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

Name: Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Commander
Sub-Group: NA
"Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."

Optimus Prime is the largest, strongest, and wisest of all Autobots. His role is to protect all life in the fight to defeat the Decepticons. Splits into three autonomous modules: 1) Optimus Prime... the brain center known as the Commander. 2) Roller, the Autobot scout car... a spy who operates up to 1200 miles away, and 3) Autobot Headquarters... the combat deck equipped with a versatile mechanic/artillery robot. Injury to one module is felt by the other two.

Optimus Prime. A legendary, iconic figure. The most recognised avatar of the Transformers line. This edition is virtually a straight reissue of the original, albeit with a repainted trailer and a few new accessories. Despite those few minor alterations, this is the toy that started it all off. There's got to be something special about it, I suppose. I don't see it, though. It could be because I'm not a Prime fan, but I look at this toy and all I see is Ultra Magnus's weaker brother.

Vehicle Mode:
Op is, as one would expect, a flat-nosed cab-over-engine semi truck. He's got a red and blue cab, with a lot of chrome (bumper, headlights, grille, hubcaps, smokestacks, and gas tanks). His trailer is black, with red stickers running down the sides. His name is written on the stickers in silver which (while tossing the whole Robot in Disguise thing out the window) actually looks pretty damned cool.

If you open the back of the trailer and press the tab at the front, Roller (his drone car) will launch down the ramp. There are two square holes near the front of the trailer (one on the front end, the other on the top, nearby) that are the same size as his trailer's attack drone [see Battlestation Mode review below]. The drone can protrude from these holes in trailer mode and fire on his enemies (though you would have to split the trailer in half, then close it so that the neck was positioned in the hole).

The new accessories only really come into play in this mode. Firstly, there's the voicebox (it makes laser or engine noise, or plays a recording of some un-Primelike voice saying 'I am Optimus Prime'). A big, blocky thing that clips onto the front end of Prime's trailer, it actually enhances the overall look. Instead of an old-style flat-front, when it has the voicebox attached Prime's trailer aquires a more modern, rounded front (adorned with a bigass silver Autobot symbol, I must add).

Two new weapons can be mounted in this mode, on either side of the voicebox. The weapons are bulky missile launchers with chainguns or something built in, and frankly look out of place on Prime in any mode.

As a point of interest: where G1 Prime had a rub-sign, G2 Prime has a socket where you can mount his laser rifle. Rather silly-looking on it's own, but if you disconnected Prime's trailer and had a smaller Autobot standing behind his cab (say, Jazz or Sideswipe) he could ride around on Prime's rear section and shoot the rifle at Decepticons. It's mildly amusing, though not a feature that's likely to see much use.

Overall, a very nice semi rig. I prefer Ultra Magnus's car carrier trailer or PM Prime's battlewagon to this Prime's rather plain black box, though.

Battlestation Mode:
Prime's tech specs and bio refer to this configuration as 'Autobot Headquarters', a rather grand claim for what is no more than a split open semi trailer.

Now, don't get me wrong; the split trailer looks nice, and would be mildly imposing on the battlefield. But I sorta expect a Transformer headquarters to come equipped with, you know...walls. And equipment scaled to Transformers rather than Diaclone pilots. I'm crazy like that.

Its attack drone is armed with dual missile launchers (non-functional), a grappler claw, and a radar dish. The drone is attached to the floor of the trailer via an articulated armature that lets it target 360 degrees horizontally and vertically. That's about all you can do with the battlestation, though (aside from Roller-launching as described above). The pieces of equipment mounted on either side of the armature are purely non-functional.

It would have been nice if Hasbro had remoulded the inside of the trailer to include mounting points for his new rocket launchers, but they didn't. Since the launchers are inpractical to use in robot mode, there really isn't anywhere to put them when Prime isn't in vehicle mode.

Robot Mode:
Not the best robot mode in the world, this. It is, however, distinctively Optimus. Blue head and lower legs, red chest and arms, silver chromed thighs and adornments...exactly what he should be coloured like.

Unfortunately, it's the layout of the mode that I object to. His chest is huge, in all three dimensions, but has a big hole in its back that is clearly visable through his windshield. He has no waist to speak of, since his legs sprout spontaniously from his torso. His arms are overly long and hang down past his knees (I'd insert a monkey joke here, but I used all those up in my TFU Primal review a few months back), with forearms that are oddly shaped due to being the truck's front fenders.

The upside to all of this is that the figure has wonderful articulation for an early 80s toy. He moves at shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees. I suppose you could say that his head is articulated, too, but all it can do is look up (and if you do that, you create another big hole in his chest). The leg articulation is all relatively useless, but you can create some moderately dynamic poses with his arms.

Well, you might be able to, anyway; I can't. The joints on mine are quite literally the loosest joints on any TF in my collection. That's odd, because I've had this guy since he came out of the box ten-odd years ago, and I know he hasn't seen too much play. Most of his career has been spent as a display piece, which leads me to believe that Hasbro used substandard plastic on this release.

Another thing that supports that theory is the damage Prime has sustained on his left shoulder. The plastic has (at a point that recieves no stress during transformation or posing) cracked right through and broken off. There's no reason for that to have happened at all, and if poor plastic isn't at fault, I'm at a loss to explain it. The end result is that there is nothing covering the shoulder joint anymore, so I can (very carefully, mind you) disconnect his left arm from his body now. Kinda neat if I ever get the urge to re-enact Dark Awakening, but otherwise a bloody nuisance.

Prime can use his signature laser rifle in this mode, though it is somewhat difficult to get him to hold it (the gun has two handles; one for the robot to hold, and one to...look cool, or something. The second handle gets in the way). He could carry a rocket launcher in his other hand, I suppose. Unfortunately, the things are so heavy that he can't really aim them at anything except the ground. Mine actually can't even to that much, any more. If I put it in his left hand it tears his arm out of the socket, and if I put it in his right hand the hand falls out of the wrist socket. But since the rockets suck, that's not too big of a disappointment. His smokestacks can swing down to serve as weapons of some sort [note that some other versions of this mould have the stacks sealed into position]. All in all, he's got more than enough weaponry to qualify as Autobot Leader.

Transformation: 5 - Any Transfan who's seen more than a few episodes of the cartoon should be ashamed of themselves if they need instructions for this. That's not to say that the transformation is overly basic...but it's just as much a signature as Prime himself.
Durability: 5 - Low quality plastic doesn't do any favours for a mold that's already a bit delicate.
Fun: 8 - While none of his features are jaw-droppingly awesome, there are so many of them that he'll keep you busy for a while.
Price: 6 - It depends, I suppose, on whether or not you care what version of the mold you're getting. Trying to find a 100% complete version of G2 Prime would be an exercise in futility, considering all the small accessories that he came with (many of which I have long since lost). Op, the trailer, Roller, the main weapons and the voicebox aren't hard to find, though, and seem to come a bit cheaper than a similarly loose G1 version. But if you've got your heart set on having the gas pump or something, you'd be better off seeking out a reissue..
Summary: 7 - A pretty good mold, with a few alterations that donít really hurt anything. Recommended if you're in the market for a Prime and see one in good shape for a good price. There's nothing that really sets it apart from the thousand other releases of the mold floating around out there, though, so I wouldn't suggest you start actively searching for one.

 
 
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