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Name: Optimus Primal
Function: Maximal Commander
"Organic life is often hidden, sometimes overcome, but seldom extinguished!"
Optimus Primal, the stalwart commander of the Maximals developed his trademark valor and heroism during his role in the Beast Wars. Since returning to Cybertron, Optimus Primal takes on the new role, training his Maximals the methods of conversion - an art practically lost after the evil Megatron's virus wreaked havoc on Cybertron. In robot mode, he wields deflector arms which store energy and then regenerate as energy shurikins. Jump jets on back allow for short-range flight. Has limited insight into past and future. Can see and activate conversion potential in others.
Beast Machines is the direct sequel to Beast Wars, in which Optimus Primal and crew return to their home of Cybertron, only to find that it has been over run with mindless Vehicons. Robbed of their ability to transform, the Maximals are reformatted by the Oracle, a legendary computer that links directly to the Matrix. Now in "Technorganic" bodies, the Maximals must "Tame the beast with out to unleash the warrior with in" and take their home planet back from the insane Megatron!
The Deluxe Optimus Primal was in the first release wave from Hasbro. It seems that Hasbro had forgotten the success of the show accurate toys from Beast Wars, as Primal looks almost nothing like his CGI counter part. This would continue to be a complaint with fans, not getting satisfaction until the tail end of Robots In Disguise.
Optimus Primal is, of course, an Ape. This is no ordinary ape, this is a Technorganic Gorilla! His primary colours are translucent blue, a darker opaque blue and gold (with some translucent green thrown in for fun).One of the things I loved about the Maximals in the Beast Machines toy lines the great use of translucent plastic (as opposed to the Vehicons who had almost none). This gave a great distinction and added to the almost mystical feel the whole line had.. In Beast mode Optimus Primal is very powerfully molded, he has massive arms with muscle and cybernetics blended together. Look at the joints and other parts and you'll see organic muscle fibres mixed with armour plating and mechanics. His legs are powerful looking and thick, with nicely molded hands\feet at the end.. His back has more wonderful technorganic detailing, blending together. In the cartoon, the Mainframe animators even managed to give Primal a Silver Back (denoting the leader of a pack of Gorillas), in this form, Primal has a golden stripe running down his back, which looks great. His head is much more gruesome than I would have expected though. The Hasbro molders did attempt to place the muscle fibre and wiring down his neck, but his face is almost skeletal. Done in gold with great white fangs around his mouth, this is a much more, primitive looking Primal than we have ever seen. But it works well with the almost serene Robot face we'll see later. His left arm also features a holding spot for the energy shiruken, and a Generation 2 Maximal symbol in that garish orange. His primary action in this form is a direct take off from the Ultra Sized Optimus Primal from Beast Wars. Push his head down and lift up the back section and press it in. His mouth opens into a scream and his arms swing open. Look in his chest and you'll see his spark crystal. The toy itself is more than 50% clear plastic, which looks fantastic when back lit. The major problem with this beast mode is that it looks nothing like the CGI counter part. Still, on it's own it's nice.
One note from the transformation. This style of transformation continues on through the whole series, where the limbs of the beast mode form the limbs of the robot mode (with the exception of Rattrap). As such there isn't a lot of additional detail on the transformers. In robot mode, Optimus Primal is huge, almost to the point of being chubby. With the way his hands are pointed (on hand open, and the other with 2 fingers up) my wife commented that he looked like Buddha. Wether this was intentional by Hasbro or not, the comparison has stuck with me and makes me laugh a little when ever I see him now (It doesn't help that I instantly put him in the Lotus position , with the arms like the traditional Buddha). His chest is formed from the back of back of the ape mode and most of the translucent plastic has moved to the arms and legs, giving him a much more solid appearance. The biggest change to both the CGI character and this one is the face (which is actually show accurate). It bares more resemblance to Rodimus Prime than to Optimus - which I just noticed now. This is an interesting transition, and maybe not entirely accidental. Don't see what I mean? Take any Optimus Primal from Beast Machines and take out your handy Rodimus Prime (you can also see it in Hot Rod, but a little less). They both have a minor crest in the their forehead, though not as large and defined as Optimus'. They have solid brow ridges which blends with their helmet. They each have circle things for ears, and relatively normal faces, and a solid, almost protruding chin. Kind of interesting. The head also uses the light piping effect to make the eyes glow. As with the beast mode, back light him and he looks great. Primal's main action feature is the ability to throw and energy Shuriken, which he does on the show. Place the Shiruken in his right hand (which it's a little difficult to keep in there), pull it back and he whips it forward. A little playing around with it and you can actually get it to go about a foot. Primal is the only regular sized maximal to feature a projectile weapon. Something that would only be broken much later with the last Supreme and ultra sized toys of the line.
Transformation: 7 - a little bit more difficult than most Deluxe sized but still not rocket science.
Durability: 9 - Bloody solid little guy, worst thing that would happen is you lose his Shuriken.
Fun: 8 - He doesn't have a lot to do, but still he's very posable and looks interesting.
Price: 10 - You can get him anywhere for dirt cheap.
Summary: 7.5 - A fun little toy, that is much more funny when you look at him like the transformers Buddha (which I guess he was in the show). I say give him a chance.