Speed Stars Stealth Force Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2010, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Movie (2007), Speed Stars


Speed StarsStealth Force

General Information:
Release Date: July 2010
Price Point: $29.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Missiles x 2

Images:

Videos (from my Youtube channel, this will open in a new browser window):

*Images with asterisks(*) and text below in italics from The Official Transformers Web Site:
OPTIMUS PRIME in truck mode is fierce enough, but this OPTIMUS PRIME truck figure has 2 modes to attack his enemies in vehicle form! When you press the AUTOBOT logo, your OPTIMUS PRIME vehicle's weapons deploy to fire missiles at his enemies. OPTIMUS PRIME won't need to convert to robot mode as long as his vehicle weapons hold out!

Package becomes a vehicle stand. Product does not convert to robot. Includes 3 "AAA" batteries. Ages 4 and up.

Last year, the Transformers introduced a sub-line known as "R.P.M.'s", aka the "Robot Powered Machines". This expression of the brand focused on the vehicular aspect of Transformers play including Hot Wheels styled cars and larger vehicles that had more kiddified transformations. At Toy Fair 2010 it was revealed that the line would continue with an added sub-line known as "Stealth Force". The idea is that a vehicle roughly deluxe size or larger would have a gear system that allowed it to transform from a regular vehicle mode to a "battle mode" with all sorts of weaponry appearing from hidden compartments in the toy. Some of these vehicles also included electronics, and one of these was Optimus Prime.

Packaging:
Speed Stars Optimus Prime was released over the course of two years. First in 2010, then later in 2011. The first version was packaged in an open package sitting on a cardboard box with artwork in front and behind it. This is the version reviewed in this article. A second version was shown at Toy Fair 2011 with the same toy but packaged in a plastic tube like box sitting on an orange base. I've never actually seen this version in stores myself, but that doesn't mean it may not have come out somewhere, but distribution of the Speed Stars line in general in 2011 was quite spotty so it's hard to say. Still, Hasbro shows this version on their web site (see official photos above) so I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge it.

Vehicle Mode:
Speed Stars Optimus Prime is one of the largest Speed Stars vehicles released for the line. The vehicle measures about 9 inches (about 22 centimeters). Representing the cab from the live action movies, Optimus is large and in charge. The front end angles inward, creating a sleek form despite its bulk. This leads to the middle section where most of the bulk of the vehicle is concentrated, complete with a panel that covers the back section of the cab. The back has the rear wheel wells and the trailer hitch. The rear is perhaps the only part that is a bit "blocky", but it's not by much and indeed it conveys even more of a sense of power.

A lot of smaller details are incorporated into the vehicle very nicely. The front wheel wells have headlights mounted on them, the iconic Autobot symbol above the grille is present and there are lots of tiny raised circle details representing bolts running along the front and sides of the vehicle. Other awesome details include a row of lights above the windshield, ridged platforms leading up to the doors of the vehicle on the sides and a cross hatch pattern on platforms on the back of the vehicle. All of these details point to realistic elements of the vehicle that would be used on the real life version of the truck. The one big embelishment is the Autobot symbol on the top of the vehicle which doubles as the button that activates its action features, lights and sounds (more on that in a bit).

Speed Stars Optimus Prime doesn't seek to reinvent Optimus' colors. It sticks with the traditional red, silver, blue and black colors we've come to expect from the character. The red plastic is found on the front and back with blue making up a lot of the center section. Silver makes up a lot of the vehicle, but most of it is found on the underside of the vehicle. You've probably guessed that the black color already makes up the tires, but it also makes up the trailer hitch section in the back. The smokestacks on this vehicle are made of soft plastic to prevent possible injury if someone gets poked by them. This makes them prone to warping if you're not careful.

Paint colors on this figure include: red, blue, orange, black and silver. The orange paints a nice fade pattern into red on the front end of the vehicle. The red paint is also found on the rear wheel wells as well as the center of the vehicle where it paints the flame patterns on the top and sides. The Autobot symbol on top is also painted in red. The blue paint is mainly used for the flame details over the orange section in the front and the red wheel wells in the back. Black paint is most heavily used on the front grille and windows. finally, silver paint is used not just on the sides of the wheels, but also on other parts such as the frame around the grille, the headlights, the smokestacks and the steps going up to the doors. Overall, it's a great paint job and really offers a nice and detailed version of the vehicle we've come to know and love (well, most of us) from the movies.

The Speed Stars vehicles generally have some representation of the robot mode, usually sculpted onto the underside of the vehicle. However, that is not the case with Optimus, who only has long tubes and other truck-like details underneat (along with a big, red Autobot symbol). Instead, Optimus is choc full of action features in this mode. Press the big Autobot symbol button on top of the figure (or the smaller button next to it if you don't want to rub all the red paint off) and several sound effects will play along with phrases recorded by Peter Cullen himself! Most of these sound bytes are mash ups of several key phrases and sounds such as the blaster fire and engine noises. Accompanying the sounds are red and blue lights from the middle and front respectively.

  • The center of the vehicle lights up red (which only peeks out a bit around the cabin section) and Optimus Prime yells out "I am Optimus Prime!".
  • Several short noise bursts go off that sound like blaster fire along with flashing red lights in the center. This has two different sequences.
  • Optimus yells "Let's burn rubber!" followed by the sound of acceleration and brakes squealing.
  • A variation on the above just has the same truck noises preceded by Optimus saying "Turn here."
  • Optimus orders "Move out!" followed by engine noises, tires squealing and then blaster sounds.
  • Optimus orders "Autobots, transform and roll out!"

Transformation to Battle Mode:
Press the sound button enough times and eventually it will play the classic "transformation" sound originating from the G1 Transformers series. When this happens, several parts change including:

  • The two panels that cover the nose of the truck swing up to reveal weaponry underneath.
  • The smokestacks swing down to point forward.
  • The front wheel wells extend out to the sides slightly.
  • The side panels swing forward to reveal weaponry on the inside.
  • The sides of the truck's middle portion swing up to reveal missile launchers.
  • The cylinders on the sides of the truck extend out at slight angles as cannons.
  • The rear wheel wells extend out slightly.

This may go against the grain for some fans, but I have to say this is some of the most fun I've had with any live action movie representation of Optimus Prime. Having any Transformers toy use authentic sound effects while transforming is already fun, but a lot of the parts that transform are super fun. It also helps that all the parts move in concert. It's not like the smokestacks come down, then the wheels move out etc. Everything happens in one very smooth motion that looks simply stunning when you see it in action.

To transform Optimus back into his vehicle (non-battle) form, just keep pressing the buttons and he'll convert again, also playing the transformation sound. There are a few times I have left the vehicle sitting on my desk and it's transformed back on its own. Sometimes when transforming back into the vehicle form, you may have to push the panels on the sides in slightly.

Battle Mode:
Now armed and ready to do some damage on the road, Optimus Prime winds up revealing eight weapons in this mode! Starting at the top of the vehicle are two missile pods on the sides, each one with six missile tubes in it. Moving down, the cylinders on the sides become large cannons complete with raised detailing on the inside of the barrel. The side panels that fold out reveal machinery both on the insides of the blue section in the middle and weaponry on the panels themselves. The weapons look like either a dual barreled blaster or a blaster with a large scope on top. Above those weapons are the smokestacks, which are now pointing down to presumably fire some deadly blasts at enemies! Finally, the front end of the vehicle has two missile launchers with firing missiles. Press the buttons on the sides and translucent blue missiles shoot out at Prime's foes! I love the newly revealed details which really hint at the "robot in disguise" hiding in the form of an Earth truck.

Almost all the newly revealed parts are silver. This includes the blasters on the sides, the missile pods and the missile launchers in the front.

The phrases and sounds from the truck remain the same as the previous mode, but this time out you can see the lights a lot better. Whenever a blaster noise goes off, a blue light flashes in the front (situated between the two missile launchers). From the smokestacks you can see red light glowing, as if the smokestacks themselves were glowing red with energy. These lights don't flash randomly, they flash in concer with the sound effects. For instance, if you press the button and Prime "fires" three blasts, the light in the front pulses three times! I love the way the sounds and lights are tied together. It really gives the vehicle a sense of being "alive", creating some wonderful toy magic.

Final Thoughts:
As you can probably tell reading this review, I'm quite enamored with this toy. It's not a Transformer in the traditional sense for sure (meaning something transforming into a robot) but for the sub-line it represents it's an awesome piece of engineering and design. If you're into vehicle toys or dig the highway battle scenes in the live action movies, I think you'll get a kick out of this toy. Highly recommended!