What Could Have Been – Hot Rod and Rhinox

{mosimage} The current issue of Japanese toy magazine Figure King provides us not only our first glimpse at what the actual TakaraTomy releases of Transformers: Animated figures will look like, but it also gives us a brief look backward at what we could have had.  Near the bottom of the page is an image of two resin prototype figures- one sleek speedster type and one bulky robot, with heavy-treaded wheels embedded in his shoulders.  One has to dig, but the figures are named in the caption: Hotto Roddo and Rainokkusu.  Or, if you're not familiar with the Japanese spellings for familiar American names: Hot Rod and Rhinox. Were these fellows the casualties of the rumored "Transformers: Heroes" series that was eventually replaced with Animated?  If you can read Japanese, help us get to the bottom of the mystery in this thread. Credit goes to Sprocket and toyworld.com.hk.