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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Detective Barricade's review: Leader Class Optimus Prime

Name: Optimus Prime
Function: Autobot leader
Sub-Group: ROTF Leader class

“I am Optimus Prime.” - the toy, just about every time the head is moved.

With the destruction of Megatron, Optimus Prime thought that he was finally, after millions of years, at peace. Little did he know that the escape of Starscream would draw dozens of new Decepticons to Earth. The desire that burns brightest in his Spark is that the war will soon end. He is determined to see that end come, and so he works with his human comrades and the other Autobots to hunt the Decepticons that have come to Earth, and destroy them, one by one.

For the ‘07 movie line, we got a Leader class Optimus Prime. And while only somewhat accurate to the CGI model, he made us happy. Fast forward to the new Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen movie line, and Hasbro gives us another Leader class Optimus Prime. But this one is completely different than the first, and can combine with Leader class Jetfire. So let’s explore what Hasbro has done this time with Prime!

Alternate mode:
Once again, Prime turns into a customized Peterbilt 379 truck with his signature flame deco. But this time, it actually looks solid, without any huge chunks of truck missing like the gap in the back of the original to sort of incorporate the gun or sword. In fact, even from the underside, the only really obvious robot bits are the thighs and waist in the very back. The colors are about the same as the original: red, blue, and silver with some gold, and black tires. The tires this time are plastic, not rubber, but it’s not a big deal. The smokestacks are still rubber for safety reasons, but are a little longer and shaped like smokestacks. The headache rack is where the batteries go if you either need to replace them, or more likely, just want to shut him up. For this mode, pressing a small, nearly unnoticeable button just below the battery cover makes ‘truck revving sounds!’. Personally, I think it sounds more like the truck’s idling. Either way, the sound continues as long as the button is held. Other than that, he rolls quite nicely, but nothing else.

Robot mode:
Now THIS is an improvement! Transformation to robot is lengthy, but not that difficult. Going the other way... is a pain the first few times. But the end result is totally worth it! You can’t help but admire the designers for doing the virtually impossible by making this THE most accurate transforming representation of Optimus Prime seen so far. Much of the kibble on him is spread out more, and appears more or less in the same spots on the CGI model. He features the new gimmick of ROTF, Mech Alive. For him, pressing down on the tab on his belly raises his head and cab windows, triggers electronic lights in his chest and eyes, and he declares in Peter Cullen’s voice, “I am Optimus Prime.” The European version drops the “I am” part to bypass the language barrier. The problem with this is, any upward movement of the head will trigger the electronics, which means he’ll say it repeatedly as you transform him. Unless you remove the batteries, which would also silence his other electronics. As a nice touch, he makes the transform sound when his waist is transformed. His other gimmick is two flip out energy swords. They’re really cool and all, but you can’t straighten his elbows with them folded away, and the slightest nudge may cause them to deploy, which can be a pain when going into vehicle mode. He features a total of 22 points of articulation, including ball jointed ankles like the original. With his stability, you’d be hard pressed to find a pose he can’t do! Oh, and on a final note, the sun visor pieces are on hinge and ball joints, so they can be positioned as they appear in the movie. In short, I LOVE THIS TOY!!!

Transformation: 9 He’s worth the adventure, it you don’t throw him against the wall first in frustration. ‘Ages 5+’ my aft!
Durability: 9 Popping the tabs out for vehicle sometimes feels like they’re gonna break. But it hasn’t happened yet...
Fun: 9 The transformation is frustrating at first, but it’s fun once you get the hang of it. And he’s still fun in either mode!
Price: 9 Even if you have the original, this is still worth picking up at full price!
Overall: 9 Go get him now! Seriously. He’s that good!
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