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Series: Power of the Primes
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Leader
Year: 2017

Autobot Hot Rod is one of the most fearless Autobots. When he was chosen by the Matrix of Leadership to take up the mantle of Autobot leader, some wondered whether the brash young warrior would be a capable leader. Infused with the ancient power of the Matrix, he became Rodimus Prime, a courageous and steadfast defender of peace and justice in the universe.

Robot Mode (Hot Rod): The Power of the Primes Evolution Leaders are all about a smaller robot receiving a power-up that upgrades them into a bigger, more powerful robot. In this case here the smaller robot is Hot Rod, who is pretty much a spitting image for the character we first saw in the 1986 Transformers movie. He is also one of the best Hot Rod / Rodimus figures overall, in my mind, despite the fact that he is designed to be a part of a bigger robot instead of a stand-alone figure.

Hot Rod is about Deluxe-sized and has excellent articulation, though he is missing a rotating waist. He wields two black guns that can combine into a bigger rifle for Rodimus, which Hot Rod can also wield, though. Personally I only give him the front part of the rifle, as the rear half is a bit bulky for this smaller figure, but either way works. Just about the only slight downsides of this figure are the fact that he has a butt flap and that those exhaust pipes on his arms are a tad too big in proportion to the rest of him. Still, an excellent Hot Rod figure. Could easily be sold as a stand-alone Deluxe robot.

Alternate Mode (Hot Rod): True to form Hot Rod transforms into a futuristic red sports car with a big yellow spoiler. Once again the resemblance to the original Hot Rod is very strong and the car looks very sleek. There are no visible robot parts, nothing hinting at a transformation. Sadly the car is missing the raised engine of the G1 figure and there is no place to attach a weapon, but apart from that I have no complaints. A very nice car mode, perfectly capturing the essence of Hot Rod.

Alternate Mode (Rodimus Prime): Taking a page from Fansproject Protector’s book, Hot Rod’s car mode receives an add-on trailer to turn it into the alternate mode of Rodimus Prime, which was a futuristic Winnebago of some sort. The car mode just folds the exhaust pipes forward a bit, the trailer attaches, and you’ve got Rodimus Prime. Personally I always loved this design (even though I was never exactly sure what kind of vehicle it was supposed to be) and this version of it is no different. Okay, there is the slight issue of the visible robot fists on the trailer’s front, plus the fact that the trailer does look a bit puzzled together, but overall it’s still a very nice vehicle mode.

If you remember G1 Rodimus Prime, you might also remember that his trailer could open up into a battle station of sorts. While there is no official battle station mode for this Rodimus Prime here, it is possible to somewhat turn the trailer into an artillery station of sorts. I didn’t include any pictures of it above, seeing as I don’t particularly like it.

Robot Mode (Rodimus Prime): The trailer becomes the lower body, back, and arms, while the Hot Rod robot turns upside down to become the chest and shoulders. A larger head emerges from Hot Rod’s torso and we now have a Leader-sized Rodimus Prime, for the very first time (cue an old Coca Cola jingle playing in my head).

In this bigger mode, too, Rodimus is very nicely articulated, though also missing a twisting waist. You barely notice, though, because he can move with the best of them. This leads us directly to the main point of contention about this figure, though: the neck/shoulder area. Here you basically see the smaller robot’s thighs and moving Rodimus’ arms almost inevitably causes these to rise up a bit. Personally I don’t really mind, but a lot of people don’t like it. There are already “shoulder fillers” available on Shapeways, apparently, or you can unfold the smaller robots arms (see pictures 23 and 24). Personally I alternate between leaving Rodimus as is or using the smaller robot arms, but I certainly won’t invest in extra parts here.

This issue aside Rodimus works great. He could have used open hands, maybe, to properly hold his Matrix of Leadership (where you can remove the crystal and replace it with a Prime Master, if you like), but it works with his closed fists, too. The Matrix can also fit inside his chest, of course, for which you have to basically flip up the entire Hot Rod portion of the robot, though. Nothing to complain about in terms of looks, either, as I adore the Hot Rod / Rodimus look. The new face looks sufficiently ‘older’ when compared to Hot Rod and the angles of the face even suggest a beard, depending on how the light hits.

Bottom line: a very nice Rodimus Prime robot. Maybe not quite as good as the smaller robot, but still: for a figure cobbled together from a smaller robot and a trailer, he’s fabulous!

Remarks: There is a sharp divide among Transformers fans when it comes to Hot Rod / Rodimus Prime. There are some, like me, who really enjoyed his tenure as Autobot leader in the third season of the cartoon and the Marvel UK comics. Unlike the near-perfect Optimus Prime he seemed relatable, fallible, and more fun. Others never forgave him for his role in the death of Optimus Prime during the 1986 Transformers movie and couldn’t stand him from that point forward. Whether you like him or not, though Hot Rod / Rodimus has been a staple of Transformers for a long time now and is currently appearing in Lost Light as the captain of the ship of the same name.

Evolution Leader Rodimus Prime is one of three Leader-class good guy leaders in the Power of the Primes series (Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal being the other two). No bad guy leaders, it seems, though we are getting an evil “Unicronus” versions of Rodimus (resembling Shattered Glass Rodimus or Lemmy from Motörhead, take your pick). Bottom line for this figure: not quite perfect, but definitely very close. It might be a tad biased as I really like the Hot Rod / Rodimus Prime character and was very happy to finally get a Leader-class figure of him, granted. Still, definitely a great toy and easily recommended to everyone who doesn’t hate Hot Rod’s guts for causing Optimus Prime to die (spoiler: he gets better!)

Rating: A-
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