Thursday, 3 March 2016

Masterpiece MP-28 Hot Rodimus Review


Hot Rod, Hot Rodimus, Rodimus Minor and just plain Rodimus are the names of the same character from Transformers history. From hereon in, I shall be referring to the character as Hot Rodimus.

Originally a generation one character from the 1986 movie, Hot Rodimus was one of the first figures to be released that were made especially for the Transformers toy line and not borrowed or licenced from elsewhere.

A futuristic sports car, Hot Rodimus was a characterised as being fast, loud and brash. Later, when taking on the mantle of leadership, his character was portrayed as being unsure of their own abilities and full of doubt. The arrogance of youth is a common storytelling vehicle and one that is used to good effect when considering the character.

In this review we will be taking a look at the new masterpiece version of Hot Rodimus, MP-28, but first let's have a a look at other notable versions of Hot Rodimus that have been released in the past.

Original Hot Rodimus

A classic in every sense of the word and a good enough figure that even the new Masterpiece cribs some of it's transformation from it.

The original figure was, for a myself as a young boy at the time of release, everything a transformer should be. A bright and fast looking vehicle mode that transformed into a cool looking robot. Flames, spoilers and chromed exhausts all helped make Hot Rodimus a great 1980s transformer.
Judged by modern standards of articulation, the original figure was a bit limited. Legs were fixed in place, the head had no rotation, the arms had a single elbow hinge with some rotation and the wrists could be rotated. Dynamic poses were out of the question.
But that didn't stop Hot Rodimus being one of my favourite figures back then. It always has pride of place in my display alongside his buddies from the future, Kup and Blurr.

Hot Rodimus was released in a variety of versions. I managed to pick up a metal footed version with twin blasters and also the plastic footed targetmaster version a few years later.
Left: Original, Right: Targetmaster
The targetmaster version eschewed the twin blasters for Firebolt, a humanoid that could transform into twin barrelled blaster.

Classics Hot Rodimus

The classics line had a go at re-imagining the character back in 2006 to limited success.

Depending on the version you got, the windows were either printed or translucent. I only picked up the rather sad looking opaque light blue windowed version, released around 2010, which was enough to put me off of the mold forever. To be fair it looks OK in vehicle mode but the robot mode was something of a disaster in my mind.
Not a bad looking vehicle mode
The transformation was straightforward and represented the character well. It added some of the missing articulation from the original toy. But overall it was an average attempt at a modern take on the Hot Rodimus character. Like versions of the character to come in the future, this one contained a built in hand saw which was a nice attempt to give the figure something special but the execution was flawed.
Not a classic in any sense of the word
So although we got a passable Hot Rodimus in the classics line, it was still not quite what the fandom wanted for the character.
Only so-so sadly

Animated Hot Rodimus

The animated version of the character was nice and still ranks highly on my list of favourite transformers figures. It added that devisive Animated look to the character as well as giving us a properly articulated Hot Rodimus for the first time.
The Takara Tomy version of Animated Hot Rod
A great face sculpt, interesting transformation and variety of alternative paint schemes made the figure fun to own and to collect. The translucent version was a nice throwback to the original G1 version of Hot Rod being released in a similarly clear plastic. We also got an evil version of the figure just for giggles.
He always was rather transparent

Being a modern figure, Animated Hot Rodimus was properly articulated. The head was ball jointed as were the shoulders. It had elbow swivels, wrist swivels, hips on ball joints, knees that could bend and ankles that could pivot. Overall a very nicely posable figure and a lovely interpretation of the character.
The vehicle mode was also special in that it managed to take the original futuristic sports car and make it even more futuristic. The paintwork on the Takara Tomy version shown above was lovely and metallic. The translucent version also looked nice and made for an interesting display piece as you don't get that many good looking figures made from this type of plastic. It looked good enough to eat, like a car shaped Jolly Rancher or something.
Yum Yum

Cloud Hot Rodimus

A brilliant repaint of Generations Springer which feels like it shouldn't work but in hand actually does.

An Asia exclusive like the rest of the cloud series, this figure was released back in 2014 to mixed reviews.

A departure from the usual robot and vehicle modes for Hot Rodimus, the Cloud version has a third helicopter mode by virtue of it being based on the triple changer Springer. This is where the Cloud version of the toy starts to make less sense as Hot Rodimus but given that you get an awesome robot and vehicle mode, the helicopter is easy to overlook if it offends. To do so however would be a mistake as it makes for a great Hot Rodimus styled helicopter.

There robot mode clearly has some IDW comic influences and looks lovely. If you are famiiar with the mold you will know that it has articulation all over the place and is super posable.
Cloud Hot Rodimus
The vehicle mode bears a passing resemblence to the Hot Rodimus that fans love mainly due to the colour, flames on the hood/bonnet and the yellow spoiler. Other than that, it is hard to see it as anything more than a re-painted Springer, but it's a cracking re-paint nonetheless.

Masterpiece Hot Rodimus MP-9

Originally released back in 2011, MP-9 was a marvel to behold at the time and in my opinion is still an outstanding Masterpiece representation of both Hot Rodimus as well as Rodimus Convoy.

However, my opinion is not the opinion of many of the fandom. The figure was plagued with QC issues and was prone to breakage by simply looking at it.

The first version from Takara Tomy had shin panels that were attached via pins which had a tendency to shear off when transforming the figure. Mine have survived so far but only because I am aware of the problem.

The knees were also rather fragile in some copies of the figure and let's not forget the ankles which had serious problems with the ratchet springs that would, after some time simply unwind and work free from the die cast foot piece.

So, as much as I like MP-9, and I really do, I can acknowledge and understand why people found it to be one of the most frustrating and disappointing Masterpieces released.
Yup, thats Hot Rodimus
The ingenious way of incorporating both Hot Rodimus and Rodimus Prime into one figure was revelatory and demonstrated the passion that Takara Tomy had for the character. They could have released both characters as individual figures but they went that extra step to ensure we got it all in one. For that, I thank them.

The difference between Hot Rodimus and Rodimus Prime was, sadly, not enough to really show them as different characters though. A change of face, a lengthening of the legs was about all that distinguished one from the other. The fact that the vehicle mode for Rodimus Prime didn't actually have a front of the cab without attaching it to the trailer was a bit of a cheat. That being said, when the trailer was attached, it looked awesome.

It also incorporated the cool visor that Hot Rodimus had in the film. It was quite a challenge to get it down, as you had to pinch the ears of the helmet and rotate them, but it looked sweet when done.

The transformation from either robot mode to either vehicle mode was fiddly. Tolerances were tight and clearance from the ground was minimal meaning most of the time the vehicle couldn't roll on its wheels.

The trailer transformed into the same base that the original Rodimus Prime came with and did a great job of replicating it. Another reason why I can look past the flawed figure.

If they decided to re-release MP-9 with fixes for the problems it had, I would be first in line to get another one. It is that good.

With the rebooting of the line at MP-10, Hot Rodimus also had scale issues. Both modes are out of scale with the rest of the line. Arguably Rodimus Convoy is probably acceptable but Hot Rodimus is just too big.

For all these reasons, and maybe a few more, Takara Tomy decided to release a new Masterpiece Hot Rodimus. This time, without the Rodimus Convoy gimmick.

Masterpiece Hot Rodimus MP-28

So finally after the little potted history of the Hot Rodimus character in plastic, here's the latest interpretation of it.

This release reverts back to the regular MP carbot box size after the huge box that MP-27 came in. Which is nice if you suffer from OCD and need all your boxes to be the same size. Ironhide's box still haunts me to this day.
Back to regular sized MP boxes with this release

Compared to the MP-9 Rodimus Convoy release, this one seems tiny. That being said, this one doesn't offer the option of being either Hot Rodimus and Rodimus Convoy. It also doesn't need to store a huge trailer.
The space you can save when you don't need a trailer

Masterforce are kind enough to include the collector coin with the release. When closed it looks like the bonnet of the vehicle mode.

When opened you can see the matrix... which is little odd for Hot Rodimus to have to be honest.

Robot Mode

Let's start our look at MP-28 with the robot mode.

From the front it is easily recognisable at Hot Rodimus with the distinctive flames on the chest, the yellow spoiler poking out of the back, the exhausts on the lower arms and, of course, the head that we all know and love.

The face sculpt on this figure is outstanding and just a little better than MP-9 from my point of view. I think it looks younger and more self confident but that could just be my imagination.
Side on and things start to look a little lanky with the backpack containing the majority of the back of the vehicle sticking out quite a lot. But to my eyes, this is no worse than the backpack on MP-9 and I love that figure. At least this version manages to let you properly attach the backpack to the torso. My version of MP-9 suffered from the common problem of not be able to hook the backpack to the torso and therefore tends to fall down from time to time.

You can appreciate the heels on the feet from this angle. These really lend stability to the figure and can help with dynamic poses.
The back is actually quite clean and mostly taken up by the backpack and spoiler. The narrow hips are plain to see from this angle, as is the overall almost hourglass shape the figure has.
From 3/4 on you get more of a feel for the shape of the figure. The backpack doesn't seem nearly as big from this angle and is certainly acceptable for me. You can also see clearly how neatly the back of the legs and arms look - no hollowness on display here.
Again 3/4 on but from the front. From this angle you can see the single piece crotch plate, which I must admit to being a little annoyed with seeing as how the backside has individual pieces. You can also see the side skirts that can be lifted to allow for more movement of the legs.
The broad shoulders and narrow hips make for an interesting shape to the figure. It looks very heroic and athletic without straying from the traditional look of the character much.
Just like MP-9 Hot Rodimus, MP-28 includes a visor feature. However, whereas MP-9 required you to rotate the 'ear' pieces in order to bring the visor down, MP-28 requires you to lift the skull/helmet in order to swing the visor down over the eyes.
I honestly don't think the colour of the visor is as good this time around. MP-9 had a darker shade of translucent blue whereas MP-28 has a much lighter shade. It makes for a less obvious look when the skull/helmet is returned to the correct position.
It's not unnoticable at all, bit if it were just a little darker, it would stand out much more than it does.
It really isn't difficult at all to make this figure look good. Posing is easy and fun.

The chest can be opened to reveal a hole for a matrix. The hole is conveniently sized to fit the matrix that comes with MP-10, which means if you have a spare MP-10 matrix knocking around, you can do this...
Side on, you can see how far the chest swings open to reveal the matrix.
If you have the matrix to hand, this figure can strike some lovely poses with it.
My personal favourite matrix pose requires a little bit of shallow depth of field and a fourth wall breaking look into the camera.
The picture above, for me, is the money shot and makes this figure go from brilliant to outstanding.

Vehicle mode

The vehicle mode is normally where a Hot Rodimus figure can fall flat. It needs to really call to mind the G1 cartoon version of the character or else it fails.
It really does nail the vehicle mode for me. Everything I want to see is there, the sleek sweeping lines, the yellow spoiler, the shiny engine block, the chrome exhausts - everything.

The only slight downside is that clearance to the floor is slim meaning that if you don't get everything in exactly the right place, you risk scraping the head against the surface.

But when you get it right, it's awesome.


Hot Rodimus is superbly articulated. Let's do a quick run through of what you get:

  • Head on a ball joint
  • Waist on a swivel
  • Abdominal crunch
  • Shoulder on a kind of universal joint
  • Bicep rotation
  • Double jointed elbow
  • Wrist swivel
  • Legs on universal joint at hips
  • Double jointed knees
  • Ankle tilts
Pretty much everything you need to pose this figure... you get.


This figure doesn't come with nearly the amount of stuff that MP-27 Ironhide did but what you do get it decent.

  • A fishing rod
  • Twin photon lasers
  • Saw blade
The twin photon lasers are very similar to those of G1 Hot Rodimus. The saw blade is probably a little big for my liking but works well enough. The fishing rod is superfluous for me but if you want it then you got it.

Some Comparisons

I always enjoy comparing the old with the new so let's see how MP-28 looks when compared with some earlier Hot Rodimus incarnations. Firstly with the original G1 Hot Rodimus.
It's interesting to see the similarities between these two figures. We all know why the G1 figure was so different from the animation model but it's target cool to see how much of the figure has carried over to the new masterpiece.

There transformation is very similar with the head rotating around the shoulders, the legs making up the back end of the vehicle and the arms swinging around from behind. It's also interesting to note that the twin blasters from both figures very similar as well.
The vehicle modes were only ever going to bear a passing resemblance as the G1 version was not quite as sleek as the animation model. That being said they do share most of the general Hot Rodimus characteristics such as flames on the hood/bonnet, the translucent blue windscreen, the chrome engine block, the yellow head lights and spoiler.
Now let's compare it with the original masterpiece version, MP-9 Hot Rodimus.

As much as I like MP-9, and I really do, I find that that robot mode of MP-28 just gets the character of Hot Rodimus right. MP-9 does a fantastic job of bring the character to life but MP-28 could have jumped out of the screen and sat on my desk it is that good.
The broad shoulders make MP-28 look much better than MP-9 in robot mode. It helps that the side fins from the hood/bonnet tuck away nearly on the new masterpiece whereas the original version had then sticking out the side, much like the G1 figure, making it difficult for the arms to hang straight. I think I may have the arms in Rodimus Convoy position in these photos but you get the idea.

For me, MP-28 robot mode wins against MP-9.

Looking at vehicle mode though, this is where things get a litle strange for me as I think I prefer the vehicle mode of MP-9. That's not to say that MP-28 doesn't look good - it does - but for me the smooth curves of MP-9 just speak to me more than MP-28. It's very close though.
So let's put all three side by side to see just how far the character has come.


You can probably tell from my gushing throughout this review that I like MP-28 quite a lot. It fixes many of the problems I had with MP-9 and at the same time brings it in line with the scale of other masterpieces since MP-10.

Yes, I do prefer the vehicle mode of MP-9 ever so slightly but that doesn't make the vehicle mode of MP-28 bad, it's just a matter of preference.

The colours on the figure are perfect in my eyes. The maroon on the body is bang on, the orange of the thighs is great and the flames just look fantastic.

Hopefully this review has displayed just how far we have come in terms of engineering and our ability to have a decent screen accurate Hot Rodimus. Earlier attempts at making a great Hot Rodimus were nowhere near as good as this. It is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word.

One day, this will all be yours