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with Sidearm

Series: Fans Project
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Upgrade Set
Year: 2011

Prelude: To get the legal part out of the way once again: This add-on kit for the Classics Rodimus figure is not a Hasbro or Takara-Tomy product and thus cannot legally be called a Transformer. It’s made by Fansproject, a third-party company, and was given the name Protector, seeing as they weren’t legally allowed to call it Rodimus or Rodimus Prime. I’ll hope you’ll forgive me, though, if I refer to the resulting figure by that name throughout this review.

Vehicle Mode: In vehicle mode the Protector armor is basically a big trailer, somewhat similar to the City Commander trailer. Of course it the coloring is mostly a dark red with orange and yellow flames, matching the colors of Classics Rodimus. The trailer attaches to the vehicle mode of Rodimus, creating a very good likeness to the vehicle mode of G1 Rodimus Prime. Rodimus’ weapon can easily attach to the back of the trailer, enabling the same “flaming exhaust” look that you can have in Rodimus’ normal vehicle mode.

Attaching car to trailer is a very smooth process; basically you just fold out the trailer’s sides, put the car inside and close it up again. Done. No problem at all. There’s nothing back you can say about the vehicle mode. It looks solid and the two pieces fit together so well that you might not even notice that they aren’t a single piece. So no complaints here at all.

Oh, just in case you’re wondering: The spoiler of Classics Rodimus is hidden underneath additional spoiler pieces. They come in two sets, one in the same orange of the Classics figure’s spoiler, and a second set that was included with the Sidearm figure (see below) in golden chrome to match the look of the Henkei figure. Which one you use is, of course, up to you, but I must say the golden chrome pieces look good on Classics Rodimus as well.

Robot Mode: I think everyone who saw the 1986 Transformers Movie remembers the scene where Hot Rod retrieved the Matrix and was then transformed into Rodimus Prime, right? In the animation he basically just got bigger, nothing more to it, and gained a different vehicle mode. So the challenge here is basically to make Classics Rodimus bigger without changing his look too much.

To accomplish this several pieces of armor detach from the Protector trailer, including a new chest plate, a helmet/head, two completely new arms, two big spoiler pieces, and two big boots. Attaching them isn’t all that difficult. You simply flip in Rodimus’ feet, fold back his arms so the shoulder pieces stick out forward, and attach the pieces. It’s a lot easier than attaching the armor of the City Commander. The resulting robot still retains the full Rodimus / Hot Rod look, but is a good deal taller, somewhat more muscular-looking, and more heavily armed, thanks to an extra barrel that you put on Rodimus’ existing gun. Oh, and he’s now at the perfect scale to interact with Superlink Galvatron General.

What else can I say about this resulting robot? He retains the full posability of the underlying figure, while the new arms might even be a tad better. He has a solid stance thanks to his big boots. He can still store his weapon on his back when he needs his hands free. The only slight drawback is that his rifle is a bit too long for him to properly bend his elbow, so he needs to straighten out his arm when firing it. That’s just a tiny little thing, though, and not worth deducting any points.

The bottom line here is: This is the best Rodimus Prime robot yet, beating out the Titanium version in terms of scale and detailing. Nothing worth complaining about.

Add-On / Partner: The armor pieces for Rodimus are just a small part of the big Protector trailer, the rest converts into the same kind of double-barreled gun emplacement that Rodimus Prime had in the days of G1 (but never once used in the entire cartoon series). The transformation from trailer to gun emplacement is a tad more complicated than it was back in the day (you just opened up the trailer and that was it), but not by that much. The resulting gun emplacement does look different, but there is enough similarity to recognize it.

The two gun barrels can be aimed individually and there is an opening between them where you can attach the rifle barrel of Rodimus’ weapon for additional firepower. There are two handles that can be flipped out near the back for Rodimus to hold and aim the gun with. And just behind the barrels there is a) a flip-up targeting screen and b) a small seat, where the Sidearm figure (see below) can fit in to man the gun in Rodimus’ stead. So while I’m not a big fan of this kind of gun emplacements, it’s been done very well.

Additionally the trailer contains a small six-wheeled drone vehicle, very similar to the Roller drone that came with G1 Optimus Prime. The vehicle can remain in place in both trailer and gun mode without any problems, so if you don’t like it, just leave it in place. The vehicle looks pretty nice, though, and you can attach either Rodimus’ gun or Sidearm in weapon mode on top to give it firepower. Furthermore the drone vehicle can store Rodimus’ weapon underneath and use the same “flaming exhaust” gimmick as the bigger vehicles. A nice, though somewhat unspectacular extra.

Not included in the actual Protector package, but available as an extra, is the Sidearm figure, a small Targetmaster that strongly resembles Firebolt, Hot Rod’s original Targetmaster companion from 1987. Sidearm’s robot mode is moderately posable for a figure this size, comparable to Universe Nightstick. Sidearm can serve as a double-barreled gun for either Rodimus or Rodimus Prime, as well as attach to Rodimus’ drone vehicle, the spoiler of Rodimus’ car mode, or he can sit in the gunner’s seat of his transformed trailer. Sidearm can also be enhanced into a cross-bow like weapon using the spoiler pieces included in both the Protector package (in Classics Rodimus orange) and with Sidearm himself (in Henkei Rodimus gold). Not a strictly necessary extra, but a very good and fun one nevertheless.

Remarks: Not many Transformers fans like the third season of the G1 cartoon or the guy in charge of the Autobots at that time, Rodimus Prime. Me, though, I always liked both the third season and Rodimus, despite being as pissed off as everybody else at the casual way so many beloved G1 characters were killed off to make it happen. Still, I’m a Rodimus fan and apparently so are the people at Fansproject, considering that they’ve now given us three of the key players of the third season of G1. Before now my favorite Rodimus Prime was the Titanium version, but Fansproject has delivered once again.

A short look at the accompanying comic book: Apart from the transformation instructions, the comic contains a short story showing how the Protector (Rodimus Prime) leads his troops into battle, but doubts that he is as good as the previous Leader (Optimus Prime). The latter appears to him as a spirit emerging from the Artifact (the Matrix), telling him that he possessed all the qualities of a leader long before he gained the Artifact. His resolve renewed, the Protector leads his troops to victory.

Two important things to know: One, the Protector armor works color-wise with both Henkei and Classics Rodimus, but not so much with the recent Reveal the Shield Rodimus. And two, rumors to the contrary, it’s a rather easy process to assemble and disassemble the trailer, quite a bit easier in my opinion than it was for the City Commander. Oh, and third: If you are in any way a fan of Rodimus / Hot Rod, you need this upgrade. And get Sidearm, too, as he nicely complements the set.

Rating: A
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