Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Is Hot Rod the best G1 Transformer?

No, that's Jetfire, but why is Hot Rod (or Hot Rodimus) a contender? Maybe it's the significance his character has in the Transformers cartoon and comic mythos, especially the animated 1986 feature. Maybe it's because it's one of the first properly 'new' moulds that Hasbro put out as a Transformers toy of any importance, having never been used for Takara's Diaclone or MC lines, or any of the other pre-TF lines where some toys hail from. Or is it because as far as G1 toys go, it's one of the best? More likely I'm writing this because of today's More Than Meets The Eye #29. Yeah, you know why.

Takara C-78 Hot Rodimus reissue

Hot Rod was released in 1986 by Hasbro and Takara, in Japan he was called "Hot Rodimus" and designated C-78. It's that Japanese release that the reissue above is based on. The prototypes and test shot had Hot Rod in pink before the production toy changed the main colour to more of a burgundy. His 1987 Targetmaster release was only sold in the UK, mainland Europe (bilingual packaging) and the USA. A 2001 reissue (above) was followed by two exclusive recolours, one in black and one using clear plastic. Then came the Hasbro commemorative "Rodimus Major" reissue...

Hasbro reissue Rodimus Major (plus Rook and Tap Out)

...and then we got the TF Collection 13 Hot Rodimus with Targetmaster Firebolt reissue in Japan, the first time they had that toy. It was designated C-110 in reference to the Takara designation he was supposed to have. This version also had tampographed details, most noticeably on the hood where all previous versions had the famous hood flame sticker.

None of this goes any way to explaining why he's a contender for best G1 toy ever, that comes from his absolutely brilliant, repeatable and downright addictive transformation process.

From car mode you extend the legs until you get an immensely satisfying click, then you flip out the feet. If you have the reissue, you have the die cast metal feet with the yellow lining plastic. I actually can't remember if the first vintage release with metal feet also had that yellow plastic lining. Then, you flip out the arms, but don't rotate the forearms, that surprisingly satisfying step is saved for later. Following that, you pull up the hood until the robot eyes clears the yellow bar. Now, rotate the waist piece.

Best part coming up. Rotate the hood down, the engine should be pointing outwards. The robot head rotates towards you, and the collar clips onto the front of the hood, some still rotate it backwards where it just sits behind the hood with Hot Rod's face pointing slightly downwards. Now pull the hood down and clip the tab into the waist piece. *Excitement* Rotate the roof/spoiler assembly - and if you have the reissue - enjoy the spring-loaded action that makes the thing just snap into place. Actually, on the commemorative Hasbro reissue it doesn't snap in anywhere near as well as it does on the C-78 Crystal Rodimus Takara version. Finally, rotate those forearms inwards. I quite genuinely have struggled to find a G1 Transformer with a more satisfying, repeatable and satisfying ("cognitive bias, look it up") transformation.

Yes, I really did just spend two paragraphs telling you how to transform a G1 Hot Rod.

All the best


  1. "From car mode you extend the legs until you get an immensely satisfying click"

    Yes ! This click-into-place feature is sorely missing in a lot of TFs where the legs pull out. So many of those "pull-out" toys end up being undisplayable in robot mode because of loose leg shafts unable to hold up the weight of the body. The problem wouldn't be one if the legs clicked into place instead of relying on friction.

  2. Iain/CyberShadow16 May 2014 at 10:55

    There are some G1 transformation steps that are iconic and dripping with nostalgia...
    - Flipping the Decepticon jet nose cone down going into bot mode always reminds me of the old ads on tv.
    - Moving Jazz to bot mode, after revealing the arms grabbing the entire front of the car and lifting it to form the chest in one movement (also from the ad, and mirrored in Warpath).
    - Extending the feet/legs of Bee/Cliffjumper.
    Simple actions that open floodgates of memories and are hugely satisfying.

  3. Wow. I mean...I would place Hot Rod as third best, behind Soundwave at #2 and THEN Jetfire at #1. With Powermaster Optimus Prime at #4, and Hun-grr (just him, no Abominus) at #5.