Height: 11cm tall in Robot Mode, 10cm long in Vehicle Mode.
Articulation: 17 points in all- ball-joint head; 3 points each arm: double-joint shoulder, ball-joint elbow; 5 points each leg: universal joint hips, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinge ankle.
Colors: Molded bright red, gray and gunmetal. Painted silver and copper with black Autobot symbol.
Release Data: Released July 2010 at an MSRP of $7.99.
I love the non-standard alt-modes. Things like Biplanes, Toasters and Microscopes were just about the only reason I bothered with the Revenge of the Fallen line. If you come up with something really good- like a rusted out ice cream truck -I will even forgive the fact that I'm being forced to buy the cinematic equivalent of two Jar Jars just to get it. So even if he'd been as ugly in Robot Mode as Scalpel or Ransack, I'd have been interested. But in fact, he looks pretty good.
If you're going to have a hood-chest, at least have an interesting hood to begin with; Hubcap passes that test with flying colors. I like the contrast on the Robot-Mode parts- there's just something nice about the muted metallic colors as compared to the bright red hot rod. I've complained in the past about the movie designs looking like they're robots wearing cars as opposed to turning into them, but it just works well here. Again, possibly because it's a non-standard style of car- the fact that it's a narrower car makes for better proportions, I think. They've also softened the Movie styling on the non-movie characters, and I appreciate this. While there's still a lot of the fine details on the limbs, the body is more traditionally humanoid in styling and proportion. The most noticable bit of movie weirdness in his anatomy is the extreme curve of his forearms. There's also something humorous (humerus?) about these stylized, slim, elongated forearms having huge sidepanels from the car attached. But overall, it really wouldn't take much more than a smoothing-out for Hubcap to look basically at home in a more G1ish continuity. I'm glad not everything in the Movieverse looks like abstract sculpture or some kind of chrome-plated lizard-spider.
His head is limited by the shape of the opening in the hood of the vehicle that it stores in. You really can't move it outside of the front 180-degree arc, and though range of the upward tilt is not awful, it is blocked by the hood-flap behind his head. The shoulders swivel freely along the regular axis, and can also swivel to angle the arms in and out. The pegs that plug the fender-shoulders into the hood of the car do bump into the shoulder joint and limit movement, but since this joint wouldn't even be there if the shoulders didn't need to collapse in to form the front of the car, I can't see to complain about it too hard. The ball jointed elbows function well as hinges, but can only swing inwards because otherwise the car parts on the upper and lower arms start to argue with one another. Somebody at Hasbro's really been on a kick about more realistic-looking hands lately, and Hubcap pays a worse price than even Huffer: he can't hold anything. Personally, I'd rather have nice square fists that do something. I guess, if you really want to arm him, you can assume that the tailpipes for the Vehicle Mode are guns a la Hot Rod, but if so they're pointing off at odd angles. Good thing he's a robot and presumably has a targeting system.
The legs still have a little bit of a weird shape, but still look human- it's really pretty close to the Animated take on stylized legs. The hips are great: they can swing forward or outward until they hit the chest. The thigh swivels are unimpeded, but I wish I could say the same for the knees. The roof of the car is on the back of the calf, and no matter how you try to arrange them they hit the thighs before the knee can reach even a 90-degree bend. Pity, because the way the rest of the parts are shaped it could go much further. (Matter of fact, they have to for transformation.) The ankle joints are mainly transformation joints, and they're a little bit weak. Since the hinges for the car-parts on his ankles are a bit wobbly too, things can get knocked out of position in the course of normal posing. The feet are said on the Wiki to be Gundam-inspired; I'm just glad somebody else said it, because I thought it was just me!
It's a simple transformation. As I mentioned in Huffer's review, this is not an insult; I'm good and tired of epic 20 minute wrestling matches just to get my Transformer to look like another boring sedan. You pretty much tab together the front and back ends and then bend the knees to the degree you wish they'd bend in Robot Mode to fold it all into a car.
The Wiki says that this is a hybrid of a Willys 77 and their later Americar model. While I see a certain resemblence, it's important to brush the nostalgia out of our eyes and point out that, with a few exceptions, the cars of the 1930s and `40s largely looked as indistinguishable from one another as today's cars tend to do. But after some input from my father and some searching, I think Hubcap is closer to a hotrodded 1936 Ford Coupe. It's not a perfect match, but the shape of the grille is very similar, and that's a big chunk of the identity of a car of that era. Matter of fact, a Google Image Search for that term shows a very Hubcap-looking car (in the right shade of red, even) on the first page of results!
It also rolls extremely well- the smoothest and quickest I've seen a Transformer roll in a while. Other than that, not a lot to say about it. It looks good, and I wish they'd put the tampographed Autobot symbol in silver instead of black. It was obviously positioned to look like a hood ornament, so silver would've been perfect.
Hubcap's fun! He's reasonably poseable with a few points of frustration, he's yet another unique alt-mode, he's nice to look at, and he's easy to transform. He's just on the cusp of Excellent,, but since he does have a few hangups in that department I'll go with a high Very Good. Put another way, he's a Movieverse toy where you're not really accepting any aesthetic sacrifices to buy the neat alt-mode. That's worth your $8.
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