Having been with Transformers since the beginning, you’d think it would be hard for me to name my favorite Optimus Prime toy of all time. Nope. It’s Powermaster Optimus Prime. Or, to be more specific, the Commemorative Series Re-Issue of Powermaster Optimus Prime with the Apex Armor. It may not be the best looking or most articulated Prime figure, but in terms of sheer fun, it can’t be beat. Can you even imagine my delight when Hasbro decided to take an crack at updating that toy with a Leader Class Titans Return release? I’ve pretty damn excited, so let’s jump right in and check this big guy out!
This is my first boxed figure from the Titans Return line, but it’s not all that different from the Leader Class Combiner Wars boxes. I don’t have a lot to say about the packaging, other than it is collector friendly and Prime comes in his robot mode. The top corner points out that he’s a Triple Changer, but the third mode only refers to his base mode. Thank Primus for that. I’m probably going to wind up passing on the Voyager Class G2 Prime because I don’t want my Prime’s having a third jet mode. Anyway, I’m going to start with his vehicle mode, then jump to his base mode, and end up with the robot. It’s worth stressing that this toy is mostly an homage to the original Hasbro release of Powermaster Prime and doesn’t include the Apex Armor found in the Commemorative release. Yeah, it’s the Apex Armor that makes me love that toy so much, but I still have high hopes for this one.
In keeping with the original toy, Prime’s alt mode is his original truck mode only beefed up into a sort of battle wagon. The whole thing is a little more compact than the original toy’s alt mode, but I think they handled the design pretty well. Doubly so, when you take into account that this toy is remolded from the CW Ultra Magnus figure. The base plastic used for the trailer is closer to tan than the gray used for the original toy, but I think it still looks pretty good. The jagged blue and white stripes and Autobot emblems on the sides of the trailer are instantly familiar as are the double barrel guns on the front corners of the trailer. You also get all sorts of texturing and sculpted detail all over the toy. This thing is great!
The cab is the biggest departure from the original toy. G1 Powermaster Prime’s cab was fairly close to his regular G1 cab, whereas this one looks like a beefed up, armored version, thanks to the narrow window slits and the prominent grill. The coloring on the cab is also very nice. The red plastic is bright and vibrant and the silver paint used for the grill, pipes, and other accents looks fabulous. The deco is rounded out with some blue. The cab does pivot where it links to the trailer, but it’s also permanently attached, so unlike the old Powermaster Prime, this toy has no independent transforming cab mode.
The trailer is basically a hollow shell, which makes sense when you consider that this toy started life as Ultra Magnus. The tail gate can drop down to form a ramp and you can indeed drive a Deluxe car into him. I tested it out with Chromedome and while it’s a tight fit, he will fit inside and allow you to button up the tail gate.
Prime’s little Titan Master buddy is called Apex. Sadly, he doesn’t have any paint apps to speak of, but he is comprised of all the different colored plastics that make up the bigger figure. Just a little paint on his face would have helped a lot and I don’t think its unreasonable to expect it on these more expensive toys, but I think Hasbro is done with splashing any paint on these little guys. Anyway, Apex can ride in the cab, which is pretty cool and he can also use Prime’s front trailer guns. On to the base mode…
The base mode is what it is… mostly a mis-transformed mess. I’m not a huge fan of these, but I understand that they can add a lot of play value for the kids and at least they give you playsets to use all your little Titan Masters with. In this case, you have a control area in the middle, a couple of towers on each side and ramps leading up to the two gunner stations. It’s OK, but I think the base mode for the G1 Powermaster Prime was a little better.
As I already mentioned Prime’s cab doesn’t feature an independent robot mode, so this toy jumps straight to the big and beefy Prime robot mode, and I absolutely adore this guy. There’s some really clever stuff here, like the way the trailer panels wrap around to fill out his legs and the torso still looks like it’s something you plug the cab into, even though it’s all an integral part of the transformation. He’s a lot better proportioned than the old toy and he obviously features better articulation as well. The coloring is still plenty nice, even if it is missing some of the paint pictured on the box images.
He even looks pretty good from the back. You get a little cab kibble, but for the most part everything else is just solid plates. I really wish he had some lateral rockers in those ankles, though. He’s perfectly stable as he is, but it would have made the wide stances look a lot better.
The Headmaster gimmick here is a little strange in that Apex transforms into a head that sits inside Prime’s head. It’s sort of like what we saw with Voyager Galvatron, only much, much better. Apex’s head mode looks a lot like an Orion Pax homage, although maybe they were going for something like the Apex robot mode from the G1 toy. Either way, once you close down the Prime head, the only thing that shows through from Apex are the eyes and while they are deep set, I think they look fine. The head still turns, so I’ve got no problems with any of this.
The two black guns that mount on Prime’s trailer become his rifles in robot mode and the others peg into his shoulders. While Prime’s hands are hinged, there are also tab slots in the plate under his hands that the gun handles will plug into. Closing the fingers around the grip make it look like he’s holding them, but you’re also getting that added degree of stability, which is nice.
I’ll freely admit that I’m biased when it comes to this Powermaster Prime homage. I love the original so much and this release is such a wonderful love letter to that toy. He looks great, he’s surprisingly quick and easy to transform, and he’s so much fun to play with. He also scales nicely with the Combiner Wars Leader Class figures, so I finally have a Prime that can stand up to that Megatron. Never in a million years would I have guessed Hasbro would give us something like this and yet here it is, proudly standing on my desk. For budgetary reasons, I decided that I was going to go Hasbro straight down the board for Titans Return, but I love this toy so much, I’m tempted to double dip and spring for the Takara version when its released. It’s just one of those figures where I need to know that I own the best possible version of the mold. I’m also seriously considering going back and grabbing that Ultra Magnus, just so I can appreciate this toy even more.