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Series: DX9
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2015

Prelude: Everyone knows Hot Rod (sometimes called Rodimus), the young Autobot whippersnapper who rushes into danger. Almost everyone also knows that, in most G1-based continuities, he becomes Rodimus Prime, new leader of the Autobots. Hasbro and Takara seem to do their merry best to ignore that latter part, though. We’ve gotten numerous Hot Rod figures over the decades, but Rodimus Prime figures are sparse and if they do appear, they are usually a double act, somehow trying to integrate Hot Rod, too. Not so with Carry from third party company DX9, who is basically a Masterpiece-style Rodimus Prime, but without a Hot Rod inside (and without official sanction, too). Here we go!

Robot Mode: Seeing as there isn’t really much difference between Rodimus Prime and Hot Rod (the latter usually has a slightly darker paint job) when it comes to robot modes, at first glance Carry could be either. Be it as Hot Rod or Rodimus, though, the robot mode looks amazing. Very tall and lean, Carry has pretty big spoiler wings on his back. In some pictures they look oversized, but in hand they do pretty well. An Autobot leader deserves mighty wings, not tiny ones. Looking at him from the back, the figure does carry (ha!) a bit of a backpack, but it’s far, far less than, for example, Power of the Primes Rodimus Prime, so no complaints. It doesn’t hinder him any.

Carry features excellent articulation, with one tiny exception: the shoulders. Given the high shoulders and the spoiler wings on the back, an additional joint would have been great here to avoid bumping the top of his shoulders against the spoiler all the time. Apart from that, though, no complaints. Carry can move with the best of them and has a very solid stance; he can even stand on one foot for a running pose, no problem.

In terms of gimmicks Carry’s chest can slide open to reveal a non-removable Matrix of Leadership inside it. Not sure why they didn’t make it removable, but it’s not a big thing for me. If you want to have Carry hold up the Matrix for his “You got the Touch” moment, his articulated hands can easily hold any of the Matrixes from Power of the Primes or the Masterpiece figures.

The one great weak point of this robot mode is the weapon, which is also a separate robot (see below). The problem here is that the rifle is much too long for Carry’s hands to hold it properly and, if fully extended, can only be held by him when his elbow is straight. It doesn’t look too bad, but isn’t very practical. Thankfully Carry is able to hold all standard weapons with 5mm ports, such as the rifle of PotP Rodimus Prime, which looks really good in his hands.

So bottom line: a great robot mode with only very tiny flaws. Two thumbs up (one of them not fully extended).

Alternate Mode: This is where you see the main difference between Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime. Where Hot Rod was a futuristic racing car, Rodimus Prime is a futuristic Winnebago (or something to that effect). I have never been quite sure what to call this vehicle, but I like it very, very much. It just looks incredibly cool. Unlike most Rodimus Prime figures, the robot doesn’t need an extra trailer or anything, it just transforms wholesale into this vehicle. Most of the trailer chassis is folded together on his back in robot mode and the big spoiler wings become part of it, too, resulting in a one-piece vehicle.

Speaking of spoilers, though, we have the one big flaw of this vehicle mode: no spoiler. Now granted, it makes absolute no sense at all for a Winnebago to have a spoiler sitting behind the driver’s cabin and in front of the trailer part, but who cares? We need that spoiler. Thankfully it’s available as an upgrade (see below), but it should have been there right from the start.

Apart from the lack of a spoiler, though, the vehicle mode is top notch. No visible signs of a robot hidden inside, everything clicks together well, and the transformation is complex without being cumbersome. I do advise using the instruction sheet the first time, but after one or two transformations you’ll have it down. Nowhere near the annoying complexity of the Masterpiece Rodimus Prime transformation, for example. The rifle (or whatever other, better weapon you may want to give Carry) can be mounted on top.

Bottom line: a great vehicle mode. If they had included the spoiler here, I’d easily give it two thumbs up.

Partner: You might remember that some versions of Hot Rod came with a Targetmaster partner called Firebolt, who transformed into a double-barreled handgun. Well, Rodimus Prime never had a Targetmaster partner (depending on the continuity Firebolt was either dead by that point or wouldn’t appear until after Rodimus had reverted to Hot Rod), so it’s somewhat puzzling that DX9 saw fit to include one with Carry. A Targetmaster that is clearly not meant to be Firebolt, given that he transforms into something resembling Rodimus Prime’s signature rifle instead of a handgun.

While the little robot is pretty good for a figure that size, the rifle he becomes isn’t really all that great. At full extension it’s too big for Carry to hold properly (he needs to fully extend his arms). It is possible to fold in a bit of the rear length of the rifle, but then you can’t mount the tiny orange wings on both sides anymore, so... not that great. I’ll probably leave the Targetmaster aside and keep the PotP Rodimus’ rifle in Carry’s hands for the foreseeable future.

Upgrade: As mentioned above Carry is missing a spoiler in vehicle mode and, being a third party figure, naturally lacks the Autobot symbol on his chest. Thankfully Toyhax / Reprolabels is able to provide both. The spoiler part just clicks on top of the vehicle mode and can be stored in Carry’s folded-up backpack in robot mode. Plus there are quite a few stickers that give Carry that final bit of detailing he lacked (plus an Autobot symbol on his chest, naturally). So if you do buy Carry, I fully recommend getting the Toyhax upgrade as well. See pictures of the upgraded and spoilered Carry at the bottom.

Remarks: To make a few points here: no, Hot Rod did NOT get Optimus Prime killed. Optimus got Optimus killed by monologuing instead of blasting Megatron’s head off. Hot Rod merely failed to save him from his own stupidity. Also, Rodimus Prime was a far more successful leader than Optimus. He retook Cybertron and routed the Decepticons. He made peaceful contact with numerous alien races. He aided humanity in becoming a space-faring race in their own right. He treated the Dinobots as Autobots instead of locking them away in closets until they were needed. And all that despite having to deal with far more dangerous enemies than Megatron’s ragtag bunch of Decepticons. Optimus might have been a capable field commander, but Rodimus Prime was a true leader.

As for the figure, DX9 has definitely delivered the definite Masterpiece Rodimus Prime here. The figure really has but two drawbacks in my mind, namely the rather impractical weapon (Rodimus Prime doesn’t really need a Targetmaster) and the lack of a spoiler in vehicle mode. Both can be fixed with appropriate add-ons, but it would have been nice if they hadn’t needed fixing in the first place. So slight point deduction for that. Otherwise, though? Great. If you are in any way a fan of Rodimus Prime, this is the figure you need.

Rating: A-

Update: I've added pictures of the Toyhax-upgraded Carry to the gallery.

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