"Transformers Classics" Rodimus Toy Review

General Information:
Release Year: September 2006
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Average depending on retailer)
Accessories: Missile launcher, Missile

Tech Specs:*
Motto: "Action is my middle name."
Young and bold, RODIMUS races headlong into danger, throwing caution - and his orders - to the wind. He dreams of heroic deeds and hopes one day to gain the recognition his actions deserve. Despite his inexperience, he is a talented fighter. In battle, he can often be seen racing at speeds up to 180 miles per hour, dodging explosions and laser blasts in an attempt to close on his objective.

Strength: 8 Intelligence: 9 Speed: 9 Endurance: 6 Rank: 5 Courage: 9 Firepower: 8 Skill: 7

The Classics Transformers line seeks to return Transformers to basics. The idea was simple: take iconic Transformers characters from Generation One and update them as faithfully as possible using today's design aesthetics and engineering knowledge. Hot Rod was one of the most remembered characters from Transformers: The Movie. As the successor to Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus to being Autobot leader he gained a prominance in Transformers lore few other characters have achieved. This made him a natural choice to be reincarnated in the Classics line. However, due to trademark reasons, the name Rodimus (last used in Energon) was used instead.

Vehicle Mode:
No doubt part of Hot Rod's appeal as a Transformer was his vehicle mode design. While not realistic, his vehicle was definitely sleek and cool looking with its angled lines and muscle car elements such as the engine protruding from the hood and the exhaust pipes running along the sides. Rodimus' vehicle mode is a modern interpretation of that vehicle form, and it is probably the most sleek version of it to date.

The general shape of the vehicle is a flattened, rectangular car. Made up of both sharp angles and curves, the entire vehicle just flows from front to back. Keeping true to his G1 incarnation, the front section slopes down at a slight angle towards the front. Mounted on top of the hood is his engine. Running along the sides are two exhaust pipes sculpted into the sides and then angling up against the section around the rear tires. At the back is Rodimus' spoiler. Wide, almost V shaped (some would argue W shaped) it angles out to the sides but it also angles upwards slightly. The robot mode's missile launcher plugs into the bottom of the vehicle, forming a single thruster at the rear. Insert the "flame" shaped missile and it looks like Rodimus is roaring at high speed.

Having a good sculpt also requires smaller details, and Rodimus has those as well. Some are expected such as handles on the doors and seats sculpted in the vehicle's cabin. Others details include segmented sections on the tires, line details on the exhaust pipes and the eight spokes on each tire.

The iconic "Hot Rod colors" are yellow and red. Here those colors were reinterpreted a bit. He is primarily cast in red plastic, but a darker shade than the original Hot Rod figure. The spoiler is not yellow but instead it has ben cast in orange. The windshield and windows are translucent blue. Silver paint fills in details such as the exhaust pipes and the engine. The flame details on the front and sides are gold with a black outline. The headlights in the front are metallic blue. I really like the colors. They are toned down from the brightness of the original, but they stay true to the spirit of the original color scheme.

The tires roll quite freely and despite how low the vehicle is to the ground you won't wind up having any of the bottom scrape against the ground. You can fire the rear missile but you pretty much have to flip the vehicle over to do that.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the car over and push each of the rear tires out to the sides by using the orange tabs.
  2. Swing down the panels with the middle of the exhaust pipes on the sides.
  3. Swing each half of the rear of the vehicle down to form the robot legs.
  4. Flip out the black sections at the rear of the vehicle to form the robot feet.
  5. Swing out the heel pieces on the underside of the feet.
  6. Rotate each half of the rear spoiler back so the points are pointing forward.
  7. Swing the panel that both spoiler halves are on forward.
  8. Pull out the sides at the front of the vehicle to form the robot arms.
  9. Rotate the arms up.
  10. Swing the front of the car down to form the chest and reveal the robot head.
  11. Swing out each hand on the inner portions of the lower arms.
  12. Rotate the section with the spoiler around so the spoiler halves point up.
  13. Attach the gun to one of the hands and insert the missile into the launcher.

Robot Mode:
Despite its lack of posability and somewhat "stiff" appearance, G1 Hot Rod was very show/movie accurate in that it had most of the design elements seen in the animation model without jarring changes (such as the mouthplate to "regular face" changes for Bumblebee). With that in mind, the goal here was not really to make a more "show accurate" looking figure, but rather to make a Hot Rod/Rodimus figure that was a more functional and dynamic looking figure than the original.

Rodimus carries over several details directly from his G1 sources. The head design has a central crest with designs on either side that come up to a vertical point. His chest design is very similar to G1 Hot Rod, with the hood piece angling towards the middle. On other versions of Hot Rod/Rodimus the engine would disappear and reveal a collar like design. Here however the engine remains, but the designers sculpted it so two tubes lead up to four cylinders on each side to duplicate the shape of that collar design. The arm design also replicates many aspects of previous Hot Rod designs. The shoulders are raised high and each has a rectangular section at the top, but these have tech detail sculpted inside rather than being just a hole or a flat colored section. The lower body also shares a lot of design aspects from previous Hot Rod figures. The lower legs are the most telling, with large triangular sections with three V shaped designs inside.

Rodimus is still mostly made up of red plastic in this form. However, more black plastic shows courtesy of the feet, lower legs and fists. More orange plastic appears as well, making up the upper legs. Paint applications are simple yet effective. Some yellow appears on the sides of the crest on the head's "helmet" section. The face is painted silver and his eyes are cast in translucent blue plastic. The flame pattern on the car hood is now on the chest. Silver paint makes up other details such as parts of his engine, the rectangle on the shoulder and the V shapes on his lower legs. The waist also has yellow detailing on it with silver in the middle. His weapon is cast in black plastic with an orange trigger. The end of the barrel is silver and the "flame" missile is translucent blue.

Rodimus has fifteen points of articulation. Most of them are basic such as two points on each arm. However, the legs are interesting in that the upper legs do not have the ability to move forward, rather the entire hip section moves forward with the leg allowing that range of movement. It is a good design compromise and does not diminish the appearance of the figure at all.

In a fantastic nod to his G1 predecessor, on Rodimus' left arm you can flip out a wrist mounted saw as well as (or in place of) his robot fist. This is inspired by a similar weapon he employed in the Transformers movie, and the designers even made sure to have it come out of the correct arm! This touch truly surprised me and was most welcome. In another nice touch, the notch that fits the gun in vehicle mode winds up on the back here, so you can plug it in and attach the flame, making it a rocket pack!

Final Thoughts:
Quite simply, this is the best version of "Hot Rod" ever cast in plastic. Rodimus has fantastic sculpting, a fun transformation that does not replicate those of his predecessors and he is quite posable. Even on his own (without comparison to others) he is a dynamic looking figure with play potential. All t his chalks him up as highly recommended in my book.

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