"Transformers Universe 2.0" Rodimus Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: February 2009
Price Point: $4.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Team up with AUTOBOT alliance and take on the DECEPTICON forces! This quick-conversion figure is ready for action and prepared for whatever adventure is in store! Battle even the mightiest opponents in robot mode and then convert the figure to sleek sports car vehicle mode and prepare for battle!

It was a cold, wintery day in 1991. My birthday is in December, so often time I would get Christmas and Birthday gifts combined, which usually meant a more expensive item than I would normally get. My uncle was good enough to take me to a now defunct store known as Pony Toy Go Round in Fort Lee, NJ. The store sold Japanese items, including imported Japanese figures. Not knowing a whole lot about the Japanese TF universe back then, this was a magical place for me. When I saw Star Convoy, I knew I had to have it. A new version of Optimus Prime? Who became a base and a truck?! And what's this? A mini-Hot Rod? I was sold and to this day that piece remains one of the most treasured pieces in my collection. Legends Rodimus brings back the concept of a pint sized Hot Rod toy, and it evokes great memories for me.

While most of the last couple Legends waves have focused on recreating classic Mini-Bot characters, one character in this wave is a reimagined version of a character who has been made into toys many times in recent years: Rodimus. This Rodimus figure seems to be an original take on the concept of a futuristic sports car with flames without any one particular source used for its sculpt.

Robot Mode:
The basic "Rodimus" design has not changed much over the years. In general, there is some combination of a thin robot form with flame details and a distinctive head design that features a central crest and discs on either side of the head on the "helmet" portion. In general, the car's front end becomes the chest, though these homage-elements were not used in Energon Rodimus or Cybertron Hot Shot. Here, several elements of G1 Hot Rod are present but styled slightly differently than the G1 figure:

  • The head design is modeled after Hot Rod's, including the crest on the top center portion of the "helmet" on the head, along with small rectangles in the middle. He has a regular face (no mouthplate) and there are discs on either side of his head on the "helmet" portion.
  • Rodimus features the classic "spoiler on my back" detailing that originated with G1 Hot Rod. However, the spoiler here does not curve up on very sharp points, but rather goes straight across horizontally with small points on the ends.
  • The shoulders each have rectangular indentations on them, not too dissimilar from the trapezoid shaped indents on G1 Hot Rod.
  • While they are not pointing forward as blasters, there are the ends of exhaust pipes on the ends of his arms.
  • The front of the car folds down to form a flat chest piece.
  • The sections of the leg that attach to his waist have raised trapezoids on them which are similar to details on the same spot in the Classics version of Rodimus.
  • The lower legs have raised, trapezoid shaped sections that harken back to a detail found on the original Hot Rod's legs.
  • Having the rear wheels of the vehicle winding up on the sides of his lower legs is similar to the way they are positioned on the original Hot Rod figure.

In general, this take on Rodimus is a bit more blocky in some respects than his predecessors. A lot of the "third season" Autobots in G1 were very curved and organic looking. On Hot Rod, this meant curved upper legs, a rounded helmet section and curved lower arms. Here most of his parts are very angular and blocky, yet the thin design keeps him looking sleek.

Rodimus is primarily cast in metal flaked red and solid black plastic. The metal flake was a pleasant surprise and looks great. Black, gold, light blue, yellow and silver paint is used to provide detail. His face and hands are painted silver while his feet and parts of his upper legs are painted black. His eyes are of course, light blue, paying homage to the G1 cartoon's use of blue eyes for Autobots and red for Decepticons. On his chest and arms you'll find flame details. What's nice is that these details are broken up, looking more like a fire with little flames flickering off of it, rather than the solid flame design used on many Hot Rod inspired figures. An Autobot symbol is tampographed on the lower part of his torso, right on top of the yellow flames in the center - a detail homage to G1 Hot Rod who had an Autobot symbol in a similar place. Finally, you'll find gold metallic paint on his spoiler, which adds to the glittery look of the figure.

Much like his Micromaster predecessor, Rodimus only has four points of articulation. However, it is worth noting that all four joints (shoulders and legs) are ball joints, so his range of motion is pretty good. I wish he had knee articulation, but it's hardly a deal breaker with this figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Connect the two lower legs together.
  2. Swing the hip section back slightly.
  3. Swing the spoiler back.
  4. Swing the robot chest up.
  5. Swing the hip/leg section under the car canopy.
  6. Swing the arms against the body of the car.
  7. Flatten out the spoiler in the back.

Vehicle Mode:
Traditionally, Hot Rod/Rodimus figures get very sleek, and futuristic looking vehicle modes. One of the few exceptions was Energon Rodimus, who was still rather sleek for a truck. This version of Rodimus bridges the gap between Energon Rodimus' bulk and G1 Hot Rod's sleek vehicle design. Don't get me wrong, this car is one sleek piece of work. It rides low and it is definitely something you'd expect to see as a concept car at an Auto Show. However, it has some nice raised curves on the edges and a fairly high front end that gives it a higher profile than G1 Hot Rod. The spoiler on the back is also bigger than G1 Hot Rod's. His was just a thin piece with sharp ends. This one looks more like a real life spoiler that goes horizontally across with pointed ends. The middle has some nice air intake details and instead of being flat against the back of the vehicle, it raises up fairly high. I really like the overall shape of this vehicle as it looks sleek and aggressive all at the same time.

The vehicle mode is very well detailed. The front end has headlights and a grille sculpted in. The sides have intendations, raised lines and air intakes. The back has horizontal bands representing the rear lights. Overall, this is one nice vehicle mode, especially for a Legends Class figure!

The only "new" coloring showing up in this form are the headlights (painted yellow) and his windows (painted metallic blue, bordering on a dark purple). The flames all work together really well in this form, making up a more cohesive looking design now that they are closer together.

Final Thoughts:
Rodimus is a fantastic alternate take on the "Hot Rod template". I love how both modes manage to pay homage to his original form without simply copying them. For the price, it's a great version of this character to own. Highly recommended!

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