When Hasbro announced that Masterpiece Rodimus was coming to the U.S. but that his trailer had been cut to bring the pricepoint down, there was, true to form, much whining and moaning from the fanbase. Then the rumors started that Hasbro was going to replace the trailer with a far smaller, but far superior accessory.
Just like Cyclonus and Scourge, G1 Hot Rod received an upgrade to be part of the Targetmasters line. Possibly looking to one up Nightstick’s Generations update, Hot Rod’s Targetmaster partner, Firebolt, got the first ever Masterpiece treatment. A quick search of “Firebolt” on Google, shows broomsticks from Harry Potter and motorcycles from Buell, so to get around the trademark issue, Firebolt has now been given the ridiculous name of “Offshoot”.
As amazing a figure as he is, he’s not actually the first update of Firebolt, he’s just the first official update. When the phenomenal Fansproject group did an add-on armor to turn Classics Rodimus into Classics Rodimus Prime, they also released an unofficial update to Firebolt, called Sidearm. I didn’t like the headsculpt on the Rodimus Prime armor, but I definitely grabbed Sidearm the moment he was available.
Whereas Masterpiece Firebolt (I refuse to call him Offshoot) is a faithful reproduction of his cartoon G1 incarnation,
Fansproject Firebolt is meant to update his toy incarnation, red face and all. Both transform into Firebolt’s top-heavy, double-barreled cannon.
Just like the G1 version, both can also be mounted in gun mode on Hot Rod’s alt mode. Because Classics Hot Rod doesn’t have a hole in his engine for mounting, those clever folks at Fansproject gave Firebolt an extra clip to allow him ride on the spoiler instead.
Fansproject’s work is ingenious and amazing, but that is overshadowed by how big their hearts are. This was never more evident than in March of this year when they choose to give away a limited run of a repaint of their Firebolt update, done in inverted colours, free to the first 1500 who donated $15 or more to the Red Cross “Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011″ fund. Called Blesser and given a function of “Rescue”, they even included a card naming the person that gave the donation as Blesser’s “Human Partner”.
Just an amazing act of kindness on their part.
The more ‘Masters the merrier, I always say.