Battle in Space Part 1: Rodimus!

By Loran

The Transformers 2010/11 toyline/Reveal the Shield series continues, continuing to move away from the movie aesthetic and back into the Classics/Universe/Generations style. This isn’t too bad of an idea, since we’ve got Dark of the Moon coming out in a few months, it’s good to see Hasbro try to fill holes in a lot of collectors’ ranks. However, this set here did something a bit different: Instead of new molds, this set takes the Rodimus and Cyclonus figures from the Asian market-exclusive Challenge at Cybertron set, swapping their faction symbols out for rubsigns to go along with this toy-line’s gimmick. I picked this set up because I needed a Rodimus, and since I haven’t covered either of these guys yet, I’m gonna cover them both separately, discussing a different bonus in each one.

Since I (and probably most of you) am more accustomed to calling him Hot Rod, I’m going to use that name over the course of the review.

Hot Rod’s vehicle mode is that of an awesome Cybertronian speedster, looking much more realistic and streamlined than his original design. Apparently he’s based on some crazy Japanese car called the Dome Zero, but it’s undergone a lot of modifications to resemble Hot Rod. His robot mode gun clips into his rear and his missile forms some cartoony blue exhaust. It’s a very tight mode (possibly one of THE tightest car-modes in the classics style), and thanks to his design and transformation, all of his wheels roll with no problems.

His transformation is actually quite similar to the original Hot Rod as well, with some rather superfluous bits removed (ie: the waist armor). It’s rather intuitive, but unfortunately lacks the greatness of the dramatic head reveal most later figures in this style have.

In terms of appearance, Hot Rod’s robot mode is damn near perfect. He blends elements from his cartoon, comic, and toy forms into one great package while still looking distinct in his own right, a feature most of the early Classics Designs were lacking. His head even borrows some elements from the Energon Rodimus figure. Sadly, like a lot of other figures in the RtS line, his awesome “Autobot-symbol-on-the-chest” look is lost because of the rubsign.

From a pose-ability standpoint, he is sadly not as good as his first-year Classics brethren were. The kibble on his hips can be kind of annoying to get into place properly and his hip joints themselves are oddly designed and don’t quite work in any action poses. His shoulders are mounted on ball joints, which allow for a very good range of motion, but unfortunately, he has no elbow swivel-a joint the ORIGINAL Hot Rod actually had! It’s weird when the G1 figure has more pose-ability in a certain area than its modern counterpart…

Hot Rod doesn’t have much in terms of weapons, just a rather generic missile launcher with a giant blue flame. He doesn’t use the standardized 5mm peg system so he can’t hold any contemporary weapons, but he can actually hold the G1 toy’s guns! Very nice. Underneath his left wrist is a little (non-spinning) buzzsaw, a cute little reference to his one-off weapon from the squid fight from the 1986 movie.

Exclusive to this set is a little diecast Autobot Matrix of Leadership, using the mold from one of the many Japanese-exclusive Optimus Prime reissues from the early 2000’s. It’s a nice little accessory that… well, nobody can hold. I’ll probably get a small chain for it and put it around Galvatron or Thunderwing’s neck.

But of course, the big things that need to be discussed here are the colors and the plastic. His color scheme is supposed to homage his cartoon/comic appearance, although he was actually more maroon than red in those appearances. Other than that, however, the deco is quite accurate, though the orange and yellow on his chest is too close in shade to be easily distinguished. While I like the Classics/Henkei color scheme much better, this surprisingly works for me.

…the same cannot be said for the plastic quality, however. It’s pretty terrible and feels VERY cheap. This is very noticeable on his elbows-mine have some very worrying stress cracks in them. I don’t THINK they’re going to break but I’m going to be a bit cautious when playing with him. Good thing he doesn’t need those elbows to be a protector, of sorts…

Given the enormous spike in the price of a Classics or Henkei Rodimus in the past year or so and the releases of several other ’86 movie characters that have been released and are seeing release soon, I see a lot of people picking up this set for Hot Rod. He’s not as good as his Classics counterpart, but he gets the job done. But what about Cyclonus? We’ll take a look at him… next time.

Now if only I had a way to make him taller…

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