“Screws fall out all the time, sir. The world’s an imperfect place.”
In the summer of 1986, Transformers: The Movie arrived in theaters, and brought with it a new cast of characters, and a new cast of celebrities to voice them. Shermer High’s resident rebel Judd Nelson was brought in to voice the newly introduced Hot Rod, a character meant to take over as the franchise’s lead from the dearly departing Optimus Prime, much like his opposite number Falcon over on the G.I. Joe side of things. And, just like with Falcon, it didn’t quite endear him to the fans the way Hasbro was hoping it would (I think in the long run the years have been much kinder to Hot Rod than they have to Falcon, though). Whatever the case, being the proposed central character for the continuation of a popular franchise is pretty good spot to be in from a toy stand point, and Hot Rod was of course added to the toyline to coincide with the movie’s release. I’ll be taking a look at that first toy today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Hot Rod hit shelves in 1986 as part of the heavily movie-inspired line-up for Transformers that year. Unlike prior entries in the line, Hot Rod was not repurposed from pre-existing Japanese molds, but was instead a new creation specifically for the Transformers line, designed by working in tandem with the proposed animation model character. The end result is something that sticks pretty close to the animation design, at least when compared to some of the other vintage figures. In his robot mode, Hot Rod stands about 6 inches tall and he has 8 usable points of articulation. All of the robot more’s articulation is in the arms, and that actually doesn’t include any sort of up/down motion on the shoulders, making Hot Rod by far the most limited of the four G1 bots I own in terms of poseablility. He’s good for standing around, but that’s about it. On the plus side, with a rather faithful to the animation sculpt, he’s got one of the nicest looking robot modes from the original line, and manages to actually nicely walk the line between the two modes a lot better than a good portion of his compatriots. There is one running change in terms of construction for the figure. Initial versions had metal feet, the version 2 mold got plastic feet. Mine is a version 2 figure, though appearance-wise they’re the same. Hot Rod’s alt-mode is a futuristic sports car from the far off year of 2005, which means he was unlike a lot of the vintage stuff, being a non-existent vehicle. It’s a pretty sleek design though, and the transformation is a pretty slick and easy mode shift. Hot Rod was originally packed with a pair of blasters, but mine is just the core figure. Oh well.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I wasn’t gonna get any more G1 Transformers. I thought I was done. I really did. Then this guy got traded into All Time, and he was just kinda nifty and I had trade credit to burn through, and Max was not going to talk me out of buying a Transformer, and so here I am. Poseablity aside, I actually really like him a lot, and he offers a nice balance of both modes, and certainly looks cool!
As I noted above, I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, and a good chunk of the collection he came from is still available here. If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.