Transformers Generations Power of the Primes Evolution Rodimus Prime Action Figure Hasbro, 2018
Day #1,880: January 17, 2018
Evolution Rodimus Prime Two Bots for the price of Two!
Transformers Generations Power of the Primes Leader
Item No.: Asst. E0601 No. E0902 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:2 blasters, trailer bulk, 2-piece Matrix of Leadership, 1 of 12 Trading Cards Action Feature:Transforms from Rodimus Prime to Hot Rod to Hot Rod to Space Winnebago Retail:$49.99 Availability: January 2018 Other: Two robots, to vehicles
This Rodimus Prime is an example of good thinking and adequate execution. It feels like the spirit of the 1990s "enhanced articulation" toys from Generation 2 was brought back - complete with some of their limitations. This toy allows Hot Rod to convert to Rodimus Prime, and you can cobble together both vehicle modes through the magic of partsforming. That means Rodimus' big arms need to be yanked off to make the other modes, and the instructions aren't great about illustrating this process. Just pull - you'll be fine.
The Matrix of Leadership is colored differently for this release, and sits in a cavity in the "bulk" of Rodimus Prime. While Orion Pax can store the Matrix in his back, Hot Rod cannot. You can awkwardly flip up the car chest and reveal the Matrix, removing it or replacing hte central spark core with any Prime Master (or Titan Master) you so choose. Heck, you could give him an Enigma too if you wanted, but why? It's a fun thing to play with if you have a lot of these toys, so go ahead and give that a try.
The two-part blaster is really clever. It breaks up to two smaller blasters that closely resemble the original Hot Rod's toys, with a few tweaks. Combined, they look a lot like Rodimus Prime's blaster, with a few tweaks. This is some really inventive design work here, and it's commendable. The design is more fully realized than Optimus' gun too, so it deserves all the compliments.
The big Rodimus Prime robot mode is decent, but not quite as good as Optimus Prime. Each has different benefits. Rodimus has swivel wrists, but Optimus has the best ankle joints ever. The big Autobot leader is made of a folded-up Hot Rod smashed into the chest of an otherwise topless Rodimus Prime bulk suit. To access the Matrix of Leadership, you have to flip up the car mode - and it sticks. It's an inelegant combination visually and in terms of tactile function, as I felt like I was going to break it. I didn't break it, though.
I don't love the stickers - you can hear a crinkle noise which no doubt foreshadows their wear, tear, and eventual flaking off. I want Hasbro to stop doing these and either go with paint, or a different kind of sticker material. These are too thin and feel like they're going to fall off within days while my G1 stickers from 1985 are still pretty solid after all these years.
The camper mode is pretty dorky - so was the original, but this one, even more so. Big Rodimus Prime's feet hang off the back, giving the long vehicle an appearance of a garbage truck. I expect the hatch to open to allow me to store parts in there - but this is not how it works. The clean lines of the original are gone, thanks to the need to cram all of the giant robot power suit kibble in a handy, pleasing Space Winnebago shape. The silhouette is decent, but the kibble is touch to miss. He's covered in slots and pegs and pins, plus there are big foil flame stickers that just make me nervous. The play features make this a forgivable weird toy since they were trying something big and now, but it's kind of ugly. There are lots of pieces to tab in place, and it works well. It may not look right, but it's ambitious enough that I would wager third-party fans would be jumping up and down to buy this. Since it's a Hasbro product, odds are it will get more criticism.
Hot Rod is back! This one has a decent robot mode with his "collar" on his shirt, the painted grey crest on his helmet, and the foil stickers on his shins. He feels like a Hot Rod toy with heavy Rodimus influences, like the lack of exposed engine and slightly more aged, lined face. Keeping the original Hot Rod toy's orange fists was a great decision, as was the double-jointed elbows. Why the orange forearms? I have no idea - but I do appreciate that the fists have a little extended shelf jutting out so he can hold the otherwise unholdable Matrix of Leadership accessory. I would loved to have seen a sticker or tampo "codpiece" replicating the original toys' stickers, but neither robot mode has such a thing.
His car mode is a little bigger than the Titans Return toy, boxier and less elegant. There are more visible panels and steps that would reveal this to be the mode that sacrificed the most to this four-form concept piece. The yellow spoiler is closer to Rodimus Prime's, complete with that extra bit in the middle and more detail than you require. The clear blue boxy windshield/roof is just like the original toy, making this a weird hybrid of several animation models and toys. The snap-on wheels don't look particularly great with unpainted rims and a red mushroom peg holding them in place. A little color or a metal pin would do wonders for making them look better, but they're functionally acceptable. If you're happy with an existing Hot Rod toy's car mode, you won't enjoy this one more.
Transformation from each mode is a little frustrating, but that's increasingly par for the course - more small, easily stressed parts will stick or just not move like you hope. Artificial kibble persists, as Hasbro wants to give you a toy that feels like the original, discounting the serendipity of the original designs benefitting from car door wings or hood chests or whatever it is that gives the toy the personality. I had some problems getting the big vehicle mode perfect, but other than that things worked more or less like one might expect.
I neither love nor hate this toy - I had Targetmaster Hot Rod as a kid and got a clearance reissue Rodimus Prime as an adult, and enjoy both for different reasons. Hasbro and Takara-Tomy crammed four toys' worth of modes in one big $50 toy, bringing us the biggest non-Masterpiece Rodimus Prime yet. It has some weirdness to it - it's not perfect, but it's big and kind of dopey and fun. I have no doubt fans will want another new version, but this is very OK. I'd love to see a new Galvatron as an encore, but that's one that may remain forever elusive.
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