Thursday, 30 May 2013

Legends Rodimus

Universe Legends Rodimus

Not Hot Rod nor Rodimus Prime, just Rodimus.

He’s the odd bot out in this wave – he’s not a Minibot (The other classic characters in Wave 4 & 5 of Universe Legends had all been minibots: Bumblebee, Beachcomber & Brawn and Cosmos, Warpath and Wheelie) and there’s already a larger version of him in Classics Rodimus. Back in 2009 when he was first released I couldn’t really see the point in doing him. Some moulding money may have been saved by doing a repaint of the previous wave's Bumblebee to make Cliffjumper, Hubcap & Goldbug or even Brawn as Outback.

I suppose there may be some sort of in joke going on – for years Western fans coveted the Japanese Micromaster Hot Rodimus, now we take revenge with a Legends figure that won’t be released there – all of the Generation 1 moulds in the last two waves of Universe Legends were reused in the two Henkei Minibot sets released in 2009. Bumblebee was repainted as Cliffjumper (Cliff) in the C-18 Minibot Attack Team with Beachcomber & Brawn (Gong) while Warpath, Wheelie & Cosmos (Adams) were released as the C-19 Minibot Spy Team.

Rodimus’ robot mode looks like the G1 (and Classics) versions of the character – mainly red with a yellowy orange firebird on the chest. His wheels, inner shoulders, upper legs and feet are a combination of moulded and painted black. Gone are the dual points of his yellow spoiler pointing up his shoulders.

TF: Very similar to Wheelie in the same case: fold the chest up so it meets the windscreen on the back. Pull legs & feet together and then forward so they meet the rear of the windscreen. Bring the arms forward & in so they meet to form the sides of the car. Fold the spoiler back.

Rodimus’ vehicle mode is a little different to what we’ve come to expect – it’s a more current car design, almost Porsche/Jazz like but painted in the Rodimus colours complete with firebird on the bonnet and fire trails up the doors. There’s a mild gold wash to the top of the spoiler – I’ve only just noticed it and I’ve had the toy a day – but it could do with being much more opaque and covering all the spoiler. The windows are painted using a purpley black colour very similar to the shade used on Classics Rodimus.

Interesting update, similar to Wheelie's, giving Rodimus a more current rather than futuristic vehicle mode.

Revenge of the Fallen Legends Smokescreen

Revenge of the Fallen Legends Smokescreen is a repaint of Universe Legends Rodimus

Smokescreen is perhaps not the most obvious choice of character to use as a Hot Rod/Rodimus repaint. But then again the base mould isn't a usual Hot Rod, more of a modern, as opposed to futuristic, interpretation on the character. The most obvious connection between the Rodimus & Smokescreen is that they both have a spoiler. The original Smokescreen is a repainted and adapted version of the mould that Bluestreak and Prowl use.

I associate Smokescreen with being blue with a red stripe, but the Legends version swaps Rodimus' orange/red for a bright red, keeps the black plastic and then paints the sides of the car blue, the windows black, the headlights yellow and adds Autobot & number 38 details. The end result looks a lot like the original Smokescreen car, which is what we're after here. My only real complaint is the lack of a 38 on the bonnet.

Robot mode is less like Smokescreen. We lack any white or painted black for a start, and while both toys have the bonnet for a chest, original Smokescreen has his bonnet pointing out while the Rodimus mould has it flat against the chest. The front of the legs are painted blue - the original was red so I'd have saved my paint here. The forearms are blue while the shoulders & hands are red - I'd have reversed that too. Since none of these details is visible in vehicle mode there's no reason why they couldn't have been changed to produce a better looking toy in robot mode.

I've seen much worse Smokescreen homages. The vehicle is very good and although much is forgiveable at legends size a lot of the things that trouble me with the robot mode could easily have been fixed. So he makes an adequate Universe Legends Smokescreen, rather than a top notch one.

Smokescreen was sold in the USA in a Target Exclusive 2-pack with NEST Legends Starscream, a repaint of the original 2007 Movie Legend Starscream.

Dark of the Moon Rodimus

Rodimus returned in 2011 as a bonus item in a VS pack during Dark of the Moon. Released at Wal*Mart as an early promotional item for the film it contains the Revenge of the Fallen Legends Bumblebee, repainted in gold, and Soundwave, repainted in his G1 blue. Rodimus, meanwhile, swaps his red for bright orange and black for brown with the spoiler being painted silver, yellow windows and a flame outline on the sides & the bonnet.

Um yes. It's great to see the Rodimus mould back in circulation but the colours are a little bright and gaudy. But while looking at the toy it pushed a button in the back of my mind and I realised I'd seen a similar colour mix before: he's using Wheelie's colours! Are we in fact holding Wheelimus Prime in our hands? It would also have been nice if Rodimus could have been retooled to hold Cyberverse weapons. However none of the toys in this set can, despite there being a retooled version of the Movie Bumblebee Legends mould out there.

This set has belatedly been released in ASDA in the UK. A steal at £11.

EZ Collection Rodimus

Finally in May 2012 The Rodimus Legend figure reached Japan!

Pre-release I wrote: A Japanese version of Legends Rodimus has been shown in promotional images for Transformers Chronicles EZ Collection Volume 02. The images are monochrome but I'd hope to see something similar to the Universe Legend with a yellow painted spoiler.

The colouring on this version is vastly different to the original Legend with the red plastic becoming a more cherry red, the orangey yellow flames becoming a brighter yellow, the gold tail becoming orange, as does the black paint on the upper legs & feet, and the purpley black windows becoming pale blue.

Much, much better than the original, well worth your money.

EZ Collection Gum Rodimus

The EZ-Collection Gum wave re-releases 5 Legends previously available in EZ-Collection Wave 2: Optimus, Megatron, Starscream, Prowl & Rodimus. Where the moulds have been modified for a Transformers Generations release these modifications are present on a Japanese release for the first time so Optimus, Starscream & Prowl all get 3mm hands and peg holes but are missing the weapons released with their recoloured American versions. All 5 toys have their deco tweaked slightly to give them a metallic finish.

Gum Rodimus is very similar to the EZ-Collection Rodimus above with the cherry red becoming metallic and the orange becoming bronzey.

Top repaint, different enough to make it worth getting even if you have the previous EZ-Collection version and far superior to the western Rodimus Legend.

Future Repaints

For a start Rodimus really needs a Generations Legends style remould with 3mm c-clip hands and a hole on the bonnet for mounting the gun. I'd like to see a Western release in the EZ-Collection colours except I'd have the the spoiler painted bright yellow.

But for other repaints.... well this mould could be really milked by Hasbro if they chose to. The 2001 reissue of original Hot Rod has Clear and Black repaints so there's a good start. Classics Rodimus has been repainted in black as Shattered Glass Rodimus, in clear blue as E-Hobby Matrix of Leadership Hot Rod and in dark blue as Sideburn, based on a Hot Rod like repaint of RID Sideburn...... which got me thinking: what other toys have been repainted as Hot Rod which you could then repaint this Hot Rod as? In yellow as Armada Hotshot or metallic Blue as Cybertron Hotshot immediately sprang to mind. Meanwhile Animated Rodimus Minor has been repainted in white as Breakdown and black & red as Sideswipe (and that takes us off down a whole other stream of repaints) while Energon Rodimus gets a Police Repaint as Checkpoint and an "interesting" repaint as Thunderclash while Alternators Rodimus gets a blue with white racing stripes as Mirage. There you go: 11 potential versions right there!

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