Let’s talk about Takara’s MP-28 Masterpiece Hot Rodimus. Takara has really been popping out Masterpiece figures. It seems like just a month ago that Masterpiece Ironhide came out. Oh wait, it was! Man they are on a roll, aren’t they? This follow up to the original Takara Masterpiece Rodimus Convoy figure (dubbed MP-9, aka Hasbro Masterpiece Rodimus Prime) from 2011 has been met with mixed reviews. On the one hand, this figure is much more solid than the older release, with parts that fit together very well, and no flimsy panels or joints that are likely to snap at the slightest provocation. On the other hand, MP-28 is quite a bit smaller that MP-9, and his proportions and design have the fan community split.
MP-28 comes with what you would expect a current Masterpiece figure to include, such as full color instructions (in Japanese of course), a beautifully illustrated bio / tech specs card, and a couple weapons and accessories that were depicted in the G1 show (I’ll cover these in the Accessories section below).
Similar to all the recent Masterpiece releases the artwork is gorgeous, showing off both bot and alt modes on the front along with his name, function and release designation. The reverse repeats his name and function, along with a bio and specs all in Japanese. He has a fair amount of 10’s going on down there!
The back of the box details the few accessories he comes with, along with a pose next to his Season 3 & 1986 movie cast-mate Ultra Magnus. I’m not sure about that scale, but man does he look tiny next the MP-22!
Hot Rodimus is depicted here as having very wide shoulders which tapers down quickly to a rather smallish waistline then flaring back out, bell-bottom style, to the bottom of the legs. Don’t get me wrong, this is fairly accurate to the G1 cartoon but in physical form it looks a bit off to me. Most of the concern is the fact that his chest is so flat and wide, which was to accommodate the area and door mechanism to place the MP-10 Matrix of Leadership inside. I’m all for including nods to the old show, but in this case I feel it ruined the look of bot mode a bit. Of course, this is all my opinion and you are free to disagree!
There are some really cool features in bot mode though which give you some options as to how you can display him. His shoulders can be transformed as shown here to look like the cartoon and G1 toy, or you can swivel them around to look more like the Classics toy.
Starting from the top, Hot Rodimus does have a small flip-out visor integrated into his helmet. Just flip open the top of his head and pry out the visor. On my figure, the pin joint is a bit tight so I do worry about the clear plastic stressing over time.
The aforementioned shoulders are fairly poseable, but the small clipping mechanism that holds them to the torso can be rather eager to pop loose if you’re not careful. He has a full bicep swivel, nice elbows and an unhindered wrist swivel. The hands do the typical pin-the-first-knuckle build but the design is different from other Masterpieces, using a more robotic slender look for the fingers as opposed to the blocky hands you normally see.
Though Mp-28 does have a bit of a backpack, it is compact enough to leave the waist swivel free to rotate as you see fit. There’s even an ab crunch of sorts, which is nice. The hip skirts on the side flip up easily, but the front skirt piece is one solid part so lifting one leg can look a bit weird. The hips and knees are par for the course, and the feet offer up some good freedom of movement. My particular figure has slightly loose ankles though, so he can’t hold a pose that leans him back a bit as they’ll give out and he will topple backwards. I’m not sure if this is a common issue or not, but I’d like to think a little Future polish might be able to tighten that up enough to eliminate the problem.
Look at that 80’s future car! Hot Rodimus looks every bit the part here in alt mode, from the flame adorned hood (or bonnet for my European and Australian friends) to the lovely chrome engine block and exhaust pipes to the glorious bright yellow wing on top. He even fakes a nice cockpit area, even though no figure can fit inside.
The engine block can flip up to allow one of his guns to be mounted there otherwise there is no accessory storage to speak of in alt mode. His orange collar piece from bot mode is the only thing that seems to touch the ground no matter how hard I try to get it out of the way, but otherwise he can roll freely on his relatively tiny wheels.
The paint apps are spot on and everything clips together well once you get all the tabs where they belong. I don’t have much more to say about this mode though, the whole package really is that simple and well done.
In general, the legs are very simple and the torso and arms are more complicated. Not difficult mind you, but more complicated in comparison. If you have any experience with the current crop of Combiner Wars deluxe figures, MP-28’s leg transformation will be very familiar to you, though it is a bit more refined. There is a panel that opens up to allow the thighs to flip out and up on double hinges, then closes back up and snaps in with a peg to secure it in place.
As I mentioned in the bot mode poseability above, the small clips that hold the shoulders to the side of the torso are not quite strong enough to make sure they don’t pop loose during posing, but that is perhaps for the better as it allows his arms the forward movement needed so he can hold his fishing rod for the iconic pose (as you’ll see a little later). The backpack clips together in a very satisfying way, and you know it won’t fall apart on your once you get all the tabs slotted in where they belong. Also mentioned earlier, there is an optional step that allows Hot Rodimus to don his blue goggles if you so wish. The hands swivel out of the forearm like many figures’ hands do and everything (except the visor on mine) moves very smoothly, but not so easily as to be loose and floppy (again, except the ankles which I mentioned in my bot mode overview).
Hot Rodimus comes with a few accessories. There is a saw blade to peg onto the end of his arm (once you flip the hand away into the forearm), two laser rifles and a fishing rod. That’s it.
The saw blade spins freely and has a nice silver paint applied to it. The laser rifles (dubbed Photon Laser α and Photon Laser β per the back of the instruction sheet) are nicely detailed, with a very 80’s shade of blue-grey paint. The handles can fold out for bot mode, or fold in for a shorter version to mount in the engine block of alt mode.
Let’s go fishing! There is a scene in the 1986 movie that has Hot Rodimus fishing with Daniel on the lake’s edge near Lookout Mountain. It would have been nice if they has included a bit of thread and a small fish to attach to the end of the pole. His arms and legs have to contort a bit oddly to allow for this pose, but it looks good enough. I foresee this accessory spending the rest of it’s life in the box now that I’ve taken this picture though 😉
Even though I’ve mentioned a couple small issues with a joint here or there, all in all this figure is pretty trouble-free in the QC department. I’ve heard very few issues with anyone having problems with their figures. The plastic is nice and solid, the parts that clip together range from “good enough” to “extremely well”, and most joints are strong enough to hold any pose you want without being a struggle to use. The paint is excellent all around, and aside from the possible dislike of his design you might share with me, I have no quarrels with recommending this to anyone. Even if you have the older MP-9 version of Hot Rod, this one fits in much better with the recent Masterpiece figures, whereas the older figure is too big. MP-9 does look the part though, and I own both (plus the MP-9B Black Rodimus Convoy release with fixed knee joints courtesy of MegaMoonMan of the TFW2005 forums).