Cliffbee.com: FAB Optimus Prime Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Optimus Prime
Series: Movie Tie-Ins
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Peterbilt 379 Truck (thanks to Fit For Natalie for the model)

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Optimus Prime for this review



TRUCK MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 17.5cm Width: 6.5cm

   A slightly squat longnose cab, Optimus Prime is red at either end and blue around the cabin. There are blue flames at the front of the truck and on the doors while the fueltanks, grille and sunvisors are grey. There are six black plastic tyres with silver painted hubcaps. The hitch section is painted black, and doesn't actually feature a hitch. The headlights and rear bumper are painted silver and there's a transparent blue tailpipe at the back, which is quite obviously a stowed missile. The colour scheme feels somewhat cheap - it's not as nice as that on Robovision Prime and nowhere near the wonderful, vibrant, colours of the leader class toy.

   The flattened shape puts me off a little - the cabin roof is especially low. What bothers me more is the fact that the cabin block tapers at the back - it's quite obviously the robot waist. A couple of panels would have made quite a difference, even if they only reduce the gap. Combining the simple paint job, flattened cab, gappy cabin and cheesy missile, Prime feels a little half-baked here. It's not all bad news, mind you - Prime sports that nifty little little Autobot badge on top of his grille and there are some nice sculpted details in places, including on the doors and front bumper (although the latter is unpainted blue plastic, which undoes much of the good sculpt work).

   As seems to be the case with some FABs, there's not much action here. Prime rolls fairly noisily on his textured plastic tyres, and does so reasonably well, but that obtrusive missile is just for show, sadly. He holds together fairly well, and it feels kinda negative that I have to bring that up. There's a cord underneath for the missile gimmick in robot mode, which is mildly annoying since it doesn't roll up or tie securely - it kinda stows away but tends to pop out.

   While this truck mode doesn't suffer from the cuteness of some FABs, it does suffer from some shortcuts here and there. The missing corners of the cab, the relatively simple paint job and a dearth of play value hold this truck back. There's none of the magic here that the larger versions of the character have - no sense of majesty - just a truck that feels a bit like a knock-off.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Unclip the top of his hood and fold back to reveal the torso under the top of the cabin and the legs in the lower half of the front. The bottom half of the grille springs up to form his feet, which is cool. Split the top of his hood out to the sides to form his arms, clip the hitch section into his back as a backpack. Extend the arms, plug the missile into the launcher on his left forearm, split the feet. It's an innovative transformation, and while it's cheating in that the front unfolds to become a robot, I still like the unusual nature of this transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9.5cm

   A blue robot with grey arms, feet, thighs and a grey groin. There are grey plates behind his shoulders and a big red backpack behind his head. The forearms, outsides of his boots and some details on his chest are also red. His head is blue with a silver face and light blue eyes, while the chest has silver false windows and some other silver detailing which is designed to resemble that seen in the film. The transparent blue missile again stands out in a bad way, but the overall colour scheme is quite nice otherwise - the more prominent silver really helps.

   Despite the huge backpack and those plates behind his shoulders, Prime still looks okay here. The torso detailing is nice - better than on the Robo-Vision in fact. His head is big and the sculpt is fairly complex yet still kinda cutesy. The arms look cheap, with quite a bit of kibble associated with them.

   The play value is okay but the Fact Action gimmick is not terribly exciting. The missile has a hook at the tip, which means he can hang from strings and stuff, but not much else. The launcher is quite powerful but the cord is maybe 30cm and attaches top the top of his backpack, so the missile fires a few inches them jerks back - which makes the whole thing rather unimpressive. The cord is ungainly anyway, since it likes to dangle in _front_ of the toy (due to the point of attachment).

   Optimus Prime's poseability is reasonable, and is probably the highlight of his play value. The shoulders and hips are ball jointed and his elbows and knees hinged. The footprints are fairly large and the fact that his feet push in against springs help stabilise poses. The backpack is quite flush so it's not really an issue - which makes a difference. His head turns maybe 30 to either side. As is common with the FABs, his waist springs back when turned - in Prime's case you twist it to the right and he recoils back to the left - which allows him to use the missile as a melee weapon, if nothing else.

   The missile launcher is a great letdown and there's some cheesiness in his sculpt around the head, but I generally like this robot mode. The poseability and detailed chest make him fun in a simple way. I could do without the gimmick as it is, and he'd be better if there was less kibble, but this is Prime's stronger mode and while it's flawed, it has something to offer.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although he was available on his own or in a two pack with the G1 style Classics Optimus Prime. Fireblast Optimus Prime is a repaint of FAB Prime.

OVERALL

   A mixed bag, Prime has a fun if limited robot mode and a fairly lame truck mode. The gimmick doesn't really succeed but the robot mode has some dynamic poses available. The transformation is at once unusual and simple, I like the originality of it, even if it does generate quite a bit of kibble. I wouldn't recommend this toy over the larger Optimus Prime toys from the movie line, but it's one of the few FABs I find interesting - 7/10

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