Review - MP28 Hot Rodimus

After the highly criticized MP-09 Rodimus Prime/Hotrod released by both Takara and Hasbro in various forms failed to satisfy, Takara has decided to take another crack at the reckless Autobot rebel turned leader; Hot Rodimus, or Hotrod as he’s known outside of Japan. This time MP-28 Hot Rodimus is released on his own without any sort of upgrade gimmick to allow him to become Rodimus Prime. Does the figure benefit from being his own character? Will his own gimmicks stand in the way of him being a defining member of your Masterpiece Transformers shelf? Let’s find out!

 

Come on, Just look at him!

 

Vehicle Mode

Wow. Hotrod looks incredible! Hotrod’s alt mode is inspired by 70s muscle cars like the Corvette and the Firebird (as evident by the incredible flame motif on the hood), and very heavily based on the Nissan Dome Zero concept sports car that was being developed from the mid 70’s to 80’s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dome_Zero. The resulting fictional space racer has become iconic when it comes to Transformers imagery, almost as recognizable as the big guy himself, Optimus Prime, and his unforgettable semi-truck alt mode.

The true definition of "Hot Rod"

Takara has done a fantastic job of replicating the futuristic sports car we all saw grace the screen of The Transformers: The Movie in 1986. From the long, sloped hood with the engine block poking out the top, to the curved one piece cockpit, and of course the unforgettable giant yellow V wing on the rear end of the car. They were even able to include the twin orange thrusters behind the rear wheels. The deco is fantastic with long, chromed out exhaust pipes on the sides and the blue tinted cockpit which I think is a great touch. While the movie portrayed it as a clear glass I think the blue tint adds a premium level of finish that would look cheap otherwise.

OK who gave this idiot guns?!

Hotrod has a very particular transformation step to his legs that can be missed and result in his orange collar piece and knees scraping the ground when rolled around in vehicle mode. There are 2 tabs on the underside of the rear vehicle shell that his transformed legs must plug in to in order to achieve a rolling car mode and his orange collar piece must be tabbed in as well. The collar on my does not tab in very tightly and comes apart all the time. It can be quite a disappointment to transform Hotrod over and over and every time hear that frustrating scraping noise as you push him along the table. I won’t focus on this issue too much as it has a fairly simple fix that worked for me, however I have heard others insist that even with the legs transformed and tabbed in properly they still cannot achieve a rolling Hotrod figure. I have also heard complaints of the chrome coming off with the slightest touch. This hasn't been the case with my figure but I will be watching out for signs of wear on his exhaust pipes.

Hi there! I love the taste of asphalt in the morning!

The vehicle mode has a couple different mounting points that can be used to display his weapons in an attack mode similar to other MP cars. He has 2 spring loaded square ports on the top of his roof behind the cockpit that can allow for both of his blasters to peg in for a dual wielding assault mode. You can also flip up the engine block to reveal a single square peg hole that one of his weapons can plug in to. Perhaps there’s a Targetmaster version coming in the future? I don’t really want to buy the toy a second time but maybe they could throw his Targetmaster in with a future Masterpiece release or the inevitable Decepticon deco to go with MP-10B.

It's so dumb but I love it!

Robot Mode

Hotrod transforms from a sleek speed machine into a fairly large Autobot. Next to the Hasui car bots he’s a taller figure but he looks properly scaled when placed with MP10 Optimus Prime or MP22 Ultra Magnus. He has a wonderful transformation that I really enjoy messing with that has just enough simplicity mixed with that Masterpiece flair that really makes this figure feel like a premium purchase in hand.

 

He's really only got a couple static poses...

 

Similar to Ironhide, Hotrod has caught a lot of flak for some of his robot mode design. The change of designer on the MP series has not gone unnoticed and there are some in the community who are far from happy about it. The biggest complaint Hotrod has against him is his chest. That gorgeous car mode hood that I was gushing about earlier? Yeah, it becomes the squarest, flattest, chest piece I have ever seen on a transformers figure.

 

Exhibit A: Goggles! 

 

There’s a lot to be said about some of the great aesthetics that this toy pulls off but there is no escaping the fact that his torso is a box. This is most definitely due to the Matrix Chamber gimmick in his stomach. The Matrix sits conspicuously right where most people have the biggest issues, in his lower abdomen. This prevents any sort of taper from happening above his waist. I think a third party could maybe come out with a new hood piece that could give the figure a bit more depth from the front to back, but I'm really not sure what could be done about his bulkiness without getting rid of that Matrix Chamber all together.

 

Here's where I keep my fan mail... Most of them say "You killed Optimus" I burn those ones.

 

Hotrod's head is a masterpiece of sculpting and paintwork and the built in flip down visor makes me happy even if many feel it’s a throw-away gimmick. I love the way he looks with the tinted blue shades over his optics, recreating that iconic movie scene when he starts blasting away at the shuttle full of Decepticons. The head is on the usual masterpiece 2 axis joint, with a 360 degree swivel and a tilt up and down. I actually miss the range that existed on Ironhide due to his ball jointed neck but he was the exception as almost every other masterpiece defaults to this style for the neck. The light grey face and bright blue eyes convey a sense of life and youth that I feel captures Hotrod’s personality perfectly.

 

"There's a hole in the shuttle!"

 

Hotrod has a good range of poseability with double jointed elbows, wrist swivels, and a full 360 at the shoulder and probably about 75-80 degrees outward movement at the shoulder. You can also utilize the twisting joint in his shoulders, as well as unpegging the shoulder connector, to allow for a butterfly motion for dynamic posing, or to hold weapons or his fishing rod with 2 hands. There is a bit of a backpack as the entire rear section of his vehicle mode compacts on to his back, but I think it’s done really well and everything fits in tight and compact. When viewing him from the side the backpack can be a bit of an eye sore and it’s very evident that his trademark wing is set very far back. For some reason when you view him from the front it’s not nearly as noticeable and I feel like the rear wing looks good. I think it’s a non-issue with how much folds up in to that backpack. It would have been nice if they added and extra fold to cover the 2 holes in the top but I think they did well with what needed to be achieved.

 

Dat aft! 

 

He has a slight ab crunch due to transformation that allows for some really expressive posing. He’s able to pull off a sort of hunched over, teenager ignoring his parents, kind of pose, or it can allow for a nice crunch to add personality to a dynamic fighting scene. He has a waist swivel and his hip skirts are on single pins to swing out of the way of the leg. My biggest issue with this is that the front skirt is all one piece, including the centre section, so any pose that requires his legs to move forward will cause his entire pelvis region to come apart and it looks very clumsy. With the budget and parts count that the Masterpiece line is known for this is frankly unacceptable. I'm sure an enterprising modder could cut the hit skirt to isolate the 2 thigh sections but at this price point you shouldn't have to DIY this kind of stuff. Don’t let this become the norm Takara!

 

Seriously, it looks like an actual skirt...

 

The legs are a simple but effective design that work very similarly to some of the engineering we've seen in the Combiner Wars deluxe figures. The calves have a swing out panel and the legs collapse to cover the thighs and contain the entire leg. This figure has been catching some flak for the simplicity of this leg design but honestly I think it works really well. The transformation is simple and effective, and the legs look great in bot mode. After the nightmare of broken panels that occurred with MP-09 I think a simpler approach to the leg transformation should be welcomed with open arms. The feet have a swing out heel and they can tilt front, back, and side to side with a decent range. The only real downside to the leg transformation is that Hotrod does end up being a bit top heavy as he has hollow lower legs and feet. I haven’t had any issues with him falling over as his centre of gravity is in line with his centre mass but when posing him you may find him a little tipsy in certain poses.

 

This took a while, but it's completely tangible!

 

Accessories

Hotrod’s accessory pack is impressive and simple. He comes with 2 unique single blasters, both with their own designs. They are painted in a sort of purple tinged grey. The same color paint is used on all of Hotrod’s accessories. The blasters look great and have a good amount of sculpted in tech detail some of which is lost in the paint work. I think a quick black wash would do wonders to bring out some of the sculpted in detail. I’m not sure how I feel about the color, they look good in his hands and I don’t feel the color is wrong per se, but I wonder if a black or grey finish wouldn't have looked a bit more at home. The guns do not combine in any way to form the larger rifle used by Rodimus Prime.

 

Looking every bit as bad-ass as his official title, Autobot Cavalier!

 

Hotrod’s saw blade is included as an optional part. By folding in his hand there is a peg left similar to the way Ironhide’s swappable hand equipment worked. Simply press the saw blade base on to the peg to attach. The saw blade looks a bit large to me, and instead of moulding it as separate blades they decided to present it as if it is constantly spinning. The plastic is clear with a painted silver gradient that allows light through. I think the final effect of the clear plastic and paint looks good but I can’t help but feel like it looks like a giant pizza cutter attached to his hand.

 

Large pepperoni lovers please

 

The final accessory included with Hotrod is a fishing pole. Similar to his flip down visor, this accessory is really only include to replicate one moment from the Transformers movie, the opening where Hotrod and Daniel are fishing off the rocks at a lake near Autobot City. The rod itself is made of a flexible unpainted plastic, moulded in a similar lavender tinged grey, with a removable reel. The reel is painted black and grey and the details are nicely picked out. While the fishing rod is a nice call back to the movie I think there are other accessories that could have taken its place. I for one would have loved to see his laser sword and shield that he practices with in the shuttle.

 

A planet sized robot coming to eat us? I'm going fishing.

 

Despite having a Matrix chamber, he does not include his own matrix. Instead he relies on the customer to already own MP-10 or one of his variants. This is the third toy now that relies on an accessory from another figure to realize its full potential. One could argue that there should only be one Matrix, just like in the movie… but if I bought Hotrod without owning Optimus Prime I would be a bit disappointed that I couldn't utilize all of his features.

Final Thoughts

MP-28 Hot Rodimus is a bittersweet victory. It’s a wonderful representation of G1 Hotrod with a few modern touches that really bring the character to life. He has a great silhouette regardless of his shortcomings and I’m hard pressed to say whether I prefer his vehicle or robot mode. I think the vehicle mode might win out just due to its impressive aesthetics and the lack of any obvious issues. Hotrod’s square chest and abdomen on robot mode is a present issue that can’t really be ignored. I look forward to seeing what the modding community and third parties can do to bring him up to speed. As is, I think the figure is satisfying and fills the missing spot on the roster. If you can get it for a deal even better. If he was around the same price as the previous car bots I don’t think I would have any hesitation in recommending him, but at the slightly increased price tag I think this figure merits doing your own research before purchasing. I hope my review has been helpful and let me know what you think of the figure or my review in the comments section!

What do you think? Leave me a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on MP28 Hot Rodimus!


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