Review: Transformers MP-28 Hot Rodimus

Moving backwards through the Masterpiece line, we come to the second major release of 2016 and the third time we’ve gotten a “2.0” version of a character in the line. Plagued by poor stock photography and a generally unphotogenic appearance, Masterpiece Hot Rodimus (or Hot Rod if you prefer) had a lot of negative buzz in the lead-up to his release. But what’s the toy like in hand? In the post-Hasui MP era, is Hot Rodimus more of a Tracks or an Ironhide? Let’s find out!

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Vehicle Mode

In 1986 (30 years ago, to make all you old people feel old), this is what people predicted our cars would look like… in 2005. That bit of hilarity aside, this is a very faithful rendition of the goofy futuristic space car from the ’86 movie. It’s much more sleek and wedge-like compared to the lumpier, bulbous MP-9 vehicle mode, but the lines aren’t quite spot-on. The paintwork is excellent, though I do wish the hood flames popped a bit more, and the strip of unpainted dull maroon plastic on the sides is a bit distracting. Speaking of colors, this is maybe the first Hot Rod toy to at least attempt an accurate color scheme, though it doesn’t lean quite hard enough into magenta to be perfect.

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Comparing him with his fellow MP cars is a bit strange, mostly because he sticks out as a crazy future car among real-world late 20th-century automobiles. The tiny wheels make him look like he should be larger, but what little detail there is in his interior suggests he’s roughly the right size. But now we’re talking about scale in Transformers, so I’d better shut up before someone starts spamming scale charts. Anyway, the size looks right at a glance, which is really all it needs to be.

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Robot Mode

After a transformation that feels like a godsend after the nightmare that was converting MP-9, Hot Rodimus is, for the most part, a fairly accurate figure of the turbo-revvin’ young punk from the 80s. I know a lot of people still criticize his proportions and the shape of his torso, but I honestly love the look of this guy. His shoulders are a bit wide, but I think the proportions of his arms and legs are extremely nice.

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My only major criticism of his appearance is that his giant yellow spoiler sits too far back due to his backpack, when I feel it should be much more of a prominent feature. The backpack itself (which also makes up the entire back half of his torso) is a pretty impressive piece of engineering, and all things considered it compresses extremely well. That being said, it is still a backpack, and it becomes very noticeable in certain poses.

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Perhaps due to the nature of his character design, Hot Rodimus is easily the most well-articulated Masterpiece figure to date. He has the typical double-hinged neck joint, two shoulder joints with universal range (and even some lateral rotation due to transformation), universal hips (his hip flaps on all sides are hinged to move out of the way), bicep and thigh rotation, double-jointed elbows and knees, wrist swivels, ankle tilts, waist swivel, and an ab crunch. It’s the double-jointed elbows and knees and the ab crunch that push him above guys like Wheeljack and make him one of the most fun Masterpiece toys to pose.

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But what’s the fun in posing without accessories? Hot Rodimus comes with a nice selection, both expected and unexpected. On the expected side of things are two pistols, each with unique designs. I’d have to watch the movie again, but I think they’re accurate to the cartoon; if not, they’re at least accurate to the G1 toy. I’m not so sure about the pale-blue colors, but they look great and Hot Rod can grip them solidly. (Also, they can peg onto his vehicle mode roof or a flip-up port on his engine block, but it looks dumb, so why would you do that?)

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Another accessory straight from the movie is the buzzsaw, which can be attached to a small peg revealed when you flip up Hot Rod’s hand for transformation. Unlike the one from MP-9, it’s very big, looking more like a threatening weapon than a mere tool. It also has a neat silver paint over clear plastic gradient effect.

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A much less expected accessory, yet still straight out of the film, is Hot Rod’s enormous Transformer-sized fishing rod. This is, of course, the best accessory ever included in a Masterpiece figure. Not only can Hot Rod hold it and even convincingly pose with it, but the grip itself is 5mm, so any figure with matching fistholes can share in the fishing fun.

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As far as other features go, Hot Rod has the prerequisite flip-out visor. Unfortunately, the hinge for the visor itself is terrifyingly tight. I’ve yet to see any stress marks or cracks, but the thinness of that transparent plastic tells me it may only be a matter of time.

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Another Hot Rod toy checklist feature is a compartment in his chest stomach which can store the MP-10 Matrix of Leadership. It’s a neat feature, but I have to say that it feels very unnecessary. Not only does it not make sense for Hot Rod to carry the Matrix (since he automatically turns into Rodimus Prime when it’s inside him), but it seems like the aesthetics of his torso were compromised for the sake of this gimmick. Oh, well.

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Overall

Maybe it’s my love for the MTMTE version of the character, or maybe my general endearment for inherently silly things, but I really love MP-28. He looks fantastic in both modes, he poses incredibly well, and he comes with the best accessory in the line. He’s certainly not perfect; his proportions could use some adjusting, and his backpack could use some extra polish. That being said, he’s much more playable and nicer-looking than Tracks, though perhaps not to the standard of Ironhide or even Sideswipe. I’d say he’s worth picking up, especially if you’re a Hot Rod fan.

Where to Buy

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