1986 saw the final wave of Mini Vehicles, as 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.
Pipes was heavily retooled and redecorated from G1 Huffer. Unlike Pipes’s 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 credited to Hideaki Yoke (although this may not be the case, see our Huffer page for details). Pipes’s US patent, titled Reconfigurable toy tractor (aka Transformers G1 Pipes) was filed on October 4, 1985 (U.S. Patent No. USD297036 S).
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.
Date stamp location: sides of feet, facing inward
Rubsign location: top of roof
Pipes front wheels are attached to the smokestacks by a thin panel on the opposite side of the shoulder pivot, and sometimes are broken off. Due to the prominence of his chrome smokestacks, he has a propensity for spotty chrome wear.
Pipes’s most notable variants come in the form of two coincidental international variants from Europe and Mexico. Early waves of European-released Pipes, and all Pipes manufactured by Mexican licensee Plasticos IGA use an unaltered Huffer mold, but Pipes’s blue and white deco. These variants are unofficially dubbed “Puffer” by fans, which was canonized by WFC: Kingdom releasing a figure referencing this '80s mix-up. It should be noted that the blue and white European and Mexican versions use different shades of plastic, different copies of the Huffer tooling, and are not identical to each other. There is a second Mexican version which is cast entirely in blue plastic, including the body and face.
Type 1: "©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983" (on right foot) "©Hasbro 1974-1983" (on left foot)
Type 1 EU: Huffer mold in lighter blue with white body and face, with rubsign, no copyright stamping
Type 1a MX: Unaltered Type 4 Huffer mold (either a copy or the original tooling) in dark, sparkly blue, no rubsign, "©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983 ©Hasbro 1974-1983" stamp with rubsign, no copyright stamping
Type 1b MX: Unaltered Type 4 Huffer mold (either a copy or the original tooling) in dark, sparkly blue with white body and face, no rubsign, "©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983 ©Hasbro 1974-1983" stamp
Pipes was available worldwide in 1986, with variants using the Huffer mold in Mexico and Europe. He was released again in Japan’s Transformers Encore in the set Bumble & Minibots, featuring additional paint applications.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1986: Mini Vehicles with Patch (5910/5711.05), 3 per 24; : Mini Vehicles Assortment 3 (5910/5711)
MSRP: $2.99 (1986)
Packaging: Blister card with instructions and Tech Spec on back
Robot Points: 1/2 Autobot
Paperwork included: A random one of ten iron-on patches with “Prizes in Disguise” entry form (early 1986), “Look Inside for a Special Offer!” (late 1986)
Redecos & Retools
Pipes’ mold has not been re-used.
“One being's junk is anothar's [sic] art.”