Generations Hotrod Wave 3 has been out in Australia for a couple of weeks now and with it comes new toys! I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos as I don't have my proper camera with me at the moment. Here's one of the major ones I'm sure people have been looking forward to: Titan Returns Hotrod! Hotrod, like his wavemated Twinferno and Triggerhappy, is an entirely new mold. Being a pretty popular character and significant character in almost every continuity a version of him has ever shown up with he's had quite a few toys over the years. Weirdly for someone like Hotrod (who has a pretty simply transformation scheme all things considered) he has had quite a few duds over the years so while crowded, the competition for best Hotrod toy isn't particularly fierce. Thankfully, Hotrod is a pretty darn good mold. He has plenty of articulation to give him the dynamic poses that befits the character and he's got all of the things we tend to associate with him since the 80's movie: red, yellow and orange colour-scheme, big spoiler, pipes on his arms, double guns... he may not have that special shade of red that always looks so good on Hotrod, but he does have yellow hands (well, orange... but it's the thought that counts), which is one thing I always appreciate them doing on a Hotrod toy. Of special note is that he has a port on the back of his waist that fits Tamashii stands (or the knock-off ones that are being produced by Takara nowadays). This is always a great thing to have in a Transformers toy as it greatly assists with the more acrobatic poses. I really wish it'd be a staple on all modern Transformers figures. Being a part of Titan Returns, Hotrod is of course a Headmaster. In Hotrod's case, rather than assigning a new character as they did with thing like Megatron, this just means his traditional partner Firebolt (Firedrive here for trademark reasons) has been given an upgrade (downgrade?) from being a Targetmaster. There's not really much that could be said about Firedrive. By this point everyone probably knows the drill when it comes to these Titanmaster partners. It's probably worth mentioning, though, that Firedrive is an entirely new mold actually based on Firebolt rather than (for example) how Blurr's Haywire was a simple redeco of Stylor. He unfortunately has no paint in robot mode. I unfortunately don't own the original Firebolt to compare it to, but that character has had another recent modernization in the assecory that came with the Hasbro release of MP-09. Hotrod's vehicle mode is pretty much what you expect from a Hotrod toy: a vaguely futuristic sports car with a giant spoiler. That being said, the transformation is one of those pleasant ones that, while pretty standard, isn't at all frustrating and can be done in a short amount of time. Honestly these are the types of transformations I like best because I can appreciate both modes... I don't just transform it once and say "well, I'm never doing that again". Firedrive can of course ride it Hotrod's cockpit, but Hotrod's two guns also combine together to give a kind of side-by mounted gun for him to ride in. There's further Titanmaster compatibility behind Hotrod's cockpit as there's two ports that correspond with those on the Titanmasters' feet so up to two toys can rid on his roof. Apart from that there's also 5mm ports by Hotrod's front wheels so you can give him giant cannons on his car mode or perhaps, I suppose, turn them around and give him four giant exhausts. So I suppose when you're talking about a new Hotrod toy there's two major things that you'll be considering: firstly how good it is in comparison to previous Hotrod toys and secondly what type of collection will this figure be going into. In regards to the first option, I don't think there's much arguing. This toy is heads-and-shoulders better than the Classics mold. There are some people that that swear by that mold and I just don't understand them. It sucks. Definitely replace it with this figure. The other toy that this one is in strong competition with is Cloud Hot Rodimus and I think that comes down more to preference. This is a mold has been made to be Hotrod whereas the Could version is a redeco-ed Springer. That being said Cloud Rodimus is just a beautiful figure with fantastic paint applications that just make it pop in your display... to say nothing of the fact that Springer is just a damn good toy. Standing next to one another they kind of look like Hotrod and Rodimus Prime, don't they? So I guess the preference comes down to three major factors: firstly, Cloud Rodimus was an expensive exclusive when it came out and now goes for pretty obnoxious prices, secondly he's pretty clearly intended as strictly the MTMTE character who has a spikey-er design than the traditional Hotrod and thirdly there's a good chance you'll be wanting to pose Hotrod with Springer anyway given there interactions in ficiton and as such you won't want them to have the same mold. While Cloud Rodimus may be my preferred representation of the MTMTE character, that's not to say that this toy doesn't fill the job! I can certainly understand people passing on the more expensive version for this dedicated retail mold and it is Hotrod. I'm sure many Lost Light displays are about to be greatly improved as they toss out the crappy Classics mold and replace it with this figure. I really like this toy and I think it's going to be a must-have for most people. I know some have a problem with him now being a Headmaster rather than a Targetmaster but I certainly don't! A harmless, fun gimmick is a harmless, fun gimmick and I don't think it detracts from the figure in anyway. Personally I'm looking forward to seeing what Takara chooses to with this toy: I'm hotly anticipating that beautiful shade of red either from the recent Masterpiece toy or Cloud Rodimus.