G1 Rodimus Prime toy- can we talk about this for a minute?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Smokescreen38, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Smokescreen38

    Smokescreen38 Fight fire with smoke!

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    I'm hoping someone can help clear up some lingering questions some of which I've had about this figure since I was a wee lad. Please don't get me wrong: I love the G1 Rodimus figure and I took very good care of mine since got him back in the 80s...but it's such a weird piece!! As much as I loved it, I also recall noting that it felt odd, even next to the other '86 movie guys...I couldn't have been the only kid back then who thought this.

    Can anyone address/refute/affirm/correct any of the following? Your insights would be much appreciated!

    1.) The newly designed (not rehashed Diaclone etc) toys for the 1986 line were based on the Floro Dery created for the movie, in advance of the design of the toy (rather than the other way around for the first two years of the toy line and cartoon), right? So didn't they know that they were designing a toy based on a leader character that was supposed to me immensely powerful? Does anyone else think that they missed the mark by a mile on that?

    2.) If #1 is correct, what was the thinking behind the toy's design? Yeah, it stands taller than the original Prime robot mode...but it's an unmistakably a less elaborate toy. Even Prime, designed a toy-generation earlier, had better articulation and more organic proportions. It had much more play value with the accessories and trailer...design elements that were vaguely hinted at with Rodimus' battle platform. Was this a relic of a moment when the designers assumed that Ultra Magnus would replace Prime? If so...why the hell did they think they were designing a bigger version of Hot Rod? This is a key story element that already precluded Magnus as the new leader.

    3.) Ok... so it's kinda neat if the Autobot leader is much smaller and weaker looking than the big bad Decepticon leader (Galvatron) but why is Roddimus an obviously cheaper toy than even his fellow price point/wave-mate, Wreck Gar? Wreck Gar had diecast parts, rubber tires, full weapon storage in both modes, stands taller, has a more sophisticated transformation and surprisingly well articulated arms...how could Rodimus be so much cheaper than the very secondary character of Wreck Gar? Does this indicate in some way that the designers didn't have any context for the characters after all?

    4.) The face sculpt-- was this a poorly executed design or was the intention of the toy designers to make him look old and grizzled? The slits for eyes are just...strange.

    5.) No rubber tire variant?? It seems like the figures from the '86 line that used the same style wheels as Rodimus also have a variant with rubber tires/chrome rims that came out first. I guess I'm thinking of Metroplex, mostly...but why not Rodimus? Or...is there one?

    6.) Was the toy's function "Autobot Protector" intended to spare kids from movie spoilers or was it done from ignorance of the indentions for the character? Either case seems implausible.

    Any thoughts, opinions, etc. on this weird '86 figure would be welcome.
     
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  2. jtscribe

    jtscribe Well-Known Member

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    I had Springer, Hot Rod, Magnus, and Rodimus. Springer was by far the best toy of the three. The others were articulation limited bricks in comparison.

    Honestly, most of the post-85 toys were a step down in terms of engineering. Except maybe for Hun-grrr, he is surprisingly well-articulated for a G1 toy.
     
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  3. DoubleClouder

    DoubleClouder Prototype / Testshot collector

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    When MP Rodimus came out, there was an interview either in a Magazine or Generation book that actually answered some of your questions.
    1.) A lot of the toys were actually designed on an earlier draft of the characters. The old character models actually match up fairly well with the toys. Ie, that's why Rodimus has bags under his eyes and the general build of the character, the original character model had those attributes that way.
    2.)There is actually a Rodimus Prototype that was shown the be Galvatron's size. Also they didn't know he was going to be the leader, the designers thought Hot Rod was, there weren't told till later.
    3.) See 2
    4.) See 1
    5.) Early versions of Rodimus came with rubber tires as did all the later reissues
    6.) Yep, not to spoil. Just like Galvatrons tech spec makes no mention of him being Megatron
     
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  4. Max Rawhide

    Max Rawhide Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' ... uh, never mind

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    I'm pretty sure there was a Rodimus version, the first one likely, that had rubber tires and die cast toes. (The reissue recreated this.)

    As @DoubleClouder mentioned, the Takara toy makers didn't know Rodimus was going to be the new leader and initially they made the Rodimus toy smaller and the Hot Rod toy huge. But that's the makers of the mould. Why the design wasn't larger, I don't know.

    I don't think there was ever any intention of Ultra Magnus replacing Optimus (or using the mould for a new Optimus Prime, as has been suggested) as leader. The history of the Ultra Magnus/Powered Convoy toy hints that as soon as the mould was offered to Hasbro, they decided to use it for Ultra Magnus since they had the character and the role, but not a toy to got with it.


    But I fully agree with you and I think this is the main reason why Ultra Magnus is so prominant in season 3 and Rodimus hardly does anything: Ultra Magnus vs Galvatron happens regurlarly, but I hink we only saw one Rodimus vs Galvatron fight during season 3 (Broadcast 2006 -- in Starscream's Ghost the fight is off screen), compared to season 1 and 2 where the Autobots were lost without Optimus and only on occassion did Skyfire or Grimlock defeat Megatron in the big fight. Hasbro wanted the cartoon to encourage children to buy the expensive toys and since Magnus was more expensive than Rodimus, it was Ultra Magnus who confronted Galvatron most of the time.

    Rodimus as a toy was a big letdown. They either should've made Galvatron smaller (and Cyclonus bigger) or Rodimus bigger and more complex.
     
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  5. knoted

    knoted Resistor Transistor

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    I do not want to hurt your feelings of nostalgia about Rodimus Prime, but from the moment I saw it back in the day I thought it was a POS.
    Please excuse my crude expression, but you pretty much raise a lot of points about it already.

    Instant audience acceptance of a new leader character after Optimus Prime, would have immensely benefit from having a great toy. I am sorry, but compared to G1 Optimus, the Rodimus toy pales.
    In terms of sculpt, articulation and finish ( chrome, rubber tires, face sculpt etc. ), it all felt like a step down - which is inherently one of the MAJOR reasons I never really loved the movie cast.
    At least G1 Galvatron had the size, bulk and stylish material finish.

    So yeah.... I think this particular toy is the main example piece for my TFTM cast meh opinion. Although Kup and Blurr do hold a niche part in my heart.


    Even though many fans phased out of Transformers after TFTM and Sunbow season 3, I kept hope for TF improvement...and indeed, the actual TF toys got better sculpts and more intricate detail again, from 1987 to 1989.
    And I am so incredibly glad, that we are landing to this era now with Titans Return. With the some of TFTM characters already done really nicely in TR, I feel that Rodimus might be deserving of a toy which actually does justice
    to his character.
     
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  6. GR1ML0CK

    GR1ML0CK Dinobot Commander

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    I need to get him gurr back. He was awesome
     
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  7. Smokescreen38

    Smokescreen38 Fight fire with smoke!

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    Awesome feedback guys.
    I feel like there are a lot of tiny details I know about the TF line but I love that so many of you guys all know 3x as much as I do. That adds so much to the hobby. Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your knowledge. :cool: 

    Just wow...actually, a few of these facts ring a bell! Amazing stuff and fascinating history. Any ideas (if you remember) as to where to find that interview would be greatly appreciated.

    How the hell did I never come across a rubber tire Rodimus? I'm not surprised that it exists as this follows the pattern for many of the figures in that line...but that's pretty cool. I skipped the reissue in the early '00s because my original was complete and in good shape...NOW, 13+ years later, I regret it. :p 
     
  8. DoubleClouder

    DoubleClouder Prototype / Testshot collector

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  9. Smokescreen38

    Smokescreen38 Fight fire with smoke!

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  10. Diecast G2

    Diecast G2 Transtectorless

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    Yeah, with the original Hot Rod toy supposedly being bigger than Rodimus, I've felt that almost certainly explains Hot Rod's more complex figure in general. I still love the Rodimus Prime toy, especially since its different. Almost like a second take on Ratchet/Ironhide.

    So, since this topic has been made, I have a question. Does everyone's Rodimus have one arm angle slightly in and one arm angle slightly out? When I was flipping the torso to my reissue, I noticed that he seems to suffer from a design flaw and I noticed pictures of the G1 original having the exact same arm situation.

    The yellow hexagon-nut-thing that attaches to the arms and allows the "ratching" of the arms seems to be designed to force Rodimus's arms to stick slightly outward, but since the two are identical instead of mirrored the two hexagon-nut-things makes one arm stick in and one out.

    Now the difference in plastic placement on the hexagon-nut is very small and so it could honestly just been poor molding, but also it could be that the in the manufacturing process that the hexagon-nuts were distributed randomly between figures and some ended up with correct and incorrect arm placements.
     
  11. Tresob

    Tresob Well-Known Member

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    A quick note on the function.
    Hot Rod's function was Cavalier.
    Rodimus Prime's function was Protector.

    This is really curious from a historical perspective because the English royalists during the English Civil War/17th Century Revolution were called cavaliers. But Protector was the title adopted by Oliver Cromwell when he seized power after the royalists were defeated and Parliament turned England into a republic. Weird, right?

    As for Galvatron, his toy had his function as "City Commander," the same function as Ultra Magnus. So those toys seemed to have been designated as rivals.
     
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  12. Smokescreen38

    Smokescreen38 Fight fire with smoke!

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    I'll check mine out when I get home...but unfortunately, I don't recall this being a problem.
    Is yours vintage or reissue?
     
  13. Diecast G2

    Diecast G2 Transtectorless

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    Reissue, but I bring it up because I managed to see a few vintage G1s with the same thing on Google image search.

    Honestly the difference is so slight it doesn't really affect the toy that much. I'm just really curious.
     
  14. Ramberk Magnus

    Ramberk Magnus Well-Known Member

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    Tangent: This thread makes me realllllllllllllllllllllllllly want an awesome Rodimus CHUG update. C'mon HasTak! There's been so many awesome updates since the start of Classics-- Rodimus deserves one! Hot Rod is already on version 2 for goodness sakes!
     
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  15. SMB73

    SMB73 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I pretty much stopped at the '86 movie toys - accept for Ultra Magnus. The movie toys were just so damn ugly to look at, especially Rodimus Prime.
     
  16. Max Rawhide

    Max Rawhide Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' ... uh, never mind

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    Back in the 80's I knew Rodimus Prime wasn't as good a toy as I wanted him to be, nor as tall (I was constantly calculating his size based on his rub symbol, hoping he would be the same size as Galvatron). Nevertheless, I really wanted him to be the leader of my Autobots, but just couldn't find him. (Got my hopes up when I found a Wreck-Gar thinking Rodimus should also be there, but alas. I never saw until in the early '00's. In the end I settled for using Powermaster Optimus as leader (who was awesome in the Marvel comics).

    But at one time I considered making my own. Planned to use some cheaply bought TF's. But honestly, the base design I was going for was the G1 Hot Rod toy because it looked damn good. I just needed it to be larger.

    A few years ago there was an oversized G1 Hot Rod KO. I regret not buying it, because I (now) really wanted to use it to finally make that Rodimus Prime I wanted to make in the 80's. (Modding the legs it might have been large enough to look good with Magnus and Galvatron.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
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  17. Smokescreen38

    Smokescreen38 Fight fire with smoke!

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    Sounds like you were a pretty sharp kid back then.
    Perhaps its for the best that you ended up with PMOP instead!

    It's so cool to hear personal stories like this. These "toys" and cartoons could seem so insignificant to those on the outside of our hobby but these things provided the backdrop for each of our psychological development and powerful bookmarks to important (and often happy) moments from another time in our lives.... which more and more profoundly feels like another world as we get older.
     
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  18. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking The world has moved on...we've always said.

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    It did. I own one.

    Yeah, Rodimus Prime wasn't all that compared to Optimus Prime's toy. Thankfully, in 1986, you could still buy a white Prime that came with trailer armor. ;) 

    In the end, I just chalk up the post-Diaclone 1986 figures as "first attempts". Some stuff they got right, some stuff they didn't. It's kind of like when the Galoob team was charged with making the transforming Titanium line...the best figures arguably came in the back half of the series.
     
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  19. Prime Noble

    Prime Noble Well-Known Member

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    As flawed as his robot mode was, his alt mode was cool.
    Elbows and Knees would have been at least something.
    Character wise he was my favourite Autobot growing up. It'seems amazing how fondness of the character can make you overlook the flaws of his toy.
     
  20. RolandofGilead

    RolandofGilead Well-Known Member

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    I never owned the original Prime so the white cab from Ultra Magnus was my Optimus returned from the dead.
     
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