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Old 2009-12-10, 07:06 PM   #1
Knightdramon
Primus
 
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York, UK
Default The nightmare to transform-ROTF Buster Prime review- [WIP]

Name: Buster Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
My name is Optimus Prime

There's no denying that in the movie-verse, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are the main stars of the transformers race. In the first movie toyline, they both got some pretty remarkable toys. Whilst the Leader Class Optimus Prime was phenomenal, at the time, he didn't quite stack up to his on paper and on screen appearances.

This is because the toy design was based on earlier concept sketches than the ones that made it into the movie, and quite probably because the designing process was not as refined back then. Nevertheless, the toy fared extremely well, netting two releases [regular and Nightwatch] before being released into the premium subline.

Having a finished model [Optimus does not change his alt. mode, so his design stays the same as in the last movie] to work with, takara's lead designer[s] did a tremendous job when it comes to capturing the accuracy of Prime this time. The figure LOOKS so complicated and busy looking you'd be left wondering if it transforms [sadly, it does].

Much earlier this time [almost 5 months later, unlike last line's almost yearly gap], Takara released a premium class figure from the ROTF Leader Prime mould. Quite similarly to M1 Prime, they chromed the front grill and other parts of the figure, gave it a spectacular silver finish and gave a silver outline on all his flame decals. Unable to resist, this is my first try at ROTF Leader Prime.

Vehicle Mode

Optimus Prime once again greets us as the now iconic heavily modified and customized Peterbilt truck. There's no great shock this time towards his long-nosed shape or the flames painted on all sections. In most areas, the sculpting is superior to the 2007 version. This time he's almost a replica of the truck he was modeled after, as there's no gap at the back of the sleeper unit of the cab and no sword\gun sticking out. Bolts, ridges and panels are all accurately sculpted on the figure with even minute detail on the driver and passenger side steps, gas tanks, front grill and hood.

Unlike the 07 model, Optimus is cast in red, blue and silver this time. Red and blue are used for the majority of the truck this time, with silver being sparse [this is reversed for robot mode]. Being an unofficial "premium" release, the front grill and the two small parts above the windshield are chromed up. Not quite the sight the japanese M1 premium was, but close enough. What's amazing is that all the flame decals are outlined with silver edges on top of an already intricate pattern that make M1 flames appear much simpler. The wheels and the towing section of the truck are cast in black plastic, with the hubcaps painted silver. ROTF Prime's first release had a flat gray used in conjunction with red and blue, with this Buster release everything that was flat gray is now a very, very impressive tone of silver. It is much closer in tone with the silver used on MP Megatron. Lastly, clear plastic is used on the cab windows, headlights and taillights.

There are no rubber tires this time, as at an earlier stage of the design, some of Prime's wheels were made to split during transformation. It doesn't feel as right as M1 Prime, but rubber tires are becoming more and more scarce with each mainline. The smokestacks are made of rubbery plastic and extend quite a distance from the top of the cab. They are much more flexible than M1 Prime due to the fact that they rest on a rotating joint and are angled instead of being flat on the top. Paling in comparison to M1 Prime, the electronic sounds are activated via a button on the back of the truck [cleverly disguised so you don't know it's a button unless you press it], which in turn triggers some odd truck noises and red lights coming from the sleeper unit of the cab. No funky horn sounds or windows being lit up this time...

Prime measures a good 27 and a half centimetres long in vehicle mode and reaches as tall as nearly 13 centimetres to the top of his smokestacks. What's cool is that with THAT transformation scheme you'd expect the cab to fall in pieces each time you pick it up, yet it is very solid and nothing flops around. Every single piece locks into place somehow, creating a very stable interpretation of the movie model. Just to give you an idea, there's about 11 locking points on each side of the cab, around 22-24 total.

All in all, Prime has a stellar alt. mode once again, but it still feels a bit "light" compared to the 2007 version. Maybe I'm just getting weird and not having rubber tires got to me, but after owning 07's Leader class since release, this version, whilst more accurate, feels less stellar to me. All this is partially remedied for the robot mode...

Robot Mode

ROTF Prime is quite a sight to behold in robot mode. The result of a very, very clever transformation [which is actually intricate from truck to robot, but a nightmare in reverse], Prime stands tall at 26 centimetres and nearly as accurate as he can get to the CGI model.

The only new colour in this mode is the translucent gold of the blades on his arms. He still retains a healthy mix of silver, red and blue all over his body with some black mixed on his torso and upper thighs [actually, the wheels] and a hint of orange wash on his forearm panels.

The sculpting on all the parts, combined with the way all his vehicle mode pieces snap on and are re-arranged offers an amazing figure. There's virtually no dull piece on Prime, even his back is intriguingly formed by kibble. There is a lot [I mean a LOT] of mechanical detail sculpted on his silver bits [biceps, shoulders, waist, legs and feet] that looks gorgeous with that silver paint. There's the faux pieces though, the doors hanging on his chest are actually panels that are concealed below the passenger and driver side windows in vehicle mode [his actual doors end up on his shoulders] and his front grill ends up on his feet and not on the torso as per the CGI model. Unique to this release [until the Battle Hooks Prime or whatever is released] is the head, which comes with the faceplate off. For the first time in the movie franchise figures, Prime is released without a faceplate. Looking like something Figueroa might have drawn lately, Prime actually looks in place when next to the other movie figures. His mouth looks more like a beak and sits too low, but I've grown used to it.

While Prime is very articulated, he's sadly not as much as M1 Prime. There's five points of articulation on each leg, focused on the ankles, knees, thigh swivel and sideways\front to back movement at the top of the thigh. What's interesting is that while his ankles are ball joints, they also double up as pseudo ratchet joints. There's a slight bump on the ball joint itself and two small indentations on the cup connector. His waist has no articulation joint, and each arm has five points, almost mirroring the legs. There's parallel and forward ratchet movement on the shoulders, a single elbow joint [downgrade from M1 Prime], a cut joint just below that and another one at the base of the hands, which, unlike M1 Prime, do not feature articulated fingers. Lastly, his head can look to the sides and has limited up\down movement due to his transformation joint.

Gimmicks of this Prime include flip out swords on both hands [very, very movie accurate], a mech-alive gimmick in which you pull down a button on his waist and he moves his chest and head whilst uttering "I am Optimus Prime" and an exclusive to this version, the Ion Blaster, formed from his gas tanks. Both tanks are made detachable and can transform around and combine to form a large riffle. The riffle sits loosely on each hand.

Things that most people are not aware of: The back of his calf can be pulled out slightly for a more accurate representation of the CGI model. It's mentioned in the instructions unique to this release. The hood halves on his forearms can slide up on the pin so his hands stick out more. The two chromed pieces on his chest can be angled any way you want them due to a ball joint on their base and a pin connector on the other end.

Shortcomings of the figure include: A complete inability to sit with his arms straight down unless the blades are deployed and the hood panels are in a lower position on the pin joint. The blades end up hitting the blue shoulder piece when not deployed and the arm guard gets in the way of that piece as well. Due to the limited range of motion the ankle joints have, [despite being on ball joints], the figure does not handle action poses that well. Moreover, the new gun does not lend the figure much charm unless it's just sitting on the arm [no fancy shooting] because the aforementioned blades still hamper said arm's articulation.

Features that were ultimately scrapped from the finished model: Articulated hands. If you look carefully, there's a very clear seam line near the middle of Prime's fingers, and the tips of the fingers along with the thumbs are a separate piece. This was supposed to be fully articulated, much like M1 Prime. Moreover, some of his rear wheels were supposed to come apart, and the lower end would compress and fit snugly inside the upper end, giving that compact look the movie CGI has. This is why the wheels are plastic instead of rubber, much like some constructicons and Bludgeon. The parts on the side of his lower leg [driver side steps in vehicle mode] were planned to fold away and last but not least, his forearms were designed to open up so the hands could rest inside when transforming.

-----------------PENDING FINAL PARAGRAPHS
 

Last edited by Knightdramon; 2010-05-03 at 02:58 PM.
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