One being's junk is another's art.
Toyline: Generation 1
Subline: Encore Series
Fascinated by seemingly worthless Earthen gadgetry -- carrot juicers, musical wrist-watches, electrical hair combers, etc.. Collects them in unused corner of Ark, creating a mini museeum of American consumerisim. Travels at 100mph, range 400 miles, hauls up to 60 tons. Twin exaust pipes emit corrosive gases that can dissolve 2" thick steel slab in 10 minutes.
Now normally I always start my reviews by looking at the robot mode, but in this case I thought it would be more prudent to start with the vehicle mode. Pipes is, of course, a repaint with some mold changes of Huffer
and that's very apparent in vehicle mode. The two trucks look almost identical. Pipes is blue, of course, not orange, and he has a different front grill, different headlights, and different smoke stacks. Still, it's easily apparent that they're basically the same figure. Pipes, just like Huffer, makes a very decent miniature truck, so there's nothing worth complaining about here.
Now we come to the robot mode and the big difference between Pipes and Huffer. They're the same figure, yes, but backwards. With Huffer it was the underside of the truck mode that served as the front of his body, with Pipes it's reversed. The upper side of the truck mode is his body, he has the two seats of the vehicle mode on his chest. Also, he's got an actual head sitting on top of his torso, whereas Huffer's head was molded into the truck cabin. So even though the two are still basically the same figure, Pipes looks quite a bit different.
Pipes looks pretty cool in robot mode, so compaints there at all, and his posability is pretty much average for a Minibot. He can move his arms at the shoulders, that's it. Still, I find myself liking this little guy here a lot. One of the better-looking robot modes among the G1 Minibots.
Among the third wave of Minibots most only scored a single appearance in the third season of the G1 cartoon, making a suicide run against Trypticon
in the final part of "Five Faces of Darkness". Not so Pipes. He managed to score at least another two appearances, installing the transforming cog in Metroplex
later that same episode, and repairing Perceptor
in "Forever is a Long Time Coming". Excellent episodes both, so maybe that's why I like the little guy so much.
Now Pipes isn't exactly a revolution among the G1 Transformers, but in my mind he's one of the best examples of how to properly reuse existing molds. Yes, he's basically a repaint of Huffer, but it's done in such a great way with mold changes and the actual reversal of the figure in robot mode that you really only notice it in vehicle mode. Brilliantly done. Which is why Pipes is among my favourite Minibots and definitely worth a recommendation.