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Series: Superlink
Allegiance: Cybertron
Categories: Combat Mail-Order Exclusive
Year: 2004

Prelude: Nine times out of ten, when Takara brings out an exclusive repaint of a figure, it’s a black repaint. Nine times out of ten that black repaint is some version of Optimus Prime / Convoy, too. Not in this case, though, because today we are looking at the Takara exclusive black repaint of Energon Rodimus / Superlink Rodimus Convoy. It’s been a full eighteen years since I reviewed the original figure (man, I’ve been doing this too long), so I think a full review is warranted. Let’s say go!

Many thanks to my buddy Fuchs Geronimo for loaning me Black Rodimus for this review.

Robot Mode: Let us look at the colors, first. The original Rodimus figure fom Energon was red with golden flames. This black repaint here is black (surprise) with red flames. He also has some yellow/golden highlights where the first Rodimus had grey/silver ones, including the truck windows on his feet. His transparent Energon rifle is red instead of orange. That’s it in terms of changes to the Rodimus figure, no retooling or head swap.

Now on to the figure itself. While it does bear a strong resemblance to the Hot Rod / Rodimus archetype, there are some things here that are different. The proportions for one, as Rodimus is a powerful-looking, heavyset figure with giant legs and feet and a rather short torso. His head is comparatively tiny, as are his arms. He has wide shoulders with the tires of his truck mode visible, which doubled as additional guns in the cartoon. Also, he lacks the usual spoiler wings on his back. Speaking of the back, he has quite a few open areas there, but seeing as he is entirely black on the back, you don’t notice it as much.

In terms of articulation Rodimus is a mixed bag. In theory he is very nicely articulated with balljointed arms and the legs, too, can move in just about every way you want. But the combination of waist plate and huge knee caps make it look a bit weird once he bends his legs and his proportions look even stranger now than before.

For weapons Rodimus has the aforementioned rifle / missile launcher, the wheels on his shoulders, and if you want you can switch out his hands for the thrusters used in truck mode (see below), too. Nicely done. So bottom line for the robot mode: looking good, but without the Powerlinx gimmick (see below) I am sure a better-proportioned robot would have been possible.

Alternate Mode: What’s better than a truck? Well now, a rocket-powered racing truck, of course. Rodimus in truck mode looks awesome, is all I can say. A big, long-nosed truck with rocket boosters and a spoiler on the back. There is also a fair bit of nicely sculpted details on the truck, though some of it is easy to miss due to the mostly-black paintjob. A few more colored highlights here would have done wonders.

Not much else I can write here. Awesome-looking truck mode. Possibly my favorite Hot Rod / Rodimus alternate mode of them all.

Combiner Mode: Like most of the Autobots from Energon/Superlink, Rodimus can powerlink with another robot by transforming into an upper or lower body. It’s also the reason why quite a few Energon Autobot figures are somewhat limited, as they have been built around that gimmick. For Rodimus it gives him his weird proportions, as his massive legs are either the legs of a larger robot (when he’s at the bottom) or the arms of a larger robot (when he’s on top).

Looking at his two combiner options, Rodimus works pretty well as an upper body. His robot mode arms become shoulder guns (and I love shoulder guns), while his robot mode legs become arms. Sadly the arms in this mode look stunted, because the actual shoulder joints are too far in, meaning Rodimus’ elbows are at shoulder height here. Still, it looks better than when he forms the lower body, because there the entire upper body of Rodimus’ normal robot mode simply folds backwards, basically hanging off the combined robot's butt. So bottom line: some Energon Autobots make for pretty good combiners, Rodimus is not really one of them. Best to leave him in normal robot mode or, if you must, combine him as an upper body.

Remarks: In the Energon / Superlink cartoon, Rodimus was introduced as a rival for Optimus Prime as Autobot leader. Leading his own group, Rodimus was less interested in destroying Unicron or beating up Decepticons, but rather using Unicron’s power to restore the worlds he had destroyed. This brought him into conflict with Optimus... for a while, at least. Like most plot threads in Energon, though, this conflict was never resolved but just quietly dropped and in the end Rodimus was just another Autobot shooting at Decepticons. A lot of potential wasted here, in my opinion.

There is a reason, of course, why black repaints are so popular, because many times they just look great. Same goes for Black Rodimus, whose new colors work really well on this mold. The mold itself, though, is unchanged, of course, meaning that you still have an awesome truck mode and a robot mode that is sadly somewhat dragged down by the incorporated powerlinx gimmick. It’s still a good figure, but I keep hoping that we will one day see a new version of Energon Rodimus without the Powerlinx gimmick and an improved robot mode instead. As for this black repaint here: looks great and I was glad to get it for this review, but I find myself unwilling to invest the necessary cash to own him myself. Still, for fans of Rodimus and Takara exclusives, he’s definitely worth a look.

Rating: B
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