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View Full Version : A little bit of love for Henkei Hot Rod.


Tetsuwan Convoy
7th April 2009, 02:12 PM
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0888.jpg
I was excited to get this guy and have been looking forward to his update for a while. Armada Hot Shot is not a very good toy asit is filled with crappy gimmicks that take all the cool out of him and yet I found myself wanting one after playing the PS2 Armada TF game, as it made the figure look quite good. Obviously it was altered quite a bit. So ever since then I have been wanting a better Hot Shot. Incidentally for those who want to have a better look at the series toys, Takaratomy still host the website here. (http://www.takaratomy.co.jp/products/tfm/)

Hot shot was called Hot Rod in Japan, and since Henkei is the same, I will now refer to him consistently as Hot Rod (HR).

HR is an odd toy. He comes with his Minicon partner Jolt, and a couple of guns. Affectionately known as "Giant Bazooka." The MD only had one, but now he has 2. Lucky guy. Not documented in the instructions is the optin to mount eh bazookas onto his fore-arms, much like the look of Animated Hotshot from Transwarped. I think it looks pretty cool!

Naturally he has better movement, no crappy springy gimmicks but still suffers from massive shoulders. I presumed they would stay there, as that is the looks of the guy and they have been improved greatly, but still manage to get in the way quite a bit. Leg articulation is way up and his arms are about the same, let down only but the shoulder pads... He is much better balanced than before as well.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0873.jpg
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0855.jpg
HR comes wit Jolt, a little red helicopter who in the original toy would activaet gimmicks. Now he just helps out I guess.. Jolt is smaller than he was before and transforms differently too. He is light and can't stand up very well at all as he has no heels at all. Strange, but I don't think HR would have been complete without him. He has elbows and a pretty well defined face. No knees...He can connect to HR in 2 ways for powerlinking.

Powerlinking is when the minicons would join to the bigger bots to add some power. Jolt can still do this, but it doesn't actvate anything and just looks like there is a helicopter joined to HR's shoulders. Still, better than losing articulation for some rubbish gimmick IMO. In vehicloe mode, he slips under the spoiler for a bit of rear-helicopter action(tm):D Again, no gimmicks. Slightly different config from the first as the first toy had the option of moving the blades of the chooper to the rear of the car. This config is missing fromthe Henkei version.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0862.jpg
Light piping has been included for this guy. It works ok, but the shoudlers get in the way of the light, so its rarely as good as it could have been. His Visor can slip down over his eyes to simulate the yellow version of Armada Hot Shot when he had hi Giant Bazooka up and ready. This option was removed for the "Powerliked" version that I have which is why it isn't in nay pics. With enough light and the right angle, you can still get his eyes to shine through.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0878.jpg
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0877.jpg

His vehicle mode is an excellent copy of the first, just a little smaller. Still sports the Insignia on his spoiler which is the only one he has.
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0844.jpg
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0843.jpg

The Bazookas can be mounted underneath the car as exhaust pipes and look nice. No Jam, but we have Hot Rod instead. Oh I managed to negelct taking a pic of the flames for his gun when in vehicle mode. It actualy looks quite good, a nice tight Nitro-type flame coming out. Might get on to that later actually. The hole in the rear window is where Jolt' nose goes in for vehcile mode...:eek:
http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/IMG_0842.jpg


The Verdict
Overall a pretty good update for an originally pretty crap toy. Updates is (in my mind anyway) what the Henkei/Classics/new Universe should be all about. Some good movement and balance as well as a limited but still nifty sidekick. The yellow blends well (best I have seen so far for the henkei) and he has some good personality to him. I give him 7/10

Lots more pics here that I didn't use, including comparisons with AR Powerlinked Hot Shot (http://s91.photobucket.com/albums/k313/Wootnchoo/Henkei%20Deent%20pics/)

Extra info. The comic that comes with him has him state that he is the Future leader... I wonder what Rodimus thinks about that?:rolleyes:

Stompy
7th April 2009, 02:33 PM
The original wasn't severly crappy. Just a little crappy ;). This update is amazing and corrects pretty much all of the originals failings.

I personally like the space marine look of having huge shoulder pads and helmet. The twin cannons look the works and while I'm not a fan of too much chrome, it makes sense as they become twin exhausts in alt mode. I think Universe version doesn't have the cannons at all. So Henkei is the way to go.

Excellent pics and a great review TC.

kup
7th April 2009, 03:08 PM
The Verdict
Overall a pretty good update for an originally pretty crap toy. Updates is (in my mind anyway) what the Henkei/Classics/new Universe should be all about. Some good movement and balance as well as a limited but still nifty sidekick. The yellow blends well (best I have seen so far for the henkei) and he has some good personality to him. I give him 7/10

Nice review - It is certainly a nice update and improvement over the original crapstacular toy.

The irony is that this new toy is using pretty much toy engineering pioneered during 1995-2000 to update a 2002 released toy!

kurdt_the_goat
7th April 2009, 03:20 PM
Very nice! Now if you could please deliver mine personally to my door, that'd be great :p

GoktimusPrime
7th April 2009, 04:46 PM
The original was quite crap-py. Remembering that it followed on from Car Robot/RiD - going from the toy line that would inspire Binaltech/Alternators, to Armada where articulation and form gave way to gimmicks... it did leave a bad taste to the palette of many fans.

This is how Armada should have been done back in 2003. (-_-)

SilverDragon
7th April 2009, 05:48 PM
This is how Armada should have been done back in 2003. (-_-)

Yes. Never mind that kids are the primary buyers of the toys, everything should cater to OUR demands! No gimmicks! Articulation! Insanely complex transformations!

SARCASM LAWL

Also it's interesting to note that Armada (simplicity, loads of gimmicks) followed RiD (complexity, low on gimmicks). It's possible that the complexity was too much for kids to really handle, and so it was scaled back. I'd love to get my hands on an Armada-era toy one day, so I can see how it was.

GoktimusPrime
7th April 2009, 06:15 PM
Complex articulation started with late G2 in 1994-95. It then became standardised during Beast Wars and Car Robot was basically Beast Wars toys done with realistic/licensed vehicular alt modes. And all these lines were aimed at kids, not collectors. It wasn't until 2000 that we had a collectors-targeted line with the Japanese G1 reissues. Then it wouldn't be until 2004 that we got more collector-specific lines (what Takara calls "high end" lines) with Binaltech and Masterpiece. So the suggestion that Car Robot wasn't meant for kids is not true. Just look at the cartoon - that is NOT a story written for adults. It's not necessarily a bad story, but it's definitely written for children. The fact that Brave Maximus is powered by the love of children all over the world (ahem).

And kids aren't stupid. We know when a toy sucks because its integrity has been sacrificed by gimmicks - even back in G1. That's why toys like Battlechargers and Firecons weren't terribly popular. A lot of G1 fans bag out Throttlebots too, but I personally think Throttlebots are cool because it's a reasonably fair balance between gimmick and playability. When Action Masters came out in 1990, I was simultaneously thrilled and bitterly disappointed. Thrilled that we finally had Transformers with articulation, but bitter about the fact that they couldn't transform (and questioned how the hell Hasbro could even dare to call them "Transformers"). Then in 1994-95 I was absolutely ecstatic to see Transformers with full articulation and that could still transform! Combat Hero Megatron gave me all kinds of joy. Then the introduction of 9-point ball-and-socket jointed Transformers (e.g.: Cyberjets) made me fappy. (fap + happy)

It's not as if I've somehow forgotten what Transformers were like when I was a kid or how to appreciate them from a child's POV. I still do play with my TF toys as much as I can - even in public places. :)

kup
7th April 2009, 06:20 PM
Having a toy aimed at children is no excuse for it to be mediocre, specially when it was done better in the past when targeting the same age groups.

STL
7th April 2009, 11:06 PM
Having a toy aimed at children is no excuse for it to be mediocre, specially when it was done better in the past when targeting the same age groups.

Yeah there is. It's called what the market will tolerate.

Anyway, onto the Henkei Hot Shot toy itself. Looks stunning. Those chrome guns have me really, really excited about this toy. Our RK order should be here in the next few days... cannot wait!

Gutsman Heavy
8th April 2009, 12:57 AM
the launchers are very nice, but for me JAAM is the true winner.

kup
8th April 2009, 02:19 AM
Yeah there is. It's called what the market will tolerate.

Anyway, onto the Henkei Hot Shot toy itself. Looks stunning. Those chrome guns have me really, really excited about this toy. Our RK order should be here in the next few days... cannot wait!

How can you explain the market tolerating this new toy? Its much better than the old one and its fair to say that there are stricter manufacturing budgets now than back then as the retailers want to maintain low prices for their costumers.

Its more about the design mentality and philosophy than what the market would tolerate.

Bartrim
8th April 2009, 08:32 AM
the launchers are very nice, but for me JAAM is the true winner.

Agreed. I was going to get the Henkei version until they revealed the universe one would have JAAM number plates. No ammount of chrome can beat JAAM:D

STL
9th April 2009, 12:06 AM
How can you explain the market tolerating this new toy? Its much better than the old one and its fair to say that there are stricter manufacturing budgets now than back then as the retailers want to maintain low prices for their costumers.

Its more about the design mentality and philosophy than what the market would tolerate.

I'm just saying that corporations will do what they believe will sell in the market and the market shall therefore vindicaate them. And obviously it worked. What you or I want to say about philosophy or mentality are moot points.

They're philosophical but they're hardly practical. A business at the end of the day has cost/benefit considerations - not just considerations based on the desires of particularly small segment of its overall market. I'd love more technical transformations too but I realise and accept that this is predominantly a kids market and whatever satisfies that market so as to generate the highest return would appear to be the best avenue.

Stompy
20th April 2009, 12:43 AM
I got my hands on the Hasbro Universe version today. As I suspected, there are no guns at all for Universe version. This wasn't really a big deal BUT in robot mode it makes a difference...

See the Henkei version has allowed some gaps on the rear of the vehicle, just below the license plate, for the two chrome guns to act as exhausts/mufflers. The Universe version is a slightly different mould and has been covered up since there are no guns at all. No biggie in vehicle mode but in bot mode the shoulder kibble doesn't sit properly as the corners keep touching each other and supposed to overlap due to the way the robot mdoe arms convert and sit in place. Of course they do not overlap instead one has to be on top of the other.

Now the Henkei version has the gaps and I would assume no such problem as they can both sit comfortably in that resting angle without encumbering each other.

Otherwise fantastic conversion and excellent homage to the original and of course a gazillion times better. On the downside, I prefer the original Jolt. This new one is flimsy, quality wise.

STL
23rd April 2009, 11:18 PM
Love the Henkei version.

The chrome guns are so unique and make awesome exhausts. Great for detailing. The transformation is very quirky and I like the strange fold to bring hte chest and legs into place. The switcheroo is innovative. Very enjoyable.

In robot mode, I dislike the back kibble and the windscreen between the knees, it gets in the way of poseability in the arms and legs at times. That said, it's still something you can work around. Other thing I particularly like is head articulation. Very subtle but very appreciated. Gives him lots of character. The astronaut head plus visor are also very cool and less "kiddie" the original version. Really like the blues of the windscreen. too, they come out great

Not sure if its a QC issue but the chest and back section, where they are clipped together to form the upper body, it's not very firm and is loose. That can be frustrating.

The alt mode's okay. I don't like the gap at the back on the spoiler. Too pronounced without Jolt. On Jolt, I agree with Stompy that he's inferior to the original by a long shot.

But overall, a very, very cool toy.

EDIT:

Scratch the leg windscreen/articulation complaint. Just saw Tetsu's pictures and realised it was me being a dud :o

Ode to a Grasshopper
25th April 2009, 09:08 PM
I got my hands on the Hasbro Universe version today. As I suspected, there are no guns at all for Universe version. This wasn't really a big deal BUT in robot mode it makes a difference...

See the Henkei version has allowed some gaps on the rear of the vehicle, just below the license plate, for the two chrome guns to act as exhausts/mufflers. The Universe version is a slightly different mould and has been covered up since there are no guns at all. No biggie in vehicle mode but in bot mode the shoulder kibble doesn't sit properly as the corners keep touching each other and supposed to overlap due to the way the robot mdoe arms convert and sit in place. Of course they do not overlap instead one has to be on top of the other.

Now the Henkei version has the gaps and I would assume no such problem as they can both sit comfortably in that resting angle without encumbering each other.

Otherwise fantastic conversion and excellent homage to the original and of course a gazillion times better. On the downside, I prefer the original Jolt. This new one is flimsy, quality wise.About how much d'you think you'd have to shave/cut/file off before you'd fix his shoulder problem?

Stompy
26th April 2009, 10:44 PM
Have a look for yourself:

http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/kk269/StompBrother/Transformers/UniverseHotShot-kibble.jpg

http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/kk269/StompBrother/Transformers/UniverseHotShot-kibbletop.jpg

As you can see they pretty much don't sit properly and defaults to having one on top of the other. Compare it with the Henkei pics above, I think it's safe to say that TakaraTomy noticed this problem and corrected accordingly. While the guns are missing for the Universe version the arm pegholes for them remains. Makes you question the decisions of whether Hasbro wanted the guns or not.

kup
27th April 2009, 12:51 PM
I'm just saying that corporations will do what they believe will sell in the market and the market shall therefore vindicaate them. And obviously it worked. What you or I want to say about philosophy or mentality are moot points.

They're philosophical but they're hardly practical. A business at the end of the day has cost/benefit considerations - not just considerations based on the desires of particularly small segment of its overall market. I'd love more technical transformations too but I realise and accept that this is predominantly a kids market and whatever satisfies that market so as to generate the highest return would appear to be the best avenue.

Forgot about this thread ;)

Yes you are right that corporations will do what they think will sell, why would they do something they know wouldn't sell? Therefore that in itself is a moot point since Universe Hot Shot has been made by the same corporation that did the original and primarily aimed at the same age groups.

The bottom line is that Hasbro thought that the original Hot Shot would sell (and it did) and it also thought that this new Universe Hot Shot would sell too or it would not have seen the light of day. However you can still notice a different design philosophy in both - One prefers to use the gimmick as the main attraction of the figure while the other one relies on an interesting design and playability based on articulation and poseability. From a business point of view neither is right or wrong as they were both created to sell but their design mentality is clearly different in both.

When it comes to 'what the market can tolerate' that is also a moot point. Clearly Hasbro thinks that the market can tolerate a well engineered toy with no overbearing gimmicks or this toy would have been released as an electronic box with arms and legs instead. So basically it is up to the 'philosophy' of the designers if they think that a more fun toy is one which is a gimmick first and Transformer second or one that uses engineering and articulation as its main attraction.

Apparently Hasbro thinks that toys without 'big' gimmicks can sell or Animated would of ended up being another gimmick fest line and so would have been Universe and the Movie so its up to the designer to choose which is the best way to go based on his design philosophy as Hasbro appears to not care as long as it thinks it can sell it to the stores and is not cost prohibitive.

Clearly the Designer of Armada had a radically different design mentality than the one one who did Classics/Henkei as the latter are prioritizing on the playability and design of the toy itself rather than the gimmick. However to be fair we have to also keep in mind that Hasbro did impose the gimmicks of each toy which limited design freedom but even so, several Armada toys are 'restricted' not necessarily by their gimmick but their design alone.