Cliffbee.com: BW 10th Anniversary Optimus Primal Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Optimus Primal
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Maximal
Alternate Mode: Gorilla

Thanks to kup for loaning me Optimus Primal, making this review possible.



GORILLA MODE
Height: 10.5cm Length: 8.5cm Width: 8.5cm

   A black and grey gorilla clearly based on the original Gorilla Optimus Primal. The upper arms and much of his torso and head are grey while the face is a grey-brown with blue eyes. There are some white elements here and a silver and red robot mode section behind his head, but for the most part Optimus Prime is a broadly robotic gorilla - which hurts the tribute. I don't see why there's so much grey here either - none of the grey on his torso needs to be grey for the robot mode. Other than random red on his back feet, the colour scheme works quite well. That said it's not a great replication of either the original toy or the cartoon version of this character.

   Much of the sculpt is quite organic, with very coarse fur on the limbs and torso, teeth (unpainted, sadly) on his mouth and organic looking feet. There are quite a few mechanical aspects, including much of the face, his chest, the hands and various hoses, pistons and such protruding from within the fur. The end result is almost technorganic - that weird fusion of design elements seen on Beast Machines Maximals - except that Primal really feels like an organic beast with mechanical details sticking out. Again this hurts the tribute, although the sculpt itself is nice.

   There aren't any gimmicks to this mode as such, although Optimus Primal comes with an enormous grey surfboard accessory thing. It's 15cm long, and he's meant to be able to ride it, as a tribute to his Transmetal incarnation. In reality, the pegs on top are too far apart for the holes under his feet to attach without Primal looking really awkward. I guess this isn't helped by the fact that his legs are fairly short, but then gorilla legs usually are. The poseablity is actually fairly good - the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips are knees are all ball jointed while the rear "thumbs" are also on ball joints. The ankles are double hinged while the neck and waist are fixed. While Primal's more or less designed to stand in a typical "knuckle-dragging" pose, there's some scope for posing - he'll happily stand upright or stand in a walking pose.

   The sculpt and poseability here are good, but the colour scheme is a little disjointed and the changes to the colour map of the character just don't make sense. The clunky surfboard doesn't really offer much, but the poseability is better than most gorilla Transformers get. The detailing is a nice mix of organic and robotic, and while this doesn't suit the character it's still worth noting. Overall this is a misfiring tribute but a good mould.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Loosely based on the original, deluxe, Beast Machines Optimus Primal - but done right. Open out the groinplates, lift up the rumplate. Swing down the chest and face, swing back the crest. Push together the shoulders to form the robot groin, open a panel in the beast crown, swing out the robot head and close the crown to form the robot chest. Push the head and chest into place, lining up the beast hips as robot shoulders. From here form down the beast arms to form legs and the beast legs to form arms. There's some twisting to get the limbs right, with the beast feet working surprisingly well as robot hands. The outsides of the beast hands (the knuckles, basically) flip out to form feet while the beast hands themselves form heelspurs.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 14cm Width: 9cm

   A black, grey and white robot with a blue head. Optimus Primal's boots and arms are black while the insides of his thighs and upper arms are white. The torso, feet and outer thighs are grey along with much of the upper detailing on his head. His hands are red, although I'm not sure why. His face is silver with yellow eyes but it doesn't especially look like Optimus Primal really - which is quite disappointing. That red and silver detailing on his chest now, and it looks nice although it's not quite that good as to justify it's visibility in beast mode.

   There's no visible logo here. In fact the only allegiance symbol this toy carries is a red stamped Maximal symbol on the rump of the gorilla, which isn't terribly prominent in either mode. I'm not really sure why it's red, either. The beast rump and chest are now on his back, forming a bulky but lightweight backpack of panels. There are parallels to the original's head, including a suggestion of the mutant head, but the overall homage is diluted by too much grey and the yellow eyes just don't work for the character.

   This mode is more robotic than the beast mode, since much of the fur sculpt is now on his backpack. There are few straight lines here - most of this robot mode is gentles curves. The feet are the standout exception - to the point that they don't really fit. The silver and red on his chest also features some straight lines, but being a different colour and central chest detail, this works quite well.

   The poseability is carried over from the beast mode, which makes sense since the limbs were limbs there, also. The shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles are all ball joints inherited from the beast mode while the neck is also ball jointed. The wrists can swing out while the fingers swing as one and the thumbs are ball jointed. The feet are big with useful heelspurs, so while they look dicey they do anchor Prime in a wide array of action poses. Again the giant surfboard is a waste of time - he can no longer stand on the pegs since there are no pegs under his feet, although he can stand loosely on it. There's a slot at the back into which you can plug in the green Planet Key (code: d7s9), which causes the upper right side to pop out, revealing a single missile launcher. While the launcher fires reasonably well, there's no way for Optimus Primal to hold this oversized launcher comfortably. The missile can sit in his hand as a club, and while it wasn't designed to, I prefer that to giving him the surfboard.

   The colour scheme here is just too misguided. The poseability is good, and while the surfboard is a very poor accessory, you can always set aside and forget about it. Unfortunately the poseability isn't enough to save Primal from some really dumb paint choices. The red hands look silly, the colours used on the head weaken the tribute and the feet really need to hide better than they do. The grey torso doesn't help matters. Okay, so we still get a sense of Optimus Primal here, but it's messy at best.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   Hunt down the original instead. Unlike the hand offered on Megatron, there's nothing offered here that the original lacked. If anything, it's a regression. The surfboard is just bad, the colour scheme muddled and the beast mode sculpt doesn't work for this concept. That sculpt is nice, but if you're interested in that, you'd do better to pick up the Cybertron Optimus Prime, which has a better colour scheme as well as more justification for tech details in gorilla mode. I would recommend spending a lot more on the original than paying retail for this poorly executed tribute, despite the fact that this is a new mould - 5/10

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