Transmetal Optimus Primal Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review

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

Height: 13cm Width: 12cm

   A brown and coffee coloured gorilla with vacuum metallised "Transmetal" blue on his chest, head and feet. Both the brown and coffee coloured plastics have a metallic sheen, which wrks well alongside the extensive metallic blue paint. I'm hesitant to call the 'coffee' colour light brown - it matches white coffee quite well, but it's not light enough to be beige. At any rate, there are some red metallic paint applications while his eyes are pink and the teeth visible through his slightly open mouth are silver. There's a silver "OPTIMUS" badge on the right side of his chest. This colour scheme works quite well - the blue looms surprisingly good alongside the two more muted colours. While Primal is wildly unrealistic, he's not meant to look realistic in this mode.

   This gorilla mode is a little wider than it should be, since it's essentially a reconfigured robot, but the shape is close enough. He leans forward slightly, which helps sell the gorilla. The head and chest are well sculpted, and the face is pure gorilla amongst the metallic paint. The feet are very mechanical, and contrast with the rest of this beast - which is beast like in all but texture.

   The poseability is good, with hips and shoulders that move on two axes, elbows that bend and rotators above the elbows. Primal doesn't really have much in the way of knees - his legs are very short anyway. The arm poseability is good enough to give us some dynamic poses, and you can pose him in a walking-on-all-fours ("knuckle-dragging") pose. His backpack, which stows two missiles, can lift up to form a gunrack (the missiles, when rotated, double as cannons). What's more, the missiles double (triple?) as clubs, and Primal can wield them in either hand.

   As with all Transmetals, there's a third "transport" mode. All we need to to is fold down the plates on the back of his legs, rotate them and clip together to form a hoverboard (think Back To The Future II). There's a little jet hanging off his right leg which lifts up to provide propulsion - well the illusion of propulsion. While this is a simple reconfiguration, it works well and looks great. There are even little ridged wheels underneath the beast feet which allow the hoverboarding Primal to roll (badly).

   A great beast mode, and a worthy flagship toy for the first wave of Transmetals. The colours are striking and attractive, the robotic texture meshes with the beast form very well. I really like the transport mode - it's both creative and clever, adding something without getting in the way of the beast mode. The poseability is good - and while the legs could have been a little more poseable, it would have been at the expense of the wonderful hoverboard.


   As I've already alluded to, the same form essentially reconfigures, but there's enough in this transformation to make it interesting, and satisfying enough for a mega. The plates on the back of the legs fold down to become the lower legs of the robot, the waist rotates, the arms open up allowing the fists to swap out for more organic fists, while the backplate lifts up and moves to the other side of the body - covering what was the beast chest and revealing the robot chest. The torso opens up, allowing a headswap, completing the transformation.

Height: 16.5cm Width: 13cm

   Again based on brown and coffee, with the brown chest featuring an orange paint in the centre - fading to brown on the sides. His face is also orange with pink eyes. Optimus Primal still has some blue visible, in the form of the beast feet (that now form kneecaps). There's some chrome red still around on his shoulders as well, but the vacuum metal is far less prominent here. The colour scheme isn't as striking thanks to the loss of chrome, which makes sense when you remember that this is meant to be the organic mode. The orange doesn't fit into the colour scheme as well as I'd like, but it's not really bad either.

   Primal has big, beefy, shoulders with shoulderpads above the shoulders themselves while the arms are quite long, since they're the gorilla arms. Much of this robot is actually mechanical - especially the legs. The arms are mainly mechanical, although the hands are moulded with fur and don't have any sharp angles - those are tucked away inside his forearms on the gorilla fists. The chest and face also have sculpted fur, the latter also has angular antennae and crest. While the significant mechanical areas are noticeable, there's enough fur here to provide a sharp contrast with the metallic beast mode, and I'm happy enough with that. The detailing is great, as you'd expect of a Transmetal (I should mention the beast mode is of the same standard), with the sculpted fur being the highlight.

   Poseability is better than in the beast mode, since he now has full legs. The arm poseability is the same, as is the hip movement. The knees and ankles are hinged, and the footprints big enough to big Primal useful leg poseability. The missiles on his back are just as useful now - the gunrack can be activated and they still double as clubs. The jetpack hanging off his thigh can attach in either hand as a launcher, although the missiles have to be pushed from the back (where they protrude) to fire. I prefer the clubs or gunrack - the range of options is nice though.

   A good robot mode with impressive play value and a well defined organic feel. Optimus Primal's stocky look works well, and the poseability is impressive. While I'm not quite sold on the orange paint used here, the overall colours are still reasonable. Considering how poor some BW mega robot modes are, this is a great effort.


   As with several Transmetals, the chrome saw minor colour variations - there's a fairly well known "purple" chrome variation, although it's nothing more than a shade change between batches, really. Apelinq, a BotCon 2000 exclusive, is a repaint of Optimus Primal.


   While he's still a gorilla, this version of Optimus Primal is markedly different from the previous, and that in itself makes the toy worth picking up for BW fans. The gorilla mode is great - the stronger of his two modes in my opinion - especially with the integrated hoverboard mode. The robot mode is still strong, although it suffers a little due to bad paint matching. The overall colour scheme is pretty good, and the chrome on mine is holding up well after nearly a decade. The play value is great and Primal is better than the majority of BW megas. Prominent in twhe Beast Wars cartoon and cleverly designed, I recommend this toy for BW fans - 8.5/10

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