Usually when a toyline is cancelled, any unreleased toys just disappear, never to be seen. Luckily for us, though, in the case of Transformers Animated, Toys Я Us gave some of those orphaned toys a good home.
Rodimus Minor is one of the most promising young robots ever to graduate from the Academy. His trainers were so impressed
with him that he was given command of a small unit right after graduation. During the short time he has commanded his troops, he has molded them into a tight-knit force to be reckoned with. Everyone expects him to one day rise to the rank of Magnus, and command Autobot forces across the galaxy.
Rodimus was originally planned to be a larger part of the Animated storyline, in the role that eventually went to Sentinel Prime. Instead, he only showed up in a cameo role in one episode, leading his own little team. So why's he Rodimus Minor instead of Rodimus Prime ("Prime" being the title of squad leaders in Animated)? Because Hasbro doesn't want to dilute the name by slapping it on just any toy. No, it doesn't make any sense, but there you go.
Rodimus's altmode is a little sports car, like G1 Hot Rod, rather than a Winnebago, like G1 Rodimus Prime. The car is 5¼"
long and 3" wide (counting the rear spoiler). It has translucent blue glass, an exposed engine, and four free-rolling wheels. There's a large missile-firing weapon you can plug onto the roof of the car if you want, but then you won't be able to see the three long exhaust pipes on each side of the car. They start underneath near the wheel wells, but then come up through the frame and run along the top, ending beneath the V-shaped spoiler.
Changing Rodimus to a robot is actually a little bit tough. You start by pulling the legs from beneath the car, but the panels on the outsides of his shins are locked on pretty tight. You have to kind
of rotate them toward the outside in a way that doesn't make any sense until you already know how to do it. It gets easier after that, but make sure you pay attention to the way his hands are folded before you straighten them out, or you'll go nuts trying to turn him back into a car: it's not that they're molded wrong, but there are two joints in the wrists, and if you use the wrong one to transform him, the arms won't fit.
Rodimus was purposely designed to stand apart from the other Animated Transformers. While most of the guys have big, bulky feet, all Hot Rod's bulk has been moved up to his chest and shoulders, leaving him with skinny little stems. He's done all in red, gold and orange, with a little bit of black and silver showing, as well. His eyes are light-piped blue.
The character design has given Rodimus Minor a very long, flat face, and the toy follows suit. He has the same kind of crest on his forehead as the G1 toy, but has added a fancy orange eyebrow flare. Judd Nelson voiced the original Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime when he debuted in Transformers: the Movie, but not on the regular series. Animated, however, was able to get him back for the one-show cameo (because, really, the guy needs work).
The missile launcher from the roof
of the car becomes a handheld weapon - a double-barreled (?) Energy Bow that fires two missiles. He's articulated like the rest of the TFA figures, with balljoints aplenty. He even has a waist, which many TFs these days miss out on. His sculpt is detailed without going overboard, from the lins that make the lower edges of his feet look like boots, to the small orange collar around his neck.
Considering that Rodimus only appeared for about three seconds in the show and doesn't share his mold with any other characters, it's frankly surprising that he was made into a toy at all. He was released at the same time as Ironhide, and TRU raised the price $2 from the last series of exclusives. These are good toys, but I'm not sure they're "$15 good."