Cliffbee.com: Air Attack Optimus Primal Toy Review

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Name: Optimus Primal
Series: Beast Machines (sold under the RiD banner, due to late release)
Allegiance: Maximal (packaged as Autobot, since the RiD line doesn't have Maximals)
Function: Autobot Spirit Guide
Alternate Mode: Technorganic Gorilla

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Air Attack Optimus Primal for the purpose of this review.



GORILLA MODE
Height: 22.5cm Width: 26cm

   A brown technorganic gorilla with light brown around the torso, brass coloured armguards and pink hands. The face is mainly gold with blue eyes white the neck is a milky white plastic. There's some brass coloured paint on his elbows and the forearms are a transparent brown. There's an amber ring painted on his chest and some red and blue around his groin. It's a pretty good colour scheme, which works since all of the major colours are very understated. The sculpt is excellent, although the vast majority of the detailing is fur, and organic rather than tech. Not that I'm complaining.

   This thing runs rings around Deluxe Primal (which isn't hard), and this is obvious at a glance. Granted this toy has a lot more room for gimmicks and details, but that one doesn't look impressive at all and looks nothing like the show. While the mega sized Blast Punch Primal is a lot better than the deluxe, the colours on that toy got screwed around, so Air Attack Primal is visually the most impressive Beast Machines Primal toy, despite his release at the tail end of Robots in Disguise. The gorilla shape here is pretty good, with clear gorilla feet, knuckledragging arms that defy the BM trend of beast limbs that just look like robot arms - despite the fact that they _are_ the robot arms, and a head that protrudes forward - and it really looks like his head in the show.

   The robot lower legs hang off the back of his ankles, so he doesn't really look good from the sides or back and it's a little tricky to find a stable two legged pose, but once you find it he wont fall over. There's enough motion in his limbs to go for a quadrupedal stance, although his head can't lift up. By the numbers, the head turns a little to either side, the waist rotates, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides, the wrists rotate and the four fingers on either hand have two joints each, although the thumbs are fixed. The hips swing and the ankles have two hinges each, although one of these is the robot knee. The arm poseability is great, the legs less so, but there's enough here for a gorilla, allowing Primal to assume a few typical gorilla poses.

   As you'd expect of a leader sized toy, there are some electronics based gimmicks in this toy. What's surprising is that they're specifically relevant to the character. Pressing on his chest causes a red LED within to glow while the speaker nestled in his back emits a screech then a rolling mechanical sound which I can't quite place (but it fits into the sound theme used in the Beast Machines cartoon). If you press on the head while the chest is going, his eyes will light up (another red LED) and he'll either yell "Optimus Maximise" or emit the straining yell seen in the show when Primal emitted chest blasts. The last gimmick here is an old fashioned projectile. There's a white button behind his neck, pressing it fires a transparent blue disc from underneath the white part of his neck - approximating the chest blasts seen in the show. Granted, these were from the robot mode, but this gimmick works in both modes.

   While this toy doesn't quite use its size to the full potential, the scale does give us a sense of the raw power of this character. The shape is suitably gorilla like, and this is easily the best beast amongst the three Primal toys. The gimmicks are actually worthwhile, too. I would have preferred solid forearms, but thankfully that transparent plastic is relatively sparse. Not a fantastic beast mode, but a very good one that manages to do what the others couldn't.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Lift up the head, fold away his face. Lift up the rump panel, fold down his waist panels (front and back), rotate the chest forward, to allow a head swap, fold the waist panels up again. Turn him around, rotate the chest panel to reveal the robot chest. Lift up the armguards, rotate upwards and fold into place as shoulderpads. Flip his thumbs forward. Rotate the beast feet and waist, fold out the robot feet and fold away the beast feet as shinpads. Straighten his legs and stand him up.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 29.5cm Width: 19.5cm

   A brown robot with some light brown on the torso and shinpads, Primal carries over the transparent brown forearms and pink digits. The brass is now on his shoulderpads, chestplate and elbows. There is more blue now - the groin is joined by ankles, a line across the torso and some accents on his head. The head also carries red and brass paint applications. There are white lined patterns on the outside of his forearms, resembling the complex colours of the cartoon model's forearms. These look cheesy in all white - I would have preferred a single colour to only white. The end result is still a nice colour scheme, and one which does a very good job of looking like the show character, so despite the white forearm detailing I'm happy.

   Again he's technorganic only this time there are more tech details, such as the forearm detailing, the chest plate, the head and the shinpads. Having said that, we still see a fair bit of fur pattern here and there. The body shape is big and powerful with giant shoulders, huge forearms, a barrel like chest, narrow waist and small feet. Which essentially fits the show. His head is square with transparent blue on his forehead and eyes while the mouth is open.

   The gimmicks are essentially the same, although there are some changes. The disc shooter is now just below the chest itself (think base of the ribcage). Pressing the chest has the same effect as in beast mode, although pressing the head during the chest's activity causes the head to glow green with a new set of sounds, "Maximise!", "The seeds of the future lie buried in the past!", and a different straining sound. There's an extra gimmick on his back - pressing a button causes the blue cover to spring down revealing twin jets and causes a jet ignition sound followed by the droning mechanical sound. In theory anyway - I find that the cover on Goktimus's needs to be slightly unclipped for the jets to fold out.

   The arm poseability is identical to beast mode, the head turns, with a wider range than the beast head, and the waist turns. The hips are the same, the knees bend while the ankles tip from side to side. The effective range of legs poseability is very low because the ankles and knees can only move in one plane each, and can't counteract each other. Adding in the top heavy nature means we end up with a toy that can basically stand upright and wave his arms.

   An impressive robot mode overall, but I would have loved some more leg poseability. The gimmicks are decent, although I don't think much of the jetpack idea. The electronics are again tailored to fit the character and the disc shooter is well considered. The colour scheme is well thought out and really sells this robot mode as the Primal we saw in the show - ahead of the other two. Perhaps a little static for a leader sized toy, but with some good gimmicks nonetheless.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of. As mentioned, this toy was held back from Beast Machines and came out at the tail end of RiD.

OVERALL

   Easily the most satisfying BM Optimus Primal toy, it took them three goes to get the colours right - far longer than it should have taken. The transformation is a typical "stand up and fiddle" Beast Machines conversion, but the arm transformation is quite elegant and the legs work fairly well in both modes. There's nothing here that really ruins this toy (all too common in BM Maximals), which is in itself a plus. Both modes work and look like the cartoon, the gimmicks are generally impressive and are well thought out. Poseability in beast mode is good, slightly less so in robot mode. Other than the the silly choice of white for his forearm details, I don't really have any major complaints. And considering the alternatives, this is recommended to Beast Machines fans - 8/10

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