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

Name: Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Supreme Commander
Scale: 1/27 or 1/29, depending

Tech Specs:
For thousands of years, OPTIMUS PRIME and his AUTOBOTS have traveled through space in search of the Allspark. For all that time, the AUTOBOT leader has held one goal in mind - to protect the universe from the evil of MEGATRON. For this massive, metal warrior, nothing is more important than freedom; he will sacrifice all for its preservation. He has fought for centuries, modifying his body into an unstoppable war machine, preparing for that day he knows is coming when he and MEGATRON meet for one final battle!
Strength: 10 Intelligence: 10 Speed: 7 Endurance: 10 Rank: 10 Courage: 10 Firepower: 10 Skill: 9

Several weeks after the "worldwide" release, I was able to snatch a leader class Optimus Prime figure from a well known online store for transformers. I was able to read many previews about this figure since Hasbro had shipped one to various well-known toy reviewing websites. Let me tell you, nothing could prepare me for this figure.

Vehicle Mode

What a sight! Optimus Prime debuts as a Peterbilt truck, not quite a departure from previous incarnations of the character. He was modeled after a pretty similar truck in his G2 toy, flames blazing and all. The sculpting is top notch in all aspects. There's "bolts" all over the hood of the long nosed truck, beneath the door frames on either side, on the silver parts above the windshield and on the sleeper cabin. The grill is replicated perfectly, same can be said about the smokestacks. The headlights on the top of the cabin are nicely formed, and there's all sort of mech details on the back portion.

Optimus is cast in a duotone, red and gray. The cabin section of the truck is cast in red, along with the back portion, while the sleeper cabin and most of the robot parts beneath are cast in gray. With that being said, the entire flaming portion of the truck is painted on. What a fantastic sight. The flames on the red parts are painted navy blue (the front of the truck even has a linear fill of orange to red) and red on the blue parts of the truck. The blue used is also navy blue, but sparkles. Gray is used for the grill, hubcaps, smoke stacks, fuel tanks and steps on the side as well as the gun on the back. Silver is present on very few parts on the smokestacks, plus on the two small parts over the windshield.

Unlike all the other cars in the line, Optimus comes with rubber tires! All six of his wheels feature rubber tires and roll smoothly on any even surface. Moreover, the top of the smokestacks are cast in rubber plastic (as not to poke any eye or snap during handling). I suppose it was unavoidable, as the stacks are a good 3 and a half centimetres tall, long enough to prove dangerous. Unfortunately, they bend under pressure and become disproportionate. Lastly, pushing the button on top of the cabin activates the sound effects of a horn and lights up the cockpit in a yellow light. A blue light would have been better.

Optimus measures a good 27 centimetres in length, and over 13 in height. He looks just right with the rest of the autobot movie crew, but his scale is supposed to be from 1/30 to 1/25. What's amazing is that there's more parts that need to snap together to form this than the more recent MP Megatron, yet he feels incredibly solid and nothing, NOTHING flops around. He is, quite probably, the most well put together Prime of them all. The seams are barely visible and nothing rattles when picking him up, even though there's more than a dozen places that have to lock up to achieve vehicle mode.

Overall, quite probably one of the most well-made vehicle modes ever, rivaling MP Starscream. You really have to hold him to believe it.

Robot Mode

Following an immensely clever and solid transformation, you're left with one of the most powerful looking robots in the line. Prime is tall, imposing and bulky, in many ways reminiscent of Optimal Optimus of BW era. He stands at about 24 centimetres tall to the top if his "horns" on the helmet, a bit taller when considering the back kibble.

No new colours are present except for a hint of gold on the side of his thighs. Silver is used for the limbs and parts of the head, waist and body, while red and blue are used for the lower ends of the limbs and are the primary colours on the main body. Replicating the exact look of the movie model would be very difficult, but overall he looks around 80% movie accurate in regards to looks, however different his transformation might be.

Via the use of a myriad of pseudo panels, Prime manages to look "busy" as in the movie model. His lower legs are crafted in a very smart way using a combination of sculpted detail, tons of parts on the feet and the extending and adjustable knee armour that's actually the hood of the vehicle. His upper legs have layers of armour sculpted on and a hint of blue on the connection point to the waist, true to the CGI model. The waist and main body have the golden bullet protrusions of the model, but the truck windows do not have flames painted underneath them. His arms and shoulders have lots of ridges, vents and bolts to replicate complicated machinery, but his upper arms are not blue as the cgi model and the blue panels on the sides do not have the flames painted on. Just underneath his shoulders there's cables moulded on the plastic as well as panels. The lower arms are not as red as they should be, but that's remedied by the red paint on and beneath them. His back is where most of the kibble goes but ends up as a very powerful-looking backpack, the fuel tanks serving as boosters. A not so accurate replica of his shotgun is attached to his right arm and serves as an automated gimmick (discussed later on). Lastly, his head appears stocky and bulky, and extending his horns by about two centimetres would greatly alter his appearance.

It goes without saying that a toy with such a complex transformation has to have a handful of joints to accomplish it. Prime has 33 points of articulation, a good quarter of that number focused on each limb. The legs have 5 points each, focusing on a ball joint for the ankles, a swivel joint for rotation right above the knee, ratchet joints for the knee and thighs (both vertical and horizontal movement). His arms are almost all ratchet joints, with V&H rotation at the shoulder, a double elbow joint, each finger with one point of articulation (thumb being on a ball joint) and the shoulders can swing out if you unclip them. The head rotates freely 360 degrees but cannot look up or down due to a lack of ball joint. There's no waist articulation due to the transformation scheme.

Optimus Prime comes armed in the form of an ion blaster (shotgun) that's permanently affixed to his right arm. Via the use of a lever, the gun swings forward to cover his hand and two barrels emerge from beneath the hand, forming a nice replica of his cgi model. The gun conceals his fingers entirely, becoming essentially an extension of the arm. A translucent blue missile can be fired at the push of a button.

Automorph Gimmick

Prime has two (three if you count the gun) automorph abilities which are essential to his transformation. First, by pushing down on the little gray tab on his waist, another gray tab is released that sets the windows apart and pushes the head up. I still cringe at the sound of the automorph and dearly fear messing that part up. However, for now, it works perfectly fine and is mighty impressive. The second automorph is focused on the feet (front grill of the truck). Upon separating the front bumper, the headlights swing to the side, and with further movement, the grill separates and forms the toes. All in all, a mighty gimmick. Last but not least, at the push of a lever (it's not spring loaded) the gun swings forward to his right arm and two barrels extend from beneath. All three of his automorph gimmicks work fine, but if I had to pick one to place the blame on for malfunctioning, that would be the chest automorph. There's just too many things it does and just one needs to go wrong for the whole thing to blow.

Overall, this is the Prime of the year. If you thought that Classics Prime was good, wait until you see this one. It basically takes elements from that toy (essentially just offering you a complex transformation and an articulated robot) and expands upon them with a better sculpt, better articulation and automorph gimmicks. If you only want one Prime, get this one. The 40 USD tag is a bit prohibiting, but you're getting every single penny of yours back with this toy. The paint applications, transformation, vehicle mode and articulation are unrivaled in both the movie line and when competing with all other Prime figures.

Transformation: 10. Not really difficult, but extremely well-thought and not flimsy at all, a miracle considering the sheer number of revolving and twisting parts.
Durability: 8. Nothing prone to breaking on my sample, nothing loose, but you have to be careful with the chest automorph.
Fun: 10. A truck mode nearly in scale with alternators, with rubber wheels to boot, and an imposing and articulated robot mode? What else could you ask for?
Price: 10. Quite honestly, you're paying too little for a figure this good. Just weight what this figure offers you in comparison with the leaders of Energon and Armada.
Overall: 10+++. Solid in both modes, hyper articulated, hyper detailed...I can't write more good things without being repetitive. If you can get this figure, do it, or wait for the dark blue repaint that's slated for the first quarter of 2008. In any way, give yourself a treat with one version of this mould.

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