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

Name: Optimus Prime Articulated Keychain / Keyring
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Sub-Group: Keychain / Keyring

Let’s get this straight from the outset: I did not think these articulated keychains were a great idea when I first read the product listings. Frankly, I like Transformers that transform. Photos did little to enthuse me, although detailing did look promising. I sure wasn’t gonna shell out my hard earned dosh on these things.

But, what you do realize is that this kinda movie tie-in nonsense is exactly the sort of thing friends or relatives feel will make a clever and wonderful gift for that Transformers fan in their life. And so, I got an Optimus Prime keychain (surprising, given I’m more known as a Bumblebee fan, but given the horrendously contorted molding on the Bumbles, man am I glad…).

And, honestly, it wasn’t too bad. I would never spend my own money on one, but as a random gift, he’s come up trumps. He now adorns one of my smaller rucksacks, which goes trekking up hills while I do my ecological survey work in the wilds of Scotland. And he entertains me when I have a lunch gap in a dull day.

Anyhoo, on to the brief review of the actual piece of rubberised plastic!


Robot Mode:

Given the fellow has no alternate mode, we may as well get straight in to the robot mode. Well, we have no choice, really…

Legs straight, Prime stands 3 1/2” (9cm) tall, and is jam packed with detail. Fro, what I’ve seen of the Robot Replicas line, this keychain is actually the most accurate representation of Prime’s Movie robot incarnation, and a darn-sight cheaper too! His proportions are almost 100% accurate to boot. (So, yeah, he’s a rather lanky fellow!)

The majority of the figure is silver – he actually is shiny – a step above the standard Leader and Voyager Class paint applications / plastic quality – and it looks good. Over this, he has applications of gold (metallic), blue, red and black. Some rather small panels are painted, with little or no colour running into adjacent areas. Flames are also painted, but are rather limited in their distribution. Unfortunately, this rather excellent paint job is itself quite sparse, leaving the majority of the figure that bright silver. I have to admit, silver is far better for detail than a flat colour ever would be, but it seems such a waste given the amazing detail – the keychain really would have benefited from a few more paint applications. But, hey, this is a cheap movie cash-in. We’re lucky it’s a good as it is – the difference between actually keeping a gift, and passing on it (come on, we can’t keep everything!).

The paint applications are not the most durable – in part due to the fact that the entire ‘figure’ is molded in rubberised plastic. My keychain sees some tough wear at work (I took the photo after a single day’s expedition – he looks considerably worse now!). Luckily, the silver/grey plastic looks like battle wear coming through the edges just now. I doubt he’ll look so good in another couple of months though!

Of course, we ought not to forget that he is articulated – as is a prime boast! He has simple single plane joints at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips and knees. This offers a standard array of poses – however, as always seems to happen with this sort of figure, the designers could not resist molding an arm in a rather odd position. Still, this is minor compared to the horrendously contorted form of the Bumblebee keychain!

Wow, that was longer than I expected. Apologies if you got this far!

So, what’s the verdict? Not a bad gift, and entertaining on hills, but merely a cash-in, despite the exceptional detail. It’s sure far too big to conveniently sit in your pocket!


Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 0 – There ain’t one!
Durability: 6 – The rubberised plastic is easily damaged, and deforms under pressure, while the paint applications rub off a little too easily.
Fun: 2 – A blast when there’s nothing else whatsoever to do or see.
Price: 4 – £2.50 to £5.00 (just change the currency symbol for a shelf price conversion for the US!). A bit steep for what you get. I wouldn’t shell out myself. Buy a Legends Class figure instead!
Overall: 2 – I would say leave it on the shelf, but some folks will enjoy this enough to buy it, let’s face it. As a gift, it’s a pleasant surprise. But it’s unlikely to find a position of prestige within any Transformers collection – even your keychain sub-collection!
 
 
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