Name: Optimus Primal (often called Bat Primal)
Series: Beast Wars
Function: Maximal General
Alternate Mode: Bat
Height: 4.5cm Length: 10.5cm Width: 11.5cm (flat on table)
A grey bat with yellow eyes, white fangs and red inside his mouth, Optimus Primal is covered in fur patterning on top and crammed with grey and blue robot kibble underneath. You're not really meant to look underneath, so this mode is essentially just grey.
The underside kibble is basically his robot arms and legs, which unfortunately don't clip onto anything, and rely on tight joints to keep them from flopping around. The limbs are fairly well behaved, but it'd be nice if he had some bat feet to hang from. As it is he has the robot feet and hands stowed under his tail, but they're not bat feet and won't hook on anything.
The play value is laughable - his lower jaw opens, and stays open, since the hinge is too loose. OK, so I don't want all that much from a bat, but at least Noctorro (who's meant to be half a bat) can hang from stuff. To compare directly, Rattrap has feet that wiggle and a tail hinge that doesn't flop.
One of the strong points of the Beast Wars line was attention to small details. Optimus Primal's wings have fingers and the "thumb" (which is a spur on the front of the wings on bats), nostrils, ears that are actually painted a slightly lighter shade of grey and moulded fur all over. Oddly, he has some blood vessels moulded on the undersides of his wings - which is weird considering how much kibble's under there.
This was the first thing released in Beast Wars, and was the beginning of a learning curve that culminated in some excellent toys. On the one hand I want to be kind to this early toy which shows some promise, but on the other hand, some of the later toys eat Primal for breakfast. It's a poor bat mode, really, with a lot of undercarriage junk and no play value, but it does show promise - which was realised later in the Beast Wars line.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
A feature of the original Beast Wars basics was the auto-transform, In theory you pull the tail up, a series of gears and springs get working and Primal transforms himself into a robot. In practice you'll have to flip his feet up and position his arms. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close, and better than the Machine Wars flipchangers that required you to dig the weapon bits out and assemble them - Primal's swords are easy to unclip from underneath his wings. You can leave the swords stowed if you like, by the way.
Height: 10cm Width: 12cm
Wider than he is tall thanks to the wings forming a pretty sweet cape, Primal is now grey and blue with red highlights. The bat head is his chest, his robot head, groin, thighs and shoulders are blue, his mouth his grey and eyes yellow. The forearms and knees are painted red. It's a very nice colour scheme, thanks to it's simplicity and how well the blue and grey work together. The grey has a very slight bluish tinge, so it's almost a twotone blue effect.
As mentioned, the wings form a cape, and sit far enough behind his arms they don't get in the way. The cape is fixed, and the wings curve downwards. You can see the bones of his fingers as well as the blood vessels already mentioned, giving the wings a semi-organic feel. The bat head on his chest works well. The bat ears sticking out are a little unusual, but looking strangely good.
The blurb on the mini comic included suggests this is Optimus Prime, although that was written before Hasbro had decided which way to take the BW storyline. Anyway, the face is not that of Optimus Prime, although there are some similarities.
A feature of Beast Wars robot modes was excellent poseability, and Primal has pretty good articulation. His shoulders, elbows, knees and hips are all ball joints, which are nice and tight. The hips and shoulders have tendencies to pop out, but they'll fit straight back. His head is also on a ball joint, but all it can really do is wiggle a little. The ankles are hinged, for his transformation, and this helps balance the heavy backpack that is his cape.
The swords stick up out of his fists at 90°, so he can only slash, which works fine for his curved sabres anyway. Lots of cool poses are possible. One good thing about these sabres is that they don't form vital parts of his alt mode, so losing one (or both) isn't the end of the Transformer. As mentioned, his limbs can pop off fairly easily, and losing one of those _is_ the end of the toy, I'm afraid.
Easily his better mode, this is a good looking robot mode, the cape, colours and general aesthetic are all "heroic". The articulation is pretty good, his ball joints and swords give Primal some really nice poses.
Released in a 2 pack with Alligator Megatron, Primal had a red variant in Japan. Onyx Primal is a recolour of Bat Primal.
The bat mode has serious flaws, but the robot mode is a lot of fun, and the colour scheme is nice. This toy was a sign on things to come for Beast Wars, and isn't as good as most later BW toys. Still, it has some nice features so I'd recommend him to fans of the Beast Wars toyline - 6/10