The U.S. release of Masterpiece Rodimus is a bit of a curiosity. Initially, released in Japan as Masterpiece Rodimus Convoy, he was the most ambitious Masterpiece toy so far. The reason for this was Takara was not satisfied in releasing either a Hot Rod or a Rodimus Prime toy; they wanted to release both. At the same time.
The toy was, of course, able to transform into Hot Rod’s race car.
However, thanks to the addition of his trailer, he could also transform into Rodimus Prime’s Space Winnebago.
Due to this, he was released at a three-digit pricepoint. Economically speaking this normally would have spelled doom for any chance of this toy being released in the U.S. Those wonderful folks over at Hasbro weren’t going to pass up this opportunity, though, and decided that all that was necessary to bring him down into the range of previous U.S. Masterpiece releases — i.e. $60 — was to omit his trailer. No trailer equals no transforming into a Space Winnebago, but the mechanism for transforming Hot Rod into Rodimus Prime is basically a face swap to give him a little age, slight leg extensions, and a subtle difference in the height and width of his backpack spoiler wings to make him look taller. What we are left with is a toy that can transform into:
Hot Rod’s alt mode,
Hot Rod’s robot mode,
As per usual with international releases, there are other differences between the Takara and Hasbro versions, but this is one of those instances where coming second was a huge bonus. Unfortunately the Takara version was positively plagued with quality issues, a good portion of which were corrected in the Hasbro version. More importantly — well, more importantly to those of us that didn’t spend well over $200 on the Takara version, I guess — the Hasbro version has a better paintjob. Chief among these is Takara’s decision to focus on trying to be cartoon accurate, also known as making Hot Rod
pink magenta. The other non-trailer accessories were carried over to the Hasbro version.
One of the coolest features is that Rodimus’ large rifle is formed through an automorph feature by combining Hot Rod’s two handguns. Other details include Hot Rod’s blue targeting visor; a 1986 movie homage seen in his Alternators version as well.
Along with the visor, he also has attachments to recreate other scenes from the original movie. Both hands can be rotated to a bracket that you can snap on his welding tool, used to repair a badly damaged Kup in the movie.
Looking at these two images kind of highlights my only real problem with this figure. The expression on his Hot Rod face is just far too serious, he should have been smirking or at least smiling. Hot Rod is supposed to be the “Turbo Revvin’ Young Punk”®; leave the scowling, serious face to Rodimus Prime.
The last accessory he carries over from the Takara version is a small version of the Matrix which sits in his chest… or rather stomach area.
Unfortunately this matrix is far too small to be held properly, so Hasbro included a second, larger matrix with their version that could be opened slightly.
However, the larger sized Matrix wasn’t the only “accessory” Hasbro threw in to soften the blow of losing the trailer and ability to make a Masterpiece Space Winnebago.
Next we get a good look at the reason I can personally say the Hasbro version kicks the Takara version’s tailpipe. Two words: