"Generations" Combiner Wars Rodimus Toy Review
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle! Rodimus is a brash warrior Autobot who has the makings of a skilled commander and honorable leader. This Rodimus figure looks just like him and he’ll be a match for any Decepticon who tries to take him on! Armed with a double-bladed axe, he converts fast from robot mode to sports car mode, and no enemy can hope to escape him. Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
Months ago the rumor mill churned about a Legends Class Rodimus figure based on part of an illustration of Optimus Maximus. Months later we now have Rodimus in Legends Class form, a retool and redeco of Blackjack! While some were not happy with the character being a smaller figure, it's important to remember there have been many small scale Rodimus figures. In a way, I see this figure as the spiritual descendant of the Micromaster Rodimus that came with Star Convoy.
This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Rodimus is packaged in a blister set against a rectangular backing card. The card features a large segment of Rodimus' new package art in the front with a black bar and the modern "Transformers" logo over the black bar. The "Combiner Wars" logo is in smaller letters at the top. The back features multiple languages and a brief bio of the character with photos of the toy in both modes. Included in the packaging (set behind the figure) is a collector card featuring different art from the "Transformers Legends" mobile game campaign "A Call to arms". Similar in style to the first wave of "Combiner Wars" Deluxe figures, this card has no bio information on the back but rather a segment of the Autobot symbol.
Rodimus features a new head sculpt, which is great since I really don't think any amount of creative deco could make Blackjack's head work as Rodimus. The sculpt uses Hot Rod's G1 head design as its base. The helmet section is curved with a crest in the middle. The sides feature raised circles. The face is smooth at the cheeks, which indicates this is more a Hot Rod head sculpt than a Rodimus head sculpt since he's missing the lines on his cheeks. He also has a chin piece that angles downward a bit. This echoes a design on his chin in the animation model from G1. This is a really nice sculpt and looks great.
Some fans were concerned that this sculpt wouldn't really suit the character of Rodimus. I think that largely depends on how attached you are to classic Rodimus details like flames on his chest and the spoiler on his back. If you are really stuck on that, then you'll be disappointed. The spoiler/weapon piece is not designed to attach to his back (though if a tab had been added to it, it could have). Also his chest is the back of the vehicle so it only sports a window and no flame details (those wind up on his back in this mode). For me, there's enough of a sleek appearance to make him "Hot Rod-esque" in my book. With the new head it works for me, but I totally get why it wouldn't work for others.
The color swaps between Blackjack and Rodimus are not quite one to one, but they're close. All the dark grey parts have been replaced with a deep metallic red color (that really looks awesome). Some of Blackjack's purple parts have also been replaced with this color. Parts like his spoiler/weapon, waist, hips and thighs are all orange on this figure. The promotional photos for this figure showed a bright yellow color on these parts, but instead a nice muted orange color is used instead - which brings the figure more in line with the colors found on other Rodimus figures. A bit of black plastic shows here and there. You'll find it mostly on joints and hinges as well as the wheels which are visible in this mode.
The paint colors in this mode include orange, metallic blue, silver and gunmetal grey. The deco pattern is basically the same as Blackout's, but the colors are arranged differently. The silver is used on the face, shoulders and feet. The chest has metallic blue on the windows and on the eyes. Orange is found on the sides of his upper arms as flame patterns and on the edge of his helmet section, right above the eyes. The gunmetal grey comes into play on the knee armor. Rounding everything out is a silver and red Autobot symbol towards the top of the right shoulder. I really like this deco a lot. It's very simple, but the colors chosen pop against the darker red color and I like the use of metallic colors like the silver and gunmetal grey.
All the joints on this figure are just as tight as those on my copy of Blackjack. I don't see any functional issues with the figure at all.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the axe weapon and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the robot arms and legs.
- Rotate the forearms out (lining up the car door panels with the wheels).
- Push the chest panel up and connect it to the back panel.
- Push the two lower legs together.
- Swing the panel with the car windows on it down and push it into place.
- Swing the robot arms up to form the sides of the vehicle. Connect the tabs on the forearms to the notches on the hip area.
- Attach the axe/spoiler by connecting the tabs on the weapon to the notches on the back of the vehicle.
While the robot mode may suffer a bit by not having certain iconic "Rodimus/Hot Rod" stylings, the vehicle mode doesn't have any such issues. Really all you need for a "Hot Rod" vehicle mode is a sleek looking car with slightly futuristic details and the Blackjack sculpt has both of these. Even better, the spoiler in the back has "wing" like details on the side, echoing G1 Hot Rod's design. The front of the vehicle also slopes downward in a way reminiscent of G1 Hot Rod.
On top of the sculpt, throw in the right colors and the Hot Rod/Rodimus look is complete. The red metallic color dominates in this form. The wheels are more visible so the black offers some nice contrast. The spoiler is orange so it really contrasts nicely against the red. All the windows are painted metallic blue and the front end of the vehicle has a deep yellow flame design painted on it. I like the way this vehicle looks, but if I were to add to it I'd probably add a small Autobot symbol onto the hood and put some flames on the sides.
Chest Armor Mode:
Unfortunately, Rodimus suffers from the same flaw as Blackjack in that he really doesn't hold very securely on the chest of my Optimus Prime figure. He'll hold on well enough for display, but for actual play he'll fall out. I tend to ignore this mode.
I really loved this figure as Blackjack and I love it as Rodimus as well. As I mention above, if you're really stuck on Rodimus having to have certain features, this won't be for you. He's not a perfect figure, but I think he's very fun and looks great.