Transformers Cybertron: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

I’ve spent all of February’s Transformers Thursdays meandering around 2005 and 2006 looking at some Cybertron Transformers before kicking them to the curb via Ebay. This involved a lot of digging through totes and matching up missiles and CyberKeys and all sorts of bullshit that I have little patience for. But hey, at least it gives me something to do while listening to Podcasts. Eventually I got to the bottom and found this beauty. The big daddy of the Autobots. Cybertron Optimus Prime. And while there’s no way in hell I’m letting this guy go, I thought I might as well take a look at him because he’s just such a fabulous toy and quite frankly I’m amazed that in six years he hasn’t had a Feature here on FFZ yet. As always, let’s start with his alt mode…

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I seem to recall that the official name for this is his Super Truck Mode, but without all the extra parts that makes it “super” he’s really just a flatbed truck, so I pretty much consider this the regular alt mode. Taking a page from 1999’s Robots in Disguise, Prime is a firetruck… I think? He’s mostly red, he has a light bar on top and he has a couple things on his back that look like they could sort of be interpreted as ladders, but are really just giant assault guns. So, maybe it’s supposed to be a firetruck, but in reality it’s a beast of a battle wagon. Oh, and don’t pay any attention to those folded wings on the sides because they’re not wings. Did I call them wings? Well, they’re not.

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While there’s admittedly some ugliness here and there, I actually dig this alt mode a hell of a lot. It’s bristling with sculpted detail, from panel lines to texturing, to the tiny faux rivets holding everything together. In addition to the red and blue and gray plastic there are some nice silver paint apps on the sides and some crisp Autobot tampos on the cab.

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The cab is just all sorts of badass. The angled front windshield makes him look wonderfully vicious and the front bumper makes for a great battering ram to blow through barricades or any Decepticon fools who happen to stand in his way. If you were to weather the hell out of this thing it would look right at home cruising the badlands in a Mad Max film.

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As with all Cybertron toys, Prime comes with a CyberKey, which activates either of two attack modes. Unfortunately they’re pretty lame. For the first one, you plug the key into the back of the longer gun and the front splits open and activates some lights and sound. Meh. The second one is even less impressive as it just deploys two missile launchers off the sides of the smaller gun-ladder thing. I do dig the fact that Prime’s Key is pretty unique. It’s all translucent blue except for the red paint on the Autobot emblem. It also looks a little like The Matrix.

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Remember when I said those things weren’t wings. Ha Ha, I fooled you, because they totally are! Yes, Prime also has a second flight alt mode. Yeah, it’s just the truck with wings and a few tweaks to the guns. You know what? I still dig it. Plus, when you fold out the guns in the middle, there’s room for him to carry a smallish Deluxe or Basic figure in its alt mode in there.

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To transform Prime into his robot mode you have to pull all the extra bulk off his vehicle mode and set it aside. You’re left with a flat bed, which is fun in itself because you can use it to carry Jetfire around. You can also attach the two  extra guns to his back to give him some firepower in this stripped down mode. Transforming Prime is pretty simple, although some may cry foul that his chest in robot mode is faked out and not actually the front of the cab. I’m OK with it because the resulting robot looks really good…

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Awww, yeah! That’s good Prime! Yes, he’s a bit stocky (and I’ll show you the fix for that later), but dammit I was absolutely blown away by this toy back in 2005 and I’m still really impressed with him now. He’s a powerful looking robot and this isn’t even his final form! There’s plenty of homages to the Prime we all know and love , not least of which is the overall color scheme and the windows making up the chest. I really dig the placement of the wheels on the figure and those powerful shoulders look great. It’s almost like Hasbro was deliberately trying to apologize for the Energon Prime figure by making this one so awesome.

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The head is a bit large, but that’s because he shares it with his powered up robot mode. It’s definitely Prime, but with some new elements to the design. Probably the coolest is the inclusion of a flip up mouth plate that allows you to choose what kind of mug you want your Prime to have.

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The articulation here is also surprisingly good for the era. Prime features rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in biceps, hinges in the shoulders, hinged knuckles, universal movement in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees. The head can rotate. The only downside here is that there’s no waist swivel. All of the joints are incredibly solid and satisfying. Prime is a crazy fun toy that feels great in hand and is lots of fun to play with.

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Prime’s gun is about as far from his familiar G1 Buster Rifle as you can get, but I still dig it. It’s got a knuckle guard and it pegs into his hand to help him hold it. It’s also a missile launcher, but I’ll be damned if I can find any of the missiles for this guy. PRIMUS, HOW I HATE THROUGH BAGS OF LOOSE MISSILES! 

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Last, but not least, Prime’s chest opens up to reveal a removable Matrix of Leadership. It’s just one more thing to make an already amazing figure just a bit better. Oh wait, he also has a Super Powered-Up Mode, which uses all the parts from his trailer. To start that process, you transform the backs of his legs into larger feet. and attach two of the gun pylons on the backs of his legs…

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Before moving on any further, I’ll point out that this is actually how I display Prime in his basic robot mode. I think the longer legs and bigger feet give the figure much better proportions. You also get a pair of flip up cannons on his legs and who the hell doesn’t want that? Then again, why stop at leg cannons, when you can have this…

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SWEET MOTHER OF PRIMUS! When Cybertron Prime is sick and tired of your shit, he goes straight for the nuclear option by strapping a set of wings onto his back and two giant guns onto his shoulders. This is the Optimus Prime equivalent of Death Blossom. He looks like he could shoot Decepticon space cruisers out of orbit with these babies. I wasn’t a big fan of this mode back in 2005 when I got the figure. Maybe it’s sublety was lost on me. Whatever the case, I must have been crazy, because I’m sure as hell digging it now. It’s destruction taken to the most absurd level possible and that’s a beautiful thing.

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One of the clever little things about this assault gear is that it doesn’t just peg into Prime’s back. It actually fits him like a real backpack with hinged shoulder straps that go over his shoulders and peg in under his arms. And yes, you can fold the guns back, but doing so makes it almost impossible for him to stand up.

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Cybertron Optimus Prime is an incredible toy, not just for its time, but it still is some 11 years later. One of the great things about packing toys away for a while is that you can fall in love with them all over again when you eventually rediscover them and I’m sure I had a huge smile on my face the whole time I was playing with him. This thing looks great, has a ton of play value, and pays respects to the iconic hero while still bringing some originality to the table. When you consider the leap that this is from Energon’s Optimus Prime (a figure I do not hate, I might add) it just makes this release all the more miraculous. Long after the bulk of my Cybertron collection has been scattered to the wind, this Optimus will still reign supreme on my shelf… or maybe in a tote. Either way, I’m proud to have him.

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