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          TOY REVIEW

Name: Crystal Rodimus
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Bright Knight
Vehicular Mode: Sports car
Price: 4980 JPY (limited series)

PACKAGING

For those of us who grew up with the larger Western Transformer boxes, the first thought that runs through your mind when you see this box is, "it's so small." However, Japanese Transformer boxes have generally always been smaller. This box is 16.2cm(L) x 15.6cm(H) x 5cm(W) and essentially provides enough space to fit Hot Rodimus and his accessories, decals, sticker sheet and Takara's self addressed marketing survey. There's not much more space for anything else, unlike Hasbro's box which was much bigger (but admittedly wasted a lot more space).

The box is done in traditional 1986 Transformer style with old school logos. There are two lines of bold white text just above the window, which reads, "Heir to the Matrix!" and "Photon Laser Double Attack!!". The top of the box shows Hot Rodimus transforming in four stages. On the back of the box is the image shown on the back of all 1986 boxes -- it's the battle scene with the Transformers fighting around Metroplex (and incidentally is the same image shown on "Spaceballs the Lunchbox" in Mel Brook's 1987 scifi spoof Spaceballs). The rest is the usual legal blurbs.

VEHICLE MODE


Length: 13 cm
Hot Rodimus is a sleek looking sports car. The body of the car appears to be swept back, making the car appear to be very streamlined. The car is primarily red. The bonnet has a factory applied shiny sticker that features gold flames against an orange background. In the centre of the flames is an Autobot insignia. In the middle of the bonnet is a chrome silver engine, protruding. The headlights are orange, as well as four hinges along the sides. The sides of the car are orange with a yellow and red flame decal. Along the sides of the car are a series of chrome silver exhaust pipes. The spoiler is bright yellow and the windows are transparent blue. The hubcaps are gray and the tyres are naturally black. Each tyre has a few tyre tread lines moulded in. Although Hot Rodimus was an original Transformer mould (as opposed to being derived from another toyline like Diaclone or Microman), he actually has a driver's compartment, although it cannot be opened. However, it's a neat feature that they went to the trouble of actually sculpting seats, a dashboard, gear stick (Hot Rod's secret shame: he's an automatic transmission!), head rests and an arm rest! These are all orange, but you can't really see them well unless the entire roof section breaks off (which unfortunately was a common problem with Hot Rod toys). Either of Hot Rodimus' guns can be inserted into the hole on top of the engine.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

Pull back the rear of the vehicle and flip out the robot feet. Swing out the forward sides of the car. Swing forward the hood of the car and turn around the waist section of the robot mode. Now flip down the engine on the hood to reveal the robot head. Lock it into place with the hood and then swing that entire piece down. Using the tab at the center of the hood, connect it to the waist area. Turn the lower arms of the robot forward. Rotate the section with the yellow spoiler around so the yellow spoiler appears right behind the shoulders. Place the guns into his hands.

ROBOT MODE

Height: 14.5 cm
The colours from the vehicular mode essentially carry onto the robot mode. The hands and thighs are orange and the face is light gray with blue eyes. Stickers (all printed on foil paper) bring several chrome, yellow, red and orange highlights throughout the toy. The feet are die cast metal. The original Hot Rod has two stickers that are placed on the thighs, however, these stickers were soon damaged due to friction with the lower legs sliding over the upper legs. Although Generation One Hot Rodimus also comes with these stickers, the instructions do not indicate where to place them. Rather, it simply says to place them wherever you like! Unfortunately, there really isn't anywhere else on the toy that the stickers can be applied on.
Despite the slick look, there really isn't much else about this toy. The legs are practically immobile and the arms only sport three points of articulation each.

VARIATIONS

Convention exclusive translucent and black repaints (called Crystal Rodimus and Black Rodimus) were made. See the Crystal Rodimus and Black Rodimus toy reviews for more detail.
This review will cover the differences between the 2000 Generation One Hot Rodimus and 1986 Hot Rod. For more information on other earlier variants, please refer to the original Hot Rod review.
1986 Hot Rod(imus) 2000 Hot Rodimus
Metal feet are a "bronze gray" tone. Plastic feet are black. Metal feet are coated with a dark, shiny glaze.
Copyright stamp reads "(C) HASBRO 1986" and  
"(C) TAKARA CO., LTD 1986 JAPAN."
Copyright stamp reads "(C) HASBRO 1986" and  
"(C) TAKARA CO., LT_ 1986 CHINA."
Hole diameter of holes in fists and engine are slightly larger. Hole diameter of holes in fists and engine are slightly smaller.
Gun handles are thick and are flat on the base. Gun handles are narrower and have holes punched on the base.
Roof is the same shade of red as the rest of the car. Roof is a very vivid red -- practically vermillion.
These differences were intentional and help collectors to discriminate between which release is which, and also discourages unscrupulous dealers from trying to pass off one version as the other.

OVERALL

Due to the near lack of any points of articulation, Hot Rodimus is practically a "brick" by current toy standards. Consequently, this toy would only appeal to fans of the original Transformers, where Hot Rod was a major player in the canon. However, at just 2500 JPY (only 700 JPY more than the Car Robot Brothers), he is also one of the cheapest Generation One toys released so far. 
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