Cliffbee.com: Alternators Prime Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Optimus Prime
Series: Alternators
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Dodge Pickup Truck

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Optimus Prime, making this review possible.



TRUCK MODE
Height: 8cm Length: 22cm Width: 10cm

   A red American pick-up truck with a distinct "sports" feel about him, Optimus Prime is a Dodge Viper truck. The red plastic is very shiny and feels kind of cheap to me. The inside of the rear tray is black, along with the interior of the cab. The windows are colourless transparent plastic while the grille is black and silver while his hubcaps are silver plastic. As you'd expect the head and taillights are colourless plastic, the front indicators are backed by orange paint and the taillights by the base red plastic. There's not a drop of blue here, so this truck doesn't specifically look like Optimus Prime.

   The plastic here doesn't feel as bad as some Alternators, but the sheen here isn't very satisfying. As you'd expect the tyres are soft plastic. The doors open and the tailgate swings down, while the spoiler just above the tailgate stays in place. The side windows are open (wound down) which is pretty standard for the Alternator toys. While on the subject of play value, the front wheels are on a rack and pinion and the bonnet lifts up, taking the grille with it. I'm not sure if the grille lifts on the actual Dodge truck, but it seems to fit with the shape of Optimus Prime's front.

   As you'd expect the detailing here is pretty good. There are ridges inside the tray, mag wheels, windshield wipers, fog lights nestled inside the front bumper, door handles, a fuel cap on the left side and black rear vision mirrors - which _are_ chromed, unlike those on many early Alternator toys. Inside the cabin there are two moulded seats, a radio console, a steering wheel and dashboard meters along with a gearstick between the seats. There's no paint inside the cabin. Incidentally, he's left hand drive - which makes sense for an American toy based on an American vehicle. Along the same lines, there's a California license plate at the back with the word "PRIME" and a red Autobot symbol printed on it.

   Aside from the plastic used, there aren't too many flaws here - although the engine under the hood is hard to actually see. It's a shame since it's a pretty nice engineblock with silver sides with the word "VIPER" sculpted. The doors can be a little tricky to close - they have a tendency to stick out to the sides a little more than they should.

   While the detailing is good here - which you'd expect - there's not much aside from the red which really tells us this is Optimus Prime. I'm not keen on the plastic used, which is well below that of the Binaltech line. The truck mode is in itself nice, but the homage is weak and the plastic isn't great, holding him back.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going to go through every step, rather cover the main aspects. The tray becomes with legs, with feet folding out from underneath the tray. The feet are somewhat difficult to extract and for some reason there are panels underneath with rotate to form the front of his legs - I can't see why they need to rotate. The arms are hidden underneath the seats while the bonnet folds down to form the chest with the grille flipping over as a groinplate. The front bumper splits and the halves sit above the shoulders as sort of pylons (think Ultra Magnus). The doors end up hanging out from the shoulders, along with the shoulder pylons they become visible kibble.

   Conceptually the transformation is simpler than most Binaltech/Alternator transformations, although there are some trivial complications. Some of them (such as the rotating leg panels) seem to be there merely to keep things complicated. The gun's transformation is quite clever, as is how the bonnet forms the chestplate without protruding. The thighs don't extend so easily - excessive force is never a good thing, but it's required here.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 23cm Width: 20cm

   The shiny red is still the dominant colour here, joined by some blue on his legs, head and hands. The mouthplate is silver while the eyes are transparent blue, and the face is of course the traditional Optimus Prime. There are small stamped Autobot logos on his shoulders. This time it really does feel like Optimus Prime, despite a lot of black on his legs. The colours are unremarkable but do the job.

   The bodyshape isn't quite right - although it's by no means bad either. The thighs are very short and the boots are very tall and wide, which looks a little weird and ends up dominating the shape thanks to the bulk. The arms and upper body are fine - even the shoulder pylons don't detract from the bodyshape, instead forming an aesthetic feature.

   The poseability isn't what you'd expect of an Alternators toy, primarily because the huge boots get in their own way. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and rotate. The feet are on ball joints, but there's not much poseability in the feet since there's so much boot behind them. Oddly, the spoiler halves actually push down into the tray, forcing the tailgate halves out slightly - forming weird heelspurs. None of this adds poseability, only stability. The effective poseability in the legs is limited to the knees - and even then it's mainly the rotators. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides, there are two hinges per elbow but no rotators. The Wrists do rotate while the index fingers are on single hinges and his other fingers share a hinge. The head is on a restricted ball joint and the waist turns - although it's limited by the groinplate.

   While there are some highlights here - such as the gun and the well formed chestplate, there are more flaws. The legs really don't look right and the kibble is, well, kibble. The Binaltech originating moulds generally handled their extras better. The seats sit awkwardly on the back of his forearms - and while they don't get in the way the location is clumsy. The doors don't really form wings or a cape, they just sort of hang there. The shoulder pylons work well enough - even if they're still kibble, but the total amount of kibble is a problem here.

   While I still like this robot mode, it's a level below many equivalent toys. The legs aren't well formed and there's a lot of junk hanging around his arms. The colours are enough to make sure we're aware this is Optimus Prime, but all of the black is very sloppy.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although Nemesis Prime is a repaint. There is a metal Binaltech version, released later.

OVERALL

   A poorly executed colour scheme, cheap plastic and some inelegant aspects in the mould hold back this toy. The truck mode is well designed however the transformation has some dramas - the force required to extend the legs is worrying while the leg panels seem redundant. The robot mode isn't so good thanks to a fair serving of kibble, badly shaped legs and far too much black. The more limited Nemesis Prime repaint is a better toy, but this mould just isn't compelling - 4/10

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