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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kamen's review: Blast Punch Opitmus Primal

Name: Optimus Primal
Fuction: Maximal Leader
Subgroup: Beast Machines Mega Beasts


"The true key to victory lies in the strength of the mind, not the fist"

Intelligence, experience, passion, and skill are all crucial parts of what makes Optimus Primal the proven leader of the Maximal cause. His metaphysical views play a large role in his methods to defeat Megatron and the Vehicons. A master at the art of change and ability to actualize multiple mode potential in others. Easily the strongest of all Maximals. Can punch through most Vehicon alloys with his boastful fist. Capable of short flights while in robot mode, and beast mode provides him with formidable speed and strength on the ground. Will stop at nothing to save the techno-organic world of Cybertron and defeat Megatron.


Blast Punch Optimus Primal represents the second figure the Maximal leader has received in the Beast Machines line. The first figure failed miserably in pretty much every way possible, so this figure was met with much enthusiasm, and I am pleased to say that though it is not perfect, it is everything the first figure should have been.

Alternate Mode:

The first thing you probably notice about Primal (you know, besides the fact that heís a gorilla), is that heís sporting some very bright colours. Light yellow highlights his arms and chest, then dominates the entirety of his lower rear legs. Translucent orange weights in next on the insides of his arms. Gold appears in two flavours: simple gold paint on his lower front limbs, chest, and face and vacuum metallized gold on his knuckle guards. A spot of metallic blue shows through on his arms, shoulders, and head, where silver highlights some details. Speaking of spots, there is a blue circle right in the middle of Primalís head. It serves a neat function--Iíll get to it in a moment--but it really looks out of place, and there is no reason why it couldnít have been colored to blend in with the rest of his fur. The fur itself is dark grey, and looks excellent juxtaposed to the otherwise bright colours.

However, the colours are not quite show-accurate. The CGI model for Primal has a much darker tone, almost black, with a silver back.

This version of Optimus Primal represents one of the better attempts of the line to make the figures truly reach a harmony of technological and biological parts. As a gorilla, a large part of his detailing gives him the looks of being furry, but the figure has tech detail in just the right places to make it look very natural. The only problem is a lot of the details are the same color as the surrounding area. For instance, there is a place right above his waist on his back where some paneling shows through, but everything is the same grey color, making the detail easy to miss. Itís not a particularly bad thing in beast mode, but it is worth noting.

As far as CGI accuracy goes, I would give Blast Punch Optimus an A for effort. He reproduces most of the CGI modelís distinct features--the wires near the head, the knuckle guards--with fair accuracy. Naturally, there are a few modifications to make the toy work, so any discrepancy is easily forgiven.

Remember that blue spot on his head? Press it and the upper half of his face moves up, revealing his upper teeth as if he were snarling. Itís completely useless, but it gives the character a lot of personality. This is the kind of gimmick I can get behind!

Primal has seven points of articulation in his mode. Some of those points, particularly his elbows, are limited in range. Even so, he can assume some nice loping poses.

Robot Mode:

There arenít really any new colours in robot mode. The translucent orange is much more visible on his upper arms, and appears in greater amounts on his chest and shoulders. Yellow grey and blue colour his robot head, and red is now apparent on his abdomen (itís visible in beast mode, but difficult to see from most angles). Otherwise, all colours are the same.

As with his beast mode, the colours used here are much brighter than his CGI counterpart. I think the scheme really works for the figure, but it may be a turn off for anyone looking for a 100% accurate figure.

Like his paint scheme, a lot of the details from beast mode have carried over to robot mode. A lot more mechanical detail is revealed on his upper arms, and his robot hands have a nice design. His face, on the other hand, is quite amusing as it seems to have been sculpted with a luchador mask in mind. The look fits Primalís body type, however, and is actually very similar to his CGI design.

Many of the animated Primalís details are reproduced on the toy, in fact. There is a circular design on the center of both of their chests. The figures' abs are painted in the same way as the animated model. Mechanical details appear on the inside thighs of both versions. Both have circular ear pieces on the robot head. If you look at the figureís back, and lift up the triangular piece, youíll find a pair of hidden thrusters! Although his colours are incorrect, Blast Punch Optimus succeeds in have an extremely accurate sculpt.

Primal gains one point of articulation in his mode: his head, though it can only turn about 45 degrees to the right and left. As with his beast mode, his elbows are particularly limited in articulation.

Gimmicks

Like all "Battle for the Spark" figures, Opimtus Primal has an action feature related to his spark crystal. This gimmick is also the reason his left arm has no elbow articulation.

To activate his gimmick, pump the shoulder pad on his left shoulder to wind the mechanism--between 15 and 20 times should be enough--then press his spark crystal. The lower part of his arm will begin to rotate, eventually, it will hit a trigger, and his hand will punch forward as he launches his missile, assuming you inserted it beforehand.

Itís a nice feature, and replicates an action that his animated self does in many episodes. Even so, I would have much rather the time been spend giving him more articulation in his elbows.

Transformation: Although, he technically has the same limb-to-limb transformation that a lot of Beast Machines figures have, Primalís transformation is actually very clever, but not difficult. 4
Durability: He is very solid. I foresee the main problem being the vacuum metallized parts chipping. 9
Fun: By himself, Primal is just as fun as a barrel of monkeys. Compared to the disaster of his first incarnation, heís twice as fun. 10
Price: Got mine off eBay for 20 USD including shipping, and he originally retailed for around 15 USD. Heís definitely worth your time hunting down, but much more than 40 and you might as well just get Air-Attack Optimus Primal, who is larger, much more show accurate and articulated 6
Overall: This version of Optimus Primal is one of the best. Heís a good price, a good size, and just looks awesome. The only drawback is the minor lack of articulation. Otherwise, we have a winner! 9

 
 
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