Cliffbee.com: Energon Optimus Prime Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Optimus Prime
Series: Energon
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Futuristic Car Carrier

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



TRUCK MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 37cm Width: 10.5cm

   A rather stylised shortnose cab with a mixture of colours. Optimus Prime has a white front facade, painted blue windows, red roof, silver bumper and grille and some blue bits all on a very dark grey base. The trailer is a giant grey parallelogram thing, with black panels covering various storage bays. It hangs over the hitch section, the back slopes down. There are a total of ten wheels, six on the cab and four on the trailer. I have to admit I really lament the lack of chrome here (Takara's version has chrome and looks _much_ nicer). At this scale I would have like to see the tyres rubberised, also. The cab manages to look quite nice, the giant wedge on the back looks less spectacular.

   Conceptually, this vehicle mode is rather strange, and while some aspects - such as the colour scheme of the cab - work out well, I'm not so fond of others. The trailer has four doors on top, for his mini vehicles (which I'll come back to in a moment). These doors have hexagonal markings with "OP" and a number from one to four. They look like something out of Power Rangers, and I'm glad they've been left unpainted. The moulded detail on the trailer is actually quite intricate, which I do appreciate. There's a spark crystal on the left side of his cab and a moulded and painted Autobot logo on the right side. Prime also sports a giant stamped Autobot logo on the back of his trailer, which is pretty nifty. There's a radar array folded down over it, but this is easy enough to deploy. The combined mode's head is visible (folded up) on top of the cab, which I'm not a fan of.

   The cab does generally look good, but the robot arms form visible struts, attaching to the hitch section. Okay, they rest against it, but don't flop around. The robot helmet is visible between the struts and the robot head is fairly obvious on the roof, which is disappointing for a toy of this size.

   While there's a lot of play value in this set, there's not actually very much in this configuration. There's the radar array I've already mentioned and a button his the left door of the cab which can activate an explosion sound. This is in a way underwhelming, but there's a lot more to come. This mode is more about storing the play value, which I can deal with.

   This is probably the least appealing flagship sized Optimus Prime truck mode I've seen. The whole thing is a just a little too abstract, and while the cab is okay, the lack of chrome feels cheap and the trailer is just strange. It does what it's meant to do, but I can't get excited about it. The cab itself carries more robot junk than I can excuse on such an expensive toy.

BASE MODE

   Fold away the hitch peg, flip the trailer forward, swing down the supporting foot, lift up the radar away and fold down the helipad next to door number 2. It's still a parallelogram, now with an Autobot logo on the roof. Three of the four doors open, revealing four mini vehicles. #1 is an orange fire truck with six rolling black wheels and an extendable grey ladder. #2 is a white helicopter with a tail that deploys and twin blade rotor. Door #2 is fixed since the helipad deploys this one. #3 is a rather massive yellow drill tank with a drill that rotates as it rolls along, a nice touch. The paint job is great on this one - the treads are painted black and there's black on the drilltip which fades to yellow. #4 is a blue submarine thing, which actually looks more like a larger space ship. I'm a fan of the drill tank and the chopper, the fire engine is decent and the submarine questionable at best.

   The three doors that do open all feature sliders, so that you can deploy the vehicles. In theory, anyway. You need to push the sliders very hard, and the fire engine has a way to fall, being on the upper level. The idea is nice enough, even if the execution isn't all that flash. It's still a weird parallelogram, but at least it has play value.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Swing the legs down from underneath the cab, fold out the feet and heelspurs. Detach the gun from the hitch section, swing out the struts which sit against the hitch's plate, swing them out to the sides to form the arms. Bring the arms down to his sides, slide out his fists. Lift out the robot head, fold the hitch plate down onto his back and slide it up until it clicks. Give him his gun and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 12cm

   Again a mixture colours, and they work well together in robot mode. His head, shins and fists are blue while his arms are red, his feet grey and his thighs and hips dark grey. His torso is the front of the truck in it's entirety, so it's mainly white on top and silver at the bottom, and with the wheels on his waist. He's very wide - hence the fan nickname Fatimus Prime. Since his waist bulges and he also has a pot belly, Optimus Prime looks like he's pregnant - not a look I want to see on a Transformer. The windows on his chest are painted blue while his gun is a solid white.

   When I look at this robot mode, I shake my head. For a flagship toy, it's not all that impressive. Yes, there's a super robot mode, but this is an underwhelming robot. The head does look like the traditional Optimus Prime head, but with no chrome, solid windows and the weird proportions, this is a mediocre robot. The torso is simply the front of the truck, which hurts the look here since it really just looks like we've folded out the limbs and head (which he have).

   The poseability isn't all that spectacular for a toy of this size with a simple transformation, which bothers me. The head turns but the waist is fixed, his shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend. His hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees, feet and heelspurs are hinged. There's still some range of posing here, but I'm not all all impressed that Optimus Prime lacks rotators in his elbows and knees - there's no reason why they can't work in these locations.

   There's a switch on the back which slides between four numbered positions, corresponding to the mini vehicles. As you move it, the sounds activate. The first is a fire truck sound, the second resembles a chopper, the third is a drill and the fourth an underwater sound. It's a little incongruous that these sounds are on the robot, not the truck mode. The other sound can also be activated.

   To be brutally honest, the smaller deluxe version is a lot better than this, with transparent windows and rotators in his legs. And that version combines with other deluxes as both the lower or upper half of a super robot. This robot is okay, and while the G1 layout is retained here, it's a poor showing for such a prominent toy. The sound gimmick is well thought out, although it doesn't bring all that much.

TRANSFORMATION TO SUPER ROBOT MODE

   Open the chest panels out to the sides, swing up the helmet over his head, slide away the fists and fold up his heelspurs. Now attach the four mini vehicles as gloves/boots. They're interchangeable in the same way as Stunticons and the like, which is cool. I find that the fire engine and chopper make better arms since they have dedicated fists. The submarine has a claw and the drill has... a drill. The vehicles all have their numbers on the side, and two of the numbers will end up on his shoulders, which looks quite unified.



SUPER ROBOT MODE
Height: 25cm Width: 21cm

   A red, blue, grey, white, yellow and orange Power Ranger Zord. Honestly this thing, with it's mixed colours on the limbs, numbers on the mini vehicles (which aren't really standalone Transformers), looks more like it should be fighting the red ranger rather than Starscream. The colours themselves aren't bad - and aren't any worse than some we saw on G1 combiners, but the style is atypical of G1 gestalts.

   The limbs generally look nice, although as you'd expect there's various kibble folded up - including the pieces that unfold to reveal the fists - I have no problem with this since the self contained fists are a nice feature that's rare on combiners. It holds the same gun as the smaller robot mode and the sound switch on the back is still available, although the door is now covered. There's a matrix-like detailing on the chest, which is a nice idea except that the background is silver, along with the matrix. There is yellow paint but for some stupid reason it's on on the gaps in the handles. The larger head isn't so great, since the helmet is clearly an add-on.

   This is the better robot mode, which is partly because we do gain the versatility of the limbs swapping, and that includes a drill hand. He does lose much of the poseability - not that it was great to begin with - but I can excuse much of that, since the head, shoulders and knees are now fixed. As bad as it is now, this time he at least has a good reason for restricted movement.

VARIATIONS

   None as such, although as mentioned the Japanese version comes with chrome.

OVERALL

   You know when a toy gets referred to in the fandom as Fatimus Prime and Power Ranger Prime that there's something not right. This is one of the worst large leader toys I've seen, both in terms of the concept and execution. The smaller robot mode is poor and the truck mode is too abstract to really function as a disguise. The larger robot mode is okay, but it feels like a Power Ranger Zord rather than an Autobot leader. I'm not that impressed by the base mode - it is well executed, but it's hardly a creative way to use the trailer. On top of all this, Hasbro cheaped out on chrome and the smaller robot is far less poseable than it could be. Not a toy I'd recommend at retail price. Maybe a third of that - 4/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.