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

Name: Wingblade Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobots
Function: Autobot Leader

“My name is Optimus Prime!” (Endgame, Part II)

Although I don’t speak a lick of Japanese, here’s what I guess the bio on the back of the box says:

Welcome everyone! The power of greatness returns to fight in triumphant magnificence. From space comes the warrior to wreak retribution upon the monsters of dark tidings. WINGUBURAIDO OPTIMASU PURAIMU destroys wickedness utterly and banishes Destrons to the land of wind and ghosts. Arouse the strength within to disseminate justice throughout. FIGHT! Approach mighty battle pack in cosy fittings for ultimate power! Flap your wings and transform, purple monkey dishwasher!

I missed out on the initial release of Voyager Optimus Prime. I saw him in store one day and hesitated to buy him. The following week he was gone and I’ve always regretted that. However, I’m glad I skipped him now, because Takara have released the definitive Animated Optimus Prime that trounces the original in every way. Never again will the big guy feel overshadowed by Ultra Magnus once he dons his new Wingblade jetpack featured in the Endgame episodes.

ALTERNATE MODE

Optimus Prime transforms into a flat-nosed fire truck which bears a strong resemblance to his Cybertron figure. The front of the cab slants forward to create an imposing windshield design, there’s a light bar on the roof and it even has four clearance lamps like his G1 incarnation. The wheels are quite large and all four roll well on smooth surfaces. In this mode you have your choice of trailer. You can either attach his original axe and water cannon weapons or the new Wingblade pack. Yes, that’s right. You get all of the previous accessories plus more! Those of you who thought the original release seemed somewhat lacking since it only took up half the space in the box certainly can’t complain this time.

The axe folds up and clips onto Prime’s shoulders, extending the red, silver and black deco on the cab. It’s a good design, because I’ve always thought trailer-less trucks look a bit disproportioned. You can also attach the water cannon on top of the axe (which squirts real water!) and rotate it a full 360, allowing Prime to douse any fires ahead - or just wash up Decepticon filth. Of course, what you really want to see is the Wingblade trailer. All of the parts attach to the jetpack base, which pegs into the tab where you would normally store the axe. It holds together quite well and the missile launchers make Optimus Prime look just as daunting as Ultra Magnus any day. The wings look a bit silly in this mode and I wish they could fold up underneath, but having them extended does give Prime that gratuitous appearance of power. No one messes with a flying truck and lives.

The colour layout is typical for an Optimus Prime toy, but calling his cab red sounds too plain. It’s much closer to a deep shade of ruby and puts the Hasbro version to shame. Blue is used for the legs, with black and silver trims for the rest. What distinguishes this release from the original is that most of the plastic is translucent - even the wheels! I’ve never owned one of those translucent eHobby exclusives, but I can definitely see the appeal. The parts that aren’t translucent are given a metallic coat of paint. Although I thought the bling looked uncharacteristic for earlier Animated toys, it goes well with the crystalline plastic and accentuates Optimus Prime’s newfound strength.

ROBOT MODE

Anyone who has owned a G1 Optimus Prime can easily deduce the transformation without the instructions. It does a good job of containing the wheels on the legs and neatly folding away the bulky fender. In robot mode, Prime is supremely show-accurate and appears as a stylised version of his classic counterpart. All of the motifs that I associate with the character are there: the windshield chest, the grille abs and that trademark faceplate which flips down to reveal Optimus Prime’s face. The proportions are nice and chunky, and he has a superb range of articulation that is common among Animated toys. His balance is second to none and does not require heel struts. In this mode, Optimus can hold the water cannon in one hand and a distinctly non-show-accurate axe in the other.

Now onto the main event. Breaking up Prime’s trailer gives you the components necessary to upgrade him to the mighty Wingblade Optimus Prime! While reminiscent of Cybertron Prime’s super mode, the design is based on the God Ginrai toy from 1988. He features a pair of gauntlets with fins, a winged jetpack, two shoulder-mounted missile launchers and the great Magnus hammer. Clipping all this onto the Voyager mold is a doddle and unlike Samurai Prowl does not affect the toy’s balance in the slightest. The overall appearance is just mind-blowing and I hesitate to put him on the shelf for fear of eclipsing every other figure I own - Transformers or otherwise. While Hasbro intended to release the Wingblade parts with Deluxe class Prime, I’m glad that Takara opted for his Voyager toy, since the scale fits the accessories better. Even the gauntlets make Prime’s arms appear to be better proportioned when all kitted up. The hands feature a springy grip that easily clips onto the hammer’s handle, but I’m afraid the springs don’t have enough tension to maintain hold of the axe. Wielding the water cannon is also impossible, and there doesn’t appear to be any way of storing them on the back while the jetpack is in place.

I can’t stress enough how good Prime looks with Takara’s colours. He's got some nice circuitry-style detailing on the windshield and he even sports a red Autobot insignia on his left shoulder, replacing the silver one that only appeared on a few Hasbro toys. He’s incredibly poseable and the combination of wings and shoulder cannons make Wingblade Optimus Prime a titan on the battlefield. He is by far the best representation of the character in the line and arguably the best Animated toy overall. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 10 - Optimus Prime is easy and fun to transform. The Wingblade pieces fit together nicely and are compatible with Deluxe class Prime.
Durability: 8 - Animated toys are built to last, but there are more parts to lose on this release. Mine got mailed to me in pieces!
Fun: 10 - He’s a robot truck with wings, an axe, a hammer, a water cannon and two spring-loaded missile launchers. It’s enough to make a child splurge.
Aesthetics: 10 - The translucent and metallic colours look great all around, and he’s one of the most formidable looking figures on display.
Articulation: 10 - Excellent. All of Prime’s limbs possess a wide range of movement and he has great balance despite the extra weight.
Value: 6 - I bought mine loose for 40 and he’s currently available for $56 on BBTS. While this may seem dear for a Voyager toy, it’s nothing compared to how much he’ll be worth once stocks run out. Can you say "Animated Arcee"?
Overall: 10 - Perfect in every way. Wingblade Optimus Prime is great for play, great for display and great for your collection. What, you don’t have yours yet? Buy him now or you’ll regret it later!
 
 
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