Today I unpacked my first load of Transformer toys. Everybody, say hi to Hot Rod, the first* Transformer I ever owned!
Character-wise, Hot Rod lives up to his name – he is a young Autobot with a fiery temper. He is generally well-meaning. He transforms into a sports car, although he is not very powerful or high-ranking.
In Transformers: The Movie, after my childhood hero/favourite Optimus Prime dies, I recall that Hot Rod turns into Rodimus Prime, a larger robot who takes over the leadership of the Autobots and their battle against the Decepticons. I think it was Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime who was the key figure in destroying Unicron, the huge planetary robot (with the vile Quintessons in him) from the inside out.
In subsequent cartoon episodes, Optimus returns to life and resumes the leadership.
A quick interview with Hot Rod, the toy:
Interviewer: Welcome back, Hot Rod.
Hot Rod: Thank you, it’s good to be back. It was getting a little dark in that cardboard box. Stuffy, too.
Interviewer: I can imagine.
Hot Rod: Well, our mistress kept us all together so it wasn’t too boring. The other Transformers in my box were all right, though I wish she hadn’t lumped me together with that nasty Horrorcon leader.
Interviewer: So what did your mistress do when she took you out of the box?
Hot Rod: She held me up and showed me to the rest of her family! That was something. I think she was really happy to see me again. Then she transformed me into robot mode. I was glad she still remembered how to do it.
Interviewer: What happened next?
Hot Rod: She noticed I was pretty dirty – hey, as a kid she was running my tyres over the streets of Hong Kong! She gave me a sponge bath in the kitchen. That felt really good. I think I haven’t been cleaned in over 10 years!
Interviewer: Have the years of wear and tear taken their toll on your body?
Hot Rod: (getting emotional) Just look at me. My back’s completely missing. We have no idea where it is. My mistress tried to use U-Tac to stick it back on many years ago, but obviously that didn’t work. Now I look like a convertible. Also, because she played with me so often, my joints are loose. My feet flap back and forth, my knees don’t click into place, and my crotch is a little loose (see photo above). In other words, I’m screwed. But I’m sure she still loves me.
Interviewer: I’m sure she does. Well it’s been a pleasure meeting you, Hot Rod.
Hot Rod: ‘Pleasure.
* – I cannot recall if it was Hot Rod or old man
KrupKup who was my first Transformer. Both were purchased in Hong Kong, days apart from each other, to keep me occupied in the hotel room.