Cliffbee.com: Robo-Vision 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)

Thanks to Griffin for loaning me Robo-Vision Optimus Prime, making this review possible.



TRUCK MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A red and blue truck with some silver paint on the relevant details such as fuel tanks, grille and the like - although his smokestacks are grey, not silver. The hitch section and six tyres are black, and the hubcaps are also painted silver. His tyres are plastic and the windshield is transparent blue. The red nose and rear wheel guards sport blue flame patterns while the blue cabin has red flame patterns. There's a red Autobot logo badge on top of the grille and the headlights are transparent blue. I've heard some claim that these colours are meant to resemble the G1 Prime colours, but in truth they're closer to G2 Prime. The paint mask isn't as satisfying as more detailed Leader toy or the original Voyager Prime, and not as movie accurate in either detailing or colours (especially the blue), but it's still Optimus Prime, and for a store exclusive he's okay.

   The truck is quite detailed, with rivets on his wheels, hood and sun guard, slits on the smokestacks, moulded door seams and grip on the running boards. The hitch is stock, but still represented. The cabin isn't much to look at from the back, revealing that his legs are stowed in this area. While this is a little disappointing, I'm more concerned that the sides don't quite line up right, leaving visible gaps on odd angles. It's just a little off, and the gaps are big enough to stand out. On the plus side, there's a small silver driver on the left side of the cabin, complete with wide-brimmed hat. On closer inspection you'll see that it's just the upper body mounted on a red block, which is odd since the other side has a silver seat. Still, it's a nice detail to add in.

   There's some play value here. The wheels turn allowing you to roll him along, which is pretty standard, but you can't plug a trailer into the hitch. The sides - running boards, fueltanks and smokestacks unfold and point forward, forming long, highly visible cannons. There are missiles built into the tanks, quite cleverly. I like the idea, although the gap left behind shows a lot of robot kibble, namely the arms underneath, so he'll look good from the front but pretty dicey from the sides. Still, a nice attack mode.

   I wasn't initially aware of it, but you can open the cabin door, which causes the driver to stow, vanishing away. While it's kinda silly, this is a fun idea. Thanks to Terrorcon Blot & Henry Hudnott for pointing this out.

   It's a little small for a mega, and the smokestacks are a little loose, but otherwise this truck mode works quite well. Sure the colours aren't movie accurate, but this is an exclusive variant, so I'm not going to hold that against him. I would have liked to see silver on the smokestacks, and it's worth noting that there's no chrome here, unlike the larger toy.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Nothing like the movie. The legs are quite complex so I'll summarise. The sleeper section unfolds over the hitch in a fairly complex manner, becoming the legs. The arms unfold from underneath, the head folds down from under the nose, the chest is concealed behind the cabin. The nose basically just sits on his back, as a large but close-held backpack.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 11cm

   A red, blue and silver robot with grey feet and hands. Optimus Prime's chest, shoulderpads and forearms are red while the boots and head are blue. His face is silver with transparent blue eyes (and a fairly weak lightpipe). The upper arms, waist and thighs are painted silver with complex tech sculpting. You have several options for his weapons which I'll come back to. The colours are again, not really movie colours - and again they don't really look like G1 Prime. The basic layout is the same as the movie and the larger Leader version - down to the four tyres on his thighs, but the transformation is vastly different so much of the truck detail we see here is sculpted. The colours are nice enough, if fairly meaningless.

   A lot has been made of his detailed sculpt - which is good, but I prefer the look of the larger toy. There's nothing terribly difficult about what's been achieved here - the top of the sleeper section is on his boots and the wheels are on the thighs, but everything else is robot only, meaning the sculpt has no truck parts to get in the way. There are very fake truck windows on his chest, painted metallic blue, vestigial rear fenders on the boots and half a truck on his back.

   The weapons can sit on his back, sticking high in the air, or they can sit behind his hips, pointing to the ground, in a sort of holster position. They can't swing forward to sit on his hips, which would have been cool. They can unclip, however, as handheld weapons. Basically they plug onto posts on his wrists, with pseudo-handles resting in his open palms. The end result is convincing enough to make this option worthwhile.

   The head turns, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides. The panels which hold the arms don't secure against his torso, and can fold forward while posing - which should have been rectified during the design stages. The elbows are hinged with rotators above them and the wrists are very restricted ball joints. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while his waist is fixed. The knees are hinged while the feet and heelspurs are also hinged. Considering the backpack Optimus Prime wears, some lower body poseability would have helped. He is a little back heavy, and for such a shellformer, frankly I would have expected better articulation.

   I get the feeling this robot was designed as a blank slate so that the designers could do something different with the transformation. As complex as the sculpt is, the paint job on the detailed sections is generally sparse and frankly the fake windshield on his chest looks cheap. The guns are cool, but the poseability is a little disappointing for a toy with a fair chunk of shellforming. This robot mode is nowhere near as good as the larger one, unfortunately, or even alongside the other Autobot megas from the film. They've taken a complex idea and dumbed it down a little too much.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, this is an exclusive variant. It's a fairly minor repaint of the regular "Voyager" Optimus Prime, sold as a Target exclusive. In a nifty hexagonal box. First Strike Optimus Prime also shares the mould.

OVERALL

   There are some cool aspects here - and the truck mode's paint job, while simple, is cool for an exclusive variant. The robot mode looks underdone however, and there's a lot of shellforming, which goes against the movie line's design principles. The guns are cool, the sculpt is admirable. The transformation doesn't work for me, partly because of the truck on his back, partly because the false windshield in robot mode is so unconvincing and partly because it's so obviously different to what we saw in the film. While the packaging is nice, this is the weakest of the three versions of this mould. If you're planning to keep him sealed, this one has something to offer, but otherwise I'd recommend the standard version, although I'm not that keen on the mould - 5/10

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