Transformers Prime First Edition Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, First Edition, Generation One, Prime, Voyager

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: January 2012
Price Point: $70-120.00 (Depending on import store price)
Retailer: Japanese market exclusive, International importers
Accessories: Blaster, Cybertron Blade Weapon

Images:

*Images from Ebay.com

Optimus PrimeThe "First Edition" versions of "Transformers Prime" figures were one of the more frustrating lines to collect. While wave one of the deluxe figures were released in the U.S., other figures were only released in other countries including the "First Edition" version of Voyager Class Optimus Prime. This differs from the "Robots in Disguise" version due later this year. At the time I am writing this (February 2012), Hasbro has said it wants to find a way to get this sculpt out in the U.S., but that venue has yet to be determined (if it happens at all).

I've already reviewed the Deluxe Version of Optimus Prime released as part of the "Entertainment Pack" and as a San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive. I feel that this is the version of Prime fans have been waiting for however as it is larger than the Deluxe figures and more closely matches the scale of the character on the television show (compared to others like Bumblebee).

Packaging:
The packaging for First Edition Voyager Class Optimus Prime is reminscent of the "Masterpiece" packaging used on recent releases like the "Masterpiece" Rodimus Prime from Toys R Us. A cardboard base has a clear plastic box attached to it with a flip open lid at the top. The figure is set inside on a plastic tray and slides out easily. Considering I spent a pretty penny on this guy, I'm really happy that the packaging was designed to allow me to take the figure out and put it back in for display.

Inside the box, Optimus Prime is in robot mode, posing with his weapons attached to his hands. The figure is held down by the biodegradable ties used in recent Transformers toys, not the more familiar plastic "twist ties" of the past. Hidden from view is a cardboard display stand that can be removed from the box for Optimus to stand on. Underneath that is a plastic bag with the instructions and a catalog of Transformers figures from Japan.

The artwork on the box follows the designs of the other "First Edition" toys with a dark blue background and artwork from the television series on the back. Most of the text on the packaging is in English, making this reviewer wonder how widespread this was meant to be in North American before the entire "First Edition" thing fell apart. On the sides are two different pieces of artwork, both from promotional renderings used for "Transformers Prime". The back shows the now familiar shot of the Autobots standing on a cliff with photos of the figure above it. Interestingly, there's no tech spec written anywhere on the box, nor was one included with the figure (just a catalog and instructions).

Robot Mode:
In the "Transformers Prime" television show, Optimus is designed to exaggerate his proportions in such a way that he winds up looking powerful and sleek all at the same time. His upper body is wide, looking almost like that of a body builder leading to a relatively small mid-section and waist. His legs are long but relatively wide as well. His general body shapes include blocky sections such as the "windshields" on his chest while other sections have curved sections such as the armor on his arms. These design elements are all present in this figure, where the upper body looks wide, almost out of proportion with the rest of the body, yet this does not make the figure look bad in any way. Indeed, it makes him look powerful, as if all it would take is one punch from this guy to knock any Decepticon aside!

While the Deluxe version of this character had some nicely sculpted detail, this size class let the designers amp things up. His head sculpt is really intricate, designed with the mouthplate in the "battle" position and horizontal ridges on both his crest and the areas on either side of his mouthplate on the helmet. I was most impressed by the designs around his neck area. Generally this is left rather plain on most Transformers, but here there are tube and machinery details on his neck and at the base. His chest has the familiar "window" panels, which really are not the vehicle mode windows - and that's a good thing in my book. Their design is not constrained by the vehicle mode windows. Instead, the designers were free to integrate circuit board like designs into the windows themselves, leading to angled panels that fill out the chest. The mid-section also has nice sculpting in the from of armor that covers his mid-section in layers. Overall, this is one impressive looking sculpt.

Before going into the color scheme, it is important to note the Takara Tomy versions of the "Transformers Prime" First Edition figures did not use the same colors as the versions released outside Japan. Instead, Japan went with darker tones and colors intended to better match the figure up with its animated counterpart. On Optimus Prime, this means his obligatory red and blue plastic colors are darker shades than you might expect, but both plastics have a wonderful metallic shine to them that is really striking to look at. The red and blue are balanced out by a light, gunmetal and silver plastic on smaller parts like his ghighs, mid-section and the middle of the arms. Three key parts are cast in a grey, soft rubber plastic: the smokestack and his blade weapon. I'm not a big fan of this type of plastic but I understand the safety concerns being addressed here. I just wish the plastic were a little less soft as it is very easy to warp the rubbery plastic accidentally. A bit of translucent blue plastic is used on this mode as well. You'll find it overlaid on top of the gunmetal plastic in the chest area, simulating the vehicle mode windows. These colors are rounded out by black plastic, making up his vehicle mode wheels (all visible in this form), the front of his feet and his blaster weapon. The blaster is not just black however, there are some silver paint flecks on it that enhance its appearance.

When I review the paint decos on this figure, it amazes me how few there are while still making the figure look awesome. Silver, metallic blue, yellow, light blue and black are the paint colors used on this figure. Silver is perhaps the most heavily used color. You'll find it on his legs and on his head. There it is used to fill out intricate details such as the crest, mouth plate and the area round his eyes. Wondering where his Autobot symbol is? Look on the side of his right arm where it is painted big and bold in silver. The metallic blue and yellow provide details around his waist and mid-body respectively. The light blue paint is used on the edge of his blade weapon, giving it an "energy glow". Most surprising to me was the black paint used on his eyes! Usually Autobot eyes are filled out as blue, but here they're black, perhaps to offer contrast from the silver or to keep with the dark tone of the figure. Interestingly, the top of his head shows a clear blue piece, meaning the figure is designed to allow for light piping but it wasn't used. This is the only flaw in the deco in my opinion.

Optimus Prime has twenty two points of articulation in this form. This includes five points in each arm and leg. His waist does turn, however, it's more to facilitate his transformation than as a point of articulation. When you turn it, he looks less like he's turning his waist and more like the lower half of his body has slightly separated from the top half. Still, it functions and if posed right does look nice.

The aforementioned blaster and blade weapon are Optimus' two primary weapons. This is a good old fashioned Transformer. No crazy gimmicks in this mode. Nothing lights up, nothing combines with him - he carries weapons and looks awesome doing so. Each of the weapons is designed not just to be held by the hands, but to slide over them as well, creating the illusion that his hand has retracted and been replaced with the weapon as he does on the television show. His fists have standard 5mm peg holes allowing him to hold weapons from other lines such as "Generations" and "Dark of the Moon". This type of "back to basics" Transformer is welcome in my collection. Remember, tranfsormation is the primary gimmick!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Fold the front and back halves of the feet together.
  3. Push each middle armor piece on the arms down.
  4. On each forearm, swing the panel on the bottom out, then swing the fists in. Then swing the panel up to partially cover the hand.
  5. Rotate each arm so it is pointing upwards.
  6. Rotate the waist piece around.
  7. Swing the chest panels together.
  8. Swing the arms/chest panel section down to reveal the vehicle mode windows.
  9. Swing the forearms up so the arms are in an L shape and connect them together.
  10. Swing the sections with the smokestacks on them down.
  11. Swing the wheeled sections that were on the shoulders forward.
  12. Rotate the panels on the forearms to begin forming the nose of the vehicle mode.
  13. Attach the tabs at the back of the forearm panels to slots right under the vehicle windshield.
  14. Swing the wheels from the shoulder area down, then swing them forward and connect them to form the front of the vehicle.
  15. With the smokestack panels out to the sides, swing the panels that form the back out.
  16. Swing the robot head back.
  17. Swing the panels with the smokestacks down and push them into place, including attaching the tabs on the panels from the back into the slots in the smokestacks.
  18. On the right leg, swing out the hitch for a trailer.
  19. Connect the two legs together, the hitch piece connects to the left leg to help keep the legs together.
  20. Swing the front halves and feet from each leg up, with the feet forming the wind vane on the top of the truck.
  21. The weapons can be attached to the hitch and holes on the back of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Taking inspiration from his live action movie counterpart, "Transformers Prime" Optimus Prime's vehicle mode is a longnose tractor trailer cab. In the films he transformed into a Peterbilt truck. While not a Peterbilt in name, the spirit of the vehicle is there including the longnose shape in front, an Autobot symbol on the grille (instead of on top) and even a wind vane on top flanked by smoke stacks. The front section has two wheels and the back has four. The television show's CGI model is very clean looking, without tons of greebles and bits showing everywhere and that aesthetic is reflected here. Sure there are some details including a front grille split into two sections, a row of lights over the windshield, raised circular details resembling bolts and a cross hatch pattern on the steps leading up to the doors of the truck. The detailing on this vehicle mode looks great and definitely keeps it from looking boring.

The same plastic colors used in robot mode appear here, however in this form a lot of the red detailing is providing by red paint on parts cast in other colors. This includes the panels on the side and the wind vane on top of the truck. A bit of blue paint is used to form an angled design on the sides near the smokestacks, mirroring the design seen on the show. Yellow paint is used to give color to the row of lights running on top of the windshield. Silver paint is used on the cross hatched sections on the sides, but surprisingly not on the sides of the wheels, leaving them looking all black which is not my preference and doesn't jive with the CGI model. Out of all the details, this is the only real weakness in the deco.

As mentioned earlier, you can attach both of Prime's weapons to the rear of the vehicle via two peg holes and his hitch. However, the hole on the hitch section is slightly smaller than the other two, so most of your standard weapons won't fit there. Since the blade weapon is super soft plastic, it can squeeze in. The other two holes (one on each leg) allow for regular 5mm pegged weapons to attach without a problem.

Final Thoughts:
There's a lot of awesome in First Edition Optimus Prime. I can't say I'd recommend everyone run out and spend $100 on it, but if indeed Hasbro comes through with it's potential (I stress potential) re-release of this sculpt I'd say it's more than worth it to pick it up at retail. The figure has a fantastic look in both modes, cool posability and a unique transformation scheme. Highly recommended!