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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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numbat's review: Spychanger Movie Prime

Name: Spychanger Movie Optimus Prime (Japanese DVD Exclusive)
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Commander
Sub-Group: Spychanger

Despite a lot of grumbles back when the film incarnation of Optimus Prime was announced (or leaked) to be a Peterbilt truck cab, rather than the G1 snub nose cab, the departure was hardly original. Way back, G2 Prime adopted the same cab mode in 1995 as Laser Optimus Prime. This mould was, of course, repainted as the Decepticon Scourge (the original ‘Nemesis Prime’) as part of the RID line. Although the RID Spychanger figures consisted predominantly of G2 Gobot repaints (even the releases of Spychanger versions of the Autobot Brothers Prowl and Sideburn weren’t afforded original moulds), Scourge received an original mould. In an interesting twist of fate, this is perhaps the only original mould that any version of ‘Nemesis Prime’ has ever been gifted with (as the name would suggest, all others have been black repaints of Optimus Prime moulds). The irony continues as this mould has been repainted as a tenuous homage to G1 Optimus Prime and, now, Movie Optimus Prime, for which it is ideally suited.

This beautiful redeco of the Spychanger Scourge mould was only available as a limited giveaway with the 2007 live action movie DVD in Japan in December 2007.

Alternate Mode:

The Scourge mould lends itself nicely to Movie Optimus Prime’s Peterbilt cab alternate mode. Measuring 2 ½” (6cm) long, Spychanger Movie Prime is the same length, more or less, as his Legends counterpart (theoretically putting him in at around 1/102 scale, but looking at him alongside similar scaled Movie figures dashes that idea!). However, the Spychanger cab is more heavily stylised, lacking the rear cab compartment, and is a lot bulkier. In contrast, moulded detail far surpasses the Legends Class figure – this mould is totally jam-packed with excellent features.

The paint applications are absolutely fantastic – and are far more film accurate and detailed than the Legends Class Movie Optimus Prime. The cab nose fades from gold to red, with blue flames and sliver grill and lights. Red flames are picked out on the roof, over a base deep blue plastic with small metallic blue flecks. This blue plastic is used for the cab’s cupola, but red paint picks out the rear wheel arches, and blue flames are printed perfectly over these. Silver has also been used for the fuel tanks, running boards and smokestacks. The original mould has the windscreen as a single pane of glass, whereas the Movie truck as the two. This detail has even been accounted for, with a silver divider in the centre of the windscreen. The windows themselves are painted black. The only minor niggle with the paint applications lies with the rear of the cab being sheet painted silver, which looks a bit strange from behind. But, then, how often does one take in the rear view?

All in all, this Spychanger mould provides a far more pleasing small-scale Movie Optimus Prime truck than the bespoke Legends Class mould. However, a large part of that is without doubt down to the excellent paint applications and quality plastics.

Robot Mode:

This mould has a really nice, simple and above all satisfying transformation.
The end result stands 2 ¾” (7cm) to head, and 3” (7.5cm) to shoulder pillars.

Although the robot mould reveals discrepancies with the live action film design (hardly surprising), it actually does a better job at representing Movie Optimus Prime than the purpose-built Legends Class mould.

There are no Cubist interpretations here. This is pure Prime.

The paint applications are surprisingly complex, and have been designed to highlight the trademark Prime torso details, whilst also incorporating the flames of the film version. Red and grey / silver make up most of the upper body detail, while blue is used for the lower legs. The arms are painted perfectly, with blue shoulders, grey elbows, red forearms and silver fists.

The head is an excellent generic Optimus Prime, if slightly edgy, somehow (perhaps worked in to the original Spychange Scourge mould, or maybe just because I associate it with the Decepticon). It’s cast in deep blue plastic, without the metallic flecks, while silver details the crest and face plate, and light blue the eyes.

The mould and paint applications do such a good job that the massive shoulder pillars (absent in the film design) do not seem to detract from this excellent figure.

I have noticed a difference between this mould and my Spychanger Scourge, though – the pins which attach the shoulders to the chest protrude through the chest of this repaint, whereas they are hidden in my original. I don’t know if this is a general difference with Japanese versions of this mould, or if it is particular to this release.

Frankly, this Spychanger Scourge repaint does a far better job of representing Movie Optimus Prime than the Legends Class mould. The paint applications have been carefully considered, and a lot of effort has gone in to ensuring that these designs have been reproduced on the mass-market final figure.

Furthermore, this is one fantastic Spychanger!

He comes highly recommended from me.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 4 – The transformation is simple, but exceedingly good fun somehow!
Durability: 8 – The plastics used are of high quality, and the figure is far sturdier than the Legends Class figures. I just always worry about the use of pins!
Fun:10 – This mould is great fun, and the paint applications here are absolutely stunning!
Price: 3 – At £14 ($28) with postage, this was the second most expensive figure of this size I’ve bought. This figure is rather pricey for a small Transformer, due to his limited Japanese exclusive release. However, as he was quite widely distributed, the price isn’t too bad.
Overall: 5 – This is one excellent figure, and I am very happy with it. However, it is pricey, and so it is perhaps best left to those who really love those perfect paint applications and wee Transformers.
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