Transformers Earthrise: Optimus Prime and Trailer by Hasbro

One of the gripes I have with collecting Transformers is the frequency in which Hasbro releases new figures of the same old characters. Sure, it’s nice to get updates, but it frequently renders my existing figures obsolete and I wind up selling them off to make room for the new and improved versions. It’s not a big deal when these figures are five or six or even ten years apart, but when it happens within the space of a year, it can be a little annoying. Case in point, we just got a kick ass Optimus Prime figure in Siege last year and here we are getting a new one in Earthrise. Ah well, at least that one was a Voyager and this one is a Leader Class right? RIGHT???

Well, technically. If you’ve been picking up the Leader Class figures lately, you are no doubt aware that the trend is to use that price point to release Voyager-sized figures with extra parts that incorporate into their alt mode. And that’s the case with Earhtrise Prime here. He’s a Voyager sized figure, but he comes with his trailer and that bumps him up to the higher price assortment. So did we really need another Voyager Class Prime this soon? Especially when the last figure was so damn good? Let’s have a look. I’ll note here that I was tempted to make this primarily a comparison review, but then I decided Earthrise Prime deserves his own time in the spotlight, so I’ll first take a look at him on his own and then come back to the comparisons at the end. Let’s start with the alt mode.

I gotta say, this cab looks GREAT and it’s classic G1-inspired Prime through and through. You get the usual panel seams on the sides, but the cab is so detailed with panel lines that it serves to downplay those seams. From the front we get a big slab of glorious Freightliner, complete with silver paint on the grill and bumper and some translucent blue plastic used over the windshields and the headlamps, and again for the windows on the sides. The smokestacks are short (obviously for safety reasons) but they look fine, the gasoline drums on the sides are painted silver, and you get some weapon ports on each side to mount guns. I dig the sculpted vents on top of the hitch-up and overall the red and blue plastic they used looks superb.

The trailer is a huge draw here and it’s none too shabby. Sure, it’s basically a gray plastic box on wheels, but to me Prime always feels incomplete when all we get is a cab. This trailer pegs into the cab, allowing for a pivot at the junction. At first it felt a tad undersized for the cab, but after messing around with it for just a short while, I found that not to be a big problem. It does, after all, look great hooked up and all decked out with that familiar striping and the Autobot emblem emblazoned into the sides. The tailgate sports some nice sculpted detail and drops open to form a ramp and allow access to the interior. The trailer also has a set of swing down legs so it can rest when Prime transforms, because unfortunately this toy trailer does not magically disappear and reappear like it often did in the Sunbow cartoon.

And yes, there is enough room to roll your average Deluxe Class car into that trailer, even if it is a bit snug. Some of the older Basic and Scout Class cars would make for a better fit. The trailer also transforms, but I’ll come back to that in a bit. Let’s move on to robot mode…

Transforming this figure is satisfying without being too fiddly, and I was genuinely impressed with the way the engineering packs and unpacks many of the panels that make up the cab. When all is said and done, you get an absolutely amazing robot mode. Prime has a poetically trim profile, which keeps all his truck kibble in check. When viewed from the front, I have absolutely no complaints. His stout barrel chest is comprised of the actual windshield piece from the truck, while his abdomen with the grill is a fake-out in order to give it that tapered look. All those great looking panel lines and tiny rivets in the sculpt come across in the robot mode as well. The backside isn’t quite as polished, but it ain’t too shabby either. I love the way the cab wheels are stored on his lower back, even if it isn’t something I’m used to seeing on my G1-style Primes, and the gas tanks look great on the backs of his upper legs. I dig the way the lower legs fill in, but I do wish those panels were blue instead of gray.

Most of the coloring from the cab mode carries forward and that red and blue plastic still looks great here in robot mode, as does the gray plastic. The silver paint is sharp and appears not only on the grill and smokestacks, but also on the lower leg vents, forearms, and some neat trim around his windows and wipers. The deco is rounded out by an Autobot emblem printed on his left shoulder.

The head sculpt is very similar to what we got with Siege Prime. My only gripe here is that the eyes can be tough to see with the naked eye, possibly because the brow ridge is a little too prominent. Fortunately, the heads can be swapped, and in the end I may wind up doing just that.

Prime comes with a new version of his Buster Rifle, which is a little beefier than the Siege version. It’s mostly black but does have some gray pegs, one as a grip and another coming out of the side. Prime’s hands are hinged at the figures, forming a peg-hole when closed so he can hold the rifle in either hand. The rifle can fold up in the middle and the side peg allows it to be stored on Prime’s back when not in use.

The figure’s chest can also open to reveal a removable Matrix. I love the amount of detail they sculpted into the Matrix Chamber and it’s all painted over with that lovely silver paint. The Matrix itself is a solid piece with a gold housing and a translucent blue center.

Transforming the trailer is very similar in design to the old G1-version. It splits in the middle and opens to reveal a few possibilities for play and display, although there isn’t a lot going on in here. There’s a repair drone, but no Roller or consoles or anything else. To be fair, in this mode, the trailer is pretty underwhelming. There is some nice sculpted detail throughout the interior and some peg holes to place weapons or store blast effects, but I would have liked something more. Even the repair drone lacks any paint and there isn’t a lot of detail on him. As a result, the open trailer serves best as a repair bay. It can be opened horizontal to lay a damaged Autobot down and have the drone work on him in robot mode, or they can drive up there and get serviced in their alt mode. The only issue here is that since the struts on the trailer just fold down, they don’t support the sides like the swing-out struts on the original toy did.

You can also stand it up and use it as a repair gantry, and I think this mode works best for the bigger figures, like Prime. It’s not the most exciting execution of the transforming trailer gimmick, but it’s not bad either. OK, let’s wrap up with some comparisons between Earthrise Prime and Siege Prime.

Now in fairness, comparing the two cab modes mostly comes down to preferences in style. Technically Siege is supposed to be Prime’s Cybertronian mode, but come on, it’s really just an Earth truck that looks like it’s been modified a bit for battle. The translucent blue plastic covering Siege Prime’s grill, the four cannon-looking ports on his bumper, and the slab that covers his roof lend him a wee bit of a sci-fi flavor, but it’s still just a tweaked Freightliner FL86 that somehow inexplicably evolved on another planet. I don’t dislike it, but I do like the look of Earthrise Prime’s cab infinitely more. It’s just so so clean looking and pretty. Both cabs are scaled exactly the same, but sadly Siege Prime doesn’t have a socket to allow him to pull Earthrise Prime’s trailer. You can kind of fake it, but it’s not meant to be compatible.

Choosing a favorite in robot mode isn’t quite as clean cut for me. Both are fantastic looking figures, and scrutinizing them together, I find there are things I would pick and choose from each figure to make an Ultimate Prime! When it comes to Siege Prime, I dig the sculpted circuit patterns behind his windshield, and his pelvic piece is more streamlined. I also like the fact that his legs are more blue on the insides, and he has the lights on the roof painted yellow. I guess the slab on his back also makes it look cleaner than his successor. As for Earthrise Prime, well he doesn’t have all that f’ugly and annoying kibble hanging off his arms, and that’s a HUGE improvement for me. I also think his chest looks overall cleaner. From behind, the gas tanks on the backs of his legs look cool and his lower legs fill out better than his predecessors. It’s a really hard choice, but I gotta go with Earthrise Prime for the win here.

If it weren’t for the trailer, I would have easily passed on this Prime, but only because the previous one came out so recently and I really dig its robot mode. With that having been said, I’m glad I didn’t skip him because I think this figure turned out fantastic. It’s almost like a Mini-Masterpiece Prime. The engineering is great, and both his robot and alt modes are absolutely brilliant. I think the only real crime here is that Hasbro sold me a Voyager Class Prime a year ago, which is basically already obsolete. Sure, the alt modes are different, but not different enough for me to care about hanging on to the Siege version. And yet, as much as I do love the trailer, it doesn’t feel like there’s enough there to properly elevate this Voyager Class to a Leader Class price point. Maybe some more paint applications inside the trailer would have helped. I’ll also mention the fact that this figure was extremely difficult for me to find. I had just about given up on getting him, when I just so happened to spot him at Target and snatched him up!

Best Prime Hasbro has put out in ages? Yup! Without a doubt!

Transformers Siege: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

If the toy aisles in my area are any indication, Siege is selling like gangbusters. In one case last week, they were stocking the shelves when I put the last Deluxe I needed in my cart and did my other shopping before deciding to go back and get Optimus and Megatron, which were being unpacked. In the span of about 10 minutes they were both gone. Luckily, I got another crack at them a few days later and this time I jumped on them. I feel like getting the Leader Class figures is going to be a knock-down fight.

Prime is my first Voyager Class figure in this bunch, but the packaging is identical in style to the Deluxes. You get a collector friendly box with some killer artwork. I love how Hasbro evolved this packaging from when we first saw the Transformers name in red running up the side of the package to now. If Hasbro ever puts out an artbook featuring the character art from Siege, Titan Returns, and Power of the Primes, I’d throw down some money for it. But enough about the box, let’s get to the toy. Prime is packaged in his robot mode, but we’ll start with his alt mode.

The alt mode is a good old-fashioned red truck cab, which is certainly evocative of Prime’s G1 mode, but with a slight futuristic twist. It’s not the best and most polished cab mode we’ve seen on Optimus, but it’s not too shabby either. And this is clearly a case where Hasbro made some sacrifices in the alt mode to assist the aesthetics of the robot mode. Whether it was a good trade off, we’ll see in a bit (psst… IT IS!!). The biggest sacrifice is the extended roof, which hangs over the windshields. It took me a little getting used to, but I don’t think it looks bad, just kind of strange and different. The sides of the truck definitely show seams and some hinges, and probably the biggest eyesore is the use of silver paint for the side windows, while the rest are translucent blue. Speaking of which, I would have liked the grill to be painted silver, rather than using the same translucent plastic for the windows. And you’ll no doubt note that the smokestacks are shortened to keep kids from jamming them into their eyes after they’ve finished off a snack of Tide Pods. That may sound like I have a lot of beefs with this little truck, but I really don’t.

Nope, if I sound like I’m down on this cab, I should point out that there’s a lot I love here too. The circuit-like pattern that’s etched into the plastic behind the windows makes for a really cool effect, as does the sculpted headlamps behind those plastic pieces. I also really dig the “headlamps” to the lower right and left of the front bumper, because I have no other choice to believe that these are actually mini-guns because of the way they’re sculpted. Those will also come into play with the robot mode. The deco is also mighty purdy, with the familiar red and blue mingling with the gray, silver, and white to make a familiar and eye-pleasing combination. And yes, he has some of that brushed on weathering, which has been like a trademark for this line. Finally, Prime’s alt mode can store his axe as a sort of hitch, and if you’re a fan of big goofy guns on your alt modes (I’m not!), there are plenty of peg holes to load Prime up with some weaponry.

The transformation into this mode is pretty complex, considering how simple the Deluxe figures in this line have been, but I was able to get him through it the first time without consulting instructions, and I ain’t no genius, so I’m it’s got to be fairly intuitive. And there’s some truly clever stuff going on to put a smile on my face, even if the final steps require a lot of stuff moving almost simultaneously into place. But in the end, everything locks together perfectly for a solid cab and a pretty fun little toy. So how’s the robot mode look?

What’s the word I’m looking for? WOW? Yup, that’s it. I think it’s safe to say that, at least for me, this is the best looking Voyager Class G1-styled Prime Hasbro has ever done. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s about as perfect as we can expect to see in this size and price range. From head on, I’ve got precious little to nitpick here. He’s beautifully proportioned, and even hits on some of the cool points of Masterpiece Prime, including the vents on the lower legs, and does a pretty decent job of either concealing or obscuring the wheels. I dig that they sculpted the top of the truck cab for his robot mode, even though you don’t see it in the alt mode. The etching on the windshields looks great in his robot mode, and by faking out the cab details on the lower torso, they were able to keep it stylized for the robot mode. Thankfully, that includes swapping out the translucent blue grill with a proper silver one. The shorter stacks on the shoulders are still a bit of a bummer, but it’s not nearly enough to dampen what is an otherwise amazing looking robot.

From the back, things are not quite as clean as I would like in the lower legs, but they’re OK and the designers at least made an effort to close them up so they aren’t completely hollow. Prime does feature a big slab-o-back, which isn’t ideal, but I’m actually thinking that it could be a kind of jetpack, especially with the translucent blue plastic pieces on the bottom looking like thrust emitters. You can also use the peg holes to store his weapons on his back, but that just adds to the bulk.

As for the deco, it’s pretty much identical to what we saw in his alt mode. Prime features all his classic colors: Red, blue, and gray, with some white and yellow, and silver accents. He also features the weathered paint applications that have been present in the Deluxe Class figures. I think these look good, but I get that some collectors aren’t digging them. Maybe Hasbro will put a clean version out at some point down the road. After all, a mold this good can’t possibly only be issued once.

Easily my biggest, and really only, gripe about this figure is the kibble on the underarms, and it isn’t nearly as bad as the Classics version of Prime we got a while back. It’s funny, but I thought that figure was a work of art when it came out, but in retrospect it hasn’t aged all that gracefully. As for this Prime’s arm kibble, I’m actually enjoying the fact that these pieces can be flipped around to form integral mini-guns.

The head sculpt is right on point as well. It’s very traditional with just enough styled flare. The “helmet” is cast in blue plastic, the eyes are painted blue, and the silver paint used for his mouth plate and crest is sharp and clean. Again, I really appreciate that the sculpted the yellow roof lights, even though you don’t see them at all in his cab mode.

Prime comes with two weapons, both of which we glimpsed in the alt mode shots. The first is his battle axe, and I’ll confess I’m not terribly fond of this piece. It’s not all that convincing as an axe and I’ve never understood why Hasbro keeps giving Prime axes anyway. Is it because he had an energy axe in that one fight with Megatron in the Sunbow cartoon? Maybe. Either way, this is a piece that’s going to get tossed into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories.

Fortunately Prime also comes with his very familiar rifle. This baby is cast in black plastic and he can hold it in either hand. Unfortunately, the figure’s articulation doesn’t really allow him to cross it over his chest and rest it in his other hand all that well, but you can fake it out to make it look pretty good.

Before wrapping up, here are some quick comparison shots of Prime with his two Deluxe Autobot Warriors. His cab mode is pretty small when compared to Sideswipe and Hound’s vehicle modes, but he sure makes up for that when he transforms into robot mode. And I’d say the scale here works pretty well. Ideally, I’d like my regular Autobots to be a little closer to Prime’s shoulders, but I’m not going to gripe about it. I think they look great together.

All in all, I think this is an incredible effort on Hasbro’s part and easily my favorite Voyager Class Prime up to this point. It features some great engineering, a transformation that is clever but not too fiddly and complex, and best of all it just delivers unbelievably solid looking alt and robot modes. He’s also so much fun to play around with that I have a feeling he’ll be inhabiting my desk for a long time before he migrates over to my Transformers display. Yeah, at $29.99, he’s a little pricey for a figure this size, but I still think he’s well worth it. Indeed, if Hasbro is smart, they’ll cook up a trailer for this guy and re-release him sometime down the road as part of a bigger and more complete set, because this mold definitely deserves a full-on trailer, Teletran-1, and Roller treatment.

Transformers: Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP-10) by Takara-Hasbro, Part 1

Holy shit, Toyhounds, this acquisition has been a long time coming. I didn’t get in on the original release of MP-10 because I convinced myself I wasn’t going to collect the Masterpiece line. When I could finally hold out no more MP-10 was sold out everywhere and going for in excess of three bills on the secondary market. The Hasbro release of the figure granted me no better opportunities as there are no more TRU’s within my happy hunting grounds and even that version was getting scalped for ridiculous prices online. It seemed like owning MP-10 just wasn’t in the stars for me. Thankfully the tables turned in a most bizarre way…


Behold the Asian Exclusive MP-10 reissue based off the US Hasbro release. Say whaaaaat? Yeah, this is an odd duck. It’s the Hasbro version of MP-10 in the Hasbro packaging, but it was released for the Asian Marketplace. It was made readily available at all the usual collector-orientated online toy retailers and with a $159 price tag it may cost more than the TRU Exclusive, but it’s also a far sight better than the $200-300+ secondary market price that just about any version of the figure was selling for. At the time of this post it should still be available at many e-tailers.


I thought I was going to bemoan the fact that I was getting the figure in Hasbro packaging, rather than a box that matched all my other Takara MP figures, but once I removed this behemoth from the shipping box, I was simply in awe. The box is massive and the presentation is absolutely fantastic. I’m not crazy about the fact that the deco is reminiscent of some of the movie packaging, but there isn’t much of it as this box is mostly a giant window. It certainly isn’t as collector friendly as the straight up boxes that Takara uses, but with a little care and patience, I was able to preserve the packaging through the unboxing process. I originally thought it was going to go into the trash, but it looks so good that I’ve decided to save it and use it to hold the trailer and other goodies while Prime is displayed in robot mode. It also juuuust barely fits on the top shelf behind him and some of my other MP’s and will make a great backdrop.




This release of MP-10 also includes the bonus item, The Key to Vector Sigma, packaged separately in a little cardboard trapezoid box. This is a cool bonus, so long as you aren’t expecting anything amazing out of it. It’s basically a gold-plated diecast key stuck in a plastic orb. In my days as a much younger and more carefree nerd I could see myself wearing this on a chain around my neck and representing my G1 love to the world. My Cyber-Bling! Now, I have no idea what I’ll do with it. The truth is that if you’re pissed about already owning MP-10 and missing out on this incentive, don’t worry about it, you aren’t really missing much. Still, I think it’s certainly better than those collector coins that have come with some of my other MP figures. But enough about the packaging and extras… let’s get to the figure. Today I’m going to talk about Prime’s robot mode and tomorrow I’ll circle back and check out the trailer and alt mode.


So, for starters, I’ll say that the robot mode is pure money. I love the proportions and I’m so happy to see that the stacks haven’t been snipped as they were on my 20th Anniversary Prime. The sculpted panel lines, rivets, and other details look great, but they don’t overpower the figure’s somewhat animated aesthetic and to me that’s a very good thing. I like the mix of chrome and grey plastic and the red and blue both look gorgeous. The translucent yellow plastic in the pelvis is a nice touch too. The wheels in the legs aren’t completely concealed, but they are shrouded from view from the front. I thought the exposed connecting rods in the shoulders would bother me, but I was pleased to find you can close the gap and conceal them when Prime isn’t posing his arms too wildly. If I had one gripe about the overall look of the robot mode it would be that the doors on his chest don’t always close up properly, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.


After seeing the initial pictures of MP-10, I wasn’t too pleased with the scaling, but now that I have him standing beside my myriad of MP cars, I’m pretty OK with it. Some comparison pics will follow both parts of this feature. Suffice it to say, I would have liked a little less disparity between their heights. To me, characters like Prowl and Wheeljack should come up to at least the middle of Prime’s chest, but I appreciate that Takara wanted to keep the vehicle modes in scale and in the end I think they’ve won me over on this decision. Yeah, he is also a smidge taller than MP Grimlock, but let’s blame that on Grimlock and not Prime here.


The portrait here is very stylized and I like it a lot, but I don’t know that I prefer it over the head on my 20th Prime. It’s not so much a question of one being better than the other, but two very different versions of the head. That having been said, I find the head on MP-10 to be clean and beautifully painted. I particularly love the paint they used for the eyes and the fact that the antenna rotate. It’s definitely some great work and a great rendition of iconic Prime.


One thing that surprised me about this figure is how toyish some aspects of it seems. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of him, but didn’t know a lot about what to expect when I got him in hand. He feels a lot more like a toy than my 20th Prime and that’s in a lot of ways a good thing. I don’t have to worry about him taking a shelf dive because of diecast making him so poorly balanced. The joints are much easier to work with, making him so much more fun to play with. Anyone who’s tried to work with those ratchet joints in 20th Prime’s hips probably knows what I’m talking about. On the other side, there are some things about MP-10 that are disappointing for a figure at this price point. Seeing all those ugly exposed screws from the back is certainly one of them. It makes him feel like he isn’t quite in the same league as the MP Autobot cars.



As hinted at earlier, Prime’s chest opens up to reveal the Matrix of Leadership and damn, it looks spectacular when opened and on display. I’ve never been a huge fan of this gimmick in my Prime toys, but I think this figure just nails it almost perfectly. The Matrix itself is diecast and while it’s a little hard to dig out, it’s a great looking piece. Unfortunately, I find that the best way to get Prime’s chest to close up perfectly is to leave the Matrix out, which is not at all a big deal, although I may find myself occasionally displaying him with the chamber open and the Matrix exposed.



Naturally Prime comes with his trusty rifle and he can hold it quite comfortably in either hand thanks to the combination of a tab and hinged fingers. It’s a pretty light piece, so Prime has no trouble supporting it in pretty much any pose. And then there was this cool surprise…


The rifle can fold up and store in the compartment in Primes’ back. Nice!




You also get Prime’s energon ax, which is cast in translucent orange plastic and fits over the right fist. It’s a snug fit that makes me a little nervous pushing it on, especially with how fragile Prime’s fingers can be. His hinged index fingers have a habit of popping off, although they will pop right back on again. All in all, this weapon is not a bad looking effect, but I like the way the 20th Prime did this ax much better.





I’ll point out that if it sounds like I’m nit picking MP-10, you have to keep in mind that I’ve been waiting to get this figure for a long time and my expectations have been building like crazy, especially considering the insane prices I’ve considered paying for him. The truth is, I really do think this is an amazing figure and I’ve had loads of of fun playing with him since the day I unboxed him. As much as I still enjoy looking at my 20th Prime, I can’t say the same for that figure. Anyway, I’m running out of time and I’ve gone pretty long already, so I’m going to break here and pick it up tomorrow with a look at some of the trailer’s features and then Prime’s transformation and alt mode.

Transformers Generations: Legends Class Optimus Prime by Hasbro

The Transformers Thursday Hostage Crisis is over and I’m finally free to look at figures that are not Bayformers. I was planning on the event culminating in some kind of review of Age of Extinction, but the fact that I walked out on it about two hours in should adequately express my feelings on the matter. Today I’m cleansing the pallet by going back to the refreshing goodness of the Generations line. I’m actually looking at my first Generations Legends figure. This is a sub-line that I had all but ignored until getting pulled in by reading some of the reviews over at My Life in Scale  some time last year. The pictures alone made me pick some up and they’ve been kicking around and waiting to be opened for a long while. Let’s check out Optimus Prime and Roller!


I really dig the packaging on these little guys. It’s got that great Generations deco complete with the G1-style grid and some bitchin character art. The bubble displays Prime in his robot mode beside his little robot buddy. Are we actually calling these things Targetmasters, Hasbro? Well, screw it… I am! The back panel has Tech Specs and also a biography that just covers Roller. I guess at this point Hasbro assumes everyone knows all there is to know about who Optimus Prime is. Except Michael Bay. He thinks Optimus Prime is a murder-happy psychopath. Oh wait, I said I wouldn’t talk about Age of Extinction. My bad. Let’s start with Prime’s vehicle mode.





As expected, Prime is a semi-truck cab and a flat-nosed one at that! Despite the extensions on the back of the roof, this alt mode works well for me as a classic G1 version. There’s a surprising amount of detail in the sculpt for such a little toy. The front of the cab, in particular, looks fantastic, with a fully realized grill and even windshield wipers and the silver, yellow, and metallic blue paintwork against the red and blue plastic makes for a bright and vibrant figure. I’d dare say this little guy has better paint and overall coloring then a number of Deluxes and Voyagers that are in the aisles right now. There’s also a peg hole on the top so you can plug his rifle in there if you want. When you get down to it, he’s just a neat little truck.


Transforming Prime is very similar to his old G1 toy, which is a testament to how simple and effective some of that old school engineering used to be. It feels just right for a figure in this size, with maybe just enough complexity to surprise and impress me. I was going to start out by remarking how great this robot mode looks for a Legends figure, but in honesty, I think this Prime could be up-scaled and still look great as a Deluxe. As with his alt mode, Prime’s robot mode is packed with sculpted detail and the coloring is nothing but gorgeous classic Optimus Prime through and through. The figure allows for a few minor tweaks in robot mode. The shoulders are hinged so that they can be flared up, or if you prefer, you can just leave them in the vehicle mode position for a cleaner silhouette. Similarly, the two halves of the chest can be pushed together for a more classic look, or you can angle them back to show off the tiny Autobot insignia for the IDW comics inspired design.



As for articulation… Legends Prime features ball joints galore! You get them in the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees and a swivel in the waist. The result is a very fun and poseable little figure.




Roller, Prime’s little Targetmaster chum, is a six-wheeled off-road vehicle with a giant gun on top. The gun detaches to become Prime’s Buster rifle and Roller can transform into his own robot mode. Now, I say “transform” but really all you’re doing is standing him on his end and pulling out his arms. It’s a design that is even simpler than the Minicons, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. It’s just neat to have a Roller toy with a robot mode.



Roller also has his gun mode, which is a conversion slightly more involved than his robot mode. Everything shifts at once and the result is a pretty decent looking gun, but one that I feel is just ridiculously too big for the Legends Class figure. But fear not, the gun is pegged to fit the bigger figures. I tried it out with my Deluxe Orion Pax figure and I think it works quite well.



I’d say the old adage, “better late than never” certainly applies here. This figure is definitely an older release, and while it took me a while to give him a try, I have to say that this little guy impresses me on every conceivable level. He may be small, but he’s a lovingly crafted toy with great colors, a satisfyingly detailed sculpt, and articulation that makes him tough to put down. He’s going to be living on my desk for a long time. Next week, we’ll keep the Legends train rolling along with Bumblebee and Blazemaster.

Transformers Armada: Optimus Prime with Overrun by Hasbro

Last week on Transformers Thursday I looked at a Deluxe Prime toy that left me less than enthused. I hate ragging on Transformers, so I thought this week I’d dig out one of my favorite Deluxe treatments of the character. He hails from the Armada line and while he was a huge departure from the G1 Prime we knew, I fell in love with this toy the first time Hasbro leaked the official pictures. If you haven’t already heard me gas on about Armada, the line holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Sure, I got back into collecting Transformers with Robots in Disguise, but that line always felt like a cobbled together mess. When Armada rolled out it felt like a real cohesive toyline and I was all over it. While I do still have a bunch of Deluxe Armada figures Mint on Card, Prime isn’t one of them, so let’s jump right in and start with his alt mode.




As a red and blue semi-cab, Prime still honors his most iconic alt mode, but there’s enough of a futuristic bent to this new design that makes it totally distinctive. With the way the hood hunches up and the front fenders flare out, this truck looks like it would be at just as at home driving the metal freeways of Iacon City as it would the pavement of Earth. Back then we didn’t have an actual Cybertronian Prime, and this figure worked well as a stand in. The low and wide profile, chunky grill and ramming bar also makes it look like a powerful and rugged vehicle that’s ready for battle. The coloring here is firmly rooted in Prime’s past, using a very pleasing combination of red, blue, and grey plastic. With the exception of the silver painted windshield and some gold, the truck mode shows its paint apps rather sparingly, but it’s still a great looking deco. In terms of reinventions go, I just love this design.



Of course, like most Armada figures, Prime comes with a Minicon buddy and in this case, it’s Overrun, a little silver jet. The jet mode looks pretty good, and he even has a teeny tiny flip down front landing gear. He is, however, a little bland and I think some extra paint operations would have gone a long way to make him more striking. His robot mode is alright for a Minicon, but I can’t help but think it could have been a homerun if they had managed to fold the nose down flush with his chest instead of having it stick straight out. My last gripe with this guy is that his connection port is on top, which makes attaching him to Prime in vehicle mode a little awkward. How cool would have been if he could just sit on Prime’s hitch and launch off the back, especially since Prime isn’t using that hitch for anything else.



And then there’s the robot mode, and oh my, this is an interesting design. Like his alt mode, this looks like a Prime that is ready to charge into battle. Gone are the windshields on his chest and in their place is that beefy grill that he wears like a slab of armor. He’s got the shoulders of a linebacker, giant wheels studding his legs, and his exhaust pipes become dual arm-mounted guns. This is clearly a version of Prime that you don’t mess with. It’s a totally new look for the leader of the Autobots and it totally works for me. On the other hand, Prime purists should be very happy with the very familiar head sculpt, which is possibly one of my favorite portraits of the character in this size class. Whoever designed this guy gets my sincerest compliments.



That’s not to say this figure doesn’t have a few problems. First and foremost, those exhaust pipes pop off at the drop of a hat. The fact that I still have them is just pure luck, as I’ve recovered them from rattling around in the bottom of a tote plenty of times. At least they aren’t clear like the ones on the bigger version of this figure. Next up, his forearms do not like to stay in the right position and tend to slide out over his fists when playing around with him. And speaking of playing around with him, the articulation on this guy is a little rough. It’s not that the points aren’t there, but rather a lot of the sculpt is at odds with good poseability. It’s like a guy in a suit of armor trying to do gymnastics.



There’s nothing I love more than Targetmaster-style Minicons, and Overrun can indeed transform into a gun for Prime to wield in either hand. As for as tertiary gun modes go this Overrun’s isn’t too bad. That’s a good thing because the Minicon gimmick on this figure sucks. You plug Overrun into the post on Prime’s back and it creates this horribly lame punching gimmick. It really is dreadful and best forgotten.


And yet I love this figure even with its blemishes, mainly because he just looks so bad ass on the shelf. When you have an iconic character like Optimus Prime, messing around with his look is a huge gamble, especially when you’re trying to re-launch the franchise. This new Prime was a bold move on Hasbro’s part and I think it paid off in spades. This is an Optimus Prime that looks like he’s built for combat and it’s a refreshing change. Of course, there was also a larger version of this figure that came with his trailer, but I still prefer this Deluxe version for reasons I’ll get into when I finally get around to covering the big guy.

Transformers Fast Action Battlers: “Power Hook” Optimus Prime by Hasbro

Last month Hasbro showed off a lot of Transformers at the NY Toy Fair and a lot of collectors came away disappointed at what was clearly a focus on toys aimed squarely at children. Imagine that? Toys… for children! What is the world coming to? All kidding aside, I totally get what collectors are looking for, but I’m glad to see that Hasbro is still trying to cultivate interest in the Transformers at a young age. I think I’m more forgiving because I’m looking mainly toward the Third-party and Masterpiece stuff for my Transformers fix these days. Anything that interests me from Hasbro is just gravy. I suppose you could debate on whether or not kids really want simpler figures with play gimmicks over nicely detailed and complex figures, but that’s another story. Of course, Hasbro has been incorporating more kid-friendly sublines into the Transformers brand for quite a few years now. Today we’re going to check out one of those figures.


Fast Action Battlers! I believe this sub-line appeared on the pegs alongside the Revenge of the Fallen toys. They’re roughly Deluxe sized figures and, curiously enough, they came on cardbacks with no actual links to the movie. The package just reads “Transformers” and the bland cards and tri-lingual text make the presentation here look rather knock-off-ish to me. Although I like the sound of “Electric Crochet” Optimus Prime… it fills me with wonder. Anyway, there’s not much to say about the packaging here, so let’s tear this guy open and see what he’s all about. We’ll start with his alt mode.



“Power Hook” Prime features his Bay movie alt mode, although it’s a fairly deformed version of it. It looks wider and lower to the ground than it should, sort of like it’s been smooshed down. All in all, for what this toy is, it’s not a terrible recreation of the movie semi cab. Take a look at the alt mode of Hasbro’s current $60 “Premium Edition” Age of Extinction Prime and tell me that the sculpt and coloring in this $10 toy is really that much worse. Yeah, there’s actually plenty of sculpted detail on this little truck, particularly on the wheels and near the hitch. With a few more paint operations around the windows and roof, I think it could have looked a lot better. Still, it’s obvious that Hasbro wasn’t going for realism here. Nonetheless, this alt mode locks together securely, rolls along well, and there isn’t a lot to betray it as a Transformer apart from some seams and the tiny Autobot emblem on the hood ornament.


Of course, they don’t call him “Power Hook” Prime for nothing. He has a huge firing hook missile sticking out of his grill. It came on a string, but I untied the string to see how much distance I could get when I fired it. The odd thing is there doesn’t seem to be any way to fire it while he’s in alt mode. At least there isn’t a fire button that I could find. Naturally you can just pull out the hook if you don’t want it protruding from the front of your truck.


The whole purpose of the “Fast Action Battlers” was to have figures that could change quickly. I can certainly appreciate that because I can remember playing with my G1 Transformers as a kid. Most of those changed fairly quickly and it made them more fun when playing out scenarios. When you split the front of Prime’s truck mode open the rest of the figure practically springs into place. The only thing left to do is plug his backpack into his back and you’re ready for action.


In robot mode, Prime is a pretty good approximation of the movie Prime, which is no small feat for such a simply engineered toy. Obviously all the detail in his chest is faked out because he transforms differently than the official movie versions. Still, there’s a ton of sculpted detail on this guy and the diminished number of paint apps isn’t as apparent as it was in his alt mode. Sure he’s got a huge backpack, but so do some of the figures in the main lines, so I won’t hold that against him.


“Power Hook” Prime a fun figure to play with because he’s got ball joints in his shoulders and hips, and hinged knees and elbows. He also has a spring effect in his waist, where you can turn his torso and it will spring back like the punching effect on the old He-Man figures. Besides good poseability, he also sports that firing hook on his left arm and the fire button is finally revealed and you’ve got Sub Zero Prime. “GET OVER HERE!”


Prime is the only Fast Action Battler I own. While fairly impressive for what it is, it’s not something that I would even think about buying today. I suspect I bought him just because back then I had two or three shelves of Optimus Prime figures on display and I was pretty much buying every version of him. The main reason I featured this figure today is because I’m about to ship it off to my eight year old nephew. When my brother told me that the kid doesn’t have many Transformers, I told him that I was going to punch him in the mouth next time I saw him. My brother, not my nephew! At least the kid is heavy into Marvel and DC, but we still need to get him on the Transformers bandwagon. Granted, this figure is a pretty simple example of what the line has to offer, but I want to get some genuine feedback from the kid on whether he likes it or if he would prefer something a little more complex. It’ll hopefully give me a little insight on whether Hasbro knows what they’re doing. It’s not exactly a focus group, but it should be interesting to see what he has to say.

Transformers: 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime by Hasbro

These days the most intrepid and deep-pocketed Transformers collectors no doubt have a couple of shelves devoted to the Masterpiece figures. Of course, this now prolific line got its start a full decade ago with the release of one huge stand-alone figure. In Japan he was MP-01 “Masterpiece” Optimus Prime, but when I found him on the shelf of my local Target he was “20th Anniversary” Optimus Prime. The day I spotted this guy at the store, I had already been back into collecting Transformers for a solid four years, and my nostalgia for all things G1 was back in full force. I knew straight away he was coming home with me, and didn’t think twice about whipping out my credit card and dropping $80 on this guy. Only $80!!! This toy is a behemoth of plastic, rubber, and diecast metal! Nowadays I’m happily forking over that kind of money for an all-plastic Masterpiece figure half this size. Oh, how times do change!     



The packaging for this figure is long gone, but if memory serves, Prime came in his robot mode in three-quarter window box with a heavy G1 inspired theme. He was later released repainted and with a talking base, but today I’m looking at the original Hasbro release from 2004. I’ve been meaning to feature this figure for a long time, but to be honest, every time I thought about doing it, I couldn’t get the nerve up to transform him. I probably haven’t done it in almost 10 years and I can remember it was a huge pain in the ass back then. Like the package, the instructions are long gone, but today I had a few Jamesons in me and for whatever reason I felt up to the challenge. I half expected to either break him or give up half way through in disgust, but I was pretty surprised at how smoothly it went once I had sussed him out. As usual, I’m going to start with his vehicle mode.


In his semi cab mode, Prime is a big and heavy toy. The diecast is mostly located in the blue back and parts of the cab itself with a lot of plastic bits serving as the connective tissue. Unlike a lot of toy collectors in general, and Transformers collectors in particular, I do not have any nostalgic love for diecast metal. It tends to be harder and more expensive to sculpt detail in it, the paint on it chips fairly easily, and it often adds balance issues when used in action figures. As far as Prime is concerned, the sculpt looks pretty good and mine has picked up only a few very minor paint chips over the last ten years. As for balance, well, it doesn’t affect Prime in his truck mode; on the contrary, I think the toy benefits from the nice, satisfying heft it provides. So, fair is fair, diecast, you win this round!



As for the rest of the toy, there’s a lot to love here and a lot to gripe about. As a “Masterpiece” toy, Prime has some aesthetic issues. The side windows don’t look right at all and that’s because they’re just his exposed shoulder joints. The front panels on the cab don’t really match up, but unless I’m looking at it from underneath it’s not a big issue for me. What is a big issue is how obviously his robot hips are exposed behind the cab. There’s no attempt to hide them at all. The huge sculpted Autobot symbol on the side of the cab also looks somewhat out of place to me. Here’s an example where I think it should have been tampo’ed on instead. Also worth mentioning is the blue button on the top of the cab that sticks out like a sore thumb. And lastly, the Hasbro version was notorious for having the smokestacks cut for safety issues. 


I know I’m being mercilessly tough on a 10 year old toy that also happens to be Has-Tak’s first attempt at anything like this. It’s easy to look back on this Prime and scoff, but even after nitpicking all of those points, I don’t think the cab mode is necessarily bad. As we’ll soon see he’s a mighty ambitiously engineered toy and I’m ok with some sacrifices having been made. Hey, it’s got real rubber tires and the wheels have a working suspension… that’s pretty damn cool! Plus, I’m happy to say that the chrome pieces have held up beautifully over the years. Besides, it’s clear that the designers erred in favor of Prime’s robot mode and that’s exactly what I would have wanted them to do. In 10 years this figure has only been in his truck mode three or four times, so the fact that that aspect of the toy isn’t perfect doesn’t faze me at all.


As already mentioned, transforming this guy can be a real pill, although going from robot to cab is definitely the more frustrating of the two starting points. It’s tough to find that one starting point where you “break open” the figure and can start moving panels around. Also, purists may take issue with the use of the faked out grill, as the one he displays in truck mode is not the same as the one he wears in robot mode. Honestly, in hindsight I thought I remembered this toy using a lot more fakery than that, but as it turns out that’s really the only cheat.



In robot mode, I think Prime still looks pretty impressive, albeit quite primitive compared to Takara’s recent efforts. There’s a little Sunbow animated style in him, particularly in the portrait, and yet the diecast manages to invoke the original G1 toy as well. From the waist down I think he’s fantastic. The rubber and chrome wheels still look great, and the chrome and grey mix well with the high gloss diecast in the legs. One interesting design choice here are the working pistons in the backs of his arms and legs. They sure look cool and they add an element of realism to the design, but they doen’t really jibe with any animated or comic version of Prime that I recall seeing. In many ways, the styling of figure feels like the designers weren’t sure which direction to take it.





Prime sports a really broad chest, which I think suits the figure. It can open and reveal a removable Matrix of Leadership. That was pretty big doings back when this figure was released, but nowadays it feels like it’s been done to death. The arms are squared off and favor the vintage toy aspect over the animated one. I’m still not sure about that embossed Autobot emblem on his left shoulder. I think it would have been better as a tampo.  And damn those sawed off smokestacks! They’re as much of a drag in robot mode as they are in his alt mode. I still find it ridiculous that an $80 diecast collectible like this had to conform to toy safety guidelines, but whatever. On the plus side, Prime has a cool little pop up comm screen in his left arm, complete with an image of animated Bumblebee on it.


Besides the short stacks, this Prime’s robot mode also features some “battle damage” which was pretty controversial at the time. The damage consists of some scorch marks, most of which are not visible in his truck mode. There’s some on his shoulders and forearms, and a splotch of it on his grill. This aspect of the deco never really bothered me all that much, but the re-release was repainted and clean, without the distress marks.



Prime features decent articulation on paper, but in practice it doesn’t fare quite so well. Part of the problem is that the figure is so poorly balanced. Despite his heavy diecast legs, the massive diecast chest still makes him top heavy and the joints in his hips and his ankles aren’t up to the task. Just trying to stand Prime at attention often results in him leaning to the front or back and threatening to topple. I have been able to get him in a number of decent action poses, but leaving him displayed on a shelf always feels like a risk. In almost 10 years I’ve managed to avoid him taking a shelf dive and I wouldn’t want to see the result of the crash. I keep meaning to pick up a generic Sixth-Scale figure stand for him to see if that will help him out.



This figure came with a number of accessories, and despite my best efforts all I could locate was his rifle. The gun is patterned closely after his trusty G1 weapon and cast in grey and silver. He can hold it fairly well in his hinged fingers, although sadly there’s no post or anything to really lock it in place. The missing accessories included an Energon Axe that could fit onto his wrist and a version of Megatron in his gun form very similar to the one included with MP-13 Soundwave. I recall the stock on my Megatron gun broke almost immediately, but I’m sure the axe is still floating around in a tote somewhere.


As a stand-alone figure, 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime is still a valued piece in my collection. He often finds himself on display on a shelf in my Den far away from my other Transformers. I still love to admire him on the shelf from time to time, but he is not a fun figure to play around with, he’s not very fun to transform, and yet I still think he has a unique charm all his own. Curiously, he’s also one of the pieces that I display, which garners the most attention from my non-toy savvy guests. They often flock to him like crazy, gaze at him in wonderment and are suitably impressed when they are allowed to pick him up and feel how friggin heavy he is. Still, with all that having been said, the years have not been kind to this figure as a collectible. He’s easy to find languishing on Ebay for about the same price he sold for originally, while collectors fall over each other to buy MP-10 at three times the price. He’s far from a true “masterpiece” but he was still impressive for his day and while many collectors scoff at him now, I’m still happy to give him a home on my shelf.

Transformers Robots in Disguise: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

Last week Takara announced that they are releasing a commemorative re-issue of Fire Convoy from Car Robots 2000, better known to us Yanks as Optimus Prime from Robots in Disguise. Also last week, I turned 41. If that didn’t already make me feel old then realizing that Robots in Disguise is already 13 years old really drove the point home for me. Anyway, RiD was the line that got me back into collecting Transformers and was also the gateway drug that got me back into collecting toys in general. If it hadn’t been for this guy, I might have spent the last decade blowing a lot more of my money on booze and other more distructive vices and who knows if I’d even still be here today. I thought it would be fun to run some Transformers Thursday features on the RiD line and where better to start than Optimus Prime himself?


Look, I actually still have the packaging for this guy! It’s a little rough around the edges, but Prime has lived in his box on a shelf ever since I came to the realization that I don’t have the room to display all my Transformers. The RiD line didn’t rely on a whole lot of nostalgia in the presentation. You got a brand new logo and an attractive black and red box. The toy is boxed in its alt mode and you can get a pretty good look at what you’re getting inside.


The back of the package sucks. It has a little clip out profile card and a lot of boring text in three different languages. When I was a kid in a toy store the first thing I used to do when I found a toy I was interested in was look at the back of the box. This is where all the cool photos of the toy should be. This is where you see all the accessories and action features and it interacting with other toys in the line. You don’t get any of that here. The box doesn’t even have a picture of Prime’s basic robot mode anywhere on it. Sheesh!




So, here’s Prime as a fire truck. I love the concept because fire trucks have always been innately heroic symbols to me. They represent courage and self-sacrifice, so a fire truck is a no brainer for a Prime alt mode. This is a great looking toy, with lots of attention to detail that gives it a nice sense of realism. You get big clear blue windshields, chrome wheels with real rubber tires, and big Autobot symbols on each side. Nice little touches also include the little ladder on the side and the seat where the ladder operator would sit. Sure, you can see one of Prime’s heads under the ladder, but that’s no big deal for me. Yup, he’s a great looking toy, but as soon as you pick it up, it’s going to fall apart, so it’s best not to handle it too much. It’s just one of the things about this guy that probably makes him better as a collector piece than an actual toy.


Besides rolling along, Prime has some play features. He has electronic lights and sounds, but I’ve never put batteries in him to test it out. That’s probably a good thing, because if I had, the toy would probably have been ruined with battery goo by now. His ladder can elevate and turn and it also packs a couple cool surprises. Push the button at the front and two water cannons pop out of the front. Push the button on the back of the ladder and four missile launchers snap up and are ready to fire. I was amazed to find that I still had all the missiles!




Transforming Prime is similar to a lot of Optimus toys in that you detach his trailer, or in this case the bulk of the fire truck, and just transform the cab. What you come away with is pretty unique in that most of his robot mode is rolled up into the shell of the cab. Prime features very organic looking legs and arms with some more boxy and angular bits for his lower legs and shoulders. His chest plate is vac metal plated, and while mine has a few little chips here and there, I think it has held up pretty well. The head sculpt is certainly influenced by the Prime I know and love, but it’s extremely stylized and one that I could never really get behind.



As an action figure, Prime features some fun and useful articulation. His shoulders rotate and have lateral movement. His elbows are hinged and have swivels, and his fists are ball jointed. His legs feature universal movement at the hips, have hinges and swivels at the knees, and his ankles and neck are ball jointed. Of course, when you get tired of playing around with this version of Prime, it’s time to build him bigger. Taking a page from the old Apex Armor concept, you can cannibalize the rest of his vehicle mode and armor up Prime to his Ultimate mode.


The first thing you do is build him bigger arms and feet and pop on his shoulder armor. I actually kind of dig the way he looks in this transitional stage. There’s some really cool engineering here. I especially love the way the wheels fold up to become the soles of the feet. But, you’re not done yet. Next you’re going to take the rest of the fire truck and put it over his head so he can wear it like a backpack and new chest plate.



Prime’s Ultimate mode is absolutely bitchin. No, it’s not very Optimus Primey to me, and that’s my biggest issue with this mode. The head reminds me more of Optimus Primal than anything else and there isn’t a lot in the robot mode to link him to the traditional Prime designs of the past or future. That having been said, I still think this is a spectacular looking robot mode. I like the proportions a lot, the detail on him is crazy, and the additional chrome bits really make the figure stand out.


Since Prime is basically the base figure wearing armor, he retains a lot of the same articulation and that’s both good and bad. Yes, you can still pose him, but his hip joints are a little too weak for the huge amount of bulk added to him so he tends to want to do the splits. The giant ladder coming off his back helps to serve as a third leg and stabilize him, but at the same time it really gets in the way of putting him in any great action poses. Also, the more I play around with him, the quicker I get frustrated over the ladder portion wanting to pop off of his torso.


I honestly had no idea how I was going to feel about this toy after he’s been in storage for so long. I’m a little surprised at how awesome I still think he is. I think a lot of my love for him comes from my fondness for Powermaster Prime as the two toys have a lot in common. RiD Prime even has a base mode, which I didn’t bother showing off because it’s pretty crap. No, this guy is definitely not a traditional Prime toy and he’s never been a default Prime in my collection, but I still love this toy a lot. The fact that you can get to his Ultimate mode from that fire truck is still an amazing bit of engineering, even if it does cheat a bit by being a parts-former. Now that I have him out and standing in front of me, I’m not eager to put him back into storage, so I may have to find a place for him on my shelf for a little while.

Transformers Classics: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

A couple of weeks ago, I looked at Classics Jetfire and realized that there were still quite a few Classics in my collection that have escaped being featured here on FFZ. Most notable of all is the big cheese himself, Optimus Prime. However, in Prime’s case, I think the omission may have been by design. I was hooked on the Classics line from day one, but I was never entirely smitten with this version of Prime. Let’s see if he’s grown on me any after all these years…



The packaging has been gone for a long time, so let’s jump right into Prime’s alt mode. Yep, he’s still a red semi-truck cab which offers a solid homage to the original character toy, but Hasbro certainly went off the reservation on a few significant points. He’s less boxy and more rounded at the edges, and his windows in particular are pretty stylized. It’s a slightly sexier and modern look and I’m cool with that. If I had to pick one thing that bothered me the most, it would be the windows. They just don’t seem to fit with the rest of the design and it’s obvious the discrepancy has to do with the transformation engineering. We’ll come back to that in a little bit.


Initially, I wasn’t a big fan of the cap on the roof, but that’s grown on me a little bit. My main issue with the cap is that it’s basically there to hide the head and create an extra gun. I think the head could have been hidden with something a lot less cumbersome, and as we’ll see the gun that it forms isn’t a great pay off.


I do like the deco used here quite a bit, as it’s fairly faithful to the original toy colors. He’s mostly red and blue, with some added silver. The grey used for the bumper and grill is a little jarring to me. I think it should have been painted closer to the side striping with a little metallic silver finish. My only other gripe here is the lack of a regular Autobot insignia. Prime does have a rub sign sticker, but I’ve never been a big fan of these. Still, combine this deco with the new design and I can appreciate Prime’s cab mode well enough. There are no miss steps to the reimagined design that I can’t forgive. Let’s transform him and see if the same holds true for his robot mode.




Prime in robot mode is a damn frustrating figure. He’s got so much great stuff going for him, but a couple points of lazy design detracts from him a lot. The first thing worth mentioning is that his transformation relies on a bit of fakery. The lower part of his torso is meant to look like his truck grill, but the real truck grill winds up on his back. I’m not a big fan of that kind of hocus-pocus in my Transformers engineering, but it isn’t a deal breaker for me if it’s done right. If we’re talking about Prime’s torso and legs… he’s done very right. There’s a great stylized design to him that makes the fakery well worthwhile. He looks fantastic and very much like the Prime toy that I’ve always wanted. The head sculpt isn’t among my favorite Prime heads, but it’s not at all bad. So what’s the problem?


First off, the horrible truck shell pieces that hang off his arms. They hang there, they flop around and get in the way. Basically, they’re ugly and awkward. An extra hinge to help them wrap around the arm may have helped. Maybe if they actually looked like armor and not just truck pieces hanging off of him. But whatever the case, he always looks like he’s mis-transformed or missing a step somewhere. It looks like the designers kept thinking, “Yeah, the arms… we’ll worry about them later” only later never came. I’m not a fan of parts-formers, but in this case, I would have been perfectly fine if you could have just pulled these pieces off, because they practically destroy the figure by being there.


Less of a problem is his backpack. It’s awkward and ugly, but I’m far more forgiving of a cumbersome backpack on a Transformer than the god-awful hideous limb kibble. Of course, you can also pull the backpack off, which brings me to Prime’s two transforming weapons…




Prime’s main weapon comes out of his smokestacks. It’s not his traditional looking rifle, but I do like it a lot. It’s a clever use of the smokestack part and I think he looks pretty good holding it. The cap/backpack gun is slightly more complex in transformation. It’s an ok gun, but rather unwieldy and I don’t like that it’s the same deco as Prime himself. Like I mentioned above, it isn’t worth the payoff of having the big cap on the truck cab.


Classics Prime is a fun toy, and he’s definitely one of the better Prime figures that Hasbro has put out since. I’ll concede that’s a bit of a loaded compliment, but I do think he deserves more kudos than scorn. That having been said, it’s hard to overlook the truck kibble on his arms. I can remember the first time I transformed him, I kept looking back at the instructions to see what I was doing wrong, only to find out that there was nothing wrong, that’s what his arms look like. If I’m blowing them out of proportion, I think the problem here was that I was so excited about Hasbro doing updates to G1 characters, my expectations were too high. In the end, I’m far more willing to dismiss a terrible figure than forgive one that mingles with greatness but falls flat because of one or two major flaws. Prime is sadly one of those figures that could have been close to perfect, but missed the mark because of some lazy design elements.

Transformers Unleashed: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

In the last month or so, I’ve checked a few of Hasbro’s very cool Star Wars Unleashed statues. Hasbro had a good thing going on with this line and in an effort to make lightning strike twice, they tried the same thing with Transformers. The difference? The Star Wars statues seemed like a genuine attempt to bring attractive display pieces to collectors on a budget. The Transformers statues seemed more like a quick and dirty cash grab amidst a sea of other movie related merchandise. I should be able to wrap this one up mighty quick and we can all go on with our business.


I don’t have the packaging for this wonderful object d’art any longer, but I seem to recall it coming in some sort of window box. I also need not confess to actually buying it, as it was a present from the former Mrs. FigureFan. I’m tempted to say it was well-intentioned, but unfortunately she turned out to be quite a vindictive headcase, so it could have just as easily been gifted out of spite. Anyway, the idea here is that in the true nature of the Transformers, this is actually two-Two-TWO statues in one! On one side, it’s Prime in his truck mode, but turn it around and there he is in his robot mode. You see? It’s like a Transfromer but it’s a statue!


The alt mode portion of the statue depicts Prime in his movie truck form, launching himself off a cliff against a backdrop of terrible looking translucent plastic flames. The cliff looks like it’s carved out of chocolate and there’s a huge Autobot insignia sculpted into the side. Only part of the truck is actually here because it’s partly obscured in the so-called fire. I never minded Prime being an extended front cab, but I was never a fan of this coloring. There’s way too much blue, and this statue seems to add even more. Apart from that, there are some stray splotches of paint. All in all, this looks Ok, I guess, but it’s nothing spectacular. Maybe the flipside will be better?



Nah, not really. The pose isn’t bad. Prime is bent down on one knee with a fist held out in defiance and his other arm converted into his gun. Giving Prime an arm that converts into a gun never seemed right to me. It just doesn’t fit the character. But then again, before Revenge of the Fallen I wasn’t used to seeing my childhood hero rip people’s faces off either, so I guess I need to get with the times. Either way, the statue is just being faithful to the source material, so I can’t blame it for that. In fairness, there’s a lot of sculpted detail on this guy, but it’s still not enough to effectively convey the crazy complex “bag of scissors” aesthetic of the Bayformer designs. There’s also way too much bland grey plastic here and not enough painted detail. The head is pretty unspectacular as well. The sculpt is really soft and you can’t really even see his eyes.


It’s hard to put my finger on exactly where Hasbro went wrong with this piece. Sure, aesthetically this is far from my favorite version of Prime, but I was still able to appreciate his Leader Class movie toys. Ultimately, I think most of the blame lies in the super soft sculpt not being able to capture the intricate design. Had this been a statue of old school G1 Sunbow Prime, I think it could have been spectacular. In concept, the whole turnaround gimmick showing off both modes may not have been inherently bad, but the execution just doesn’t result in a piece that I’m all that keen on displaying. And so, Prime here resides on the tip top shelf of display case in the corner. Mostly out of sight and out of mind.