In 1985, the second series of Generation 1 held a major watershed moment for the toyline: the introduction of combiners. Long Haul was a member of the Constructicons, the first combiner team introduced. He transforms into a Hitachi DH321 haul truck. He can also combine with his fellow Constructicons to form Devastator.
Long Haul was originally designed for Diaclone, around the time that Takara stopped focusing on interactivity with the Diaclone drivers. Dropping the driver concept allowed Takara to design at a different scale, making robots that represent larger vehicles without a larger price point. Long Haul’s mold was originally named Construction Robo No. 5 Dump Truck. This version was sold in 1983 in red with blue and yellow combiner accessories, and again in 1984 with red and silver accessories. Long Haul was invented by Kouzin Ohno and the US Patent, titled Reconfigurable toy dump truck (aka Transformers G1 Long Haul) was filed on March 28, 1984 (U.S. Patent No. USD289069 S).
Long Haul transforms into a chartreuse-colored Hitachi DH321 haul truck. He features chrome-accented wheel bolts, a windowless cab, and a large block in the truck bed, stickered to look like an engine or machine. Unfortunately, his “dually” rear wheels are attached to his bed, so tilting the bed back lifts the wheels from the ground. Otherwise, his design is fairly accurate to the real truck, an uncommon distinction for the Constructicons. His transformation is slightly more nuanced than his peers, with the truck bed as his legs, and the arms pulling out from the front fenders. He is decorated by numerous stickers, but since the truck cab forms his chest, he has adequate molded detail, whereas the others largely rely on stickers here. He includes a green pistol to wield in his detailed fists. Long Haul can also transform into an “Attack Truck” mode by attaching the Devastator waist connector and waist shield to the top of the truck bed, giving the appearance of a weapons module with two green missiles or cannons. Long Haul transforms into the lower torso of Devastator by folding the truck mode in half, and flipping the cabshield back. The waist connector pegs in between Long Haul’s thigh, and the waist shield pegs in below the truck’s grill.
Long Haul is the sturdiest of the Constructicons, and rarely suffers breakage to the figure. Furthermore, his bright green pistol is far more likely to be present than the black pistols of his peers. However, the waist connector is a poorly designed kludge at best. In particular, the large flat peg, and two thin round pegs that clip around Scrapper are all prone to breakage. The green missiles were easily torqued, causing the screw to fall out, or fit too loosely. It should be noted that the missiles and the waist shield are cast in a different plastic than the rest of Long Haul, so they naturally appear as a slightly different shade.
There is one major variant of Long Haul, from French licensee Joustra. This version replaces the green plastic with yellow. The shade of yellow is similar to that used in Diaclone, and darker than that of the G2-era versions (see Redecos & Retools, below), but he retains the dark purple waist connector, opposed to the Diaclone’s blue. Another variant concerns the hole in the truck’s grill, which was filled in for later issues of the toy. Originally, it was designed to attach a tab at the bottom of Scrapper’s “Super Wing”, but the rectangular post on the wing was deleted before its use in G1.
Long Haul was available in G1 in 1985, either individually or in the Devastator gift set. Due to the Constructicons’ popularity, the individual carded figures were again available in 1986. Oddly, the Constructicons were not available in the UK, and the Devastator gift set was only available in Italy. He was reissued in Japan in 2011 as part of the Encore line. This version featured minor variations, as it was apparently cast from a new mold.
Redecos & Retools
Long Haul’s mold was first used to make Diaclone Construction Robo No. 5 Dump Truck in two versions, with yellow and blue accessories, or with silver and red accessories. It was sold again in Europe’s extension of G1 in 1992, simply called “Constructicon”. This version used bright yellow instead of green, and did not include the Devastator accessories. The bright yellow carried into G2 Long Haul, who again included the Devastator waist parts, albeit using a much lighter shade of purple. KB Toys sold an exclusive G2 version the same year, replacing the bright yellow with blaze orange. The Encore reissue was redecorated slightly in the 2013 Devastator Anime Color, using a brighter colors, different paint applications, and a slightly different sticker set.