I wasn't super sold on the last MP Rodimus, in general. I got him strictly because he was a large Hot Rod-type guy who could be more in-scale with my Beast Era Wreckers toys than the original Hot Rod toy. Nobody who got the toy seemed to like it, and also it kind of liked to break easily. But I needed that large Hot Rod, and all he really needed to do was stand at the back of the shelf and be a big Hot Rod, so I got him.
But seriously, he was not great. I've never successfully transformed him. I've gotten close, but at best I end up with a convex automobile, with the vehicle mode sort of bent in the middle in a way that keeps both axels of wheels touching the ground. There was something I was doing wrong, but just transforming the thing was such a chore I couldn't be bothered to investigate. What a fiddly mess.
The experience left such a bad taste in my mouth I didn't really pay much attention to the NEW Masterpiece Hot Rod for the longest while. But folks seemed to like him when he came out. He was relatively simple to transform. (I mean, he'd have to be.) And he was play-withable. And he wasn't a clusterfuck. But I didn't really see a need for a Masterpiece Hot Rod, so I continued to not really care.
...until I went back and looked at that Beast Era Wreckers groupshot and realized that its Rodimus is shorter than Primal Prime, not taller. Huh! I could get the new, smaller toy and chuck the old piece of garbage that I hate. And so I did.
Yeah, I like this Hot Rod. Other folks weren't lying, he's much easier to transform. He's a bit of a shellformer, to be sure, as a large chunk of his altmode folds up and compacts onto his back, which is one step down from the older larger version. However, he's otherwise a billion steps up. All that kibble pegs together very securely at every step of compression and the result is not as bad to see in person as you'd think from photography.
In fact, this new guy tends to be, as a rule, better in person than photographed. Our first photographs of the test shot caused people to scoff at his flat chest and kibble backpack and skinny legs, but when he's in front of you, the three-dimensionality kind of smooths those flaws over.
This new Hot Rod comes with almost all the same stuff the older Rodimus did. He comes with his buzzsaw arm attachment, and his two guns (but they don't combine), and now he comes with a fishing rod. I wish I could set aside my extreme fatigue with the animated Transformers movie long enough to enjoy how objectively awesome it is that a Transformers toy comes with a fishing rod. I should be tickled by the goofiness. But, well, eh. I'm all TFTM referenced-out. Hot Rod does not, sadly, come with a transforming Targetmaster Firebolt partner like the American Rodimus did. This Hot Rod can hold him fine in robot mode, though. Not, like, properly, with the notches fitting into the sculpted slots or anything, but he can get a good grip around the handle regardless. Unfortunately there is no way to attach the Targetmaster gun to vehicle mode other than friction and gravity.
Have I mentioned I like that this guy's pink? Hot Rod in the animated Transformers movie was pink. Pink and yellow orange and gray. But when he become Rodimus Prime, he's red, and his toys are invariably red, even the non-Prime ones. I appreciate that this toy is the proper hue.
I also appreciate that it's not fragile, untransformable garbage.