EVOLUTION RODIMUS PRIME
TRANSFORMERS: POWER OF THE PRIMES (HASBRO)
“With the Matrix of Leadership, Autobot Hot Rod becomes leader of the Autobots: Rodimus Prime.”
Two weeks ago, I took a look at Hot Rod, the proposed new lead character of the Transformers franchise as introduced in the 1986 movie. Though Hot Rod spends most of the film’s run time as just plain old Hot Rod, after taking ownership of the Matrix of Leadership during the film’s climactic battle, Hot Rod becomes “Rodimus Prime,” meaning we had two forms of Rodimus to choose from for pretty much every release going forward. For the purposes of the 2017 incarnation of the line, Power of the Primes, we actually got both versions of Rodimus in one, with a figure I’ll be taking a look at today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Evolution Rodimus Prime was part of the first Leader Class assortment of the Power of the Primes toy line, alongside the similarly-themed Optimus Prime. Straight out of the package, Rodimus is in his full-on Rodimus Prime form. In this state, the figure stands 9 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation. In terms of mobility, the figure’s a bit of a mixed bag. While he moves alright in the legs, the arms, especially at the shoulders are quite restricted. There’s a little bit of a workaround if you use the joints further into the shoulder, but the design of the transformation means that you’ll always be stuck with the shoulders proper being at that 90 degree angle. In terms of construction, he overall makes for a pretty decent recreation of the G1 animated appearance of Rodimus, and is certainly a better looking figure than the original vintage piece. That said, there’s a fair bit of concession made for his transformation. He’s got some pretty hefty kibble both on his back and on the undersides of his forearms, meaning that while he looks alright from the front, from an angle things look a little weird. Additionally, much like the Combiner Wars Magnus I took a look at, Rodimus’ larger size requires a bit of cheating with the plastic, so that he’s not solid all the way through. Instead, there are a number of hollow sections, mostly in the upper arms and legs, which again make the figure better when viewed from the front. Lastly, there’s one oddity caused by the line’s main gimmick for the Leader Class figures, which results in there being a smaller set of arms visible on his torso, making him look kinda like his a very big-headed smaller robot that’s piloting a mech suit…which maybe isn’t so far off. Rodimus Prime includes the Matrix of Leadership, which he can only really store in his chest cavity, since it’s not possible for him to hold in his hands. He’s also got a long blaster rifle.
The gimmick for all of the Leader Class releases in Power of the Primes was evolution (as noted by the name of the figure), and much like the Siege Leader Class figures, this was accomplished via a smaller bot with armor to “evolve” it into a larger bot. Popping off the arms and removing the torso from the legs allows for the torso segment to be transformed into a Deluxe Class-scaled Hot Rod figure, standing 6 inches tall and sporting 19 practical points of articulation. Like with the larger bot, there are some spots where the articulation is a little bit restricted, this time on the legs (which were actually the shoulders of the larger figure, so I guess that tracks). The hips don’t have a ton of back and forth motion, and I definitely miss the rocker ankles here. He’s also missing a waist joint, as well as wrists. At least in the case of the wrists, there are balljoints at the elbows, so the actual mobility isn’t horribly impacted. Though this guy has less actual articulation than the larger figure, I did find that it was a little easier to work with on the smaller figure. The actual sculpt on this guy is actually a pretty solid update of the vintage Rodimus, just with better articulation, and a slightly more animation-faithful appearance. There are less hollow points in his construction, and in general he fits in pretty well with some of the less greeble-y Siege guys, which is alright by my count. In this mode, Hot Rod still can’t hold the Matrix, but he can at least make use of the large blaster, which splits into two pieces, replicating Hot Rod’s smaller blasters from his original toy.
As with his vintage counterpart, this smaller Hot Rod figure’s alt-mode is a futuristic sports car. In fact, it’s pretty much a straight re-creation of the exact future sports car mode used by the vintage figure, with only some rather moderate surface changes between the two. The transformation process here is really quite simple, and in fact a fair bit of it is just reversing a few things you have to do to transform the Rodimus Prime torso into Hot Rod in the first place. It’s a pretty slick looking vehicle mode, and like the robot mode is quite accurate to the animation design for said alt-mode. To take things even further, you can at this point add back in all those parts you set aside when you converted him into Hot Rod, and add them back in as a trailer, because that’s what really signifies the whole Prime thing: a trailer. No one’s gonna say anything about the fact that there’s a freaking trailer attached to a sports car or anything, because that’s clearly a natural and normal thing to encounter, and is not at all odd or suspicious or strange. The trailer that is totally inconspicuous is a little trickier of a transformation, mostly when it comes to fitting it onto the car, but it’s not terrible, and like the standard car, the full mode is fairly accurate to the animation, though there are some concessions made to allow the actual car part to remain the same between the two modes. In this mode, the blasters can be mounted on the trailer for a fully armed effect. He still can’t hold that Matrix, though.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When I first started to dip my toe in the Transformers water, I looked at this figure while he was still “new”, or at least still in-stock as a regular floor item at All Time. Ultimately, I didn’t end up getting him, but I resigned that if a used one came through I’d give it some serious thought. One came in as part of the rather sizable collection of Transformers the store recently received, and in a messed up box that was going to necessitate opening him up anyway. With the announcement of Arcee, and taking into consideration that I already have a lot of the other “heavy hitters” in some sort of modern form, it was pretty easy to convince myself to finally pick this guy up. The Rodimus form doesn’t do a ton for me personally, but the inner Hot Rod bot is actually really nice, and a solid addition to my current set-up. Plus, it meant I got a modern and a vintage Hot Rod in the same day. How cool is that?
As I noted above, I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, and a good chunk of the collection he came from is still available here. If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.