Energon Toy Reviews: Rodimus

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner / Gestalt, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: February 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $9.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 3
Accessories: Missile x 1, Missile launcher

Images:

There are a few iconic characters in Transformers history that repeatedly appear throughout the line's history, and in some cases, get homages in their memory. One of these characters was Hot Rod, who was introduced in Transformers: The Movie and went on to become Autobot leader Rodimus Prime. His familiar pattern of a red vehicle with yellow flames took on a couple forms in Generation One, and even received a homage in Car Robots with Super Speedbreaker. Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime were also made into small and large PVC figures by Takara. With a line riddled with homages to classic characters, Rodimus Prime was an obvious choice - but now he's simply called, Rodimus.

Vehicle Mode:
The classic Rodimus Prime was basically a futuristic take on the classic cab/trailer combination that began with Optimus Prime. However, this posed a tiny dilemma: what happens to the trailer when the cab is in robot form? In the animated series, this was never really addressed, and most people forgot about Rodimus Prime's trailer (which was smaller than Prime's, so I guess it was easier to forget). This vehicle form keeps Rodimus Prime as a truck - but eliminates the need to worry about a trailer.

In vehicle form, Rodimus is a six wheel truck. Rather than looking like a cab missing a piece, the vehicle looks like a self contained, functional unit. The visual cues taken from the classic Rodimus are everywhere. In general, while still a big truck, Rodimus is very sleek. The front end angles upward to the main body of the truck, which sweeps back at an angle. Towards the rear, back sweeping angular pieces form the base of and a spoiler. Also, while you have to look closely to see it, near the smokestacks are two angled exhaust pipes on either side of the toy. This detail was also present in the original Hot Rod and Rodimus toys. It would've helped if these parts were painted silver like the smokestacks to bring emphasis to them, but it's still cool to see them as a sculpted detail.

Rodimus has quite a bit of cool, sculpted detail work. Among my favorites are the twin boosters sculpted into the back as well as two tubes which connect the front of the vehicle to the back at the center. Interestingly enough, Rodimus appears to have a hitch for something. My first thought was that this would allow him to tow Optimus' trailer, but that doesn't quite work, and no other figure in the line so far has a part that seems like it would fit - but I'm sure time will tell.

Of course, a homage is not just sculpt - it's also color. The main color here: red. Its accompanying color is dark gray, which forms parts such as the rear boosters, the tires, front and top of the vehicle. Most of the painted color detail is gold, used in place of the yellow originally used on G1 Rodimus Prime. The gold can be found everywhere from the front grill to the hubcaps, but the most obvious homage to G1 Rodimus are the flame patterns in gold on the hood of the vehicle.

Rodimus weapon can attach to the Powerlinx point on the spoiler. This point is also a Mini-Con port, so you can attach a Mini-Con in place of the gun.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if attached and set it aside for now.
  2. Flip up the front grill section.
  3. Swing the front of the vehicle forward.
  4. Flip the gray pieces near the smokestacks forward.
  5. Fold in the red piece behind the smokestacks.
  6. Swing down and straighten out the orange parts that form the upper legs.
  7. Swing out the two orange heel pieces.
  8. Flip down the red panel at the center of the body to reveal the robot chest and waist.
  9. Separate the rear vehicle in half and swing them forward.
  10. Swing down the booster/spoiler sections. Flip thel ower arms open to rotate the piece inside, revealing the robot fists. Push the gray panels back in place when done.
  11. Separate the legs from each other.
  12. Swing the robot head forward.
  13. Place his missile launcher in his hand.

Robot Mode:
Talk about updating a character! While Optimus Prime has gone through a dozen revisions over the years, Rodimus was always the same form - until now. Rodimus' robot form looks like a more rough and tough version of the original. There are some really great design cues taken from the classic character in sculpt alone. The first (and most obvious) is the head, which is sculpted with the crest and "L" shaped parts over the brow in the same fashion as G1 Hot Rod. The chest has a "collar" sculpted into it right at the top/center in the same place Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime had such a feature. The mid to lower body also seems to be a homage to the classic design. The mid body has a central grill in the same shape as a flat detail Rodimus Prime had, and there are two sculpted details at the waist which look a lot like headlights. Another neat (but easy to miss) detail are the wrist mounted lasers he has. However, unlike the original Rodimus (and indeed, the packaging art), these are on the inner arm, not the outer arm.

The colors used on Rodimus just enhance the homage even more. Again, he is mostly red plastic with dark gray and orange parts as well. The hands, heels and upper legs are all orange. The feet, knees, parts of the arms and main body are dark gray. Metallic blue is used for the main body details such as the aforementioned "headlights". The gold flames from the vehicle mode appear on the legs here, and more gold flames appear on his chest along with a tampographed Autobot symbol. The robot head has a silver face with blue eyes, and a splash of yellow used on the brow/crest (the shape and color are reminscent of the shape and color of the original Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime's spoiler). True to form, Rodimus' missile launcher is translucent orange and the missile included with it is orange as well. This goes perfectly with the figure.

Rodimus has a whopping fifteen points of articulation in this form. Much of it is focused in the arms, but the legs have three points each. The head is on a ball joint, but somewhat limited since it's on a hinge. I'm really glad to see the return of ball joints, even if they're not used a lot here, they're nice to have.

Rodimus' weapon has one hole that allows you to attach it to other Energon weapons or to a Mini-Con Powerlinx port, though it's not a Mini-Con port, so it won't activate any features on Armada toys. The handle of the gun is a Powerlinx peg, so you can use that to connect to the Powerlinx points on Mini-Cons or Energon weapons.

Transformation to Powerlinx Rodimus (Upper Body piece, starting in robot mode)

  1. Detach the gun and set it aside.
  2. Open up the lower arm panels and flip the robot fists inside, swing the panels back into place.
  3. Swing the upper body back, revealing the middle combination point.
  4. Swing the orange heel pieces in.
  5. Swing the panels that form the underside of the feet out to the other side so they are flat against the side windows of the vehicle mode
  6. Swing the legs up.
  7. Swing the legs out to the sides to form the arms of the Powerlinx mode.
  8. Swing the front panels of the truck in.
  9. Rotate the head around, and swing the orange hinge piece forward.
  10. Have each section with two wheels on it face forward, then move the boosters on the ball joints so they aim forward as cannons.
  11. Connect the figure to any other Powerlinx capable figure such as Hot Shot or Prowl.

One of the reasons I was fond of Inferno was his ability to create cannons with his legs in his Powerlinx mode. That same reason applies to Rodimus. I love how his vehicle mode boosters become cannons here. What's also cool is how the basic "homage" look of his form still holds true in this mode. While his arms may seem very large and unwieldly, if you look at them carefully, note how they form an almost "V" shaped angle from one arm to the other, evoking the pointed spoiler that G1 Rodimus Prime had. Also, the head sculpt remains so unescapably "Rodimus/Hot Rod"-ish that he still appears as a very cool homage.

Rodimus can hold a weapon in each fist, and you can tack on a Mini-Con on his Mini-Con peg on the right side spoiler piece. This upper body piece has eight points of articulation by itself, including the cannons. Overall, Rodimus makes a nice upper body section for a Powerlinx combination.

Transformation to Powerlinx Rodimus (Lower Body piece, starting in robot mode)

  1. Detach the gun and set it aside.
  2. Open up the lower arm panels and flip the robot fists inside, swing the panels back into place.
  3. Swing the upper body back, revealing the middle combination point.
  4. Attach the arm pieces to the sections with the two wheels, and then rotate them so the spoiler pieces face up.
  5. Attach any other Powerlinx capable figure such as Prowl or Inferno.

One of the things I have to say about Rodimus' lower body form is that he is easily one of the most stable. The huge heels and front feet sections give him a wide base of support. While the instructions have the back boosters facing out to the sides, I prefer to rotate them down as if they were boosters to help Rodimus and his Powerlinx partner to fly.

Not including the boosters in the back, this mode has six points of articulation, allowing you to pose the legs in a variety of ways, even sideways as if he were kicking a Decepticon. This mode's strength is that it looks cool and has stability at the same time.

Rodimus is one of the best examples of a homage done right. He takes many design and sculpt cues from his predecessors, but at the same time manages to be his own unique form. Highly recommended.