Beast Machines Transformers Toy Review: Optimus Primal

in 2000, Action Figure Review, Beast Machines, Beast Wars, Maximal

Beast Machines Transformers

Name: Optimus Primal
Function: Maximal Commander
Motto: "Organic life is often hidden, sometimes overcome, but seldom extinguished!"

Optimus Primal, the stalwart commander of the Maximals developed his trademark valor and heroism during his role in the Beast Wars. Since returning to Cybertron, Optimus Primal takes on the new role, training his Maximals the methods of conversion - an art practically lost after the evil Megatron's virus wreaked havoc on Cybertron. In robot mode, he wields deflector arms which store energy and then regenerate as energy shurikins. Jump jets on back allow for short-range flight. Has limited insight into past and future. Can see and activate conversion potential in

Strength: 10+  Intelligence: 10+  Speed: 10+  Endurance: 10+
Rank: 10 Courage: 10+ Firepower: 10+ Skill: 10+

In his first apperance as a deluxe sized toy, Optimus Primal leads the Maximals again as a reformatted techno-organic gorilla. The Optimus Primal toy differs extremely from his animated counterpart, although it is easy to see where the inspiration for the TV show design came from.

Beast Mode:
In beast mode, Optimus Primal is now a techno-organic gorilla. Although this mode is meant to look fierce and dangerous, it succeeds more in looking rather plain. The detailing is nicely done, including wires running near his shoulders, a spinal column detailing and what appear to be muscle tissue patterns on his beast mode head in the jaw area. However, his hindquarters look rather awkward, as if there were a piece missing. For those curious, his beast mode head does not stick on on wires like the version shown in the Beast Machines TV show.

His primary color is a metallic black. Much of his body (including parts of his arms, chest and head) use translucent blue plastic while his eyes are translucent green. I am a big fan of translucent plastic, especially in Transformers toys. However, it appears here as if translucent plastic was used in place of painting detail. The best painting detail can be seen on his back where his gold colors "blend" into the black and translucent blue well.

By flipping down a panel on his back and pushing it back and forth, Optimus moves his arms, his mouth opens wide open and his chest opens to reveal his Spark Crystal. This action feature is emulated on the Beast Machines television show whenever Optimus Primal fires his energy stars from his chest in robot mode. As a gorilla, Optimus Primal has eighteen points of articulation.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
To begin the transformation, fold the halves of the beast mode leg/waist section out to the sides. Rotate the waist piece around. Flip out the panel cover on the best mode back. Fold the beast head into the slot. Next, fold out the beast mode arms to the sides. Swing down the back piece to reveal the robot head. Swing down the beast mode arms and combine the center sections to form the robot hips/waist. Straighten out the beast mode arms and feet to form the robot legs. To form the robot arms, turn the arms so they move to the front. Fold the shoulder pieces into place. Fold down the hold and black piece on his left leg and remove the green star and place it into his right hand. Close up the panel and Optimus Primal's robot mode is ready to rock!

Robot Mode:
Optimus Primal's robot mode is very solid. In fact, I was surprised at its heft when I first transformed it. Much like his CGI counterpart, he appears to be a very formidable character. However, this toy is an extreme departure from the Optimus Prime-inspired Optimus Primal toys of the past. Instead of a more mechanical look, this toy has a very organic, fluid look to it - mostly because of the curves and rounded details used. The face is also completely different, offering no hint of antannae on the sides or a mouth plate of any sort. If you have light shining directly on the toy, it creates a very nice effect. Not only do his eyes look like they're glowing, but all the translucent parts of his body seem to light up as well.

In this mode, Optimus Primal is primarily metalic black. Translucent blue makes up his hands, parts of his arms, and parts of his legs. His paint scheme works better in this mode because the spray ops used on his beast mode back are now his robot chest. His proportions are also very well done. In concert with his seventeen point articulation, Optimus Primal can achieve some pretty cool poses.

Optimus Primal's action feature is built into his right arm. With the green star in hand, push the arm up and let it go. The spring action throws the star at Vehicon enemies! The downside of this feature is that the posability of the right arm at the shoulder is not on a ball joint, but the spring, allowing the arm to go forward and backwards, but not out to the side.

One of the strengths of the Beast Wars Transformers line was how accurate the CGI models by Mainframe Entertainment resembled the toys they were based on. A deterant for some people from buying it may be its lack of resemblance to his CGI counterpart. Although the toys are made first, and then CGI models are created based on them, it was the animated Beast Machines Optimus Primal that most kids and Transformers fans are familiar with. The impression given with this toy is that the buyer is accepting a substitute, rather than a representation of the character they have seen on screen. Optimus Primal's beast mode is fairly weak, but his robot mode actually makes up for it enough to recommend
this toy. B-