Tetsuro's review of: Rodimus Prime
First animated appearance
: The Movie
First comic appearance
: The Movie #3
"Experience is the benchmark of maturity."
I'm getting this out of the way immediately: I'm a Rodimus fan. Say whatever you want of him, I continue to rank him slightly higher than the loved-by-all Optimus Prime. Why? Although Optimus has that fatherly sensitivity to him that one can look up to like a mentor, Rodimus Prime was a better character. Optimus is criticized for being two-dimensional can-do-no-wrong by some, while others criticize Rodimus for simply being a whiny git. I for one can't agree; it's called having a character
While things were drastically different in the comics, everyone seems to judge the Transformers mythos on basis of the cartoon, and in a somewhat ironic twist, the third season in which Rodimus led the autobots, had far superior writing to the two seasons preceding it (shoddy animation aside), and I for one thought his development from an autobot hothead to a responsible leader was well handled...that is, until Mr. Faceplate was brought back to life. Headmasters anime brought him back into charge though, if only for few episodes.
Wholly different thing in the comics however; although never appearing in the pages of the US comic, except as a dead husk in a dark alternate future, the island kingdom gave the character much more focus. Although the movie (or the comic adaptation of the movie) still worked as a starting point for all the 3rd season characters to appear in the comic, the story developed into a far different direction...and Rodimus' characteristic difference to his predecessor was made clear early on when he was seen mercilessly executing a decepticon begging him to spare his life. Another drastic decision brought upon the attention of the bounty hunter Death's Head, and many time traveling adventures ensued...but go read those darn comics yourself, it's the toy I'm supposed to review.
Now, as a toy, Rodimus Prime has received nowhere as many homages or remakes as Optimus has. The first time since Generation 1 was the Energon toy, which I considered even getting for a while as the original toy was far less than stellar with its nonexistant articulation. But, roll in 2006, and thanks to my laziness on that issue, Hasbro's new Titanium line brings us so far the best representation of everyone's second favourite autobot leader.
The difference to that horrible original toy is made clear as soon as you see him on the shelf in his packaging; this guy's bulky, easily differentiating him from both that original toy and all the incarnations of Hot Rod, making it clear early on who and what he is. Once you break yourself through a million twist ties to get him out, you'll see that he's packing in the articulation department as well.
Since he is a Titanium toy, he's got plenty of die cast; namely on his chest, arms and legs, giving him a heft feel. His colouring consist mostly red and orange with yellow for the flames and few highlights, a silver face and smokestack blasters and black feet and fists. Even with such a tiny face, the detail is good enough to let you see that he's not the youthful autobot he once was. The flames he's covered with are far more stylized than on the old toy. A single autobot logo appropriately adorns his chest.
And, like I said, he's very poseable; his head turns, his arms back, forth and sideways at shoulders, his elbows bend and his forearms twist, his waist turns, his legs move back and forth and sideways, his knees bend and his legs twist. However, his arms do not turn above the elbows, so he can't put his fists on his hips which is a bit of a downer (I love that pose). He also has his trusty Photon Eliminator which fits into his fist to blast away those no-good deceptibums.
My biggest gripes? Well, aside from his elbows not turning inwards, little tabs behind his knees prevent them from bending too much (unless you "unfold" his legs to move that tab away), and especially that massive gaping hole behind his chest. Look at him from the side and you know what I mean; it's as if he got a spine and chest but no guts. Oh, and that wasp waist looks kinda weird on him, considering how bulky he is.
The vehicle mode overcomes what I think is the biggest downer on the original; he does not separate into a "trailer" (unlike the original Prime, Rodimus was relatively useless without the other half), but the back section becomes his legs. Of course, no one still know what the heck he's supposed to be, but everyone calls him a futuristic Winnebago, so that's what I'll call him too *giggle*.
The flames are far more pronounced in this mode, his bonnet and the sides of his back are covered in them. At first, I thought the wheels were arranged wrong, but looking at pictures, I realized they are where they're supposed to be, too; two on the back, two in the middle and two in the front. The canopy of the cockpit is partially translucent, which the official stock photos do not show, and it almost looks like he actually HAS a cockpit inside, which is a nice detail.
Again, I got a few gripes with this form too, and the biggest one is that he's rather flimsy; there are tabs on his "knees" that are supposed to slip into the slots on his "arms", but they do not fit in snugly enough to hold him together, so I suggest picking him up by the rear, or better, with both hands; picking him up by the front section will only make him fall apart. Another complaint comes from the fists poking out on the top...and what's with the folded up spoiler?
What I really like in his vehicle mode is the molded-in slot under his otherwise hollow rear section: Rodimus' gun fits into it snugly, allowing him to carry it around even in vehicle mode rather than having it lie around when he's not in robot mode. Cool!
Ignoring my minor complaints about this toy, Rodimus Prime does away with the biggest problem that has turned many away from the whole Titanium line: he's not floppy. None of his body parts so far have come off for me, despite numerous transformations, and he will stick in whatever pose you put him, even if his elbows feel a bit loose.
7 - relatively simple, but the way his waist has to be slid and turned can cause little difficulty with the transforming process.
7 - Mostly he's solid as a brick, but the plastic 'spine' of his robot mode, the cockpit canopy and the "spoiler" attached to it seem like they might break off, so make sure not to drop him from too high.
8 - At first, I wasn't sure whether to give him a fun score at all; Titaniums are collector's items, not toys, regardless of what Hasbro may say, since I certainly wouldn't want to give one of these to a child. However, I've wanted a Rodimus Prime toy ever since the first time I saw the cartoons, and this is by far the superior version you will find.
8 - At some $20, he's a lot pricier than a deluxe toy of the same size...but definitely worth the purchase. Or at least return your faith to the Titanium line!
An excellent representation of an underrated character who has been neglected too long by the mainstream audience? His poseability combined with the fact that there are very few representations of this character in toy form anyway, will make this one a must have for every G1 fan, unless you're one of those who hate Rodimus.
Oh, and one more thing - here's to hoping Rodimus marks an improvement in the Titanium line, not just a fortunate coincidence.