Probably the most anticipated Transformers Masterpiece ever, Rodimus Prime\ Hot Rod has now received the most nerd rage since “The Phantom Menace” with his release by Takara. Here are my thoughts and review on the figure I received.
I was never bought a Rodimus Prime as a kid, or have I ever collected one as an adult, I think this was mostly to do with him looking rather rubbish, not even as good as Hot Rod. So I was extra excited when I ordered this Masterpiece version after seeing just how perfectly it matched the cartoon. Well I guess it could have come with a whiny soundbox. I particularly wanted the Takara Rodimus Prime version and not the yet-to-be released Hasbro Hot Rod version without the trailer, because I think the Winnebago \ Campervan extension is part of what makes the Character and is half of what makes the toy.
So let’s start there! When all is connected and plugged together and aligned it looks absolutely perfect, you can just picture him smashing through Unicron’s eye and out into space. Getting everything into place isn’t easy and there is a qc issue which I will go into later that needs to be sorted first. However, from a visual standpoint, there is nothing like it for accuracy and because it looks so damn cool! Rubber tyres, lots of Chrome, lots of paint details, so yeah it is a big box on wheels but is awesome! Now remove the cab front, slide him out of the Trailer, reverse the roof… pull down the.. er.. then erm…. Half an hour later….
…Hot Rod! Again a fantastic rendition, perfectly drawn from the movie, it even has an engine on springs so you can pretend it is chugging along if you are so inclined! The original G1 car version wasn’t bad to be honest, but it lacked the curves and the Masterpiece solves that and adds all the extra details. His cab opens nicely and is almost begging for a Daniel figure to fit in there, I would race it across the floor if it wasn’t so damn expensive and….
…if it wasn’t a pain in the ass to get the mode lined up right! OK.. OK it’s not that hard, but it is finicky and especially with the first time transformation. Zooming him along a table and then realising that not all four wheels are touching the ground and that you have his waist plate or noggin scratching along … does kind of interrupt Stan Bush singing “Dare” in your head. It’s all in the position of the feet and angle of the joints in the ankle, and making sure the knees are correctly bent, and getting the panels to click into place, and to make sure his head is pushed back correctly and getting his arms……… etc etc. Yes it isn’t that intuitive but the end result is worth it. Anyway reverse all that cursing and Transforming and by the time it gets dark you get..
Hot Rod robot mode! I really cannot find anything wrong with the look of this mode, the detailing, the face, the poses, he oozes smarminess on a level only springer could beat. Now stability wise, well he likes to slump ever so slightly forwards and if you haven’t got his roof slider and window connection bit quite right his backpack will not reach the white clip designed to hold it to his back. In fact not a lot will make that click in without it looking like it is stressing the crap out of it. Quite a few people have commented on this but mine is tight stays up of its own accord anyway so there are no tears from me. He has the duel guns as shown, and on mine at least they click into his hands OK, but just OK, not snug and great, if Masterpiece Grimlock even farts in his vicinity they will drop. Now onto some pretty damn cool accessories….
All are nice additions and work pretty well, though I have heard some people have his zoom goggles fall over his face unrequested, mine only appear when swivelled. They help with the possibility and are also handy for the thousands of fans eagerly updating their stop motion 86 movies on Youtube. You know who you are. Anyway the final accessory ,the Matrix.. leads us onto…
Rodimus Prime! See the difference, crank his hips up a notch and extend the Shoulders up and flip over … or is it under.. the face and the inept yet loveable leader of the Space Opera g1 years is displayed in all his glory! His two hot rod guns even combine to make his ridiculously large rifle, which mine can still hold!! I love the quad Transformation gimmick of this toy, and the resulting character change in the figure is enough, for a Transformer fan, to believe he has indeed grown and matured from Smarm Rod into Sulkimus Prime. Job done by Takara in my eyes. Just take a look at the despair in the face mould!
Just to finish the job off, that Matrix that Hot Rod was holding up, can be stored in his chest cavity, just so he can prove that no matter how temporarily, he was the chosen one.
Overall, at least on display this piece is deserving of the Masterpiece title, I could not ask for more. Now here are where things get a bit iffy. The Transformation is complex, not just hard but it is at least initially a little stressful. I always do the first Transform by discovery and not by the manual, but with Rod I feel it probably would be better if you totally ignore that the manual even exists. It is useless, you would be much better getting yourself on YouTube and find some, non-clubfisted, individual to show you just how the feet line up for Rod’s Car mode. The arms are also a pain to get lined up and clipped in. The Transformation has to be tender and you need to keep the joints supported when you are moving things. There is no clunk-click satisfying 5 minute job. He will probably be the least transformed transformer ever.
Last but sadly not least with this figure is the QC, here at least even fanboys of the figure like me can agree. Corners were cut. One of my side leg panels arrived with the connection piece cracked and subsequently fell off before I had Transformed him once. Unfortunately mine is not an isolated incident, just google it. The whole connection of that piece could have been designed better by pretty much anyone, barring whoever designed G1 Wheelie, and there is a good chance yours will break. Secondarily a blanket problem for all figures is paint transferal between the Trailer and the Spoiler of hot rod when inserted. More specifically, the orange paint of the slot leaving marks on the yellow paint of the wing. The solution, a nail file to get rid of the orange paint in the slot, I recommend taking it down to the red plastic to be on the safe side. Annoying but at least easy to solve.
In summary, I can understand the rage, but the plus points and the fact he is visually perfect can wash over the annoyances I have with this figure. I recommend him but many more picky fans might not, a little more effort by Takara would have polished it nicely and any kids who receive the Hasbro version WILL break him. Like Rodimus he looks the part, but he has his flaws.
G1 Accuracy: 10/10
Paint Work and detailing: 9/10