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

Name: Optimus Prime
Function: Autobot Commander
Scale: 1/27 or 1/29, depending

"For thousands of years, OPTIMUS PRIME and his AUTOBOTS have traveled through space in search of the Allspark. For all that time, the AUTOBOT leader has held one goal in mind- to protect the universe from the evil of MEGATRON. For this massive, metal warrior, nothing is more important than freedom; he will sacrifice all for its preservation. He has fought for centuries, modifying his body into an unstoppable war machine, preparing for that day he knows is coming when he and MEGATRON meet for one final battle!"

Alternate Mode:
Optimus’ 2007 movie alternate mode is a Peterbilt truck. While this has had fanboys crying in their sleep for months, I have to say that I think it works. It’s fairly decent looking when in hand, the parts fit together very well and it is nicely detailed, with smokestacks, clearly visible rivets, clearance lights, fuel tanks… pretty much what you’d expect for a Leader-class movie toy. The button located on the cab roof sounds a fairly realistic air horn noise when pressed and is accompanied by flashing yellow lights in the cab. In my opinion, it’s a fairly fun alt mode.

The trucks colour scheme consists of primarily red and blue, the front end being mostly red with dark blue flames extending partway up along the front of the nose on a background of yellow fading into red. The red itself turns into flames as it extends across the cab on a background of dark blue and the cab roof also has the red flame motif extending into a dark blue background. The windows of the cab and headlights are all translucent blue and the smokestacks are a bendy, soft plastic. The Autobot symbol on the front end right above the grille is a nice touch.

Robot Mode:
This is where things fall apart a bit. At least for me- Prime has articulation, but it’s lacking in certain areas. For one thing, his head doesn’t move in any direction other than side to side, which is pretty annoying if you’re posing him with his arm aimed at something over his head. His feet are pretty poseable and probably possess the best articulation on the toy- it’s a ball joint so there is plenty of rotation and it’s a snug enough hold to keep the figure in place once you’ve posed him (as long as he isn’t leaning too far backwards) and the movement of the joint is very smooth. Prime’s feet also posses the “Automorph” transformation feature to aid in transforming from front bumper to robot feet.

Prime’s hips are a bit difficult to work with. His upper legs can move backwards, forwards and side to side, but there’s no real rotation. Most of my attempts to pose him have basically been a fight to keep the peg on the top half of his torso attached to the peg-hole in his bottom half due to the back-top heaviness of the toy and stiffness of the joints. The joints also produce a “clicking” noise when you move them- I can only assume this is deliberate, but I can’t really figure out why. If it’s there to “enhance” the transformation experience, it’s failing miserably in my opinion.

Though annoying, it’s understandable that Optimus would be back-top heavy seeing as how his batteries are encased in his fuel tanks (which end up on his back in robot mode), but it’s pretty damn annoying nonetheless. Also, do not figure that you can pose him on one knee- Prime’s knees don’t bend backwards very far. He can effect a running pose, but don’t expect him to stay there for longer than a few seconds.

Strangely enough, Prime rotates better at the knee than he does bend… you can twist the entire lower leg below the knee 360 degrees if you want- not that it does any good, it doesn’t really effect anything and isn’t at all useful during transformation as far as I can see. Both of Prime’s hands are almost fully moveable- all the fingers are nicely jointed and can move independently of one another, but the hand is fused to the plastic base at the wrist so you can't bend it or twist it. The shoulder joints probably have the best articulation on the figure, next to the feet- they are almost free of any stiffness and they don’t produce an annoying “clicking” noise when moved. Unfortunately, the elbow joint is just as stiff as the rest of the joints on the figure.

The decent parts of this figure are probably mostly within the bells and whistles- the “Automorph” transformations of the head from truck to robot, and the transformation of the feet mentioned earlier. Unlike Prime’s feet, his heads transformation is fully automated and simply involves pushing up on a part of the torso. This part of the transformation is accompanied by “transforming” sounds, flashing yellow lights in Prime’s eyes and in the cab windows.

Transformation: 7. I don’t see how the average five-to-seven year old is going to transform this figure from robot to back without a bit of help, but it’s easy enough once it’s figured out.
Durability: 7. It takes rough fumbling pretty well, but there are a couple of parts (the rear wheels, for example) that look like they could possibly break if dropped.
Fun: 5. Transformation/posing is pretty frustrating due to the annoying back-top heaviness, the head lacks articulation, I imagine that the stiff joints would make for frustrating play and the damn clicking drives me nuts- but the Automorph transformation is pretty nifty.
Price: on sale 6, regular 4. Bought at a sale price of around $48.00 Canadian. Regular price is apparently around $68.00 however.
Overall: 7. It’s a decent figure and has some fun features but if you aren’t a big Prime fan (or really hate the blue/red flame colour scheme) I’d skip this one.

 
 
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