Cliffbee.com: G2 Optimus Prime Toy Review

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Name: Optimus Prime
Series: Generation 2
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Alternate Mode: Semi Trailer Truck



TRUCK MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 31cm Width: 7cm

   A red shortnose truck with a black box trailer, Optimus Prime has three axles on the cabin and two on the trailer. OK, so he doesn't have axles on the rear sets of wheels on the cabin, but you get the idea. The trailer has a red stripe running along the sides, with an Autobot symbol and "OPTIMUS" on these red stickers. The black trailer is instantly distinguishable from the G1 version's trailer, and the rather obvious name along the side is a pretty obvious G2 marker anyway.

   There's chrome plastic in spades, all the wheels are chromed (rubber tyres), chrome fluid tanks on the sides of the cab, chrome smokestacks, front grill and bumper as well as headlights. He's got clear plastic windows on the cab, and the section on the front with the windows is die-cast metal. There are actually two variations of this toy, known as the purple and blue versions. Basically the slightly rarer "blue" version, which I have in front of me, has royal blue instead of indigo plastic on the hitch and struts (as G1 Prime had). The difference in this mode is minimal.

   The wheels all turn, and he has three axles, at the very front and very back of the vehicle, meaning he rolls pretty well - better that a lot of G2 toys in fact (well, until the Gobots came along). The joint between the cab and trailer turns freely, though if you lift him up it comes apart. The back of the trailer opens, although not with two side-hinged doors but one at the bottom. This is a bit unnatural since this rear panel has a centre join and side hinges moulded onto it. There's a seemingly mysterious hole on top of the trailer, which is actually there so the drone inside the trailer can stick out in this mode. It's not featured in the instructions, but was a deliberate feature of the original Diaclone toy.

   There's a similar hole at the front of the trailer, onto which you can plug his sound box. It's nothing more than a box with a chromed Autobot logo on the front, two LEDs on top flanking three buttons. Pressing the button on the left will emit "I am Optimus Prime", in a voice that is clearly _not_ Peter Cullen's, the central button will give you short laser fire bursts for about a second, the right side button generates a longer, repetitive industrial sound that I suspect is meant to be an engine running. The LEDs flash red as long as this box is emitting sounds. There are mounts on either side for his missile launchers, giving Prime truck mode weaponry - something he lacked first time around.

   Despite a couple of little flaws, such as a random hole and a oddly opening door, the truck mode is nice, lots of detail, and it does pretty much all you can ask of from a toy truck this size. Even for 1993 it's quite impressive, easily more impressive than some of the cheaper faction leaders of the "European" tail end of G1. I don't care for the trailer's sticker changes much, but the electronic gimmick is actually fairly good, with a sound quality that easily beats most Armada toys.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Remove the soundbox if it's attached. Detach the truck from it's trailer, swing the rear down and the fold the feet down, Prime can now stand up. Grab the headlights and swing them out to form the forearms, them fold out the rear of the cabin out to form the shoulders. There's a panel at the top, flip it over to reveal the head. Attach the fists into the holes in the headlights. You can actually store the fists in his chest cavity, the Diaclone pilot's cabin can open and the two seats are just the right size for the fists.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9.5cm

   A red & blue robot mode, with definite resemblance to a truck on legs. The chest and arms are red, the head, fists and legs blue, with a silver groin and silver thighs. He's got a silver mouthplate and yellow eyes. It's a nice colour scheme, largely relying on three colours that work well together. The differences between this robot and the G1 version are slight - the blue version has more "show accurate" colours, the weaponry is different and there's a yellow G2 stamp on the back of his left boot.

   He has smokestacks on his shoulders which can double as quasi-guns, since they can swivel on their attachment posts. I'm not sure if this was intended when they designed the Diaclone toy almost 20 years earlier. The two black missile launcher can sit in either hand, they're hefty, long affairs that he can hold fairly easily, and hold red missiles.

   The metal chest and the chrome silver on his groin, as well as the clear plastic windows, work for Optimus in this mode. They all add to his aesthetic appeal. In fact nothing really looks bad at all, other than the weaponry which doesn't really match the design aesthetic of this toy. I personally really like the blue on this toy, it brings the toy closer to the cartoon portrayal. Sure, the cartoon is an adaptation of the original version, but I still like having a toy that's a better match to that adaptation.

   One oddity in this mode is that the wheels on his legs have a guard above them - which basically means that in truck mode it's on the front of the wheels. Luckily, though, this is only really noticeable in this mode. For some reason this version lacks the ratcheting in the knees that the original had. This is neither an improvement or a regression, mind you - the poseability is unchanged.

   Optimus Prime was still a very poseable Transformer in 1993, nine years on. He's got two joints per shoulder, two joints per elbow and fists that can swivel - giving him pretty much full arm poseability. He's got hips that can swivel back and knees that bend - and the knee joints have nothing to do with the transformation. He stacks up well against the early G2 toys, even most of the new moulds. Of course by the end of G2 the whole concept of Transformer poseability had been re-written, but Optimus Prime got an updated version in the Laser Rod series, so he doesn't miss out.

   Still a good robot mode, despite the age of the mould. The weapons don't quite work, but at least they're not neon like some of the new weaponry we saw in 1993. The soundbox pretty much sits on the side now - it's designed to be able to clip into his back, but it's just too heavy for him to stand with.

TRANSFORMATION TO BASE MODE

   Fold down the door, fold out the stabilisers underneath the base, fold out the sides. Next, lift up the tower, fold out it's claw and communications dish.

BASE MODE
Height: 20cm Length: 30cm Width: 21cm

   The trailer actually splits into two components - the base and Roller, a small six-wheeled car. Again we have either blue or purple plastic, against the now black base. Roller has two rows of seats which I assume fit Diaclone drivers (I've never even seen a pilot, so I can't test this) and also comes with a black gun that mounts on the back. You can attach a hose to this that has a nozzle on the end, although this doesn't really have anywhere to rest. Roller sports six black plastic tyres, that can reattach if popped off.

   The base itself is basically a big black platform with a tower at the back, a couple of consoles on the sides and a launcher for roller in the middle. The tower, consoles and tower base are all purple/blue, while the tower's "arm" and Roller's launcher are black.

   At the top of the tower there's a cockpit, which has transparent orange plastic and an opening door, which brings to nine the total number of spots you can put a pilot on his toy... if you have enough Diaclone pilots. The top of the tower is essentially a drone, but it has two joints so it can swivel in any direction and point up and down, which is useful because it has twin missile launchers, and shooting them nowhere else but forward is pretty useless for a stationary platform. Having said that, the missiles only shoot about an inch anyway. There's a dial on the back of the drone so you can make the comms dish spin, and the claw arm is on a ball & socket joint, with an elbow and a claw that opens and closes.

   But wait, there's still more. You'll find a little grey tab on the back of the base (the front of the trailer. Press it and Roller will shoot out, down the ramp, and will roll maybe 10cm (4"). Not all that spectacular in itself, but the fact is that it's just one of the things you can do with the trailer. Again the soundbox doesn't do much other than sit to one side, and again this battle platform is very close to that of the original, with fairly minor colour changes. There are no visible sticker changes in this mode.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, there were purple and blue versions of this toy, which had either an indigo or a royal blue plastic used for the pieces that were indigo on G1 Prime (including Roller).

OVERALL

   Pretty similar to the original, and that this was still a good toy nine years later is testament to the original toy. The soundbox is a reasonably useful addition, although it's not really enough on it's own to justify buying another Optimus Prime. While the original version shades this one, with a nicer trailer, this is a pretty good substitute. On it's own merit, I'll give G2 Prime 8/10, but whether or not he's worthwhile if you have the original I'll leave to you

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