Late in the Transformers Energon line, Towline was released. I remember finding it and hoping that he would make an appearance in the show, however that never happened. Also sadly Dreamwave had went under so we never really got to see Towline in any fiction. This is sad because he is one of my favorite figures from the Energon line, and I feel he really stands out.
Towline’s vehicle mode is somewhat unassuming. He transforms into a van (hell a creeper van), but it is nicely populated with 5mm ports in order to weaponize him. He rolls nicely, but really there is not much going on here.
Transformation is where Towline really shines. I am going to start with his “battle mode.” In this mode the figure really shows up. His lower body is a basic transformation of the van. A pair of splitting treads forms what looks like his legs, and are further supported by the front two van wheels in order to add stability. Also there is a set of 2 guns that are formed from his robot legs that come over his head for additional fire power. Like all the Energon figures, Towline is provided with his own Energon weapon for defense. This mode really shows how great this figure could be, however there is more than meets the eye to Towline.
Towline utilized the Energon theme of Autobot Combination amazingly, and I feel he did it better than any figure in the line. He is the only figure that can form both the bottom half and top half of the combined robots at once. This aspect gave an amazing homage to the original Ironhide and Ratchet figures from 1984. Since the two halves of the body split, it really reflected how these original G1 figures had the basic bot mode and a traveling battle station. In 2005 with Fun Pub used this mold to provide us with a classic Ironhide and Ratchet they successfully created the first and best representation of the classic characters. This is part of what created a great battle mode, but I feel that the figure is amazing in a standard robot mode.
The bottom half of his combination mode is a battle platform. There is a 5mm port hole added for a gun port, and the platform has some additional weaponry molded on. It is somewhat boring on its own but adds some great play features. It also provides a nice rolling base for any bot that you really cannot stand the bottom half of their robot mode without sacrificing Towline’s robot mode.
Towline’s robot mode is amazingly simple yet incredibly impressive. He is stacked with articulation, yet has just the basics present. I have to say the Transformation scheme is very reminiscent of Ironhide and Ratchet as addressed above, however the characterization that we received about Towline as well as his head mold are very reminiscent of Kup. I have always looked at Towline as the Kup of the Energon series. The robot mode is very to the point but I feel that it works perfectly. In the Energon timeline this is one figure that I am constantly trying to find a place for in my Classics collection.
The only thing that I would recommend watching out for on Towline is his weapon. Towline has an amazing sniper rifle/transforming gun that can be somewhat rearranged to serve whatever purpose that you want, however remember that like the rest of the Energon line it is molded in translucent plastic. This was done to reflect that the weaponry was Energy based, however I have ran into issues with Towline’s many ball joints on his gun. I actually have two Towline figure in my collection because the outer most ball joint socket decided to crack. If you are looking for a complete Towline please inspect the figure for any excessive wear and weak points here. Also keep a close eye on how you store Towline.
Towline is probably my favorite figure from the Energon toyline. He gave an amazing sense of nostalgia in a time where Classics were only a wet dream. I am surprised this mold has not been utilized more, however I am happy that it has been kept to a select few uses. I would highly recommend that anyone who is thinking about picking him up do so, you will not be disappointed!