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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Numbat's review of: Leo Prime

Name: Leo Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Supreme Commander from the planet Cybertron
Sub-Group: Classics Legends

The Legends of Cybertron (LOC) figures aimed to present larger characters on a tiny scale – recreating everything as closely as possible, down to transformations – at a pocket money price. With the advent of the Classics line, a new series of Legends have become available. These are recolours of the original LOC figures, but this time represent characters not necessarily available in the larger scale classes.

There is ambiguity concerning whether these are truly ‘Classics Legends’, as opposed to a line in similar packaging to Classics. The packages do not say ‘Classics’ anywhere, and the rear of the box says ‘Series 5’, suggesting a continuation of a ‘Legends’ line. However, the cases and trays in which stores receive these toys do state ‘Classics Legends’ along the sides. I, personally, think of them as ‘Classics Legends’.

Pedantics aside, just who is Leo Prime? All characters included in the Classics line have an obvious connection to a G1 or G2 character, except for this little fellow. Of course, hardcore Transformers fans will instantly recognize this figure as a tribute to Lio Convoy. But, the oddity is that this character never appeared in Western Transformers toy lines or fiction until the recent Beast Wars: The Gathering IDW comic! Lio Convoy was securely a Japanese character (from Beast Wars Second), until now. I see this as testament to just how iconic this version of Prime has become worldwide.

And the sheer hero-worshipping continues, with the tech-specs improving upon the Japanese character in firepower, bringing him to straight 10s – blowing many Optimus Primes away! With the rank as well, I can easily see this chap bossing everyone around back home on Cybertron!

Of course, the figure itself is a recolour of LOC Leo Breaker. How well does this first Western offering of a legendary character stand up? The pressure is certainly on, given that he is merely a recolour of a previous mold!


Alternate Mode:

As one would expect from either the name or the original mold, Leo Prime turns into a biomechanical lion. But not just any old biomechanical lion. This is a tiny biomechanical lion (3 1/2” [9cm] nose to tail) with style – and big claws!

Whereas I felt Leo Breaker looked rather messy with his colour scheme, the pure white with gold and red detail highlights everything that was swamped in the original. The detailing is stunning – especially around the mane, where biological and mechanical features abound!

The general proportions combine with the biomechanical feel to remind me of Giger’s paintings (and even of the Panther Alien toy, made by Kenner in 1994, which had a similar colour scheme). An Autobot insignia is emblazoned (or branded) on the left shoulder. Poseability is great, with ball joints at the shoulders and hips, and hinges at elbows, knees / ankles and tail.

The only negative is that the tail is made of extremely flimsy plastic, and threatens to snap at the slightest sideways glance... A concern for storage and playability! Rubberised plastic may have been a better choice, but at the end of the day, at this scale, a tail was always going to be a problem anyway, so it can be accepted.

Now, I am not a fan of beast mode Transformers at the best of times, but this figure already blows me away!


Robot Mode:

The transformation is simple, but perfect. It’s basically G1 Weirdwolf updated and thought through a little better, reducing any signs of kibble. And the result…

This is what the Leo Breaker mold was made for! After a fantastic beast mode, we are presented with perhaps the single best Legends robot mode (3 1/4” [8.5cm] tall), coupled with a phenomenal paint scheme!

Molded detail is superb, and thoroughly creates a biomechanoid feel. The colours work beautifully to give the impression of a pure leader (white, red, gold, blue, silver and a warm grey) while the head sculpt hints at an underlying rage, only just tamed and ready to break free. (The head sculpt, as it is identical to Leo Breaker’s, does give a rather unique Prime.)

Of course, Leo Prime differs significantly from his namesake, but the essence is preserved. I just love the whole ball of wax. Proportions are grand, with big bulky shoulders and thighs (for a change!), while articulation is second to no Legends figure. With ball joints at the shoulders, hips and neck and hinges at elbows and knees, he is extremely poseable (within mold imposed limitations) – and there are three other meaningful hinges to suit any subtle preference!

The only issue is, again, the flimsy tail. Although folded up the back, I am still forever terrified that it shall snap!

Seriously – this is one excellent wee Transformer. The homage is perfect, the mold great. It is, frankly, the single best Legends figure yet released (in the opinion of this compulsive collector of all things tiny and Transformers).


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 7 – The transformation is simple, but perfect.
Durability: 7 – Good plastic, but the tail is worrying…
Fun: 10 – You really have to buy him to appreciate just how much fun he is! (With two perfect modes, you'll never know how to display him or play with him!)
Price: 8 – Prices for Classics Legends figures vary a bit more than their predecessors, but given you can pick him up for less than £3 or $3 respectively, you really have no excuse! Pick him up with your weekly shop! (At that price, even argumentative partners are likely to overlook him…)
Overall: 10 – This is something of a historic Transformer – being the first representation of an iconic Japanese character in the West. More importantly though is the simple fact that this is as close to a perfect Legends class figure as we are likely to ever get. You’d be daft not to include him in your collection.

 
 
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