#2670: Autobot Hot Rod



“Hot Rod embraces his destiny, becoming Rodimus Prime and defeating Unicron.”

Whoa, spoilers there guys.  We just picked up this Hot Rod figure and you’re already telling me he’s irrelevant?

Transformers: The Movie introduced a whole new slate of characters, and at the center of this new cast was the new planned lead for the franchise, Hot Rod, who would become Rodimus Prime before the film’s end.  Obviously, this didn’t stick, but that sure was the plan.  Even without being the franchise’s lead, Hot Rod’s made out pretty well on the toy front.  That being said, he has, as of yet, been absent from the latest incarnation of the line with all of its centralized scaling and such.  But, with it being the 35th anniversary of the movie where he’s definitely the lead, it’s hard to say that it was truly a shock that he was included in some sort of capacity this year, now was it?


Autobot Hot Rod makes up one half of the Voyager Class component for the ’86-inspired Studio Series line-up. He’s figure 86-04 (because 86-03 is the last of the Deluxes, which is Blurrr, and I didn’t wind up grabbing him…yet…).  In his robot mode, Hot Rod stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 practical points of articulation.  Given he’s a Voyager Class figure, Hot Rod does seem a little bit on the smaller side, being more in line with Deluxe scaling.  This is, however accurate for Hot Rod from a scaling standpoint, and more over, the higher price point of the figure comes less from sheer sizing of the figure, and more from the complexity of the tooling and engineering.  In particular, Hot Rod winds up with an articulation scheme far improved compared to his Deluxe Class companions.  He’s not only got more functioning joints when in his robot mode, but also has generally a greater range of motion on those joints.  Unlike the last pair of Hot Rods I looked at, he doesn’t suffer from any major points of restriction, which is a real plus.  He’s even got hinged hands, meaning it’s a Hot Rod that can finally hold a Matrix.  What a crazy concept.  The sculpt proper is a pretty spot-on recreation of the animation design, and is just a generally clean looking piece of work.  It’s got a nice, sleek feel to it that seems really right for Hot Rod.  Even his vehicle mode kibble has been streamlined further than prior releases, meaning he’s a Hot Rod that doesn’t have the whole top of his car mode hanging off his back for once.  In addition to the basic robot mode, Hot Rod also has a few cool built-in features, including a visor that drops down from the top of his head (in the same fashion as the Masterpiece version), as well as hands that flip out for his welder and a 5mm peg allowing the mounting of the saw hand for his right and left hands respectively.  It helps to really give him that all-encompassing feel.  Aiding in the all-encompassing feel are the aforementioned alternate saw hand, his two blasters, the Matrix of Leadership (borrowed from Earthrise Optimus, and capable of actually being held this time around), an effects piece for the Matrix, and two effects for his forearm blasters.

Hot Rod’s alt-mode remains consistent with the other G1-inspired versions of the character, being based on the futuristic sports car mode from the movie.  It’s sleek and, like Kup, presumably pretty easy to animate.  In the case of Hot Rod, it’s also pretty distinctive, since it’s stuck with the character over the years.  The transformation process is a fairly involved set up with a lot of moving parts, but even so I found it to be a little more intuitive than other, more fiddly Studio Series figures.  I guess it still counts as a little fiddly, but it just feels less so to me.  Also of note about this transformation is that it involves the arms flipping sides, replicating the one notable transformation pattern not done by the toys.  The final transformed product looks not unlike the car modes on the other two Hot Rods I have, with the caveat of, of course, still having that more posable robot mode.  In car mode, the two blasters can be mounted to the front, and the effects for the forearms now work as exhaust effects.  The saw attachment can *technically* go on top of the guns, but due to how the clearance on the parts works, it’s going to cause some paint chipping on the guns, so I didn’t push it.


As I noted early last year when I reviewed the Power of the Primes Rodimus, I have definitely been wanting a Hot Rod to go with the rest of my updated cast.  The inner figure from that set was a decent place holder, in fact more than decent, so when this guy got announced I was intrigued but not certain how essential he’d be.  The short of it is that he’s *very* essential.  He’s undoubtedly the centerpiece of this particular set, and the most impressive Hot Rod figure I can think of.  He just does a lot and he does pretty much all of it very well.  He exemplifies the mini-Masterpiece thing that these figures have been doing since Siege in the best possible way.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2365: Evolution Rodimus Prime



“With the Matrix of Leadership, Autobot Hot Rod becomes leader of the Autobots: Rodimus Prime.”

Two weeks ago, I took a look at Hot Rod, the proposed new lead character of the Transformers franchise as introduced in the 1986 movie.  Though Hot Rod spends most of the film’s run time as just plain old Hot Rod, after taking ownership of the Matrix of Leadership during the film’s climactic battle, Hot Rod becomes “Rodimus Prime,” meaning we had two forms of Rodimus to choose from for pretty much every release going forward.  For the purposes of the 2017 incarnation of the line, Power of the Primes, we actually got both versions of Rodimus in one, with a figure I’ll be taking a look at today.


Evolution Rodimus Prime was part of the first Leader Class assortment of the Power of the Primes toy line, alongside the similarly-themed Optimus Prime. Straight out of the package, Rodimus is in his full-on Rodimus Prime form.  In this state, the figure stands 9 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  In terms of mobility, the figure’s a bit of a mixed bag.  While he moves alright in the legs, the arms, especially at the shoulders are quite restricted.  There’s a little bit of a workaround if you use the joints further into the shoulder, but the design of the transformation means that you’ll always be stuck with the shoulders proper being at that 90 degree angle.  In terms of construction, he overall makes for a pretty decent recreation of the G1 animated appearance of Rodimus, and is certainly a better looking figure than the original vintage piece.  That said, there’s a fair bit of concession made for his transformation.  He’s got some pretty hefty kibble both on his back and on the undersides of his forearms, meaning that while he looks alright from the front, from an angle things look a little weird.  Additionally, much like the Combiner Wars Magnus I took a look at, Rodimus’ larger size requires a bit of cheating with the plastic, so that he’s not solid all the way through.  Instead, there are a number of hollow sections, mostly in the upper arms and legs, which again make the figure better when viewed from the front.  Lastly, there’s one oddity caused by the line’s main gimmick for the Leader Class figures, which results in there being a smaller set of arms visible on his torso, making him look kinda like his a very big-headed smaller robot that’s piloting a mech suit…which maybe isn’t so far off.  Rodimus Prime includes the Matrix of Leadership, which he can only really store in his chest cavity, since it’s not possible for him to hold in his hands.  He’s also got a long blaster rifle.

The gimmick for all of the Leader Class releases in Power of the Primes was evolution (as noted by the name of the figure), and much like the Siege Leader Class figures, this was accomplished via a smaller bot with armor to “evolve” it into a larger bot.  Popping off the arms and removing the torso from the legs allows for the torso segment to be transformed into a Deluxe Class-scaled Hot Rod figure, standing 6 inches tall and sporting 19 practical points of articulation.  Like with the larger bot, there are some spots where the articulation is a little bit restricted, this time on the legs (which were actually the shoulders of the larger figure, so I guess that tracks).  The hips don’t have a ton of back and forth motion, and I definitely miss the rocker ankles here.  He’s also missing a waist joint, as well as wrists.  At least in the case of the wrists, there are balljoints at the elbows, so the actual mobility isn’t horribly impacted.  Though this guy has less actual articulation than the larger figure, I did find that it was a little easier to work with on the smaller figure.  The actual sculpt on this guy is actually a pretty solid update of the vintage Rodimus, just with better articulation, and a slightly more animation-faithful appearance.  There are less hollow points in his construction, and in general he fits in pretty well with some of the less greeble-y Siege guys, which is alright by my count.  In this mode, Hot Rod still can’t hold the Matrix, but he can at least make use of the large blaster, which splits into two pieces, replicating Hot Rod’s smaller blasters from his original toy.

As with his vintage counterpart, this smaller Hot Rod figure’s alt-mode is a futuristic sports car.  In fact, it’s pretty much a straight re-creation of the exact future sports car mode used by the vintage figure, with only some rather moderate surface changes between the two.  The transformation process here is really quite simple, and in fact a fair bit of it is just reversing a few things you have to do to transform the Rodimus Prime torso into Hot Rod in the first place.  It’s a pretty slick looking vehicle mode, and like the robot mode is quite accurate to the animation design for said alt-mode.  To take things even further, you can at this point add back in all those parts you set aside when you converted him into Hot Rod, and add them back in as a trailer, because that’s what really signifies the whole Prime thing: a trailer.  No one’s gonna say anything about the fact that there’s a freaking trailer attached to a sports car or anything, because that’s clearly a natural and normal thing to encounter, and is not at all odd or suspicious or strange.  The trailer that is totally inconspicuous is a little trickier of a transformation, mostly when it comes to fitting it onto the car, but it’s not terrible, and like the standard car, the full mode is fairly accurate to the animation, though there are some concessions made to allow the actual car part to remain the same between the two modes.  In this mode, the blasters can be mounted on the trailer for a fully armed effect.  He still can’t hold that Matrix, though.


When I first started to dip my toe in the Transformers water, I looked at this figure while he was still “new”, or at least still in-stock as a regular floor item at All Time.  Ultimately, I didn’t end up getting him, but I resigned that if a used one came through I’d give it some serious thought.  One came in as part of the rather sizable collection of Transformers the store recently received, and in a messed up box that was going to necessitate opening him up anyway.  With the announcement of Arcee, and taking into consideration that I already have a lot of the other “heavy hitters” in some sort of modern form, it was pretty easy to convince myself to finally pick this guy up.  The Rodimus form doesn’t do a ton for me personally, but the inner Hot Rod bot is actually really nice, and a solid addition to my current set-up.  Plus, it meant I got a modern and a vintage Hot Rod in the same day.  How cool is that?

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.

#2353: Hot Rod



“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!


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.


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.