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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kremzeek75's review of: Optimus Prime

Name: Optimus Prime
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Sub-Group: NA
"We will put out the fires of evil!"

Optimus Prime is the wise and courageous leader of the Autobots. He loves all creatures and will fight with every last spark of energy to defend the plant Earth and its inhabitants from Megatron and his evil plan of conquest and destruction. He dreams of a lasting peace on the planet and in the universe. He has battled the Predacons many times and saved countless lives. His ferocity is legendary - his anger against injustice blazes like a six-alarm fire within him.

To be honest, I was very reluctant to take on doing a review of Optimus Prime for many reasons like: "he is so iconic, how can I capture all of the grandeur that makes this character what he is?", or, in direct relation to the R.i.D. version, I asked myself "Am I up to the task of being so detailed with this figure who has so much detail to begin with?". Well, I claimed this review, and, like the honorable microprocessing glitch that I am, I must carry through at any cost, so I am going to ask you, the reader, to bear with me here and give me some latitude because I am sure I am going to forget some minute detail that I overlooked but may be very important to you.

So, like the Prime predecessors of yesteryear, we have a very complex but ultimately gratifying incarnation of the Prime figure here. This is the Hasbro Robots In Disguise version, which came after Beast Wars/Beast Machines, and created a whole new mythos in the Transformers Universe. IMO, the R.i.D. line was a well-received return to the non-animalistic vehicular styling of G1, but with a totally new attitude and look, and this Prime is, for lack of a better term, a "Prime" example. The various modes are actually quite numerous as you will see, so I am going to take it upon myself to slightly alter the format of this review to reflect very specific modes instead of the basic "Alt mode/Robot mode" that I usually use.

For starters, though, I think it's important to note how I came across this bot- I had seen him in the Specialty Shop that I frequent to buy Transformers for a long time, and after buying out their line of Takara Beast Wars II/Neo, I wanted to get back to the vehicular aspects of the Transformers. At first, I wanted to purchase both the Prime and Ultra Magnus R.i.D. models, but they only had Prime, so I bought him anyways, but I have done some research on how these two connect together, and will briefly touch upon that at the end of the review. Also, as an ode to collectors, I think it's important to note that this mold was taken from the Takara Car Robots line (Fire Convoy) and was also used as a TF Universe Exclusive repaint of Optimus Prime in yellow.

Alrighty then, let's get down to business.

Vehicle Mode:
As previously stated, you have a basic red fire truck here. It is impressive, and being an enthusiast of big rigs/vehicles, I like the concept. I mean, let's face it- when Takara came up with the mold for this guy, they were taking a pretty giant step in terms of going from a Semi Truck to Ape to a Fire truck, so I applaud them for thinking ever so slightly "out of the box" even though it still has the impression of a big rig. As stated for the Base mode, you can reveal the impressive array of weaponry located on the ladder portion of the truck also. So Prime rolls on, putting out the Decepticons in one fowl swoop. The truck is roughly a foot long, and is a pretty good sized rig when compared to the diminutive size of the spychangers.

Robot/Attack Robot Mode:
For this mode, I am specifically referring to the front cab piece only, which disconnects from the rear of the fire truck and becomes a stand-alone robot. Once you have gone through a rather difficult transformation process, you have what I think is the least attractive aspect/mode of the package. Prime stands about 8 inches tall, is decked out in a primary red color with white and light blue highlights, along with black appendages/vehicle aspects. The color scheme works great, but this smaller version of the bot is out of proportion. His arms and legs are way too big for the torso/chest area, and the feet are small and almost unnoticeable hiding under the really fat shins that Prime bears. However, to look at the limbs by themselves, they are completely detailed and articulate- many joints make many possibilities. The chest and head sculpts are also very articulate and aesthetically pleasing- the head in particular is damn near a direct homage to the G1 version with the "helmet with pointy tips" look, and the chest has a translucent blue hue to it. It is really a shame that the limbs are so out of proportion with the torso piece of this mode, otherwise you have a 10 sitting right there. What's more, you can attach certain parts that make up the fire truck body to increase his size as a battle bot, most notably, the bigger arm attachments which sport very detailed hands - they are not your standard "cupped fist mold with a hole in the middle for a weapon"- the thumbs and 4-finger quadrants are poseable and able to accompany any kind of weapon for the bigger bots. The other notable attachments are the shoulder blades, which look to have a "missile range" imbedded in them, and they also tend to give Prime a grander look, even though it throws the proportion of the figure out even more than without them. However, it is a nice feature, and does hold its own merit.

Base Mode:
After detaching the front cab portion of the fire truck, you have the rear ladder/wheel section which becomes a pretty nifty base on its own. The ladder features a double cannon turret at the end which can be visible or hidden, depending on your battle wary mood, and throughout the implied steps of the ladder, there are numerous projectile firing cannons which are spring loaded- at the touch of a lever, all cannons flick up simultaneously to reveal themselves in a very impressive array of fire power. In comparison to the past and future incarnations of Prime's trailer features, this one lies somewhere between the G1 trailer with Roller and the Armada spring loaded trailer in terms of coolness; the Roller trailer being, IMO, the best base/trailer example. You can potentially fit a ton of the little spychanger bots on and around this base having them control the cannons and what not. My only complaint about the base mode, which also extends to the entire Fire Truck Mode, is that the "Battle" Prime head is clearly visible, even though slightly bent forwards not to reveal too much of the facial features, but it is still visibly present to a point where I wish that it could have been designed to be tucked away somewhere completely. However, if you can ignore this, then you have a very cool little base here.

Battle/Matrix Mode:
In what I think is the most impressive mode of the entire package here, Prime's regality and splendor are in full throttle. Using the rear base/ladder portion of the truck and the attachments for the legs/shoulders/arms, you get Battle Matrix Prime- a bot who stands about a foot tall and is loaded with the most aesthetically pleasing details. Gone are the disproportionate features of the standard Prime bot- everything here clicks together. Takara achieved a success in combining the entire layout of the vehicle into one huge bot- it was something they tried to repeat later with the Armada version of Prime, but IMO, were less successful. My only complaint about the Battle Matrix mode is this: after attaching the rear portion of the truck atop the chest/torso piece, I found it hard to keep them connected. The piece has a severe tendency to "un-connect" at any given moment, and I think the reason for this is because the ladder part of the Matrix chest piece is too heavy for the body of Prime to sustain for any given length of time unless you have him completely immobile and/or propped up against something. I really wish there was a detachment feature for the ladder so Prime could stay in one piece. But alas, we still have an awesome bot here. One really cool detail is that this Prime features his own interpretation of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership- simply lift up the flap on the right side of the chest, and you can see the Matrix molded in the translucent blue and gray highlights with an orange energy core. Truly spectacular, me thinks. Prime also has a shoulder-mounted, spring loaded missile launcher that is attached to the left side of the neck/shoulder area, but I find it makes for a little "too cluttered" head area, so I attach it to one of the arms.

Omega Prime Mode:
Lastly, the R.i.D. prime is a merger of sorts with his equally cool looking brother, Ultra Magnus. They combine to form one huge robot, but unfortunately, I don't have the R.i.D. version of Magnus, so it's hard for me to form an absolute opinion about it. However, I am on the lookout for Magnus and as soon as I purchase him, I hope to review him as well as the Omega Prime combination. Judging from the pictures I have seen of Omega Prime, the detail looks fantastic and you can clearly make out which parts belong to Prime and Magnus. Here's to hoping I find him soon.

Transformation: 9 - This version of Prime was very difficult for me to transform- I had to refer to the directions constantly because there are a lot of "hidden" moves you have to make to get things exactly where they should be.
Durability: 8 - Basically you have a strong bot here, but the 2 point deduction is for the constantly detaching chest/shoulder/head mount you use for Battle Matrix Prime.
Fun: 9 - I found this Prime to be very entertaining and have begun to really explore what he can do in terms of action and articulation.
Price: 7 - Since I am not familiar with what he originally went for, I paid around $40 for him, M.I.B. at the local collector shop. I thought it was fair, as he was discontinued quite a while ago.
Summary: 9 - Definitely one of the better incarnations of Prime- I would recommend this over the current Armada/Energon versions that are available. His splendor adds a real polish to my collection.

 
 
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