Cliffbee.com: Movie 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: 12.5cm Length: 27.5cm Width: 10.5cm

   A blue longnose truck with blue flames on the red nose, red rear wheel guards and some red flames on his roof - which more or less covers the traditional Optimus Prime colours. The grille, front bumper, sunguard over the windshield, running boards and fuel tanks are all grey whilst the exhaust stacks are silver (with soft plastic tips). He has six grey wheels - two at the front and four at the back - with rubber tyres. The windows are transparent blue, along with his headlights, while there's a black painted hitch, and a grey block protruding behind the cabin (the robot gun). The colour scheme is quite attractive - the flame pattern is very well done, with gold at the very front and intricate attention - the flames carry over seams. There are one or two small sections which don't quite fit the theme perfectly - mainly joints - but the overall impression is great.

   The detailing on this truck is fantastic - we have grip on the running boards, rivet lines all over, silver painted windshield wipers, door seams, roof lights and even a tiny Autobot logo badge as a maker's badge on top of the grille. The bodyshape is good, and other than the block hanging out the back, everything is as it should be. The block bothers me to some extent, but you have the option of detaching it if you feel the need.

   As seems to be the case on movie toys, the truck mode doesn't feature much play value - instead concentrating on realism, which I appreciate. Having said that, Optimus Prime rolls fairly well for a toy without axles, and rolls quite straight. The gun can't really be deployed, which would have been nice, but this isn't something that bothers me. There's a subtle blue button on his roof (right side), pressing it activates a horn sound and two amber LEDs within the cabin flash three times. This isn't an overly impressive feature, but at this size the block needed to house an electronic gimmick is not a hindrance, so I'm quite happy with it.

   Optimus Prime is a great looking truck and while the play value isn't anywhere near the play value offered in some recent Optimus Prime flagship toys, this is easily the most realistic Optimus flagship Prime alt mode since Laser Prime. The flame motif looks really cool, the detailing is great and we don't have half a toy to detach while transforming - as has been the case with quite a few of his predecessors - this entire truck is all Optimus.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There's a lot happening so I'll summarise. The nose area becomes his boots while the top of the bonnet folds up as kneecaps. The rear wheels end up on the back his thighs while there's an impressive automorph in the grille, which becomes his feet. The back of the cabin becomes the arms, the front splits to become his chest, while a spinrg-loaded slider lifts up on his chest, activating a different electronic gimmick.

   The transformation is involved without being difficult, although it would be very challenging for younger kids. As I've alluded to above, I like that the entire truck becomes the entire robot - without any sort of "powerup" trailer to make him someone a bigger and better robot.

   There's actually an electronic gimmick in his transformation. As you release a clasp on his waist, a slider is released, which springs up, separating the windshield halves to form breastplates. The head will pop up, a gun-firing sort of sound emanates and the LEDs again flash, this time six times with an extended flash for the last one. There's a third amber LED inside his head, which shines through his eyes.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 24cm Width: 14cm

   Again a mixture of blues and reds, with grey thrown into the mix. These three colours essentially mix all over his body, which is a departure from the archetypal Optimus Prime. Having said that, there's still a distinct Optimus Prime feel to this colour scheme, which is good to see. His head is blue with a silver mouthplate and the aforementioned amber eyes, and the middle set of tyres are visible, hanging off his hips. The front windows are on his chest in typical Optimus Prime fashion while the flame motif isn't terribly prominent - only visible on his ankles, in fact. The Autobot logo on his grille is now on his left foot, this tiny allegiance symbol is Prime's only insignia in robot mode. I quite like this colour scheme, and while it lacks the lighting system Prime wear in the movie, it's quite dynamic.

   There's a great level of detail here, as you'd expect of both the movie line and a toy this size. The face and chest sculpts are good, the feet are quite complex, all ten digits are separately defined and the robot-only pieces such as his thighs have been specifically sculpted. We also get a few trademark Optimus Prime features, such as the head and chest - which I've already mentioned. The smokestacks end up behind his shoulders, on his back, which is another Prime signature. I'm quite pleased that this toy provides a nice mix of old and new, which helps continue the Optimus Prime legacy while still giving this figure enough room to define itself.

   There are two gimmicks available, and I'm happy that both are fairly peripheral to the robot mode itself. You can pull down the slider on his chest and release to replicate the transformation light & sound show - although the button that used to activate the horn is inactive by default (unless you hold the slider down). I do appreciate the disabling of the horn - it would have become annoying rapidly if it activated every time you tried to pose the right arm or head. The second gimmick is a retractable gun - which now sits on the outside of his right forearm. If you flip it out to cover his hand (which I guess makes it a glove-gun), twin barrels extend from underneath his hand, a second automorph feature. The gun can detach, if you choose to leave it out - although the twin barrels can still deploy as a wrist-mounted gun, which is nice. The glove-gun fires a single transparent blue missile, which has to be loaded with a notch on top or it'll fail to fire (at first glance, it looks like the missile can load facing any direction). The launcher is reasonably powerful without being dangerous.

   As you'd probably expect of a toy this size, the poseablity here is great. Prime's head turns (it's not on a ball joint, since it needs solid contacts for the LED), the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows feature two hinges and a rotator each. His wrists are fixed however the thumbs are on ball joints and permanently bent fingers each sit on their own hinge. The waist is fixed however the hips swing and lift out sideways while the knees are hinged with rotators. The rear fenders sit on the back of his thighs, but they have hinges on them, specifically to allow clearance for his knees to bend - a nice and thoughtful touch. The ankles are tight ball joints and the footprints are big, with solid heelspurs, allowing for a wide range of stable poses. Whilst a rotating waist would have been nice, the nature of Optimus Prime's transformation doesn't really allow it. To be honest, with the excellent limb poseability, I don't really miss a waist rotator.

   An excellent robot mode with striking colours, good detail, some iconic Prime features and excellent poseability. The gimmicks add something yet stay out of the way - there have been a few leader sized toys in recent years who were overwhelmed by gimmicks. There's a little bit of kibble, mainly the fenders on the back of his thighs, but even then the designer made the effort to ensure these _bend_, so as to not hamper poseability. I'm unable to pick any real faults here - other than maybe his fixed wrists, which is a minor detail really.

VARIATIONS

   Both Hasbro & TakaraTomy released "Premium" versions, which saw silver replacing grey and the gun becoming a sword - blue on Hasbro's version and orange on TakaraTomy's. Repainted as Nightwatch Optimus Prime.

OVERALL

   A really nice toy, Optimus Prime is better than most of the flagship toys Hasbro has produced in recent years - simply because there's less gimmick here and more Transformer. We don't have a playset, or Power Rangers wannabe, just two good modes, a clever transformation and attention to detail. Optimus even gets two different automorphs. The gimmicks that are included are peripheral, which is how things should be. The truck mode is fairly static, but also quite realistic while the robot mode is dynamic. My only real complaint relates to the gun sticking out the back of an otherwise excellent truck mode - 9.5/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.