Cliffbee.com: Fireblast Optimus Prime Toy Review

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Name: Optimus Prime
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Peterbilt 379 Truck (thanks to Fit For Natalie for the model)



TRUCK MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 17.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A slightly squat longnose cab, Optimus Prime is orange at either end and red around the cabin. He's a repaint of FAB Prime, with red replacing the blue and orange replacing the red of that toy. There are obvious shades of Hot Rod, although I'm not certain that there's a deliberate homage here. The blue flames of the original are replaced by yellow and gold flames - with a very poor transition between these two colours. The fueltanks, grille and sunvisors are grey and the front bumper a dull blue. There are six black plastic tyres with grey hubcaps. The hitch section is painted black, and doesn't actually feature a hitch. The headlights and rear bumper are unpainted this time while the tailpipe at the back - quite obviously a stowed missile - is transparent yellow. While he lacks paint in some areas compared to the original FAB Prime, Fireblast gains a metallic blue paint on his windows. The colour scheme is clearly divergent from that seen in the film, and indeed from the iconic Optimus Prime colours, but the basic idea is quite nice. Sadly the poorly executed flames hold the overall impact back somewhat.

   The flattened shape puts me off a little - the cabin roof is especially low. What bothers me more is the fact that the cabin block tapers at the back - it's quite obviously the robot waist. A couple of panels would have made quite a difference, even if they only reduce the gap. Combining the flattened cab, gappy cabin and cheesy missile, Fireblast feels a little half-baked here. It's not all bad news, mind you - Prime sports that nifty little little Autobot badge on top of his grille and there are some nice sculpted details in places, including on the doors and front bumper.

   As seems to be the case with some FABs, there's not much action here. Prime rolls fairly noisily on his textured plastic tyres, and does so reasonably well, but that obtrusive missile is just for show, sadly. He holds together fairly well, and it feels kinda negative that I have to bring that up. There's a cord underneath for the missile gimmick in robot mode, which is mildly annoying since it doesn't roll up or tie securely - it kinda stows away but tends to pop out. I'll be removing this cord once I've finished this review.

   While this truck mode doesn't suffer from the cuteness of some FABs, it does suffer from some shortcuts here and there. The missing corners of the cab, the poorly executed flames and a dearth of play value hold this truck back. While I think it works slightly better than the regular FAB Prime overall, this toy lacks the majesty of the larger movie Optimus Prime toys.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the top of his hood and fold back to reveal the torso under the top of the cabin and the legs in the lower half of the front. The bottom half of the grille springs up to form his feet, which is cool. Split the top of his hood out to the sides to form his arms, clip the hitch section into his back as a backpack. Extend the arms, plug the missile into the launcher on his left forearm, split the feet. It's an innovative transformation, and while it's cheating in that the front unfolds to become a robot, I still like the unusual nature of this transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9.5cm

   An orange, red, grey and dull blue robot. The chest is a mix of all four of those colours, his head is metallic blue with a grey mouthplate and light blue eyes. The uppers arms, hands, groin, thighs and feet are grey while the forearms and outsides of his boots are orange while the boots are dull blue. There are grey false windows on his chest along with some other silver detailing which is designed to resemble that seen in the film. The transparent yellow missile looks less obtrusive now - and works better than the blue one does on the original. It's a good colour scheme, even if it's not what we saw in the film.

   Despite the huge backpack and those plates behind his shoulders, Fireblast still looks okay here. The torso detailing is nice - better than on Robo-Vision Prime in fact. His head is big and the sculpt is fairly complex yet still kinda cutesy. The repainted arms look better than the cheapish arms on the original FAB Prime, despite the kibble associated with them.

   The play value is okay but the Fact Action gimmick is not terribly exciting. The missile has a hook at the tip, which means he can hang from strings and stuff, but not much else. The launcher is quite powerful but the cord is maybe 30cm and attaches top the top of his backpack, so the missile fires a few inches them jerks back - which makes the whole thing rather unimpressive. The cord is ungainly anyway, since it likes to dangle in _front_ of the toy (due to the point of attachment).

   Fireblast Prime's poseability is reasonable, and is probably the highlight of his play value. The shoulders and hips are ball jointed and his elbows and knees hinged. The footprints are fairly large and the fact that his feet push in against springs help stabilise poses. The backpack is quite flush so it's not really an issue - which makes a difference. His head turns maybe 30 to either side. As is common with the FABs, his waist springs back when turned - in Prime's case you twist it to the right and he recoils back to the left - which allows him to use the missile as a melee weapon, if nothing else.

   The missile launcher is a great letdown and there's some cheesiness in his sculpt around the head, but I generally like this robot mode. The poseability and detailed chest make him fun in a simple way. I could do without the gimmick as it is, and he'd be better if there was less kibble, but this is Prime's stronger mode and while it's flawed, it has something to offer. The colour scheme is better than that on the original FAB Prime, movie accuracy aside.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although he is a repaint of FAB Optimus Prime, as mentioned.

OVERALL

   A mixed bag, Prime has a fun if limited robot mode and a fairly lame truck mode. The gimmick doesn't really succeed but the robot mode has some dynamic poses available. The transformation is at once unusual and simple, I like the originality of it, even if it does generate quite a bit of kibble. This is one of the few FAB moulds I find interesting, and while the flames in the truck mode are flawed, the colour scheme here is a good one overall, and he doesn't look as kiddie as the original FAB Prime as a result - 7.5/10

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