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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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HotShot81's Review: Optimus Prime

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 story. However let us not speak of the future, but let's hear the words from THE Prime.

I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. I have lead 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 only with the entire galaxy under their command.

With its dwindling energy reserves Cybertron has lost the ability to maintain its children. Because of that we much reach to the stars for new sources of energy, and to defend Cybertron from an asteroid belt it will soon be passing thought. We have launched a ship we named the Ark loaded with the best troops, and best scientists we had available. Once we clear the asteroid field, and find some new sources of energy we can return home to 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 come with a heavy price, that I am not merely defending the ideals of freedom that the Autobots value, but also the galaxy's very existence.

Even as we try to do 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; 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 Cybertrionians being killed, it might give Cybertron and the galaxy a chance at peace. My only hope is the Matrix of Leadership survives so when Unicron arrives someone can stop him if I am not online to do so...


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. 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 have 90 degrees of articulation, and because of the way they connect to the upper ones means they can spin 360 degrees. Prime actually has the same range of motion in his shoulders than you and I do, in the fact that he can spin them all around via his shoulders. 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 how he can kick away Optimus's weapon, and all Prime has to do is reach into the old toy box and find something new, while Megatron doesn't have that luxury.

One of the earlier problems that producers of the show and the cartoons shared were they had the toys as models, which was great from an artistic point of view. This meant they didn't have to invent much which took one step out of production. However many characters had to undergo changes from the toy to the respective media because it didn't look good. Optimus wasn't one of those who suffered from this problem too badly. Yes Optimus has a few extra stickers here and there, however he's show and comic accurate. Maybe the worse thing you can say about him is his head looks a bit darker than he does in the show and the comics.

Vehicle Mode

Transforming Optimus is child's play, remove his laser cannon (stick it in his trailer), unplug his hands, and stick 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, use this to help push the arms into the back of Optimus, but before you do this you will want to flip his head 180 degrees. The arms will close up nicely into the space below the cab and above the wheels giving them a wheel well. 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 pull out the breaks! Forgot one thing, hook up Prime's trailer to his truck part, don't worry his legs have a nice plug in the back of them that fits nicely into the hole in the front of the trailer for easy pulling.

Know the old saying, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it"; well Hasbro has taken the opposite approach for later Primes. The trailer for Optimus just requires you opening the door, and then splitting it down the middle to finish transforming it. There is a tab near where you connect it to Prime to launch Roller into action, and there is a robot above Roller to help repair Prime. Both these pieces are simple, but they get the job done. It doesn't feel over complicated to transform or use either one of them.

Enough about transforming him, let's look over 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 1980s, why when he was killed off the kids wanted him back yesterday. Why do you ask? Because he's the perfect toy for young boys that's why! Think about it, you have 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 kids, Prime's trailer is so big you can actually load toys into it. I took a G1 Ironhide, and loaded him into Prime's trailer. That is how big it is. For all the shows with all the lies, Prime doesn't lie. He can carry your Autobots to and from battles!

I admit I have several usual beefs against recent transformers, one of them is they're hollow or there is too much detailing. Prime is solid, and the detail work done to him is the kind to enhance him. To make him look like a believable toy truck that would be sold even today. He's does a perfect job of being a robot in disguise. When it comes to how does he handle as a truck? Well he does a good job, I can have him make turns, back up, and he doesn't lose his load.

Final Call

Transformer Design 10/10: It's rare I give 10 for 10 but Optimus Prime demands no less a score. It's a fun, simple, straight forward design that most people can figure out without a manual.

Durability 7/10: This is my second Optimus Prime, and I remember where things broke on him as a kid. The section under his arms in truck mode, his smoke stacks are usually breaking points in him because it's small and it's plastic. Heaven help you if your kid see's the episode where Prime is tone up, and replicates with his arms. On a closing note sometimes the gears controlling his legs go, and it took some rubber band set up to fix mind.

Fun 10/10: He's 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 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 that world. However, Optimus pre-dates 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 recent releases at well.

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

Overall 10/10: There are Transformers I like to collect because of how they looks, 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 see him as a family heirloom, to be enjoyed by your great grandkids while you are old and grey because of how great a Transformer Optimus Prime is.
 
 
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