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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay & Seerus Nalaius' review of: Optimus Prime

Name: Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Sub-Group: NA
" Those who threaten peace will fall in pieces."

Optimus Prime is the powerful and courageous leader of the Autobots. Along with his incredible strength, he possesses great wisdom and believes that freedom is the right of all sentient beings. He has vowed to fight against the evil Decepticons in their quest to plunder Earth of its vast energon resources. Always in favor of peace, Optimus Prime will not hesitate to use his great powers and vast arsenal of weapons to stop Megatron and the Decepticons from threatening the universe.

The first thing I'm going to address is the appearance of this fellow. When the first shots of Energon Prime surfaced this time last year (~October), many gasped in horror. He was... so... fat! Fatimus, as he was called, has had a bum rap ever since. Why would Hasbro/Takara make such an ugly prime?

Well, in the year since then, the cat's been let out of the bag, or so it seems--there are very specific reasons for it. Some people, such as myself, have grown to accept and even like the guy in normal mode, so the final explanation is more of a footnote than a revelation for us. But, are you wondering what this mysterious reason is yet? You are? Good! I've successfully built suspense. Kudos to me.

He looks the way he does because of the energon gimmick: combining. He combines with Omega Supreme, Wing Saber, and his own little Primelets. This means there are restrictions to what his robot mode is going to look like that come with the ability to be both a headmaster of sorts to Omega and a pseudo-gestalt with his smaller vehicles and Wing Saber. And since this places guidelines on the structure of his robot mode, it carries over to what his vehicle mode looks like. Hopefully that'll make some sense out of why he looks like he does. Also, putting in the electronics required for the noises add a little more width and girth than he would've had otherwise. Moving on...

Vehicle Mode:
Since this is Prime, you can probably guess this is a truck and trailer. The truck is a little odd shaped for reasons stated above, but it has its own certain avant garde appeal (I think the extra helmet sticking up makes nice antennae). The trailer is fairly unique among the usual the Prime accessory houses: it's trapezoid shaped. Leaning one way, it's a trailer, and tilting it over makes... the base. As you can guess, this is not the focal point of the toy. It holds the little OP units nicely, though.

OP Modes:
If these little buggers had robot modes, Optimus would be a genuine gestalt. They represent the four ancient elements: the air (helicopter), the earth (drilling machine), the water (submarine), and fire (the fire truck). Additionally, each one can be used as any appendage for the super mode. A couple of points: each unit is very detailed (the drill reminds me of nose cone from the technobots), and the fire truck's fist can swivel.

Robot Mode:
This is where all that flak comes from. Since I've already outlined the reasons for the appearance, I'll concentrate on some other points of note. He does have good articulation, and is much better than Armada Prime in that respect. He no longer ships with the open face plate, so he looks more 'normal' for a Prime than the initial shots revealed. Moreover, when I finally picked him up and looked at his robot mode, my exact words were, "He's not that bad." To quote the review of off bwtf.com, "this is just not a toy that photographs well." He also has a switch on the back that triggers sounds associated with each OP unit. The button for that is on his back: there is a second button on the left side of his chest that triggers when you open the windows/matrix area for the super mode.

Powerlinx Mode:
And finally, we have the meat of the toy. Everything is perfectly proportioned for this mode, and he actually gains some articulation in his arms. Originally, some people remarked that he looks like Voltron, but I think he's simply a take on the original gestalts. The limbs can be scrambled with each other for different arrangements, and he's not a brick like the Armada prime was in super mode. The trailer is not used at all, unlike the past few incarnations, but it is worth noting that Omega Supreme (with or without Prime) is stout enough to hold it up by himself. I have no comments on the Wing Saber combination, as that's not out yet stateside at this time. When combined with Omega, though, he makes one ogre of a transformer. Oddly enough, you can actually save shelf space by combining the two.

Prime also combines with Wing Saber in two different ways: Fight mode, and Flight mode. In Fight mode, Wing Saber's upper body forms Prime's feet, and Wing Saber's legs form Prime's arms. The upper body becomes quite thick this way, with shoudler and wrist mounted cannons galore. His hands are fairly unique: the four digits open and close as one piece, and the thumb is fixed to the arm. Also, Prime looks like he's wearing sneakers in this mode. I present that fact without judgment.

In Flight mode, Wing Saber's parts don't get swapped around like they do in the other arrangement. Prime gets a little top-heavy this way, but he just leans as opposed to falling over. Prime actually has good articulation in the arms despite not having any ball-joints. Instead, a series of rotational joints accomplishes almost as much. Prime is also as big as, or bigger, than the super-sized Energon Megatron. He also looks more like God Ginrai than God Ginrai does. Go Go Super Mode!

As a final note, by design or accident, Prime can stand of top of Wing Saber's vehicle mode a la the Green Goblin. I've included a picture of this with the little Omega Supreme riding piggy-back.

Transformation: 2.5 - The prerequisite to combine with other robots put a limit on what the uncombined robot mode and vehicle mode could look like. It's also simple enough that I didn't even bother describing it. I like reasonably simple transformations, though. Instructions might be needed if you can't find the battery case, but that's unlikely.
Durability: 9 - I've already dropped him severaly times by accident. This guy's not going anywhere. The head fins might be a weak point.
Fun: 9 - He's a big surprise when you ultimately get around to him. Say it with me: Gesaltimus!
Price: 6 - Still $40. I think that's too expensive for toys this size, but that's for everything in this price braket. It's not just him specifically.
Summary: 8 - The little robot mode is an aquired taste, but the gestalt mode and combinations make him well worth it. The other combinations cost more money, so that's up to you. He grows on me a little every time I fiddle with him. If you're hungering for those new Energon gestalts with articulation, you may want to consider picking up this version of Prime to whet your appetite. It's not much of a stretch to go from them to Optimus. Again, say it with me: Gestaltimus Prime!

 
 
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