1986 saw the final wave of Mini Vehicle, though their supply of previous Takara designs was exhausted. Pipes transforms into a very generic cab-over-engine semi tractor, probably a yard spotter truck of some sort.

US Patent for G1 Pipes

Origins

Pipes was heavily retooled and redecorated from G1 Huffer. Unlike Pipes’ fellow 1986 Mini Vehicles, the retooling changed his transformation scheme, causing the opposite side of the truck chassis to be the front of his robot body. Pipes was based on the desgin by Hideaki Yoke Pipes’ US patent, titled Reconfigurable toy tractor (aka Transformers G1 Pipes) was filed on October 4, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD297036 S).

Description

In his blue truck mode, Pipes has two large tubular chrome smokestacks, as his moniker would imply. He shares his deeply treaded plastic wheels with wave-mates Outback and Swerve. Like all the former Microchange Mini CAR “big vehicles,” he also shares a similar, very simple, transformation scheme. His chrome arms pull out from the sides, and his legs slide down from the rear of the vehicle. Unlike the others, the cab section must be rotated into place to reveal his face, which is located between the chassis and the cab. Unlike his predecessor Huffer, the face is attached to the top of the chassis rather than the bottom of the cab. The cab locks in behind his head in a slightly different position, revealing the prominent Autobot symbol sticker on the large flat area behind on top of his shoulders.

Collector Notes

Pipes is very sturdy, and despite a propensity to chrome wear, spotting, or fading, he is often intact.

Variants

Pipes’ most notable variants come in the form of two coincidental international variants from Europe and Mexico. Early waves of European-release Pipes, and all Pipes manufactured by Mexican licensee Plasticos IGA use an unaltered Huffer mold, but Pipes’ blue and white deco. These variants are sometimes unofficially dubbed “Puffer” by fans. It should be noted that the European and Mexican versions use different shades of plastic, and are not identical to each other.

Availability

Pipes was available worldwide in 1986. He was released again in Japan’s Transformers Encore in the set Bumble & Minibots, featuring additional paint applications.

Redecos & Retools

Pipes’ mold has not been re-used.