Cliffbee.com: Optimus Prime Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Optimus Prime
Series: Generation 1
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Alternate Mode: Semi Trailer Truck



TRUCK MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 31cm Width: 7cm

   A red shortnose truck with a grey box trailer, Optimus Prime has three axles on the cabin and two on the trailer. Okay, so he doesn't have axles on the rear sets of wheels on the cabin, but you get the idea. The trailer has a blue stripe running along the sides, with an Autobot symbol, and the word "Pepsi" emblazoned on one version of this toy.

   There's chrome plastic in spades, all the wheels are chromed (rubber tyres), chrome fluid tanks on the sides of the cab, chrome smokestacks, front grill and bumper as well as headlights. He has clear plastic windows on the cab, and the section on the front with the windows is die-cast metal. He also has a silver stripe running down the sides of the cab. I almost feel silly describing this mode, it's just so well known. But then, the fact is it's taken me two paragraphs, which is a pretty good indication of the detail on this toy. He really does look like a model of a semi trailer.

   The wheels all turn, and he has three axles, at the very front and very back of the vehicle, meaning he rolls pretty well - most Diaclone based Autobots don't have any axles, only Ultra Magnus, Trailbreaker and Hoist in fact. The joint between the cab and trailer turns freely, though if you lift him up it comes apart. The back of the trailer opens, although not with two side-hinged doors but one at the bottom. This is a bit unnatural since this rear panel has a centre join and side hinges moulded onto it. There's a seemingly mysterious hole on top of the trailer, which is actually there so the drone inside the trailer can stick out in this mode. It's not featured in the instructions, but was a deliberate feature of the original Diaclone toy.

   Despite a couple of little flaws, such as a random hole and a oddly opening door, the truck mode is nice, lots of detail, and it does pretty much all you can ask of from a toy truck this size, save for being motorised. He looks pretty cool leading the Diaclone cars into battle, too.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the truck from it's trailer, swing the rear down and the fold the feet down, Prime can now stand up. Grab the headlights and swing them out to form the forearms, them fold out the rear of the cabin out to form the shoulders. There's a panel at the top, flip it over to reveal the head. Attach the fists into the holes in the headlights. You can actually store the fists in his chest cavity, the Diaclone pilot's cabin can open and the two seats are just the right size for the fists.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 16cm Width: 9.5cm

   A red & blue robot mode, with definite resemblance to a truck on legs. The chest and arms are red, the head, fists and legs blue, with a silver groin and silver thighs. He has a silver mouthplate and yellow eyes. It's a nice colour scheme, largely relying on three colours that work well together.

   He has smokestacks on his shoulders which can double as quasi-guns, since they can swivel on their attachment posts. I'm not sure if this was intended when they designed him as a Diaclone. He comes with a handgun, though he has some trouble holding it, due to a second handle behind the post that attaches to his hand. Some newer versions of this toy have raised holes in the fists to deal with this problem. Personally I think a better way to deal with it would be to remove the second handle, so the fists don't look so weird.

   The metal chest and the chrome silver on his groin, as well as the clear plastic windows, work for Optimus in this mode. They all add to his aesthetic appeal. In fact nothing really looks bad at all, although that gun problem can make him look silly since he's not holding his gun right. I personally don't display mine with the gun - problem solved.

   One oddity in this mode is that the wheels on his legs have a guard above them - which basically means that in truck mode it's on the front of the wheels. Luckily, though, this is only really noticeable in this mode.

   Optimus Prime was probably the most poseable toy of 1984. There are two joints per shoulder, two joints per elbow and fists that can swivel - giving him pretty much full arm poseability. Prime's hips can swivel back and knees that bend - and the knee joints have nothing to do with the transformation. He stacks up well against most of G1 in poseability terms - even Actionmasters - he's more poseable than Actionmaster Prime!

   This is a good robot mode, poseable, attractive and fun. It's also pretty close to the show, although the show did make some changes, mainly to the groin area, since this guy's groin is a little boxy, being derived from a truck bumper and all.

TRANSFORMATION TO BASE MODE

   Fold down the door, fold out the stabilisers underneath the base, fold out the sides. Next, lift up the tower, fold out the claw and communications dish.

BASE MODE
Height: 20cm Length: 30cm Width: 21cm

   The trailer actually splits into two components - the base and Roller, a small six-wheeled car. Roller comes in either blue or grey, with blue being more common. It's got two rows of seats which I assume fit Diaclone drivers (I've never even seen a pilot, so I can't test this). It also comes with a black gun that mounts on the back. You can attach a hose to this that has a nozzle on the end, although this doesn't really have anywhere to rest. Roller's got black plastic tyres, that can reattach if popped off.

   The base itself is basically a big silver platform, with a tower at the back, a couple of consoles on the sides and a launcher for roller in the middle. There's also a spot on one side for Prime's gun to be stowed, which is a nice addition. The tower, consoles and tower base are all blue, while the tower's "arm" and Roller's launcher are black.

   At the top of the tower there's a cockpit, which has transparent orange plastic and an opening door, which brings to nine the total number of spots you can put a pilot on his toy. So Spike, Carly, Daniel, Sparkplug, Chip, Raoul, Astoria Carlton-Ritz, Prince Jamal and Augey Canay can all fit.. if you have enough Diaclone pilots. The top of the tower is essentially a drone, but it has two joints so it can swivel in any direction and point up and down, which is useful because it has twin missile launchers, and shooting them nowhere else but forward is pretty useless for a stationary platform. Having said that, the missiles only shoot about an inch anyway. There's a dial on the back of the drone so you can make the comms dish spin, and the claw arm is on a ball & socket joint, with an elbow and a claw that opens and closes.

   But wait, there's still more. You'll find a little grey tab on the back of the base (the front of the trailer. Press it and Roller will shoot out, down the ramp, and will roll maybe 10cm (4"). Not all that spectacular in itself, but the fact is that it's just one of the things you can do with the trailer.

VARIATIONS

   About a million. There's the "Pepsi" Prime I've already mentioned, the blue & grey Rollers I've mentioned, and there's also the G2 Version which is based on this toy. He was re-issued in 2000 by Takara and again in 2002 with blue windows and blue eyes, as well as a modified Actionmaster Prime and a metal _Matrix_ that can fit inside his chest. There are also different shades of blue out there, and moulding variations on about five different parts.

OVERALL

   A very good toy, worthy of being a leader. Aside from the badly designed gun, Prime has nothing working against him. He's pivotal in both comic and cartoon, so even if it was terrible I'd still say it's worth getting. The trailer, which spent most of it's TF media life in subspace, is a fun addition, although it's the robot that makes Optimus Prime cool. While it's not the coolest toy ever, and there have been better leader toys since, I still give him 9/10

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