Name: Optimus Prime
Series: Robots in Disguise
Alternate Mode: Fire Truck
FIRE TRUCK MODE
Height: 12.5cm Length: 34cm Width: 9cm
A giant red fire truck, based on an actual Japanese fire truck, Optimus Prime has a silver ladder on top which extends the length of the truck itself (and then some), dark blue transparent windows and transparent red strobes on his roof. Most of the "top" surfaces are silver, with a lattice grip moulded on top, and these surfaces are a mixture of a silver plastic similar to that of the ladder or a shinier silver paint. There are six wheels, all chromed with rubber tyres. The front wheels are significantly larger than the two sets at the rear. There are large Autobot logos stamped onto the sides, just in front of the rear wheels, and the front fenders sport some Japanese text and the word "CYBERTRON" in white (Cybertron is Japanese for Autobot). This is a good colour scheme with some great painted details, like the orange indicators on the front and rear bumpers. The red truck thing which we know well from G1 is still happening, although the blue is gone - but that's okay since navy blue wouldn't make much sense here.
There's barely a smooth surface here - and not just because of the lattice grip. While Prime is a boxy fire truck, the smooth sides have quite a bit of minor moulding - lines and whatnot. The only visual aspect that bugs me is the fairly visible super robot head and chest underneath the ladder, in the middle of the truck. Since the face is buried amongst panels it's not awful - but it's still not ideal. There's a seat on the right side of the ladder base and a small white ladder on the left side.
There's quite a bit of play value here. The ladder ratchets up and over, while it swings right around at the base. There are twin nozzles at the tip of the ladder which can be deployed via a red button on top or stowed, and if you lift the ladder up you can fold down the end of the ladder so the nozzles point straight. You can also extend the ladder to an impressive 55cm. If you're starting to think the ladder is what this mode is all about, well you're right, because the ladder also has four dark grey missile launchers loaded with red missiles. There's a little grey button on the back of the ladder (or the back of the extension) which deploys the launchers. Each missile can then be fired independently, and will fire about 40cm - I suspect Hasbro deliberately went for weak springs since the launchers have no choice here but to aim up in the air. Imagine the lawsuits if these things took kiddie eyes out. The Car Robots version, Fire Convoy, actually fires the missiles as soon as the launchers are revealed, incidentally.
There's a sound chip in the toy (AA batteries not included). If the batteries are installed, pressing a button between the strobes will cause Optimus Prime to randomly emit one of his programmed sounds - either a siren sounding, "Optimus Prime, maximise" (I wish I was kidding), "Fire" followed by gunshots or "Autobots transform". I'm not really much of a fan of voicechips or sound gimmicks in general, and this set fail to impress me - especially the "maximise" thing.
While the sounds aren't much to get excited about, the ladder is very cool and the overall look of this toy is great. Sure, the head is visible but it's not really in the open. The size alone is impressive and as mentioned Optimus Prime is a realistic fire truck. My only other complaint is that Hasbro went for a cheap rubberised plastic on his tyres - two of mine are split. This toy is famous for the tyre problem, but that's a Hasbro thing rather than a flaw in the mould itself.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Detach the cabin, remove the guide wheel from underneath. Flip the side panels forward and onto the front of the cab, fold down the windshield to form his legs. Split and rotate the boots, open the calf panels, flip out the feet and close the calves. Slide the torso down flush with the groin, which will reveal his head. Swing the arms out from his backpack, slide down the forearm covers and rotate the forearms. Place the handgun (formerly the guide wheel) in his hand, swing up the strobes to form vestigial wings.
Height: 20cm Width: 12cm
Since it's only half the truck this robot mode is relatively small, but it's a very good mode. The red is joined by a lot of creamy white and some metallic blue. The boots and upper arms are red, while his feet are black and his forearms and thighs white. The wrists and head are blue while his mouthplate, antennae and groin are silver. The eyes and chestplate are chromed red. This is a good colour scheme, with stronger links to G1 that weren't possible on the truck mode.
The chest features twin blue panels, a mimicry of the G1 Prime's robot mode - even if this isn't the same character. The head also has strong G1 connotations - although both the head and the chest are far more rounded than the angular G1 Optimus'. The shins are mech panelling and incorporate the front tyres as kneecaps - and are covered by brakediscs which is a really cool touch. Along with the wings on his back, it all makes for a great looking robot mode.
You can still activate the sound gimmicks here - the button is at the base of the wings - but there's not really that much point since three of the sounds are inappropriate here. Prime can't actually man his gun emplacement either, but he's very poseable and it's the articulation that makes this toy fun to play with.
The shoulders, elbows, knees and hips are all double jointed with hinges and rotators, while the neck, ankles and wrists are all ball jointed, and the waist rotates, Considering this guy turns into a realistic fire truck (well, half of it), the level of articulation is great, and only the wrists are at all restricted. The footprints are fairly small, so you've got to keep his centre of gravity central but he's still very poseable.
I'm struggling to find something I don't like about this smaller robot mode. From his G1 overtones to his poseability to the little details like the brakediscs on his knees, this is a great robot mode. For me it's the best part of the toy - and I've still got two modes to go.
Height: 36cm Depth: 20cm Width: 29cm
This is essentially the rest of the fire truck unfolded - a classic "let's do something with the extra armour" affair. It's mainly red with a giant silver tower formed from the ladder, whose sides flip out to form a radar-collector of sorts. The large robot head and fingers are badly hidden as guns, and there are dedicated black guns on the sides, next to the finger-guns.
With Optimus himself unable to directly control it, this thing really just sits there being a gun emplacement, and while it does a decent job of this it's still quite obviously a way to use the battle armour. Better this than half a fire truck, I suppose.
TRANSFORMATION TO LARGE MODE
Attach the rear wheel pieces to the smaller robot's feet, with the wheels stowed, feet and shins deployed. Stow the vestigial wings and slide the chest up, attach the head and chestplate, swing back the ladder and rest it against the ground. Attach the side panels as shoulderpads (the Autobot logos end up on top of the shoulders), unfold the remaining blocks to reveal the hands, attach them to the smaller robot's forearms and fold the back up over the hands. Attach the smaller robot's handgun to either shoulder.
Height: 25cm Width: 19cm
(dimensions are ignoring the ladder)
Again mainly red, with some grey, silver and orange on his chest, white thighs and hands, grey toes and shins. Optimus Prime now has a red head with some silver detailing and chromed antennae. The G1 theme has all but evaporated, and aside from some blue on the forearms the colours aren't very G1 either.
There's a chromed Autobot logo on the right side of his chest while the left is an orange and brown strap - together these make for a detailed and cool looking chestplate. The shoulderpads are big, decorative affairs and the black guns from the gun emplacement mode are now on the outsides of his forearms - a great touch. These guns can swing right around, although why you'd need them to swing backwards or up I'm not sure.
The sound gimmick can again be activated, but again there's no real point. The arms and legs share their joints with the smaller robot, and the head turns. The ankles and waist are now fixed but his wrists gain articulation and the thumbs can lift up and down. The legs articulation is wasted, sadly, since Optimus Prime has to support the very heavy ladder on his back. While the ladder reaches the ground on it's own, it's position to one side means a lot of poses cause him to keel back and to the left. The ladder isn't a total waste, mine you, since you can deploy it over his left shoulder as a giant water cannon, as Prime does in the show. This is a great option, but I'd kinds prefer a detachable ladder since his footprint is so huge and the poseability limited by this ladder.
Despite the limitations caused by the ladder and some restricted joints, this is a pretty good super robot mode. It looks _really_ good - the detail possible at this scale alone guarantees that and the size is of course impressive. While I prefer the smaller robot mode to this one, it's certainly a worthwhile mode, which is more than a scaling up - the two robot modes look very different.
The Japanese version, Fire Convoy, which came first, has metallic red plastic, better tyres, lacks the Autobot stamps and speaks in Japanese rather than English.
Great truck and robot modes make this a worthwhile toy. The smaller robot mode takes the title, but the larger one isn't far behind. Both robot modes are poseable and look great, the truck mode is based on an actual fire truck. The Gun emplacement isn't really much more than an afterthought, but it does add to the toy as much as one could hope for. While the G1 theme here isn't as strong as on some RiD toys, this is definitely a toy I recommend - 9/10