is applied perfectly and his pistols are tiny masterpieces of creativity, but in the end all you actually get is a very good Legends Class Transformer. I think the size is the main problem here. Take a look at this picture, where I attempted to create a buddy shot with his team-mates from the original Ark’s crew.

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Yeah, Huffer is supposed to be short but not that short! I hoped that he would fit fellow Autobots from my collection, who are mainly of Deluxe or Voyager Class, but it doesn’t work. Also, he suffers from some issues that I guess result from the size. Posing his head (that is placed on a ball joint) is a real pain: an average person’s fingers won’t fit inside the cab ‘hood’, so you just can’t reach inside there. At some point I was so fed up and irritated that I went and asked my Wife to lend me a pair of tweezers to grab this friggin’ head and turn it properly for each photo! Rager can’t also place his arms flat on his sides due to the wheels limiting movement. And I assume the funnels would click into place in vehicle mode if he were a tad bigger and had any set of additional pegs or edgings for that. Generally the alt mode is a bit crude, I appreciate the front grill details but apart from that it feels… lacking. And again: not a real problem for the Legends Class, but that’s the thing: one could expect a larger and more detailed figure considering it was released by a 3rd Party, so in theory it’s supposed to be a perfect version of the character.

However, regardless of what I wrote above, I still am very glad I got this guy. And I can and will recommend him, providing you are fully aware of what you are doing. And by that I mean: being aware of his size, flaws and features. You see, Backfiery was a randomly bought figure – I decided to get him basing on the way he looked in robot mode (his packaging had a see-through section). And this worked, just like I stated in Backfiery’s review: if you like his looks then you’ll probably like the figure once you get him in hand. Rager, on the other hand, is a figure that you want to learn about before purchase (also because his packaging does not allow peeking inside). I had watched a detailed review of him before going to London, so when I saw him at the LCC I knew what to expect. I won’t even start about the price, as I covered the subject of the overly expensive nature of 3rd Party Transformers products before. By the way, an interesting fact: at the very same place where I got Rager a recolor was available, called Black Rager. As you can probably guess, he features a more toned down color theme, which might prove quite fitting for a beefy tough guy like that. But you know what? That version was noticeably cheaper than the original Rager, even though their release dates are subsequent years, so the age (and availability) of the older guy wasn’t a huge factor here. It seems that, like me, most people want the classic Huffer-like persona, even if he costs more. And if that’s your preference too, then Rager delivers just that. Just know what to expect: not a short Deluxe, that’s for sure.

I think he might go well with Scouts perhaps? I don’t know, I don’t have any to check. I came up with this idea, though.

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Brave Huffer took on Megatron in Marvel comics so I decided to give my Revoltech Megs a go and I think it works. Megatron was one of the largest Transformers from the initial set-up and Huffer one of the shortest so I’d say this looks fine.

As I mentioned, I have a thing for G1 characters so this guy, looking so close to his original design, hits just the spot on my nostalgia board. I wish he was big enough to be able to play along Deluxes, but I’m still fond of him the way he is, as he looks just great on the shelf, immediately bringing memories of those classic Transformers stories. And I recommend him to those of you who are willing to put your nostalgia glasses on and see an almost perfect Huffer, falling juust a bit… short. Ha!

In the comics Huffer was of course overpowered by Megatron, but hey, this is no Huffer, this is Rager and it’s payback time!

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Summary

Strong and weak points:

+ classic, instantly recognizable look, both in terms of colors and shapes

+ cool beefed-up design and ‘angry’ face sculpt perfectly fit the original character concept

+ good articulation, including knees bending more than 90 degrees and a waist joint

+ fantastic unique gun mold

+ twin pistols add to the ‘bad-ass factor’

+ aesthetically pleasing compact vehicle mode

+ very good paint job quality

+ solid construction, doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile at all

– head needs a lot of fiddling to pose it

– arms can’t rest flat along the body due to placement of wheels

– funnels don’t lock into one position in vehicle mode

– size too small to fit among Deluxe Class

– pistols could use some paint apps to highlight the details

– no place to either holster the guns in robot mode or store them in vehicle mode

Who will like it:

those liking Huffer as a character and/or toy design; those wanting a refreshed version of the character with modern articulation and cool tough looks, who don’t mind his size

Who won’t like it:

those hoping to use him as a scale-accurate Huffer next to Hasbro’s Deluxes and Voyagers; those expecting flawless design from a 3rd Party product

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