Cliffbee.com: First Strike Optimus Prime Toy Review

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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 First Strike Optimus Prime, making this review possible.



TRUCK MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 18.5cm Width: 7.5cm

   A red and blue truck with painted silver pinstripes and silver plastic on the relevant details such as fuel tanks, grille, smokestacks and the like, this particular version is designed to resemble G1 Prime. The pinstripes are the most obvious aspect of this tribute, although the blue is navy, a shade or two darker than the blue of Prime in the film. The red is a vermilion rather than a pure red. G1 Prime isn't vermilion, but I guess this helps separate this version from Robo-Vision Prime and the regular Voyager Optimus Prime - since they're all red and blue trucks using the same mould. There are no flames on this truck, at all, allowing the pinstripes to dominate. His tyres are plastic and the windshield is transparent blue. There's a red Autobot logo badge on top of the grille and the headlights are white. The paint mask isn't great, but this one is about a nostalgic overall feel, rather than the amazing detail on Leader Prime. While it's removed from what we saw in the film, this isn't a bad colour scheme.

   The truck is quite detailed, with rivets on his wheels, hood and sun guard, slits on the smokestacks, moulded door seams and grip on the running boards. The black hitch is stock, but still represented. The cabin isn't much to look at from the back, revealing that his legs are stowed in this area. While this is a little disappointing, I'm more concerned that the sides don't quite line up right, leaving visible gaps on odd angles. It's just a little off, and the gaps are big enough to stand out. On the plus side, there's a small silver driver on the left side of the cabin, complete with wide-brimmed hat. On closer inspection you'll see that it's just the upper body mounted on a black block, which is odd since the other side has a silver seat. Still, it's a nice detail to add in.

   There's some play value here. The wheels turn allowing you to roll him along, which is pretty standard, but you can't plug a trailer into the hitch. The sides - running boards, fueltanks and smokestacks unfold and point forward, forming long, highly visible cannons. There are missiles built into the tanks, quite cleverly. I like the idea, although the gap left behind shows a lot of robot kibble, namely the arms underneath, so he'll look good from the front but pretty dicey from the sides. Still, a nice attack mode. You can open the cabin door, which causes the driver to stow, vanishing away. While it's kinda silly, this is a fun idea.

   The smokestacks are a little loose, but otherwise this truck mode works quite well. The G1 themed colours are a decent idea, although they're fairly similar to the movie colours so this doesn't feel that different to the other versions.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Nothing like the movie. The legs are quite complex so I'll summarise. The sleeper section unfolds over the hitch in a fairly complex manner, becoming the legs. The arms unfold from underneath, the head folds down from under the nose, the chest is concealed behind the cabin. The nose basically just sits on his back, as a large but close-held backpack.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 19cm Width: 11cm

   A red, vacy and silver robot with silver feet and thighs. Optimus Prime's chest, shoulderpads and forearms are red while the shins, hands and head are blue. His face is silver with transparent blue eyes (and a fairly week but consistent lightpipe). The waist is painted silver with complex tech sculpting and there are false "allspark" blue windows on his chest. The basic layout is the same as the movie and the larger Leader version - down to the four tyres on his thighs, but the transformation is vastly different so much of the truck detail we see here is sculpted. The colours don't quite line up to G1, but it's fairly close.

   A lot has been made of his detailed sculpt - which is good, but I prefer the look of the larger toy. There's nothing terribly difficult about what's been achieved here - the top of the sleeper section is on his boots and the wheels are on the thighs, but everything else is robot only, meaning the sculpt has no truck parts to get in the way. There are vestigial rear fenders on the boots and half a truck on his back.

   The weapons can sit on his back, sticking high in the air, or they can sit behind his hips, pointing to the ground, in a sort of holster position. They can't swing forward to sit on his hips, which would have been cool. They can unclip, however, as handheld weapons. Basically they plug onto posts on his wrists, with pseudo-handkes resting in his open palms. The end result is convincing enough to make this option worthwhile.

   The head turns, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides. The panels which hold the arms don't secure against his torso, and can fold forward while posing - which should have been rectified during the design stages (or while developing the repaint). The elbows are hinged with rotators above them and the wrists are very restricted ball joints. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while his waist is fixed. The knees are hinged while the feet and heelspurs are also hinged. Considering the backpack Optimus Prime wears, some lower body poseability would have helped. He is a little back heavy, and for such a shellformer, frankly I would have expected better articulation.

   I get the feeling this robot was designed as a blank slate so that the designers could do something different with the transformation. The paint job is fairly complex but doesn't quite feel like G1 - the false truck on the front doesn't quite work in this regard. The guns are cool, but the poseability is a little disappointing for a toy with a fair chunk of shellforming. This robot mode is nowhere near as good as the larger one, unfortunately, or even alongside the other Autobot megas from the film. They've taken a complex idea and dumbed it down a little too much.

VARIATIONS

   As mentioned, this is a repaint of Robo-Vision Optimus Prime and (regular) Optimus Prime. No actual variants that I am aware of.

OVERALL

   There are some nice aspects here - the G1 theme is well executed on the truck mode and the automorph is clever. His guns are well done and the sculpt is complex. The robot mode still feels a little simple, and the shellforming transformation isn't so effective with that giant truck-half on his back. I wouldn't recommend more than one version of this mould, but this is probably the most compelling of the three similar toys released - 6/10

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