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

Name: Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
"No sacrifice is too great in the service of freedom”

The greatest in a long line of Autobot leaders, Optimus Prime is a beacon of hope to those who suffer under the tyranny of Megatron. He is devoted to the defense of weaker creatures, and has dedicated his life to fighting against Megatron wherever he goes. He is unwavering in his compassion, which sometimes allows his enemies to take advantage of him, but he is also utterly without fear in the face of overwhelming odds. Where freedom is threatened, he is an unstoppable force, and a mighty defender of justice and right.

It strikes me as odd that a heroic leader has such a fanatical motto. Oh well...

I have a love-hate relationship with all Prime toys. I like the toys themselves, but I dislike the concept of having yet another Prime in my collection. Thus far my favourite Prime is the RiD version, which offers everything I see as ideal in a figure. For months I was left contemplating whether or not I should purchase CL Prime until I decided to just get all three voyagers of the line. Unlike the last few Primes, this one is just a notch smaller than most Alternators and does not come with another useless trailer. How does this figure fare in the Prime world of 2006?

Vehicle Mode
Optimus Prime comes packed in vehicle mode. Freed from the twist ties and fully assembled (smokestacks on) he measured 15 cms in length and 9 in height. He's marginally bigger than a deluxe figure, but he gains lots of height at robot mode.

This era he's as close to an updated g1 as possible. He's a flat nosed semi of unknown brand. Most G1 elements are still present, but updated. The front of the truck\cockpit is red, similar in tone to the one seen on Rid Prime. Around the cab are silver stripes (to the sides) and on the wind vane. The stripes are metallic silver, but the front bumper and grill are left dull gray. Yellow is seen sparingly on the headlights and the four spots on the roof. A rub on sign of the Autobot sigil is present on the right part of the cab, near the front. The windshields are cast in translucent dark blue, but there's no cockpit detail. The rear part of the cab is blue with no other colours, whilst the wheels are black with silver hubcaps.

Sculpted detail is plentiful in this figure. It was one of the main attractions for me. I've been assembling Gundam model kits for a good two years now, so I'm used to sculpted details in layers under and over the armour. Prime has ridges and panel lines all over the doors, wind vane, smokestacks and rear part that would make Cybertron Prime hide in shame. Bolts, screws and the like are also present throughout the figure.

Playability is limited to rolling him around and maybe having a smaller bot ride along on his back. This six-wheeler rolls without problem on flat surfaces. All in all, this is one sweet vehicle mode that has no gimmicks, no minicon ports, no force chips and no lights or sounds. This of course adds to the awesomeness of the figure, but for some others, it might detract points.

Robot Mode
Following a relatively complex yet smart transformation, Prime stands ready to tackle any opponent. Reaching 17 cms in height (standing idly) he's a few centimetres taller than Titanium WW Prime, and considerably shorter than most of his predecessors. Compared to RiD super mode, he's reaching to RiD's waist.

No new colours are present in this mode, however, there's lots of yellow involved (for detailing on legs, waist, arms and head), blue for the legs, shoulders and head, red for the main body and silver for the limbs and faceplate. The colours mesh well together, with none actually prevailing over the others.

The amazing sculpted details carry on in this mode as well. Prime's legs are full of ridges, panel lines and (unpainted, non-working) pistons. The shoulders have full mechanical detailing and the head...oh my, the head. The head sculpt is simply put, the best one in any Prime I've had. It's a completely redrawn and resculpted amalgam of G1 with Powermaster Optimus Prime with hints of the movie version. The mouth plate is divided into two pieces, the main piece being the one on top with two lines closing in as it goes down. An angular helmet with slightly pointed backwards antennas adorns the mouth plate, with piercing light-piping dark blue eyes. The crest is painted yellow (a tribute to the recent DVD version 20th Ann. Prime?) and has ridges running along. Two bullet-like extensions decorate the edges of the mouth plate, adding to the sheer imposing nature of the sculpt.

Another factor that draws me in on any figure is articulation. For me, BW Neo Convoy and RiD Prime hold the first place for a full sized figure. CL Prime ties with RiD Prime. The figure has adjustable (but only forwards and downwards) ankles, 90 degrees of bending on the knees, full 360 degrees vertical rotation just above them and ratcheting hips that allow for nearly unrestricted posing both laterally and vertically. The waist fully rotates, although it takes a bit of fiddling for the car's grill to pass by. A pseudo joint is present right at the chest, allowing for full rotation around its axis. It's almost meaningless, but it's used for transforming the figure. The arms can bend 90 degrees backwards at the shoulder, rotate fully at the body-shoulder joint, raise at the shoulder (to the sides), rotate just below that and bend 90 degrees at the damn elbow. The head does not rest on a ball joint so it can only rotate to the sides, but via clever use of the entire part it rests on, it can tilt forward and backwards.

Normally, I ignore the weapons that come with my transformers. RiD's puny pistol is left unnoticed and I barely bother with the ladder. However, I was drawn in by this figure's (and Jetfire's) weapons. The smokestacks fold inwards to represent an Uzi like submachine gun while the wind vane becomes a huge ion blaster. Both weapons fit nicely into his hands and he can achieve some amazingly stylish poses holding them.

All in all, this was one heck of a treat for me. I was expecting a mediocre figure but got what I believe is the best Prime since 2000. With twenty two points of articulation, an imposing yet nicely sized robot mode, a fun cab mode and the amazing sculpting details, this is one more Prime you want to add to your collection, whether you're a Prime fan or not. Don't hesitate.

Transformation: 7. Nicely complex, makes clever use of the joints and does not frustrate.
Durability: 10. Nothing prone to breaking, no small parts to lose, ultra tight joints.
Fun: 9. Attack poses * points of articulation * 2 guns/ only your imagination.
Price: 10. At a retail of 20 USD, he's nicer, more articulated and more durable than figures twice his asking price out in the market.
Overall: 10. This is seriously one of the best Primes since the beginning of the toy line back in 1984. He's much more affordable, doesn't need half a shelf to store a useless trailer and the mould is not clustered with gimmicks bar articulation. Recommended for all fans.

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