I managed to find Hot Rod and Starscream. The G1-style packaging is really top notch. Print is nice and crisp, and the look will instantly bring back pangs of nostalgia. My only complaint is Hot Rod looks like he's inserted backwards. Once I opened the box up, I flipped it around so the car is facing the window, and it looks much better. But below is how you'll find it on store shelves.
First up, is the reissue of the Autobot that really killed Optimus Prime, Hot Rod. Plastic quality is fairly good, but feels weaker than the plastics I remember as a kid. I haven't handled G1 Hotrod in close to 30 years, so my memory could be hazy. The pre-applied labels are much better today than those of 1986. Hopefully they stay put longer without curling than their predecessors.
Car mode is beautiful. A nice, rich red with a hint of magenta. Wheels roll nicely and there is no chipping on the chrome.
Transformation is identical to the 1986 toy. Once in robot mode, again, looks very solid. This is honestly one of the better original G1 toy designs, even though articulation is limited. The personality of the character comes through nicely.
Compared to a modern figure, in this case Masterpiece Hotrod, it's easy to see the advancements in toy design. Obviously it's not fair to judge a 30 year old toystore toy against a modern adult collectible, but this is my blog, and life isn't fair... so I will. Besides, he got Prime killed...
Next up, reissue Starscream does not hold up quite as well as Hot Rod. I had G1 Starscream up until the early 2000's, so I still remember him quite well. This figure is tighter than my previous one, but the plastics are definitely different. A slight swirl can be seen in parts of the grey, and it also feels lighter in weight, despite having diecast in the same places as the original toy. This might be because of better, lighter modern plastics, but its hard to know without a PhD in plastics composition.
Transformation, again, is identical to the original. However, my figure has some tight joints, particularly the arms, so it took more tugging than I was comfortable with to swing the arms around. After a few rotations, it loosened up a bit, so maybe it was paint gumming up the joint. I'm not sure.
Look at that face! How could you accuse him of treachery?
My final thoughts... these were a nice quick trip down memory lane without the insane ebay markup. It's nice to look back at where we've been to really appreciate where toys are now. These G1 reissues are just like the Nintendo Classic systems... expensive windows to our childhood to forget, for a minute, the craziness that has become our world today.
As collectibles, I highly recommend them. Transform them once, stick them back in the box, and put them on a shelf. They'll hit the itch. Especially after seeing the G1-looking designs from the Bumblebee movie. As toys for posing/collecting, I'd recommend sticking with some of the modern lines. Masterpiece and third party work great for me, but for those looking for something more affordable, Hasbro's recent Prime Wars line and the upcoming War for Cybertron: Siege line look very faithful to G1 but have modern articulation and are better toys.
- G1 nostalgia is back in full force. Boxart is amazing.
- Starscream's eyes are painted on instead of being tiny stickers.
- Starscream's missiles have been redesigned to be safer for kids. Looks silly.
- Hotrod placed in box backwards. No "Mint in Sealed Box" if you want to display properly.