Transformers: Commemorative Edition: Powermaster Optimus Prime by Hasbro, Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of the amazing Powermaster Optimus Prime. We’ve looked at Prime’s cruising and ass-kicking modes, so let’s check out everything else. Before we go anywhere we have to start with the tiniest robot in the set and the key to unlocking Prime’s awesomeness. He’s Ginrai!

For those that aren’t up on their Transformers history, toward the tail end of G1, Transformers were being designed with little robot buddies that changed into their guns (Targetmasters), heads (Headmasters), or in this case engines (yep, Powermasters). The Powermasters never seemed to catch on as much over here, and I never really understood them. In theory you needed to transform these little guys into the engine and plug them into the vehicle so it could transform into its robot mode. In practice, you could still transform the toy without it, so if you lost the little bugger, you weren’t completely screwed. Anyway, Ginrai is a pretty cool little figure for how small he is. His arms rotate at the shoulders, and his legs are technically articulated, but only as part of the transforming gimmick.
Anyway, you change him into his engine mode and plug him straight into the front grill of Prime’s cab and you can change Prime into his most basic robot mode. The overall design is fairly similar to the original Optimus Prime, but the truck-front chest is actually a fake, as the cab’s real front is on Prime’s back. I like the looks of this Prime, as he has a bit more of an animated look. The stickers on the legs add some nice detail too. Granted, the articulation on this figure is pretty limited, even for a Transformer. In fact, really all he can do is bend his arms at the elbows.
The rest of Prime’s trailer transforms into a pretty cool little base. Transformers bases have been pretty hit and miss over the years, but I really think this one is one of the better ones. There’s a couple of ramps and platforms to park other Transformers. There are two turrets and three larger elevated guns on the tower. The only real eyesore here is the obvious Prime arms sticking up the top, but if they bother you, you can always fold them down out of the way. Prime can also stand in the tower to man the guns, but as a base, this is more convincing when populated by smaller Transformers. Overall, I think this is a really cool looking piece. There’s a lot of great sculpted detail and the huge stickers really make it look great.
Next up, is Prime’s slightly more powered up version. You basically ball him up into a box and plug it into a body made up from his trailer. Pop on a bunch of guns and his new head, and you’ve got the more bulked up Prime. This version actually uses the front of the cab as his chest, and you can clearly see the Powermaster engine plugged in there. You get a little more articulation here. His arms rotate at the shoulders and his legs can assume a wider stance. Yeah, its not much more, but a little better.
At this point, you can also convert the spare trailer into yet another robot called Apex Bomber. This guy isn’t really a transformation, but rather building him out of the parts you break the spare trailer down into. Normally, I consider this type of Transformer design cheating, but in this case, its like a bonus robot, so I’m not complaining. Apex Bomber looks pretty great. He’s nicely proportioned, has arms that rotate at the shoulder, he can hold Prime’s weapons if the big guy feels like sharing, and he can mount the missile launcher on his shoulder. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of G1 Top Spin. I just like this design.
Ok, so enough farting around. Its time to take everything and stick it all together into Apex Armor Optimus Prime. He’s basically the medium bulked out Prime figure with bits of Apex Bomber attached all over him. He gets bigger feet, bulkier arms, and that magnificent chromed out bling-chest that was absent from the American release, and if you ask me it really makes this figure. AAOP can still hold both his guns, he gets a pair of duel cannons on his ankles so he can kick you in the face and shoot you at the same time, and he can mount the big missile launcher on his shoulder.
Yes, Apex Armor Optimus Prime is a brick. He has the same articulation as the medium bulked out Prime, which means he can only rotate his arms at the shoulders, and assume a wide stance at the legs. But he’s still a friggen glorious looking brick. He’s also a pretty solid figure, considering how much crap he’s got stuck all over him.
And there ya have it, one if my favorite Transformers of all time (if not my favorite). I love everything about this set, from the presentation to the design of the toy, to just how good AA Optimus looks standing on my shelf. What he lacks in articulation he makes up in spades with balls-to-the-wall play value. There are just so many options and combinations in both robot and vehicle modes that fiddling about with him never gets old. I’ve never regretted ponying up for two of these back in the day, although truth be told considering how awesome it is, you can still pick one up for surprisingly cheap. Sure, MISB versions can go for over a hundred bucks, but if you’re persistant enough, you can often find open and complete ones for just $10-20 over the original MSRP. Considering how much, oh let’s say the 2009 SDCC Soundwave goes for these, days, Powermaster Optimus Prime is a steal.

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