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Series: Studio Series 86
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Voyager
Year: 2021

Prelude: Before he became Rodimus Prime, the greatest Autobot leader of all time, he was simply known as Hot Rod. Before he came out in the Studio Series 86, we were already familiar with Leader-class toys that were actually Voyager figures with extra parts. Hot Rod, though, is – at first glance at least – a Deluxe-class toy being sold as a Voyager-class. Much like – at first glance – he did not seem like the guy to become the greatest Autobot leader of all time. Funny how that works. So let’s see if this Deluxe-sized figure is worth the Voyager price. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Let’s start with the obvious: Hot Rod is not a Voyager-class figure in terms of size. He’s Deluxe-sized, and on the lower end at that. Upon closer look, though, the reason for the Voyager price point quickly becomes evident. If you happen to remember the original Masterpiece Rodimus figure, you will find that almost every single gimmick that (much, much larger) figure had is present here. Hot Rod has articulated hands, can switch out said hands for either a welder or a socket for a circular saw, can flip a visor down onto his eyes, and comes with a Matrix of Leadership (including a glow effect part). Okay, he cannot put the Matrix into his chest, but that’s about the only difference. So while Hot Rod is small, he has the gimmicks, detail work, and engineering of a much, much larger figure.

The figure also looks very much like Hot Rod did in the 1986 movie, almost as if it jumped right off the screen. Just about the thing I would slightly critize are the triple exhaust pipes in each arm. They should probably be a bit thinner, but longer. That’s really just a little thing, barely worth mentioning. The figure is very nicely articulated, easily capable of high kicks and running poses. It also works very nicely with Kingdom Rodimus Prime, especially if you include the backdrop, which shows the interior of Unicron from the movie. So bottom line: Hot Rod in robot mode has seldom looked better than this.

Alternate Mode: Hot Rod transforms into the familiar futuristic sports car we know from the movie, looking very much like it came directly from the screen. Just about the only thing that stands out negatively is the yellow-colored hinge on top of the car. No idea why they couldn’t just color that part red, too. Apart from that, though, everything looks great and the car fits together very nice. Okay, the hood isn’t actually the chest plate of the robot (that one is on the underside of the car), but who cares? It looks sleek, it looks cool, you can store all the weapons on top (even the saw) and the exhaust flame effect parts look much better than the ones that came with Kingdom Rodimus Prime. So bottom line: a near-perfect car mode. Very nicely done.

Remarks: It’s a bit of a paradox that Hot Rod, despite having far, far less screen time than Rodimus Prime, is actually the better-known version of the character. I mean, he only appeared in the movie and had a few short scenes in two episodes of season 3, while Rodimus Prime appeared throughout the entire third season.

Either way, there have been a lot of Hot Rod figures throughout the years, but I would definitely call this one here one of the best, possibly the best. It encompasses pretty much everything the Masterpiece version had, but in a far more compact, CHUG-sized packaging. He is also the perfect counterpart to Kingdom Rodimus Prime. Just about his only downside is the slightly awkward transformation, which isn’t really much of an issue. So bottom line: if you are in any way a Hot Rod / Rodimus fan, then this is the figure you need. Fully recommended.

Rating: A-
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