Name: Hot Rod
Allegiance: Cybertron (Autobot)
Alternate Mode: Futuristic Sports Car
Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Hot Rod for this review
Height: 4cm Length: 15.5cm (18.5 with weapon) Width: 8cm
A transparent blue repaint of Classics Rodimus, Hot Rod represents the movie in Transformers: The Movie where the Matrix light shines on him (inside Unicron). Okay, so that wasn't a transparent Hot Rod, but this is a Japanese limited exclusive figure and TakaraTomy have a thing for transparent plastics. The tailfin is transparent green but otherwise this entire vehicle mode - including the windows & tyres - is composed of transparent blue plastic. The flames on his hood and headlights are painted gold (and the hood itself is painted a metallic green_ while the engineblock is painted a mix of gold and silver. The hubcaps and exhaust pipes on the sides are also painted silver. Rounding out the paint job, Hot Rod has a red Autobot logo stamped on the hood. It's not a colour scheme which you'd associate with Hot Rod - only the flames really allude to the character - but this vehicle is distinctive enough that it's obviously a derivation of Hot Rod. Aesthetically the colours work well enough - it's kind of gaudy, but deliberately so & as an exclusive it works.
Compared to the original Hot Rod, the fin on the back is set further back, and is a tad wider. The exhaust pipes are only two per side rather than three. The detailing is good and this is enhanced by the transparent plastic - which allows us to see all sorts of details underneath (especially on the roof). There are doorhandles, piston heads on the engine and rivets on his tyres.
There's not really any play value here. The wheels roll of course, although he doesn't roll that well. You can plug his missile launcher into the underside, which gives him a blue jet sticking out the back (the missile). I'm not a huge fan of this look, but I do appreciate that Hot Rod can hold his weapon. I suppose you can launch the missile, but there's not really any point ejecting it backwards from underneath the car.
It's a good vehicle mode and one that represents the character nicely. The colours are what they are - they break the rules of aesthetics but work in their own way. This vehicle mode ties in very closely to Hot Rod as we saw him in TF:TM - and this repaint ties into that. I suppose some meaningful play value would have been nice - but I'm not complaining - I'll take this car mode over a compromised one with some silly gimmick.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
This transformation is broadly similar to the original's with some changes to allow more poseability. Remove the launcher if you have it attached. Flip back panels underneath the doors, revealing the robot thighs. Pull out the rear wheels, pull the legs out, flip out his feet and heelspurs. Pull out the front fenders to form his arms, fold down the hood to form the chest, which will pull the arms up and reveal his head. Swing the arms down, flip out his fists and give him his missile launcher. Rotate the roof on his back, fold back the fin and rotate the fintips allowing them to point up in robot mode.
Height: 13.5cm Width: 8cm
Again he's almost entirely composed of transparent blue plastic. The green on his wing is now joined by some more green on his thighs - but everything else is blue. The painted hood is now his chest while his face is silver with a gold crest. The silver and gold paint is also present on his shoulders, waist and shins - there's also some metallic green on the latter. This green is also found on his wrists, while the silver exhaust pipes on the outsides of his forearms are silver. The overall effect is similar to the vehicle mode, except now Hot Rod has a few more painted details and so doesn't look quite as blue. The TF:™ Matrix scene thing is really based on this mode - although it's not really obvious unless you know that was the intention. Again the colours aren't really those of Hot Rod, even if the mould makes it obvious.
The layout is pretty much the same as we saw in G1 (both the movie and the toy), with the hood on his chest, fin behind the shoulders, tyres on the boots and upper arms. Hot Rod is very much an updated, more detailed version (now in blue, of course).
Whilst Hot Rod misses out on play value in vehicle mode, there's some fun here. The missile launcher, with its single missile, can fit in either hand. The launcher holds the missile quite firmly, and fires it about 50cm. The launcher is big without being obtrusive, although the missile looks rather out of place. It's a missile that would have looked more at home in Beast Machines than on a Classics toy, to be honest. The other gimmick we get doesn't offer as much play value, but it's a really nice G1 tribute. Tucked away underneath his left fist, Hot Rod has a flip out buzzsaw - a great tip of the hat to TF:TM.
The poseability here is very impressive, especially for a toy that's so faithful to an old toy in both sides. The head turns, his shoulders are ball jointed and the elbows are hinged. The waist turns, the hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and rotate. The feet and heelspurs both fold down, giving Hot Rod great stability. While the upper body isn't all that poseable, the lower body is very impressive - and there's enough in his shoulders to put the arms into meaningful positions.
A great robot mode that's probably only hampered by the goofy choice of missile. It's true to the character with great poseability and a wicked bonus in the buzzsaw underneath his hand. Okay so the colours are somewhat wacky, but they make sense for a limited toy such as this.
None that I'm aware of. He was exclusively available in a three pack with Kup & Scrapheap, only through e-Hobby, making variants unlikely.
A great mould which both suits the character is really only fits as Hot Rod. The colours are... different... and while they wouldn't work for a standard release toy, they work nicely on an exclusive. Hot Rod uses no solid plastic - he's more transparent than most transparent Transformers. The mould is a good one - few gimmicks but good play value & good detailing. This repaint isn't going to please everyone, but at least it's something new (not just a black or colourless version) - 8.5/10