"Transformers Alternators" Rodimus Toy Review


General Information:
Release Year: July 2007
Retailer: Joint San Diego Comic-Con / Hasbro Toy Shop Exclusive
Price: $19.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Accessories: Engine/Guns
Motto: "Wisdom will always defeat firepower."

As part of the "Kiss Players" toy line in Japan, a redeco of Alternators Mirage was produced in a deco based on the Generation One character Rodimus (aka Hot Rod or Rodimus Prime). This set was quite elaborate and included a "fishing rod" accessory that transformed into a weapon that mounted onto his arm as well as a human "sidekick" figure (as was standard with Kiss Players figures). Fans took to the classic deco and hoped for a North Americanrelease, and a year later Hasbro did indeedrelease a version of the same sculpt with a "Hot Rod" inspired deco. This version did not include the figure or extra fishing rod accessory however. Also, the figure was packaged in the same "fishbowl" style of packaging used for the rest of the Alternators line, meaning you had to pretty much tear the packaging apart to get to the figure. This figure was sold in July 2007 as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive. Right after the convention, it was put up online at Hasbrotoyshop.com in limited quantities and sold out the same day.

One interesting note about this figure is that it techncially has two "identities". The packaging art has just the name "Rodimus" on it, which was the designation also used for the Classics version of the characterreleased the same year. However, the instruction booklet says "Rodimus Prime", the more formal title used for the character when he served as Autobot leader. For the purposes of my review, I like to think of this as Rodimus Prime, a more mature version of the character who still carries some of his youthful enthusiasm, but I admit that is a personal bias.

Recently, a batch of these figures showed up at Botcon at a respectable price and I snagged one to have "in package", allowing me to open up the one I had purchased back in 2007. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. For a detailed commentary on the sculpt and funcitonality, check out my review of Alternators Mirage.

Vehicle Mode:
The Ford GT is one of the American car maker's most limited car lines. Built as a "concept car", the distribution worldwide wound up being only a little over 4,000 vehicles. This vehicle was in production during the run of the "Alternators" toy line, so it made perfect sense for its hyper stylized design to be applied to the Transformers line.

If there were any character other than Mirage who is perfectly suited to use the Ford GT as his vehicle mode, it would be Rodimus. Like his fictional vehicle mode introduced in 1986, the Ford GT is a super thin and sleek vehicle. The front end has a nice curve in the front and the back end has a bit of a spoiler coming up at an angle. The curves and lines of the car also give a sense of power that fits the Rodimus character as well. He may have been thin and sleek, but remember this is the guy that was Autobot leader for a while so he wasn't a slouch.

Rodimus' primary color is (not surprisingly) a red-orange color. It's not a deep red (or a purple as some illustrations of Rodimus back in the day showed). I found this base color choice interesting as it is more true to the character than the real life vehicle. There is a red version of the Ford GT, but that red is a much deeper red. The windows and headlights are cast in translucent clear plastic while the rear lights are translucent red plastic. The translucent red really offers contrast with the red-orange color, showing you how "off" from a standard red color the primary plastic is. The interior of the vehicle is cast in black with a red steering wheel. The steering wheel color actually looks more like the red color you may associate with Rodimus, and this color appears more in robot mode. Several panels on the vehicle, specifically the cabin cover and the rear window panel are actually cast in clear plastic with red-orange paint on top.h

Like all Alternators, Rodimus has rubber tires instead of plastic ones. The wheels themselves have vacuum metallized silver hubcaps, giving him a very dramatic and realistic appearance, which was part of the idea of the Alternators line.

As I mentioned earlier, a version of this figure did come out in Japan prior to its North Americanrelease, however the color scheme chosen for this version is much more true to the character of Rodimus than the real life Ford GT. While the Japanese version favoried the "striped line" designs on the real life GT, this version uses gold paint on the hood to simulate the "flame" pattern found on most iterations of the Rodimus character. The way the pattern is designed creates a space in the center of the hood for an Autobot symbol. Ford's stripes are intact however on the sides of the vehicle, where gold paint creates two lines on either side with the words "Ford GT". Complementing the gold paint is silver paint, which you'll find on several parts including the gas tank cover, the interior of the car (on both the seats and dashboard) as well as the cage in the back that covers up the engine. Black paint is used to color several details including the front grille and details on the back such as the exhaust pipes. His license plate is a typical California license plate with a white background, orange stripes with the word "California" above them in red. The actual license plate number is "TOO HOT" in blue letters with the month of "July" off to the side in blue. None of this is random. July refers to the month this figure wasreleased, "TOO HOT" is of course a dual reference to Rodimus former "Hot Rod" identity as well as his attitude of seeing himself as well, "hot". The California plate is appropriate since that is the state this figure wasreleased in initially. Overall, this is a fantastic color scheme that pays proper homage to the character and looks great on its own as well.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Lift the rear hatch and remove the engine inside.
  2. Separate the weapon into two halves, swing out each blue handle. Swing the top of the engine out to extend one of the weapons.
  3. Swing the doors open.
  4. Fold the seats and steering wheel down.
  5. Flip the car over and swing out the panels towards the rear of the vehicle.
  6. Split the rear section of the vehicle (where the license plate is) and swing each half out to the side.
  7. Towards the center of the vehicle there are two triangular blue pieces, swing them towards the center.
  8. Swing the rear of the vehicle out to begin forming the robot legs.
  9. Rotate the halves of the vehicle's rear section so they partially cover the rear wheels.
  10. Rotate the figure around at the waist.
  11. Swing the panels from step five on the legs back into place.
  12. Turn the lower legs around so the knee joint can swing the lower leg back and forth.
  13. Swing the robot feet down and point the black portion forward, and wing the blue heel piece back.
  14. Lift the car hood up.
  15. Swing the robot fists out.
  16. Swing each arm out to the side and then straighten them out, with the headlights of the car facing forward.
  17. Swing the hood piece down over the chest and flip the end of it out to form the waist cover.
  18. Swing the car doors down.
  19. Place a weapon in each fist.
  20. Swing the back hatch cover under the top cabin cover on the back.

*Note: While I do generally recommend having the car's front panel lay flat against the torso, the alternate way to transform this area is to angle the side panels on his torso and then connect the chest panel to them. There are tabs on the car hood piece that correspond to notches on the side panels, forming a more bulky looking chest. The problem is that this isn't particularly secure and generally the parts separate if you move the figure around a bit to pose it.

Robot Mode:
It's almost surprising how many elements of the traditional "Hot Rod/Rodimus" design wind up being reflected in a figure that was originally intended to be Mirage. Among the design elements I'm referring to are:

  • The chest and waist arean is made up of the front of the vehicle mode.
  • On each shoulder is a piece with a inset design, in this case they are the headlights.
  • The rear of the vehicle forms the legs, down to having the rear wheels on his lower legs.

In addition, thisrelease of the figure features a whole new head sculpt! The head is based on the Hot Rod/Rodimus head design. This design features a curved helmet section that wraps around a young looking face with no lines (indicating this is more likely the "young persona" of Rodimus) with a large crest in the center of his head. Flanking the central crest are two pieces that come up to a point on the sides. What makes this head sculpt interesting is that the crest piece can swing up and you'll see a translucent clear plastic visor over the eyes. Once you swing up the crest piece, you can swing up the visor piece. This is very likely a design reference to a scene in the 1986 film "Transformers: The Movie" where Hot Rod lowers a visor over his eyes to better target Decepticons. It's a fantastic head sculpt that works in concert with the body design to make a very cool version of the Hot Rod/Rodimus character.

In this mode, you get to see two additional plastic colors on the body of the vehicle. Several parts are cast in a dark red plastic such as the helmet, panels on his legs, his feet, joints (such as those on the shoulders and knees) as well as the top panels against the chest. Most of his other parts are red-orange, similar in tone to the panels of the vehicle mode but not quite as orange. These parts include his arms and many of the panels on his legs. Using the G1 Hot Rod design as its base, there are some yellow parts as well. Specifically his heels, hands and elbow joints are cast in yellow plastic, offering a bright contrast against the red plastic on the rest of the figure.

Paint decos are done in orange, yellow, silver, black and light blue. The flame patterns from the car hood carry over here, creating a gold flame pattern on Rodimus' chest. The panels that flank the chest panel are painted orange with details in the middle painted yellow. Orange and yellow are also combined on his forearms to create additional flame patterns in more traditional "Hot Rod" colors. Orange paint is also found on his waist piece that is revealed in this mode. His face and crest are painted silver while his eyes are painted light blue. Rodimus' feet have some nice decos on them as well in the form of black and yellow, both of which contrast nicely against the dark red plastic color. This is a beautiful paint job. Even if you don't know who Rodimus or Hot Rod is, the color scheme is exciting and striking and looks awesome.

Rodimus' engine forms his weapons in this mode. The engine splits up into two small hand-held blasters. The handles are cast in yellow, the base of the barrel is gunmetal grey while the barrels are cast in red with silver paint on top. I do wish the fish pole accessory included with the Japanese version had been included with this one, but I can see how it may have affected cost and been a bit of a head scratcher for anyone who didn't see "Transformers: The Movie".

All of Rodimus' joints are nice and tight and his weapons fit into his hands firmly without a problem. It's too bad that the licensing agreements for the Alternators have long expired. This would be a great set of tools to reuse again!

Final Thoughts:
After a couple years of relatively high prices on the secondary market, Rodimus seems to be at fairly reasonable prices for an exclusive figure that's a few years old. If you never managed to snag one of these guys, now is the time to pick him up and complete your Alternators collection. Highly recommended!


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