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Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Combat
Year: 2004

A soldier's greatest asset are his comrades.
Towline's devotion to the Autobot cause and his loyalty to his teammates make him one of Optimus Prime's most trusted soldiers. What Towline lacks in strength, he makes up for in intelligence and endurance. He has been known to outwit many Decepticons in battle and has proven to be an extremely valuable Autobot in the war with Megatron. Towline would prefer to avoid combat whenever possible, but does not hesitate to jump into a fight to aid a fallen comrade. Megatron has warned his warriors never to underestimate Towline.

Robot Mode: Looking at Towline, one thing immediately comes to mind: He's the robot that G1 Ironhide and Ratchet could have been. Transforming out of his vehicle mode he splits into a robot that formed the front section of the van and a trailer/battle station that formed the rear half and undercarriage. Only in this case the robot has an actual head, is very posable, and looks pretty bad-ass.

Towline's normal robot mode can be enhanced when he powerlinks with his trailor in a manner similar to the "normal" powerlinking procedure used in Energon (see below). He basically swings up his feet, which become huge shoulder cannons, and docks with his opened trailer. The result looks... interesting. I've had Towline in my possession for months now and I'm still not a hundred percent sure whether I like this combined mode or not. Still, the idea is pretty good.

As a weapon Towline carries the antenna-assembly from his vehicle mode, which unfolds into a pretty long gun. The weapon can also be mounted on Towline's trailer to give him a mobile weapons plattform while he charges in for close-quarter combat. So what I'm basically saying is: Towline offers many fun variations in robot mode. So all in all: Nicely done.

Alternate Mode: Towline transforms into a mostly blue van. Most of the van is actually comprised of his trailer unit, meaning it's a square blue box with some detailing added on the sides and the back. The actual robot forms the front of the van with transparent windshields. If you're in a funny mood, you can have Towline's head peak out on top without transforming any other part of the vehicle. Actually, though, it's Towline's robot mode weapon that's supposed to go on top, forming an antenna assembly that makes the van look like a TV van or maybe one of those things the tornado researchers drive. So all in all, not the most exciting vehicle mode ever, but good and solid.

Combiner Mode: Like most Deluxe- and Mega-class Autobots from the Energon line Towline is capable of powerlinking with other Autobots, like for example Downshift as seen in the pictures above. The big difference between Towline and most other Powerlinx figures is that his actual robot mode can only function as an upper body for the powerlinking.

If he's to supply to a lower body, he has to loan out his trailer unit, which can function as a lower body for all the various Powerlinx figures (himself included). As an upper body, Towline looks pretty good, especially with his normal robot legs as huge cannons on his shoulders. The trailer as a lower body is an acquirted taste, but whereas I completly disliked it at first, I now find it tolerable. So all in all Towline has some pretty decent combiner modes.

Remarks: Towline never appeared in the Energon cartoon series, but did score cameo appearances in Dreamwave's Energon comic series as one of the many Autobots sent to Earth to defend the planet against a massive Terrorcon attack. More indirectly, Towline sort-of appeared in the Botcon 2005 "Descent into Evil" comic in the form of Ironhide and Ratchet, both of whom are repaints of him.

While I wouldn't exactly go ahead and call Towline a brilliant figure, he's without a doubt the best execution of the idea behind the original Ironhide and Ratchet figures I've ever seen. Towline takes that original, pretty ridiculous Diaclone mold, breaks it down, builds it back up, and makes it work. For that alone he deserves enormous credit. So if you're among those who've always lamented the bad toy versions of these popular G1 characters, Towline's definitely for you. And even if you're just looking for a good toy, Towline is still a pretty good bet.

Rating: B+
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