TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)
The 35th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie has been a major focus of Hasbro’s Transformers toy output in the last year, with a major focus being placed on it in the Studio Series, but also some overflow going into its sister line, Kingdom. Play factor does seem to be a major factor in what exactly goes where, but in the case of today’s offering, it’s more that the Studio Series doesn’t actually have a history of offering the class size that this figure utilizes. I’ve already looked at Transformers: The Movie‘s main star in his Hot Rod incarnation, but he’s got two distinct looks in the film, since once he takes ownership of the Matrix of Leadership, he is reborn as Rodimus Prime, who is historically a little bigger than Hot Rod. So, let’s take a look at Rodimus, shall we?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Rodimus Prime is part of Transformers War For Cybertron: Kingdom, as the line’s Commander Class offering for the year, following in the footsteps of Jetfire and Skylynx before him. In his robot mode, Rodimus stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 34 practical points of articulation. Much like Hot Rod, Rodimus is notably smaller than other figures in the same size class, falling somewhere between modern Voyager and Leader scaling, but the reasoning behind his higher price point isn’t really scale, it’s actually engineering. Hot Rod made use of the Voyager price point to gather more complex articulation and parts layouts, and Rodimus is really the same. So, while he may not be as big as others, he’s still got a lot going on under the hood (in more ways than one). He’s also got some very serious heft behind him, which is very much in line with how this incarnation of the line has been run. In terms of mobility, this figure takes the articulation and range of motion seen on Hot Rod, and just improves upon it, removing the usual restrictions Hot Rods and Rodimuses tend to run into. He also takes the already jointed hands on the Hot Rod figure, and further articulates them, adding additional movement at the second knuckle, as well as separating out the pointer fingers on their own. And it doesn’t even make them too floppy or loose for use with the accessories, which is always an accomplishment on its own. The sculpt, like Hot Rod before it, is a great translation of the animation for Rodimus from the film, following in the steps of the sleekness seen on Hot Rod. The two sculpts are also quite similar, making them really feel like two versions of the same guy, as they well should. Of course, as a Kingdom release, rather than a Studio release, there are a few elements of the sculpt’s styling which do go for a few extra little details, to add more to the slightly larger canvas, and also link him a little bit more to how the Siege and Earthrise bots tended to look. It also makes him a little more distinctly different from his Hot Rod incarnation. Keeping the ball rolling on the extra features worked into Hot Rod’s robot mode, Rodimus gets a pretty notable extra of his own; his torso is designed to open up in such a fashion so as to reveal the Matrix of Leadership contained within, which is a very cool touch, especially since you don’t really have to disrupt his robot mode to show it off. In an effort to further justify Rodimus’s higher price-point, the figure gets a rather intensive selection of extras, the largest of which is his Mobile Defense Bay, patterned after the piece that came with his original G1 figure, which includes a rather sizable mounted cannon for him to man. In addition to the Mobile Defense Bay, Rodimus also gets his usual long rifle, as well as the Sword of Primus, the previously mentioned Matrix (which is the same Earthrise version included with Hot Rod), and 10 effects pieces. One of the effects is designed for use with the matrix (and is notably a different one than was included with Hot Rod), while seven of them are re-used from Omega Supreme, and work as modular effects for the cannons. The last two are designed for the exhaust pipes that make up the cannons on his forearms, but aren’t quite as sensible in the form.
Rodimus’s vehicle mode begins as a slightly modified version of the futuristic sports car that serves as Hot Rod’s alt-mode. The transformation sequence isn’t quite as easily done on this one, and I did have some difficulty getting a few spots to seat correctly without using a little force, which isn’t always the most comforting thing. One of the sides to the front fender also popped off during the sequence and doesn’t like to stay put when transforming anymore, which is a bit of an annoyance. The end result is a pretty decent looking car mode, albeit one that’s not really animation based. The smoke effects can be placed on the back of the exhaust in this mode, and the rifle and sword can both also be stored, albeit in a sort of janky fashion. The Mobile Defense Bay and its contents fold up and turn into a trailer, as with the G1 version, allowing for something more in line with the proper Rodimus alt-mode when the core car mode is clipped in. It makes for a more convincing version of the design than the Power of the Primes version, though it still strays a bit from the animation and original toy. Like with Magnus, it’s just one of those things where compromises had to be drawn somewhere to make all of the different gimmicks work together, and like Magnus, I feel like the right call was made. I also feel like it looks better in person than it did in the renders and stock photos, which I’d consider a win. The only real downside is that the trailer does pop apart a little bit at the top seam, which looks like it may be a line-wide issue. It’s minor, but still a little annoying.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’m generally more of a Hot Rod fan than a Rodimus fan, so of the two figures that hit this year, the Studio Hot Rod was definitely the one I was jamming one just a little bit more, at least initially. That figure was really, really good, and I felt that this one might have a difficult time topping it. So, I was a little cautious with my expectations of this figure. In hand, he really blew me away. He takes everything that worked so well on Hot Rod, and builds on it, resulting in a truly impressive piece, certainly the star of the Kingdom line. I mean, Magnus is still my favorite, of course, because, you know, Magnus, but still, mad props to Hasbro on this one.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review. If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.