Release Date: May 2023
Price Point: $34.97 (Depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (International), Walmart Exclusive (United States)
Accessories: Swords x 2
Official images and text below in italics are from Walmart.com
Imagine charging into battle as your favorite characters from Transformers: Rise of the Beasts with this Voyager Class Optimus Primal action figure! Figures are articulated for posing and come with cool weapon accessories. (Each sold separately, subject to availability.) Transformers toys for 6 year old boy and girl and up make great gifts for kids. The battle on Earth is no longer between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts introduces mysterious factions, the Maximals, the Predacons, and the Terrorcons, in an epic 90s globetrotting adventure. Buzzworthy Bumblebee action figures feature special Buzzworthy Bumblebee collectible packaging. Includes figure, 2 accessories, and instructions.
- VOYAGER CLASS OPTIMUS PRIMAL TOY: Voyager Class Transformers action figures stand at 6 inches tall and are articulated for cool battle poses. Great robot toys for 6 year old boys and girls!
- 2 MODES: This kids Transformers toy Optimus Primal action figure converts from robot to gorilla mode in 24 steps
- BATTLE ACCESSORIES: This Transformers Optimus Primal toy includes 2 sword accessories that attaches to the figure in both modes
- Transformers: Rise OF THE BEASTS: Featuring robot and beast characters inspired by the epic Transformers movie, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts! Makes a great superhero action figure gift for boys and girls
- LOOK FOR MORE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE TOYS: Collect other Transformers: Rise of the Beasts movie toys (Each sold separately, subject to availability)
The Rise of the Beasts toy line began trickling into Target stores in March of 2023, but it would be in April 2023 that the line would take over shelves in a full blown launch at Walmart stores in North America (Target stores caught up weeks later). Many of the figures released in the Rise of the Beasts toy line featured scales and play patterns clearly aimed at younger fans including the simplified transformations of the "Beast Alliance" figures. However, a small subset of the line were Voyager Class figures much more akin to figures from the Generations line of figures. However, at no time were these figures marked as Generations figures on the packaging. These were also separate from the eventual Studio Series versions of the characters.
This Voyager Class Optimus Prime should not be confused with the Optimus Primal figure being released by Takara Tomy. The two are separate toys.
The Rise of the Beasts Voyager Class figures were mass releases outside of the United States and were found at various stores including Toys 'R' Us. Inside the United States however the Voyagers had a very strange release. As of June 2023 the figures have only been spotted at Walmart stores. Even then, distribution has been spotty at best. Some stores have almost never had any of these in stock. At the same time I have seen fans claim that their shelves are flooded with Optimus Prime and Rhinox figures. Optimus Primal however is fairly rare because he (apparently) only shipped in the first wave of these figures. So rare is this figure that I wound up having to order it from Amazon Japan after weeks of hoping it would come in stock on Walmart's web site (and never seeing it in stores). This is why I have listed these as Walmart exclusives in the United States. If these ever appear in other stores later in the U.S. I will edit this review accordingly.
Optimus Primal is packaged in a rectangular box, similar in shape to a Studio Series box, lacking the angles used on boxes for Legacy. The packaging uses the green background found on other packaging in the line. A large Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with a small Autobot symbol above it. The top half has an open window that shows off the top half of the figure without a plastic window. Below that is stock art of Optimus Primal in beast mode. Below the art is the name Optimus Primal with the Maximal symbol. The Rise of the Beasts logo is set below that.
The back of the box shows off Optimus Primal in both modes calling out a 24 step transformation. A symbol that looks like it is from an ancient temple featuring the gorilla symbol is in the upper right hand corner. The green background features fauna in a jungle, calling back to one of the settings in the film.
One of the biggest concerns Transformers fans have had over the past decade or so is the slow shrinking of action figures as time has gone along. Compare a Deluxe Class figure from 2007 to one from 2023 and the modern day ones are much smaller than their past counterparts. Transformers rarely have action features anymore such as missile launchers or electronics, all due to cost cutting. However, Hasbro has tried to stem the tide of this shrinkage as best they can (with varied results). While nowhere nearly as serious as Optimus Prime, this figure will have some fans scratching their collective heads about the size class.
According to this figure's Walmart listing the figure is priced at $34.97 and the figure is even labeled as a Voyager Class on the product page. However, from a pure size and weight standpoint, this may surprise some people. The figure stands at about 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) tall. He weighs in around 4.1 ounces. In recent years we have had Voyager Class figures like Legacy Bulkhead who stands at 7 inches (about 17.78 centimeters) tall and weighs in at 5.1 ounces and other figures sold at the Voyager price point like Override who weighs in at 3.5 ounces. This figure falls in the middle ground somewhere.
Optimus Primal includes two identical sword accessories. The shape of the swords is based on the ones used by Optimus Primal in the 90's Beast Wars cartoon. Each features a cuved blade with lines running along the sides of the blade. The handles have circle details at the hilt, another detail inspired by the original Beast Wars Optimus Primal's swords. These pieces are made of grey plastic with the blades painted silver. Each sword has a handle with 5mm pegs. These can be held in Primal's hands or both can be attached to the same hand to form a double bladed weapon, another callback to the original Beast Wars Optimus Primal toy. Each sword also has tabs on them that allow you to attach them to his back for storage.
In the Rise of the Beasts film Optimus Primal spends most of the movie in his beast mode and does not transform until the final battle towards the end of the film. Even then, we do not get any real slow motion "beauty" shots that allow the audience to get a good look at the robot mode design. To that end I largely referenced the model shown off when Takara Tomy posted several character models from Rise of the Beasts on their web site. In the film, the best look we get at Optimus Primal is during the final battle when he and Optimus Prime take on Battletrap so I also referenced that scene for this review.
One of the hat tricks that CG allows you to do in Transformers films is taking one form and turning it into a robot form that may or may not make a whole lot of sense from the standpoint of mass and size. In the case of Optimus Primal, he was a rather chunky and powerful looking gorilla-bot that transforms into a strong looking but somewhat streamlined robot mode. In this case, the designers decided to create a relatively stocky robot form to maintain the bulkiness of the beast mode. At the same time however, they kept a lot of the details seen in the CG mode. These include:
- Head: The head design looks like a streamlined take on Optimus Prime's head. The "helmet" section looks more like it wraps around the head than sitting on top of it (as it does on Optimus Prime). The mouthplate wraps around the head and unlike his Beast Wars counterpart his mouth does not show. The mouthplate also has an extra layer that wraps around the sides and his "antennae" on the sides of his head connect to flat circles.
- Torso: In the film, Optimus Primal's robot torso is streamlined to the point of being almost slim near the abdominal area. It looks like a layer of armor sitting on top of the parts simulating chest and abdominal muscles. This figure does have those sculpted details but the torso section is rather bulky, unlike the more sleek looking body on the CG model. Still, the details are there (even a "collar" piece behind the head) and I appreciate that.
- Arms: Each arm features armor that sticks out to the sides a bit at the shoulders and thick forearms. The armor on the arms are a combination of "fur" details and armor plating over them. His shoulder armor swings up in a way that is very similar to the original Beast Wars Optimus Primal Ultra Class toy.
- Legs: Like the arms, each leg has parts that look like organic details (skin and fur) with metal armor wrapping over them. The pattern on the thighs and the shape of the feet match up nicely with the CG model seen in the film.
Overall the sculpt on this figure is great. Sure the bulk may not match the film 100%, but honestly, it really does "feel" like an Optimus Primal. The original 1996 Ultra Class Primal was rather bulky (as were other Primal toys that came after) so I am okay with this.
Primal is made up of metallic dark grey and silver plastic. Most of the body is the dark grey. Smaller parts like his feet and hands are a lighter silver plastic. Under some light the dark grey plastic looks flat, but put it under the right light and it has a nice metallic shine to it. Silver paint is used for a lot of the detailing such as a band of metal on the shoulders, the mouthplate and armor on the legs. Color-wise this fits with what we see on screen in the film, but he needs a bit more silver on his torso to be more screen accurate. I do find myself wishing that the on-screen model had used some blue and red (both colors from the original Optimus Primal toy) to make the character pop more visually. Hasbro kind of did this with the "Beast Combiner" Optimus Primal and the colors really do add a much needed splash of color. That said, I cannot hold a toy responsible for a movie's color scheme.
There are twenty four points of articulation on this figure. This includes five in each arm and six in each leg. His fists can hold his weapons either separately or together. You can also store the swords on this back.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- On each leg, lift up the panels on the front of the lower legs.
- Fold the halves of the feet together, then swing them up into the lower legs, then swing the panel from the last step down.
- Lift up the waist panel on the back.
- Rotate the lower body around then lower the waist panel.
- Swing the lower legs up at the knee joints, then swing down the lower legs. The thighs should be tucked under the waist panel.
- Push the shoulder armor down.
- Swing the top most armor panel on the chest down.
- Swing the chest panel halves down, revealing the robot head.
- Pull out the section with the robot and beast mode heads on it, rotate it around, then push it back in.
- Swing the top-most chest armor panel up and in.
- Swing the chest panels back together.
- Swing the robot arms forward and rotate the fists around.
- The swords can be attached to the back.
- Move the beast mode head up so it is looking forward.
Optimus Primal's beast mode gets a lot of screen time in Rise of the Beasts so fans have a good idea of what he looks like. This figure manages to replicate a lot of those on-screen appearances though the proportions of the figure are a bit different since the figure needs to be able to transform and tuck away parts like the beast mode head. Overall the body is chunky and powerful looking, but the beast mode head is more narrow than it appeared to be on screen. However, given the limitations needed for this figure to transform I am okay with it.
A lot of the details from the robot mode carry over here, but a bit more emphasis winds up on his back, which features a lot of nice details. Interestingly, the best look we get at the back of the beast mode may be the statues used as promotional items for the film this summer. You can see photos of them from their time in New York City here. Based on the statue design, the biggest difference between the two is the amount of organic detailing. On the figure, the back looks almost entirely mechanical, with armor panels overlapping parts that look like machinery and there is a mechanical spine running down the middle. On the statue however (which I presume is based on the film's CG model) we see "fur" and "skin" patches on the top and bottom of the back section that are absent on this figure. I would attribute this difference to the CG model being tweaked after it was sent to Hasbro to create this figure. I still think it looks cool and there is plenty of "organic" detailing on the arms and legs.
Other cool details include the very intriciately sculpted head which features lots of mechanical detailing and the torso panels, which now feature a more mechanical looking chest. Overall Primal looks great in this mode.
The only newly revealed parts in this mode are the beast mode head and (I'm stretching here) the beast mode feet. The feet have digits that are painted silver while the head has blue eyes. We get to see more silver paint on the back as well. The deco is good and faithful to the look of the character on screen, I just wish the actual movie model had been given some brighter splashes of color.
There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. Most of this winds up concentrated in the arms with limited movement on the legs. The swords attach to his back for storage.
I really like this figure. It may not be up to par with the upcoming Leader Class Studio Series Optimus Primal, but for what it is I really like it. My only regret is that I had to import this from Japan because of its rarity in the United States. However, I know there are some countries where this guy is all over the toy store shelves. If you can easily get your hands on this figure, absolutely go for it. If you need to import it like I did, I would really give a lot of thought if the markup is worth it. Recommended!
- Excellent sculpt in both modes featuring beautiful detailing.
- Good articulation and play value.
- Faithful to the on-screen CG model.
- Intuitive and fun transformation.
- Not the biggest (or smallest) Voyager figure in the past couple years. Given the price point this may put some people off.
- The scarcity of this figure makes getting it frustrating for some fans.