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HotShot81
2014-07-04, 12:58 AM
Name: Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Commander
Accessories: Two Fists, Laser Blaster, 4 rockets, Roller, Hose, Nozzle, and a Fuel Pump
Quote: "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings"
First Cartoon Appearance: More Than Meets the Eye, Part 1
First Comic Appearance: Transformers Part #1

It's rare I feel daunted at the task of doing a review. Let's put things in perspective for a moment here, this is the ORIGINAL Optimus Prime. This is the one who will set the path the rest will follow. We have to go back to 1984, 30 years ago when he rolled off the assembly line in some toy factory in Asia, and made his way to America to start a franchise that has kept growing ever since. This is before the Matrix of Leadership is created by some writers who will kill him off in 1986. This is before countless innovations and ideas that would improve the concept of Transformers over the years not just as toys, but as an ongoing franchise with stories that are still being told even now. However let us not speak of the present, but let's hear the words from THE Prime:

Editor's note: the following are technically the words of the author, but just imagine Optimus saying them.

"I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. I have led my people in a civil war that has lasted millions of years. Where once there was art, science, exploration, the fabric of a civilization, we have been forced to forsake those luxuries to feed the machine of war. We were forced into this civil war with those we once called brothers. We are committed to defend ourselves for several reasons; one of them is to defend our own rights, and the rights of others. If Megatron and the Decepticons were to win, then they would not be content solely with Cybertron, but rather they desire the entire galaxy under their command.

With its dwindling energy reserves, Cybertron has lost the ability to maintain its children. Because of that we must reach to the stars for new sources of energy. We also must defend Cybertron from an asteroid belt it will soon be passing though. The Autobots have launched a ship we named the Ark loaded with our best troops and scientists available. Once we clear the asteroid field, hopefully we can find some new sources of energy, thus allowing us to return home and hopefully stop Megatron and his Decepticons once and for all.

To the being who reads this, know our tale, and know mine. Leadership was not something I sought. Instead before the war I was a mere warehouse clerk who was almost killed by Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons. I was rebuilt as Optimus Prime, and then I had to work my way up through the ranks to earn the leadership of the Autobots. A leadership that I have learned comes with a heavy price. I am not merely defending the ideals of freedom that the Autobots value, but also the galaxy's very existence.

Even as we continue the noble act of defending our mutual home, Megatron has chosen this time to attack us from his own ship the Nemesis. We are now too low on energy to resist him, and there is only one course of action left. I am going to crash the Ark into the planet before us. With any luck it will destroy the ship, and us all on board of it. With such important figures in the war taken out of the game, the war might end, and Cybertron might have a chance at peace..."

Robot Mode

Let's tear down Optimus Prime, and see what makes this big bot tick. Now despite being one of the first Transformers ever designed, he's got some decent articulation for a toy his time. His knees bend back 90 degrees, and while his upper legs bend back they don't bend forward. Working our way up his head can only flip back (boo). His arms are actually impressive given the era: the lower arms can bend around 90 degrees, and the way it's connected to the upper arms allows it to rotate 360 degrees. Prime has the same range of motion in his shoulders than you and I do. Perfect for that wind-up and upper cut to old Megatron.

Want an interesting fact? In Prime's 30 year old hands are 5 MM holes to hold his laser cannon. This is the same width of most plugs for weapons of the current Generations and Prime lines. Guess Megatron got the wrong end of the deal here -- given that if he kicks away Optimus's weapon, all Prime has to do is reach into the old toy box and find something else. Megatron doesn't have that luxury.

One of the earlier problems that producers of the show and the cartoons shared was they had the toys as models. This was great from an artistic point of view, and it also meant they didn't have to invent much which took one step out of production. Still, many characters ended up looking radically different during the transition from toy to screen or comic book page. Optimus was not one of those that were altered. Yes, Optimus has a few extra stickers here and there but he is otherwise perfectly accurate to his fictional appearances in both the cartoon and the comics. The only real notable difference is maybe his darker helmet compared to his fictional appearances.

Vehicle Mode

Transforming Optimus is child's play. You first remove his laser cannon and place it in his trailer. Then, you unplug his hands and place them in his chest which can be opened by tilting his head back. There is a small piece of plastic that connects the arms to the main body, and you can use this to help push the arms into the back of Optimus. Make sure you have flipped the head before doing this, though. The arms will close up nicely into the space below the cab and above the wheels. Flip the legs and the feet back 90 degrees so the wheels line up, and the transformation is complete. Now Optimus is ready to transform and roll out! Whoops, hit the brakes! Forgot one thing, hook up Prime's trailer to the hitch on his cab. The trailer hitch allows the trailer to fit snugly.

If you want to transform the trailer into its battle station mode, all you need to do is to open the door, and split it down the middle. There is a tab that can launch Roller into action, above where Roller is there is a robot on a crane that can help repair Prime. Both these extra pieces are simple, but they do get the job done. It doesn't feel overcomplicated to transform or play with either one of them.

Enough about transformation, let's look at Optimus Prime as a truck with a trailer. What we have here is the reason why there was a shortage of Optimus Prime back in the 1980's. Why do you ask? Because he's the perfect toy for young boys, that's why! Think about it, you get both a giant robot and a truck. With Prime's trailer you can also load in your Hot Wheels and have him transport them somewhere. Yes, Prime's trailer is so big you can actually load a fair amount of toys into it. I took a G1 Ironhide, and easily loaded him into Prime's trailer with space to spare. That is how big it is. For all the inaccuracies in the cartoon, Prime's trailer isn't one of them. He can truly carry your Autobots to and from battles!

Know the old saying, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it"? well Hasbro has taken the opposite approach for later incarnations of Prime. I admit I have several beefs against recent transformer toys, two of them in particular being hollowness or unnecessary overdetailing. Prime is solid, and the detail work done to him is the kind that enhances the already great toy, and makes him look like a believable toy truck that can still be sold even today. He does a perfect job of being a robot in disguise. When it comes to how does he handle as a truck he does a good job. I can have him turn or back up, and he won't lose his load.

Final Call

Transformation Design 10/10: It's rare I give 10 out of 10 but Optimus Prime demands no less a score. It's a fun, simple and straightforward design that most people can figure out without a manual.

Durability 7/10: This is my second Optimus Prime, and I remember what broke on him on my first one. The section under his arms in truck mode as well as his smoke stacks are prone to break due to their size and the plastic used. May Heaven help you if your kid sees an episode where Prime is torn up, and replicates with the toy's arms. Sometimes the gears in his legs gets loose, and it took some rubber band to fix it.

Fun 10/10: He has a great robot mode, he has a great truck mode. If he isn't fun, maybe you just don't like Transformers? If tomorrow morning Hasbro opened up the old molds and said "Here we go again", trust me, kids would love him. This is the kind of toy a father gives to his son.

Aesthetics 9/10: Prime looks perfect, enough said!

Articulation 10/10: Are there Transformers with better articulation? Yes, ball joints changed the world. However, Optimus predates that world, and honestly I can't think of one figure at his size that has better articulation. He'd be up to challenge even compared to modern toys.

Value 7/10-10/10: Two scores that's confusing isn't it? The thing is,, you could assemble your own one loose, $50-$70 pre-S&H. With $80-$100 you can buy a reissued one sealed in the box, at $300-$2,500 you can buy an original MISB from 1984. No, I am not joking about the last figure. He's a classic bot, and just like car collectors drool over certain older cars, the original Optimus Prime is a bot to drool over for collectors.

Overall 10/10: There are Transformers I like to collect because of how they look, there are Transformers I like to have because of the character they represent, and then there are some I like just for fun. Then there are Transformers like Optimus Prime who break these categories and enter the Must Have List! While he does have a high price tag, he's a toy who I can see placed with a pack of Kindergarten kids who would love him. I can likewise see him as a family heirloom, to be enjoyed by your great grandkids when you are old and grey, because that's how great of a Transformer Optimus Prime is.

Tech Spec
Strength 10
Intelligence 10
Speed 8
Endurance 10
Rank 10
Courage 10
Firepower 8
Skill 10