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Old 2018-01-26, 04:27 AM   #1
Warcry
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Default Titans Return Hot Rod ***Proofed by Skyquake87***

Name: Hot Rod
Allegiance: Autobot
Size Class: Deluxe
Accessories: Firedrive Titan Master, twin rifles

The Autobots unite with Titan Master partners to power up for battle. When Autobot Hot Rod unites with Firedrive he gains an electrostatic fireblast that disables the systems of enemy targets he hits.

It's always a bit tough to review a figure of your favourite character, isn't it? At least it is for me. I'm always second-guessing myself a bit. If I like the figure, at the back of my mind I'm always wondering "do I only like it because of the character?" And if I don't, I always wonder, "would I be this hard on the figure if it was Longtooth or someone?" So naturally I sign up to review figures of my favourite characters constantly, only to kick myself for it later.

Hot Rod? He's been my favourite Autobot since I was a little boy. And understandably so! He's possibly the only example in thirty-plus years of Transformers lore of a kid identification character done right. Not a reflection of how the adult writers see kids (as represented by the spunky-but-ineffectual Bumblebee or the dopey-but-eager Cheetor), but a reflection of how kids want to be seen: effortlessly cool, good at what he does and constantly bucking off adult supervision. As I grew older I began to appreciated the more mature Rodimus Prime phase of the character's development more, but I still have a soft spot for both. Over the past few years I've been spoiled with choice for new toys of the guy, but the only one I've picked up so far has been the Titans Return Deluxe. And of course, once I sat down to review it I immediately started to second-guess my opinions all over again...

Robot Mode: Hot Rod's robot mode is tall and lanky, and that's not at all what I think of when the character comes to mind. While the IDW take on the character is quite slender, this figure is definitely meant to hearken back to the 1980s design, and it feels like an odd fit. His arms in particular are quite long, his chest is fairly narrow and he's got some pretty skinny legs too. He's mostly red, with orange thighs and hands, and some silver/grey details on his legs and chest. He's also got the obligatory "Hot Rod Flame Deco" on his chest. It's a fairly standard look for the character, though the unpainted, flat grey exhaust pipes on his forearms detract from it quite a bit. Another thing that hurts his looks? Being a Headmaster. Hot Rod traditionally has a very rounded head, and that makes him a very odd choice for a gimmick that entails having a head that's basically square. More than anything, it looks like someone with a boxy head wearing a Hot Rod mask. His big, yellow spoiler also seems to get lost behind his huge shoulders from most angles.

I'm not super happy with how the figure's looks came out. But I don't think it's actually bad as much as it's just not doing a good job of representing the guy it's supposed to be.

Once you move past the looks of the figure, it gets easier to appreciate him. He's got good articulation, including the waist swivel that far too many Transformers figures are missing these days. Ball-jointed hips and shoulders, swivel-hinge elbows, thigh swivels and standard hinged knees give him a good range of motion, and his ankles have some back and forth play that makes him pretty stable in a lot of poses.

Hot Rod comes with two weapons, a pair of rifles that can be wielded separately, or combined into a single large weapon. The combined weapon also serves as a gun emplacement for a Titan Master to sit in. A lot of people will just ignore these and have Hot Rod blast people with his signature wrist guns instead, but I think they're a nice addition to the figure. Having two weapons that combine into a Titan Master turret is also a big step up from some of the other figures in the line, whose TM compatibility often came in the form of a single oversized gun with a huge seat molded in the middle of it.

Overall, I think this is actually a pretty solid robot mode. But it's not a very good Hot Rod, and as a representation of the character I'd like to think we could do better.

Car Mode: Hot Rod is one of the few figures I own that is almost always displayed in vehicle mode, because while the robot mode is a pretty weak match for the character, the car mode is basically perfect. It captures the sleek, futuristic lines of the original figure and the cartoon model in equal measures, and the end result is one of the nicest-looking car modes to ever grace a Deluxe-sized figure. As with robot mode, Hot Rod's car is mostly red. He has flame details on the hood, huge, aggressive-looking headlights, a prominent yellow spoiler and triple exhaust pipes on his sides. As with the robot mode, the car would have been improved if they'd painted the pipes silver. Other than that, it's pretty close to perfect.

Hot Rod's blue cockpit compartment flips open to seat a Titan Master figure. His combined weapon emplacement can also peg into his engine to provide another place for a small robot to hang out. He has a pair of Titan Master pegs on his roof for the small figures to stand on, and 5mm peg holes right behind his front wheels to accommodate extra weapons. However, a sleek sportscar isn't necessarily the type of figure that you'd want to peg a million add-ons into, and I generally prefer the car as-is.

Hot Rod doesn't have the same "Titan Master playset" feel to him that figures like Hardhead or Sky Shadow or Broadside do, but he's a solid Deluxe car.

Titan Master: Firedrive is literally all grey aside from Hot Rod's faceplate, making him easily the most boring Transformers figure I've ever owned. A few splashes of paint or even a different plastic colour for the chest would have gone a long way here.

Transformation Design: The transformation is very similar to the original, but I think it actually falls short of that. Too much of the car hood winds up on the shoulders, which makes them too big and the chest too small. Unfortunately, this is the price we pay when Hasbro wants to give him show-accurate instead of toy-accurate shoulders. Otherwise, it works quite well. 7/10

Durability: Hot Rod's spoiler isn't molded in yellow plastic. It's actually clear blue, with a silver base coat and yellow on top. That means that any scratch or chip is going to be really noticeable, and the spoiler is probably the biggest and most noticeable part of the figure. But if paint chipping is the worst I can complain about, it means the figure itself is quite solid. 8/10

Fun: Because I don't like the robot mode, I don't transform this figure very much and that really saps my enjoyment. 3/10

Aesthetics: Although the car mode is fantastic, the robot really drags it down. I'd guess I'm tougher on it than most, since Hot Rod is a favourite, but it just doesn't work for me at all. All I see are the monkey arms and the box on his head. 5/10

Articulation: A bit above average, perhaps, thanks to the waist swivel. 7/10

Price: Thanks to shipping again in wave 6, Hot Rod is probably hanging around on clearance in a lot of places. If you can catch him there, maybe he's worth it. For the $20 Canadian that he sells for at retail, probably not. And he's definitely not worth the inflated aftermarket prices he'll start to attract once Titans Return is fading in the rear view mirror... 4/10

Overall: I'm sure I'd like this figure a lot more if it wasn't representing a character I'm so picky about! As-is, I honestly can't recommend it. It's a fairly middling figure, and the Titans Return Deluxe range had so much better to offer. 5.5/10
 
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Last edited by Skyquake87; 2018-01-28 at 11:47 AM. Reason: proofing
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Old 2018-01-26, 04:27 AM   #2
Warcry
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
 
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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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More pics.
 
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Old 2018-01-28, 11:50 AM   #3
Skyquake87
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I have similar mixed feelings about Hot Rod. I like the character and the toy is fun to play with, but he's just off in robot mode and I'm never a fan of plain black wheel hubs. Just some silver on these would have looked excellent and just made the vehicle mode look a bit nicer to me personally. It also feels a little bit boxy, and not quite as sleek as the '06 Classics toy (which is both boxy and sleek...!) and much more of a toy than a vehicle, if that makes sense.
 
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Old 2018-01-29, 04:10 PM   #4
ganon578
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Good review.

I'm the same when it comes to reviewing favorite characters, like Starscream. I can't decide if I judge them harder or easier sometimes, and I second guess my assessments constantly. I waffled a few times on PotP Starscream, and though I have fun with it, ultimately it's not a good toy. Seems it's the same for you with this Hot Rod. I like him, but he's too lanky. I'm also probably not going to drop $50 on Rodimus Prime just to have another deluxe version (which I am not sure is better).
 

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Old 2018-01-29, 09:25 PM   #5
Warcry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
I have similar mixed feelings about Hot Rod. I like the character and the toy is fun to play with, but he's just off in robot mode and I'm never a fan of plain black wheel hubs. Just some silver on these would have looked excellent and just made the vehicle mode look a bit nicer to me personally. It also feels a little bit boxy, and not quite as sleek as the '06 Classics toy (which is both boxy and sleek...!) and much more of a toy than a vehicle, if that makes sense.
I don't mind plain black wheels in some situations, but Hot Rod's are clear blue painted a gloss black and they do look pretty odd. But they have a kinda indistinct shape and I'm not sure what you'd even go about painting on the rims.

I like the Classics figure a bit more because I love the strange, G2-comic-esque aesthetics it has, but if I look at it objectively I have to admit that it's a pretty blah toy as well. At least hte new one is poseable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganon578 View Post
I'm the same when it comes to reviewing favorite characters, like Starscream. I can't decide if I judge them harder or easier sometimes, and I second guess my assessments constantly. I waffled a few times on PotP Starscream, and though I have fun with it, ultimately it's not a good toy. Seems it's the same for you with this Hot Rod.
Yeah, that about describes it. If I'd done this review a year ago when I first claimed it, he'd probably have gotten a 3/10 because I was so annoyed that they'd done one of my favourites so wonkily. On the other hand I probably wouldn't have spent enough time with a toy I didn't really like to even find the things I like about it now if it wasn't a favourite like Hot Rod. So I guess the bias evens out in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganon578 View Post
I like him, but he's too lanky. I'm also probably not going to drop $50 on Rodimus Prime just to have another deluxe version (which I am not sure is better).
Every time I see that Rodimus Prime, it looks a little worse to me. If you asked me what character I wanted a Generations figure of he'd have easily been my #1 want, and as soon as they started selling POTP as a line with multiple Primes I started to get really hopeful that he'd finally appear. Having that come true only for him to turn out so badly is like a kick in the teeth.

At first I tried to convince myself that at least the inner robot was good, but every new picture that I see of him only serves to drum in the fact that, no, it sucks too.
 
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Old 2018-01-31, 08:59 PM   #6
ganon578
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
Every time I see that Rodimus Prime, it looks a little worse to me. If you asked me what character I wanted a Generations figure of he'd have easily been my #1 want, and as soon as they started selling POTP as a line with multiple Primes I started to get really hopeful that he'd finally appear. Having that come true only for him to turn out so badly is like a kick in the teeth.

At first I tried to convince myself that at least the inner robot was good, but every new picture that I see of him only serves to drum in the fact that, no, it sucks too.
Yeah, the more I see photos of the included Hot Rod, it just shows me that TR Hot Rod is much better. I have, however, seen photos of PotP Rodimus Prime with the inner arms bent in such a way to cover up the sucky shoulders - and it does present itself far better. That said, I still don't think I'd buy it unless I find it on clearance for $20. In the meantime, TR Hot Rod it is!
 

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