Knightdramon's review of: Hot Rodimus
So it's the year 2006, and after 20 years Hot Rod doesn't get one, but two fantastic figures for his 20 year anniversary! The first and most true in terms of homage figure is Classics Rodimus. The second is Kiss Hot Rodimus, which translates nicely to Alternators Hot Rod.
It's common knowledge by now that the Binaltech line is cancelled because of poor sales. Prior to it's cancelling, the last two figures would have been Convoy and Rodimus. These two figures emerged first as Alternators (Rodimus' mould was sold as Mirage, with a new headsculpt and dark colours) and later in the Kiss series, which is basically overpriced Alternators.
So what separates a Kiss figure from an Alternators release? First of all, paint apps are on par with Binaltechs. Secondly, a pvc figure on scale with the car is included, as well as an extra accessory that transforms to an additional weapon. Finally, we get a damn "drama" cd with six-seven tracks in Japanese audio. It's because of those cds that the price is so high.
Before I go on with the review, I'd like to point out the confusion in naming Hot Rod. Apparently, sometime between the movie and the re-issue of Hot Rod, Hasbro lost the rights to that name. Rodimus Major emerged, but soon after Hasbro just cut it to Rodimus. Takara had their targetmaster re-issue named Hot Rod, but inexplicably, they named the Kiss release Hot-Rodimus. I'm pretty sure he's Hot Rod, as Rodimus Prime would be named Rodimus Convoy. Got a headache?
Kiss Rodimus Packaging
Hurray for ugly manga drawings covering half the package! Rodimus follows the tradition set by Convoy (polygonal box, flap part to showcase the figure) with one minor detail-Rodimus' box is a tiny tad smaller in width. On the front of the box is a very nice close-up on Rodimus' face and a drawing of Syao-Syao performing a kick. The drawing is pretty bad as she's all rounded up and due to colouring, it's as if somebody zoomed badly on the picture and pixels are showing. On the back are pictures of Rodimus in various action poses. It should be noted that the figure is shown to be much, much bulkier than it actually is. On the left side is a picture of roundhead Syao-Syao kissing Rodimus and the right side features the usual pictures of car and robot mode in the grey Binaltech background.
Unlike Melissa, who has interchangeable limbs and the sorts, Syao Syao is a fixed pose pvc figure. What's more is that she's fixed in a sitting (relaxing) pose and unless she leans on a descending surface, she topples over. The sculpting isn't too bad, but facial details are obstructed by the stupid rice ball she's eating. The infamous padlock is ever-so present, and you can clearly get a look at her pants. The white thing that holds her hairstyle in place (sorry, don't know how it's called in English) looks like it could snap if you messed with it a little. An added accessory is two buckets fixed together, one of which contains another (non-removable) rice ball. All in all, Syao-Syao pales in comparison to Melissa. It could be because Melissa was after all, designed to be released in the BTA line, where all pvc HAD to have interchangeable limbs for "driving" poses.
Hot Rod was initially depicted as a sleek, futuristic race car. While undoubtedly missing the flame decals and the huge spoiler, this must be as close as you can get to the original with current cars. Rodimus debuts as a red Ford GT with white stripes over and to the sides.
The detailing on this release is nothing short of extraordinary. The Ford GT is replicated right down to the last detail. The headlights and fog headlights are cast in clear plastic, with a silver piece moulded to represent the "projectors" encased inside them. The stripes painted on the hood meet up flawlessly in the seams, and the Ford logo is cast with uncanny accuracy. The side mirrors are painted over with the same reflective paint as in all BT releases. The doors have the traditional ridged, paneled shape and are a pain to open. Again, the stripes meet up perfectly after the seams. The rear of the vehicle has all the angular and ridged sculpting details you'd expect. It certainly brings up a feeling of velocity, gives you the impression that this is a machine built for speed and style.
The entire body of the car is painted glossy red, but in a more saturated tone than Convoy. Whilst comparing the two, Convoy borders on orange. The hubcaps are chromed and stand nicely against the black tires. Silver is used for detailing the interior and the engine parts in the rear.
In terms of playability, Rodimus is a step above most of his predecessors in the line. Every part of the car you'd expect to open up does, with no limitations. The bonnet of the car opens to the front to reveal some engine detail (cast in light burgundy) and the back opens rather loosely to show the accelerator (that is actually the gun in disguise). The interior is fantastically detailed, with silver spots on the seats (and perfectly aligned), silver detailing on the dashboard and speed, gas etc meters. The only disappointing thing is the flat red steering wheel.
All in all, Rodimus presents us the perfect car mode both in sculpting and actual execution. The only QC problems I found was the extremely loose rear bonnet connector, sloppiness with the white stripes under the Ford logo and to the very rear of the car (can't be noticed unless you're actually looking for them) and finally, the misaligned Hot Rodimus license plate on the rear. Aside from those facts, Rodimus is a product of unmatched quality (he exceeds Convoy by far) and terribly good sculpting.
After a very easy transformation that puts almost minimal stress on the plastic, the amazing Ford GT turns into the most poseable Alternator to date. While the level of engineering is a great deal ahead of previous releases, he is not that hard to transform. The only problem with the transformation sequence is that the roof of the car really has no place to lock on (you can place is on the black panel of the vehicle mode and that's it) and the chest panel has a similar problem.
As I'm not going to further analyze those faults, I'll focus on describing the figure for now. Hot Rod is ideally red in robot mode, in much the same tone as he was in car mode. His feet spot a black line running down on an almost brown surface with yellow highlights. The calf of the robot is the rear part of the car, but the wheels are facing forward and are partially covered by the license plate and taillights. Although short, the hips don't appear as glaringly small as on Convoy's. The torso panel uses orange for outlining parts and a small Autobot symbol for identifying Hot Rod. The parts that lock the chest into place are orange with a slash of yellow added for details, a very pleasant change from the monocolour parts on Mirage. The way the chest locks to place is reminiscent of a matrix carrier (and if a scaled matrix was released, it would fit as there's space inside). The thin arms extend out of the front of the vehicle and spot painted flames on, keeping in tradition with the original Hot Rod. The elbow joints and the hand are painted yellow. Finally, the new head sculpt is unmistakably Hot Rod - it has a firm yet naive expression. The helmet is pleasingly angular and the tri-horned crest is cast in burgundy, with silver thrown in.
As far as articulation goes, Hot Rod is definitely a winner. There's around 30-32 points of articulation (depending on if you count several aspects of his shoulders) all over the figure. Each leg alone has six points, and only the ankles partially rely on ball joints. Unfortunately, double knee joints were left out due to the fact that they would overcomplicate leg construction. The arms are wondrous in that you can adjust the height of the shoulder, making for quite a number of striking poses. This is only augmented by the stylish doors hanging in the rear. Each arm has two points of articulations on the shoulder, two points of articulation just below the car wheel, double jointed elbows and the flexible hands. The head rests on a ball joint, allowing for lots of revolving action until you hit the windshield...
True to the original, Hot Rod has two guns (handguns, actually) that can be held tightly in his arms and double as tong-fa weapons. When not in use, the guns can be stored in his legs, near his ankles. Additionally, Hot Rod comes with a fishing pole. The fishing pole is on scale with him and can even be used as a sword. Whilst it has a black handle, it's way too small to be held like that, so Hot Rod must clutch the rear end of the stick. The pole is painted bright silver and really stands out. Like Kiss Convoy, there's a hidden nature to this item-it can be further customized as a weapon! Upon separating the three components of the weapon and combining them, you get a triple-barreled blaster that resembles the ones Hot Rod had in his arms during G1. The blaster does not lock firmly into his wrist and the pole is configured in a way that you can only attach it to the right arm, but when you do, it looks GOOD. Moreover, Hot Rod is able to use a visor much like the one seen in TF: The movie. Just flip his crest upwards, move the visor down and you're done. It doesn't look nice because it's not blue-it makes him look as if he's wearing glasses.
There's little interaction with Syao-Syao in this mode, because she does not come with interchangeable limbs. Not much of a loss, considering how badass Hot Rod is on his own.
Overall, this is one figure that's definitely worth getting. The aesthetics in both modes really help distinguish him from all the other releases, and the execution of the design is nearly flawless. After the unpopular Convoy mould, this figure is here to stay. If you're not a fan of Hot Rod\don't care for the extras, Alt Mirage is the way to go. For about 30-35 bucks cheaper, you're surely getting one amazing figure. If this was the Bt's final release, there's no other way I'd rather the line go; in a blaze of glory.
8. Nicely challenging, not frustrating and innovative. Whole thing actually gains articulation from the transformation scheme.
9. Almost no looseness, no parts popping off. Very solid construction, with the exception being the rear hood's joint.
10. I don't know about you, but I always wanted a Hot Rod that had more than two points of articulation. And this ultra-detailed, hyper articulated figure is more than I asked for.
5. He's marginally cheaper than Convoy, but the price never crossed my mind as I held this figure. Parts didn't feel loose and pop off like Convoy's.
10. Quite honestly, the best Alternator figure. It's got everything; articulation, looks, and it's one of the most memorable characters. If you could only get one Alt figure, get this one or Mirage. All the others come second.