Release Date: June 19, 2014
Price Point: $139 (In a bagged set with Flareup and Alpha Trizer)
Retailer: Botcon Exclusive
Accessories: Hoverboard, Missile, Cyber Key
The theme of Botcon 2014 was "Knights versus Pirates". This theme allowed for a very ecclectic mixture of characters including the Autobot "Knight" Apelinq. Part of Botcon 2014 was a 30th Anniversary celebration of the brand, including past Botcon exclusives. The character of Knight Apelinq goes back to 2001, when the Transmetal Optimus Primal toy was given a new deco and identity as Apelinq.
The sculpt used for this version of the character is based on the "Beast Wars" 10th Anniversary Optimus Primal, who would later be used to make the Jungle Planet version of Optimus Prime from "Cybertron". Check that review out for details on the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure and accessories for this release.
When Apelinq was introduced in 2001, he was a "Transmetal" style figure, meaning he had both "organic" and "technological" parts showing in both modes. When this figure was designed for the 10th Anniversary of "Beast Wars", a lot of that sensibility went into its design. There are plenty of "organic" styled details such as the fake "fur" on the back, head, lower legs and the edges of the chest. There are also distinct, technological details such as armor panels on the chest, tubes running from the neck area to the edges of his mouth and vents for the boosters on his back. All of these features (and their smaller, accompanying details) are represented here giving this beast mode a very distinct appearance.
Apelinq takes cues from his 2001 counterpart in the color department. He is mostly brown and light beige in this form. The brown could be considered a "red brown" color. Some smaller parts such as the toes on his feet are cast in black. The brown in particular was very much a staple color of Apelinq and looks great.
Paint colors on this figure include brown, silver, teal and yellow. The brown color is used on the forearms, waist and the thighs. Silver provides a lot of the painted detail in this form. The silver is most notable on his torso. This is significant because the 2001 Apelinq used vacuum metallized silver on that area so this serves as a nice callback to that detail. It's also used on the elbow armor and thigh armor. Black is used for strips of detail on the sides of the head area and near the waist. Finally, teal (another color used on the 2001 Apelinq) is found on the back of the head/neck section. In a finishing touch, a "Knight" Autobot symbol is painted onto the left side of the chest (near the shoulder jio
The colors are great and really do a great job of serving as a homage to Apelinq from Botcon 2001. Even if you didn't know who this character was, the deco is complex enough to grab your attention on an unusual looking sculpt.
While this sculpt is not exactly new, the tooling still seems to be in good shape as the joints on the figure are all nice and tight. Apelinq's main accessory is his hoverboard (inspired by the hoverboard that Optimus Primal used when he was a Transmetal). This board is long and comes to a point in the front with some nice mechanical details along its surface including fans on the bottom. The board is cast in the same brown color used on Apelinq and has black details along its surface. The board can serve as the vehicle or weapon for Apelinq. Insert the Cyber Key in the back and the side of the board swings out to form a blade. You can also fire a missile from the front by pressing the newly revealed button on the side. Both mechanisms still work great. The Cyber Key has been completely covered in vacuum metallized silver, which is very dramatic and looks great. In the middle is an Autobot "Knight" symbol.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Straighten out each beast mode arm and swing the brown panels over the hands out.
- Swing the beast mode arms so they are up.
- Straighten out the feet on the beast mode legs and point them down.
- Swing the panels that form the waist area out to the sides.
- Swing the back piece up.
- Swing the chest piece down and fold the beast mode face piece up.
- Swing the middle panel of the brown section (that was the back of the beast mode head) out.
- Swing the entire central hinge section back.
- Swing the robot chest down and close the central panel.
- Move the arms and legs into the right positions.
The robot mode of this figure was designed with strong influences from the look of Optimus Primal in season one of "Beast Wars". Everything from the distinct design on his torso to the shape of his arms and legs calls back to that form. Having Apelinq share that form works out well, and his distinct color pattern works well in this mode just as it did in beast mode. One detail I was told about that I had not noticed in my previous review of this sculpt is a "Key to Vector Sigma" detail etched into the piece that the head is attached to. Flip the chest panel down and you'll see this detail inside (unpainted). It's a neat little Easter Egg that harkens back to Optimus Primel's role in "Beast Machines".
In this mode, there is a lot more even distribution of the brown and beige colors. Many parts on the arms and legs are basically half beige and half brown. The brown does dominate on the torso and head, but there is a lot of painted detail added on top for variety. Teal is used on the robot head a lot more extensively than I would have expected. You'll find it on the crest, the antennae and even details in between. Teal is also used on the torso. Black is used on the face and curved details leading from the back to the chest and the feet. Silver rounds this out on the shoulders and knee armor. His eyes are painted yellow, which contrasts beautifully against the black color on his face. Like the beast mode, this deco looks fantastic and serves as a beautiful homage to the original Apelinq.
Apelinq can hold the board over his shoulders by attaching the pegs on the board to the corresponding holes in his hands. You'd think the board would be a bit too heavy for him to hold it, but between the width of his feet and how tight his joints are, he holds it just fine and manages to stand without a problem.
Apelinq/Apelinq is one of those characters that has largely been ignored by "Transformers" lore for quite some time now, so it's great to see him make his triumphant return on the 30th Anniversary of the line. The sculpt chosen is perfect and the deco is fantastic. There is definitely a premium price to pay to own this figure, though in the time frame I'm writing this review (right after Botcon 2014) they are still available at their original price on the Fun Publications store, so I'd recommend checking that out if you want to own this piece.