Review by VF5SS
The road to an all-in-one transformable Rodimus Prime is one not well-traveled. I talked about the origins of the character's peculiar design history in my review of the Titanium figure, and how what was seen on screen in the TV show had not really been reflected in a full-sized toy until then. While that homegrown version of the Autobot Protector was an admirable attempt, it rendered Rodimus as a very blocky humanoid robot, which is far from how fans are used to seeing the character. And while the powers behind Transformers have been relatively quiet on the prospect of a new Rodimus Prime toy, the "third party" company DX9 decided to take up the challenge and deliver their own perfect transformation toy of the season 3 Autobot leader. And so, from the world of unofficial Transformers toys comes the one who carries the Matrix of Leadership: Carry.
Please check out my video review!
DX9's sixth large-sized Transformer comes packaged in vehicle mode. Their rendition of Rodimus's peculiar "futuristic truck" form is very pleasing to the eye. Carry can roll out on a set of six wheels, which are complete with rubber tires. The toy is roughly seven and a half inches long in this form.
Also, please note that the Autobot symbol is a an aftermarket sticker from Reprolabels, and does not come with the toy. I probably should have taken some photos without it, but I trust my readers to be able to imagine the orange flame detailing without it...
Most of Carry's colors come from his base plastic, with most of the paintwork being dedicated to the huge yellow panels on either side of the trailer.
These panels were originally red on pre-production samples, but were changed to yellow in order to help minimize paint scraping during transformation. As a result, Rodimus's trademark flame patterns are essentially outlined with red and orange paint. Neither of these are a perfect match for the corresponding plastic colors, but it's close enough not to bother me.
The rear of the trailer features some molded details painted in silver, which are supposed to represent a pair of doors in the back, but I think the idea got lost in this toy's development.
Carry uses clear blue plastic for his windshield and headlights. Most versions of Rodimus have yellow lights, so the change is a little jarring. Also, DX9's take omits the yellow spoiler that normally rests on top of the "cab's" roof. The reason for this change will become abundantly clear once you see the toy's transformation.
A view of the vehicle's underside reveals some of the engineering magic. Essentially, all of Carry's robot parts are packed tightly within the boxy trailer.
And aside from the qualities inherent in a toy car, Carry also has a hole on top where you can mount his "Targetwarrior" companion. That is, if you aren't going to just leave it in the box after reading this review...
While I mentioned Carry's size in vehicle mode before, placing it next to other toys demonstrates this remarkable transformation. He is barely larger than a Masterpiece car, like Sideswipe here. To some, that means he is far too small to "scale" correctly with Optimus Prime or Ultra Magnus in their respective truck modes. However, I tend to think of Rodimus as more of a high-speed courier, like a Citroen Loadrunner, than a full-sized truck. For what it's worth, a Loadrunner is quite literally a car turned into a transport vehicle, which is what ol' Roddy has always been since his introduction.
The DX9 toy's small size means that it is dwarfed by the official Masterpiece Rodimus in its vehicle mode. However, MP-09 has the benefit of an entire separate trailer piece, so the disparity isn't too surprising.
Still, it's weird to think that Carry could almost fit INSIDE MP-09's trailer.
On its own, MP-09 in Hot Rod vehicle mode is still a bit larger than Carry. TakaraTomy is making a Hot Rod the size of the other Masterpiece Autobot cars, so perhaps that will look a bit more "in scale."
Oddly enough, Carry is only slightly larger than the original G1 Rodimus Prime. This makes me wonder what an all-in-one Rodimus would have looked like with 80s toy technology...
And here is Carry next to the two official perfect transformation Rodimus Prime toys: the Titanium and the Choro-Q Robo. This right here represents the entirety of Rodimus toys that transform without parts removal. As I said before, it is not a road many toy designers have traveled, as it is a challenging thing to do.
Now, for your delectation, a lineup of all my Rodimus Prime toys in vehicle mode. Whatever he turns into, I still think it looks cool.
In doing this review, I have transformed Carry over a dozen times. The conversion process quickly becomes second nature, and displays the toy's surprising robustness in terms of construction and design. He is made out of a thick, heavy plastic that feels weirdly "off" from official Transformers. Don't get me wrong, Carry feels as durable as a mass-retail figure - it's just the toy's matte finish and sharp edges make it feel different from say, Masterpiece Ultra Magnus.
To start Carry's transformation, flip up the rear panel of Carry's trailer. It is locked in place with a tab on either side.
Next, the top part of his chromed exhaust pipes hinge upward, leaving behind the ones that will end up on Carry's forearms. The whole windshield and front of the trailer are also flipped upward, which reveals the robot's head housed within. One issue with this arrangement is that the windshield will "float" above the vehicle's hood if it isn't properly situated.
Pulling up the front of the "cab" reveals the robots arms and what will become the sides of Carry's torso.
The arms and body sections then move outward on a double hinge.
Carry's lower legs are cleverly concealed as the wheels of the trailer. Each one has a pair of slots that lock into the trailer via a rectangular tab.
Numerous hinges allow the trailer to unfurl into the familiar shape of Rodimus's trademark spoiler. In this "exploded" view, I noticed Carry's transformation seems to be referencing the first time we see the character switch modes in "Transformers: The Movie". There, the trailer appeared to unfold from his back, which was mostly likely some key animator's attempt at reconciling the early designs, where part of the trailer was behind Rodimus's spoiler in robot mode, with the much more streamlined final animation model. This is different than the series proper, where his official transformation depicts the trailer becoming his legs in a move that would make Getter Robo envious.
That said, Carry seems to actually be combining the two transformation schemes into one, as the bottom of the trailer folds over itself to become Rodimus's black boots. The front part of Carry's shins then rotate around and lock in place to complete the robot mode legs.
Along the way, you can transform most of Carry back into vehicle mode and create the Rodimus Gerwalk! Aside from being extremely cool, this configuration is also a good way to convert the toy back into truck mode, as it allows you to get all the trailer panels situated before dealing with the legs.
As the toy is stood up, you are immediately struck by how much it has grown from the compact vehicle it once was. A pair of flip-out heel struts make up half of Carry's feet, and are unfortunately very tough to flip out without the use of a tool. This is the only part of the conversion that I dread doing, as the toy is otherwise quite fun to transform.
The splayed out trailer rotates 180 degrees to put the spoiler in proper orientation, and to lock the main pivot point into the remaining portions of Carry's body. Also, his exhaust-equipped gauntlets rotate and slide into place as Carry's fists are flipped outward.
And lastly, the remaining trailer panels fold up into a fairly tidy backpack. Nothing locks in place, but the stiff hinges are more than enough to keep everything together.
Carry expands into a proper leader-sized toy, who measures roughly ten and a half inches tall. The contrast between the toy's compact vehicle mode and the tall, heroic robot is as astounding as the conversion itself.
One interesting thing about how the sides of the trailer become Carry's spoiler is how DX9 achieved this without deviating from the shape of Rodimus's vehicle mode. It seems like a very happy coincidence that the flame-bearing parts of the trailer roughly line up with the shape of the yellow spoiler.
However, this novel approach is not without its drawbacks, as the backpack can only pancake together so much before the toy would need even more hinges to compress it further. I would have liked to see more of the trailer's mass go into Carry's body and arms, but I still feel that the resulting backpack is more than acceptable.
Carry's head appears to draw heavy inspiration from the cover of Transformers Visualworks, with its angular helmet and prominent chin. Design-wise, it is a mixture of Rodimus's cartoon design and the toy-derived Studio OX model.
The head is mounted on a ball-joint, and can move around well enough. My only issue is that at certain angles, his big chin bumps into the trademark Rodimus popped collar.
His one additional gimmick in this mode is an opening chest that reveals a molded-in Matrix of Leadership. Unfortunately, there is no room to stick a proper Matrix accessory inside, so you're just stuck with this underwhelming little power pack.
The toy's solid build quality carries through to the robot mode, with each joint having just the right amount of tightness.
Carry is simply a joy to pose, and can easily assume a number of heroic stances.
His shoulders, hips, and knees have ratcheting joints, which makes him very stable.
Do note that Carry's very on-model shoulders means that there are some poses where his head touches the top of his arm.
A fully functional waist swivel lets Carry get into some very anime-esque stances.
♪And he'll never get hit when he's back's to the wall. Gonna fight to the end and he's takin' it all!! ♪
The only place Carry's articulation feels limited is in his diecast feet, which can only tilt forward and not backward. Still, that only matters if you wanted Rodimus to assume the traditional Japanese "seiza" position.
"This is the end of the road, [DX9's Tyrant]!"
His fingers are similar to MP-10 Optimus's in that they have three fingers molded as one piece, with the index finger featuring an extra joint for pointing at stuff.
The main inspiration for Carry's design comes from the Studio OX character model, which was used in various promotional material in Japan. As their take on Rodimus was heavily based on the G1 toy, this highly stylized version features a huge spoiler, which Carry transformed into his vehicle mode's trailer. Although inspired by Studio OX's version, this unofficial toy is very much a hybrid of that design and the cartoon model. For example, Carry has black boots, rather than toy-inspired red ones.
Here is Carry's "Targetwarrior" in its humanoid mode. This little guy is very much a nod to Hot Rod's Targetmaster partner, Firebolt, but altered to go with Rodimus Prime.
The Targetwarrior has a pair of removable orange wings on his back, presumably because lots of people like to dress their pets to match their own outfits.
For some reason, the gun guy has this really stupid expression. His non-movable head features most of the figure's paint work, and even has blue light-piped eyes.
He can wield the barrel of his rifle mode as a weapon, but not too well, mind you. The way the handle is positioned means that the Targetwarrior can only his gun straight out.
To transform gun guy, you basically bisect the little bastard in half (which might explain his expression). A T-shaped tab on one shoulder secures into a slot on the other. His arms and legs then peg together to shape the resulting firearm into a rifle that looks like Rodimus's Photon Eliminator. Along the way, the orange wing bits are removed, only to be put back on as a way to help lock the halves of the gun together.
The resulting weapon is both extremely underwhelming and ill-suited to its wielder.
For starters, the handle Carry is supposed to grip it by is just way too short, resulting in only his index finger getting a firm grasp on the gun. The way the Targetwarrior fails to take Carry's Rodimus-style forearm bulges into account makes me believe this weapon was meant for another toy entirely.
You can have Carry hold the gun with two hands, but it still looks awkward and is just as likely to fall out if you pick up the toy.
Weirdly enough, the best way for Carry to hold this gun is by the barrel. He's done this in the official Transformers manga, so maybe this was intentional...?
The Targetwarrior has an extra peg on his body, which is apparently for this alternate gun mode. Even with the shorter stock, the weapon is still hard for Carry to hold onto. Frankly, this guy is best left on his own or just in the box.
Also be warned: the Targetwarrior is packaged simply laying on top of Carry's windshield, which reportedly caused scratches on some people's copies of the toy. I was lucky enough not to have this problem, but I do not understand why the toy's one accessory wasn't given its own place in the plastic tray. At the very least, it should have been placed in a little baggie.
And speaking of packaging, DX9 is one of those companies that takes pride in their box design. Carry's sports artwork that would be worthy of any badass custom conversion van. Although it is a bit misleading, as he's shown opening the Matrix while the toy itself only has the molded-in one.
The sides have a strange live-action movie style Optimus, who appears to be standing under... the Illuminati's eye?!
Around the back, the box is decidedly less exciting, with the company's motto and a paraphrased quote from Captain Teague in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" on there, presumably because it sorta sounds like something Rodimus would say.
Or maybe the guys at DX9 just really like Keith Richards...
"Something strange has happened. Now there are TWO Optimus Primes!"
And in a bit of laziness, DX9 included some screenshots from "Transformers: The Movie" and episodes of the Headmasters anime. I know the people behind Transformers haven't taken drastic action against "third parties," but you guys don't have to flaunt it.
Also included is the instruction sheet and a collectible card. The former is not especially helpful, so just watch my video as a guide. As for the latter, it looks nice, but the card loses several million points for calling Carry's vehicle mode an RV.
You also get this large fold-out poster of Carry. While I appreciate the effort, the poster got some nasty creases from how it was folded, so the whole thing is kind of a wash...
And now, let me address the Big Convoy in the room with a comparison to the much-maligned MP-09 Rodimus. Hands down, Carry is superior to the official toy in terms of playability, build quality, and being a dedicated Rodimus Prime. However, Carry is still undeniably similar to MP-09 in his overall transformation scheme, and even adapts some of the latter's engineering.
Because in all honesty, we all know MP-09 is primarily a toy of Hot Rod. It transforms directly into his vehicle mode, and its primary face and gimmicks are for the younger Autobot Cavalier. The bonus Rodimus mode was a neat idea, but only worked as a reference to the G1 toy's parts-separating conversion. Now, I still like MP-09, but I acknowledge it is a toy still plagued by poorly designed joints and general quality control issues. However, if you want a cartoon-style Rodimus, this is the only game in town (for now at least).
"The miraculous birth of Double Convoy!"
And that brings me to the most pressing (and tiring) question regarding Carry: Does he fit in with Masterpiece Transformers? Honestly, that's a decision entirely up to the buyer. The MP line already has several "do-overs", and even a mecha designer re-imagination, as part of its numbered entries, so one more "off-model" toy isn't that far-fetched. If Transformers was handled more like Gundam, it would just be another case of original design versus Ver. Ka. I think the primary thing you need to know about Carry is that he is a solid figure. And for me, I am very satisfied to own a Rodimus Prime figure that managed to do an all-in-one transformation while maintaining the proper proportions. My one major disappointment with the toy is its terrible weaponized partner. I don't understand the logic behind the Targetwarrior's design, and would have much preferred just getting a static gun accessory. DX9's bungle makes for a second leader-sized Rodimus who can barely hold his Photon Eliminator. If you're willing to ignore that little problem, Carry is a definite must buy for Transformers fans.
|Posted 8 October, 2015 - 14:39 by VF5SS|