"Cyberverse" Warrior Class Hot Rod Toy Review
Release Date: January 2019
Price Point: $14.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Target, Walmart, Amazon etc.)
*Images and text below from Amazon.com:
"Picture This: Me, on earth, still cooler than everyone This side of Optimus Prime, but I've got zero memories. Now I'm on a mission to recover My memories and discover all of my awesome powers. I'll have to battle Deceptions, outrun an explosion or two, and be heroic- basically, I'm in for one epic ride across the cybernetic." -Bumblebeee
Easily convert and attack with Transformers Cyberverse action attackers figures! Simply convert hot rod figure from robot to vehicle mode in 7 steps. The last step of conversion activates Autobot hot rod figure's Fusion flame action attack move! Once converted, attack move can be repeated through easy reactivation steps.
Kids can collect other action attackers figures, each sold separately, to discover the signature attack moves of favorite characters from the cybernetic series -- one of the best ways to introduce young kids and new fans to the exciting world of Transformers!
In late 2017 it was revealed that a new Transformers cartoon would be replacing "Robots in Disguise". The series focuses on Bumblebee with partial amnesia attempting to regain his memories. A blend of G1 and modern characters combined with a more kid-friendly animation style results in a show that leans more towards a younger audience than even "Robots in Disguise", something which is reflected in the toy line. "Cyberverse" first started showing up at retail around late 2018 and continued into 2019.
Hot Rod is an iconic Transformers character. Introduced in the 1986 "Transformers: The Movie" animated film, the character would go on to lead the Autobots as Rodimus Prime. Recent Transformers lines have featured both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime. The character does appear in the "Cyberverse" cartoon including a very memorable episode set on the planet Velocitron. Between that and the visual style of the character it made perfect sense to include him in this toy line.
Warrior Class "Cyberverse" figures are packaged on bubble cards. The cards have a new design which takes cues from more recent Transformers packaging. There is still a vertical "Transformers" logo on the right side, above it is a symbol (Autobot or Decepticon based on the character) and the character art is at the top of the packaging with the "Cyberverse" logo under it. Perhaps the most distinctive part of the packaging design are the colors, which utilize yellow and light blue helping them stand out against the black and red colors used for "Generations" packaging on shelves. The back of the packaging features the figure with its action feature called out. In Hot Rod's case he has a "Fusion Flame" feature. The packaging also calls out his cosells (including Prowl and Soundwave) and his transformation is listed as having 7 steps.
The insert on the packaging notes a recommended age of "6+" which is important to keep in mind with this Class of figure. Contrast that with a "Generations" Deluxe (such as Jazz or Sunstreaker) which have recommended ages of 8+. This age recommendation is more along the lines of "Robots in Disguise" Legion Class figures such as Bisk.
The first wave of "Cyberverse" Warrior Class figures left much to be desired, partly because the expectation of what a "Warrior" Class figure is was set by the "Robots in Disguise" line back in 2015. In that line, "Warrior" was meant to be a "light" version of Deluxe Class figures with a focus on transformation to satisfy older and younger fans at the same time. It represented a good middle ground and I was a huge fan of the class. However, with "Cyberverse", the Warrior Class became just another gimmick-centric Class of figures which sacrificed everything from articulation to deco in service of gimmicks that were less than impressive.
Hot Rod represents a step back in the right direction starting with the sculpt. This figure has many of the iconic Hot Rod design elements including the front of the car becoming the chest, exhaust pipes on the arms, the vehicle spoiler on his back and legs with distinct knee armor. Even his head sculpt looks like it could have come right out of Generation One, featuring a curved crest on the top of the head and circles on the sides.
The sculpt/design does have a couple of drawbacks. First, the top section of the car does not fold up against the back, so the vehicle mode windshield winds up behind the legs, which looks kind of awkward and interferes with articulation. Second, the arms sacrifice elbow articulation for his "Fusion Flame" gimmick (more on this below). While I can live with one or the other of these drawbacks, both in one figure really knock it down a peg in my eyes.
Hot Rod is cast in classic Hot Rod colors: red, yellow, black and translucent blue plastic. Most of the figure is a beautiful metallic red and the thighs are metallic yellow. The entire back piece is translucent blue, meaning there is a significant amount of red and yellow paint on it. Silver paint is used to paint in details on the head, arms and legs. Black paint is used to paint the fists. The eyes and headlights on the torso are painted light blue. The finishing touch is a dark red patch on the chest with a flame tampograph over it, visually calling back to one of G1 Hot Rod's most distinct features. On top of the flames is a faded white Autobot symbol. From a deco perspective I am actually very impressed with the amount of paint used, especially considering how little was used on some of the Wave 1 Warrior Class figures (I'm looking at you Acid Storm). My only wish would have been to add more yellow to the vehicle spoiler so it pops more when you look at the figure from the front view.
There are seven points of articulation on this figure. This is a step up from the previous wave of Warrior Class figures. Among the articulation points are ball joints at the hips and shoulders. The gimmick is the "Fusion Flame", which involves translucent blue plastic "flames" coming out of the sides of the arms. You activate this by swinging the arms out to the sides. This causes the flames to push the side panels on the arms out. These are intended to appear as if these flames are coming out of the top of the exhaust pipes which looks okay, but not worth the sacrifice of the elbow articulation. If the arm articulation had to be sacrificed, I would have preferred the "flames" come out the front of the exhaust pipes to look like he is blasting away at enemies or even a missile firing feature. That said, he does have 5mm ports in each fist, allowing him to hold weapons from other toy lines.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- If the "flames" are deployed, push them back into the arms.
- Connect the two lower arms together by sliding the tab on the left leg into the corresponding slot on the right leg.
- Pull the back piece out and rotate it around.
- Swing the robot chest out and up. This will cause the head to fold in.
- Swing the arms in and connect the tabs on the forearms into the sides of the lower legs.
- Push the chest piece down in front.
- Push the windshield/spoiler piece down.
Traditionally Hot Rod's vehicle mode is a thin, sleek, futuristic car. However, this version of the character looks like a "bulked up" version of previous Hot Rods. Instead of having a low profile, the front and main body of the vehicle are taller and bulkier than you would expect. This gives him the appearance of a futuristic muscle car, which is a cool take on the vehicle. That said, the sculpt does have one big flaw: the open gap in the front. It makes the vehicle look incomplete, as if someone stole his grille.
There are some nice details on the figure including the ends of the spoiler (which point forward), the a curved cabin section that looks almost like a jet cockpit and thin headlights in the front.
This mode shows off a lot of red plastic along with the red paint apps on the cabin section. It also shows off a lot of yellow paint on the spoiler. Silver appears on the exhaust pipes running along the sides. The headlights are painted light blue, and the flame details show on the front of the car. The only detail I wish they had included would be silver on the sides of the wheels. Unpainted wheels became standard for Transformers figures over the past few years, but in recent time the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. It's a shame it did not happen on this figure.
Hot Rod is a big step up from the first wave of "Cyberverse" Warrior Class figures. He has better articulation and from a sculpting perspective I feel like the designers did a much better job. Unfortunately, he still has a gimmick which does not add much to the figure, and I think he would have been better off with elbow articulation and maybe a blaster accessory instead of the "flames". Mildly recommended at full price. If you can get him around 20% off ore more, then he's definitely worth it.
- Good robot mode sculpt.
- Vehicle mode is an interesting, more "aggressive" design than the traditional Hot Rod vehicle form.
- Beautiful plastic colors.
- Nice deco.
- No elbow articulation.
- The "Fusion Flame" gimmick is not particularly impressive.
- Could use slightly more deco, particularly on the bottom of the spoiler.