Hauler... he's handy dandy!




Season 1 Episodes

More Than Meets The Eye, part 1




None. He had no lines, and Japanese tech specs don't have quotes.








Things have changed a lot for Hauler since I originally wrote his profile. You can read his classic profile here, learning how Hauler was once seen. But things have changed.


(Times they are a changin')


Hauler's gotten a toy. Takara, wanting to make the most of the Grapple mould, decided they'd make a toy based on that oneshot Autobot, looking a lot like Grapple, who appeared in More Than Meets the Eye, pt 1. In Japan they knew nothing about this character, not even his name. The name Hauler was already taken by another company, so he was given the name Load Hauler (or possibly Road Hauler or Lord Hauler, depending on how you translate it), but the toy still stands.


Prior to appearing as a toy in Takara's Generation 1 reissues toyline, Hauler's only real claim to fame was his sudden hi-then-bye appearance in More Than Meets the Eye, pt 1. He showed up, had his name mentioned, did some crane work on Hound, then was never seen again. Oh, and there was also the fact that he looked a lot like Grapple. A very large amount like Grapple...


In fact he looks almost identical to Grapple, even down to the arm-forms at his sides and colour scheme. Interesting, eh? (The colour scheme didn't phase Takara, they just released their Hauler toy in Constructicon colours. Fortunately Hirofumi Ichikawa, the writer of Hauler's tech specs, managed to write the colour change into the specs.)




When the Autobot Hound fell off the side of a cliff (thanks to an attack by Laserbeak), the Autobots needed some one to lift him out of trouble, so they called on Hauler. Hauler showed up, lowered his crane, and pulled Hound out of trouble.


His origins were expanded somewhat by his Japanese tech spec, making Hauler into something of a mover and shaker, not just a... uh... not just a hauler, I guess.


It also needs to be noted that Hauler appeared before the other Transformers had reestablished contact with Cybertron. This means that he was a member of Prime's original crew. This means that he was on the ship fighting the Decepticons when it crashed, he got reformatted by Teletraan 1 when Starscream shot at the ship, and was probably on Earth at least until 1987. (IE: After season 2 of the cartoon.)


Tech Specs/TFU:

This is a translation of Load Hauler's tech specs profile (a slightly edited version of Doug Dlin's translation.)
Function Transport/Resources Exploration
Transformation Crane Truck
Abilities  Equipped with a variety of exploratory devices and a crane arm capable of lifting objects up to 60 tons. Also capable of launching off both fists and guiding them through the air by remote control.
Profile Millions of years ago, he was a member of the construction team for the Cybertronian metropolis of Crystal City. After losing his teammates in an attack by Megatron, he joined the Cybertron army.
Since awakening on Earth with Commander Convoy and the others, he has taken full-time to his original purpose of securing energy resources, for which he now wanders around every corner of the earth.
A highly capricious self-expressionist, he frequently changes or restores his coloration and optional equipment.
Weapons Earth-Auger Missiles, Vibro-Force Gun



6 3 9 5  8  4  5


The tech spec is significant for several reasons. One: It suggests that Hauler was at one point teamed up with the Constructicons, in building Crystal City. Another interesting point of note is his tendency to constantly change his colouration, explaining why the toy isn't orange like in the cartoon.


On the other hand it does leave one big question open. Is the Hauler toy based on his Cybertronian form, back when he worked with the Constructicons? If so, why does he have an Earth-basted alt mode? It seems unlikely that he would have had a chance to change his colours in the time between waking in MTMTE and going to pick up Hound. This means, most likely, the Constructicon green version of Hauler came after his media appearance. Which means he changed his colours into the colours of his enemies. Either this is just a show of really bad taste, or Hauler is stealing the Constructicons' appearance the way Divebomb once stole Swoop's name. Does that mean Hauler spent his time looking for energon, and kicking Hook's butt left right and centre? Cool. Hauler's a bad ass.


(Of course the Constructicons had Earth alt modes on Cybetron in The Secret of Omega Supreme, the episode where it's revealed they built Crystal City. This was due entirely to the cartoon's dropping of Cybertronian alt-modes in flashbacks after MTMTE pt 1. That said, it's possible if the Constructicons had Earth modes, so did Hauler. Possible, but stupid.)


Hauler... the poor man's Grapple.Toy:

Hauler's toy is a recolour of Grapple in Constructicon colours which was released in Takara's Generation 1 Reissues line. This recolour doesn't make any sense. In truth they should have just re-released Grapple exactly as he was to make an accurate Hauler. I just can't believe Takara could be so stupid. How could they even think to try and make the toy different from Grapple when it makes his toy totally show-inaccurate?!


This sad state of affairs means Hauler may never get a show-accurate toy! How terrible! How horrible! If only he'd had a nice cartoon-accurate colour scheme, his toy would be so much better. I mean look at the picture of Hauler beside this text. He's orange, not green! Ratchet, who's right beside him is white... and his toy is white too! See? Ratchet has a show-accurate toy. Show accuracy is all that matters. Man I hate Takara, they just don't care about the fans.



Over All:

Hauler is one of those intriguing little characters who seems completely out of line, after all, he's almost identical to a year two toy, yet he's in a year one cartoon. How is that possible?


To answer that you simply need a few pieces of information. First of all: Transformers was not a toy line based on original moulds created by Hasbro technicians. Instead it was based on moulds bought by Hasbro from several Japanese companies (with the most prominent being Takara). Grapple was in fact on sale in Japan (and some places in Europe) several years before Transformers came into being! 


The second piece of information that you need to keep in mind is that toy lines are subject to possible change right up until the last minute. Every character has several possible or prototype names (and sometimes even several prototype moulds that don't get used, just look at Unicron). Sometimes names are dropped because of legal reasons, other times simply because they think of something better.


My theory is that Hauler is actually the prototype name for Grapple, a name which changed before Grapple hit the TV show and toy shelves officially.


The other option is that the artist on this episode was simply incredibly flukey and just happened to draw Hauler as almost identical to Grapple by a complete coincidence... it could happen, couldn't it?




It's nice to see Hauler got a toy. It's too bad that the fact that he is completely identical to Grapple means he's prevented himself from ever getting a media-accurate toy, but fortunately his toy profile explained that away quite smoothly, so no one can really complain. After all if he hadn't been recoloured (and in fact, technically renamed), Hauler never would have gotten a toy at all. (My rant in the toy section, for those who can't work it out, was a little joke.)


As with most of the recent Takara Generation 1 recolors, Load Hauler came in a two-set with another recolor, a new Skyraider called Sunstorm. Sunstorm has achieved near-instant fame in the United States, getting an exclusive Official Transformers Collectors Convention recolor of the Skyraider mold PVC, and rumors have it that he's going to appear in Dreamave's Generation 1 ongoing series. But where's the Hauler love, huh? Why doesn't he get the red carpet treatment? No respect, I tell you. It took his agent nearly twenty years to get him a toy, and now he has to wait another twenty for his time in the spotlight? At least give the poor guy a recolor of Armada Smokescreen or something. -- Monzo




More Than Meets the Eye, pt 1:

It's Grapple! No, it's Hauler!  On a cliff.  Crane line extended.  HAULING!