Name: Nemesis Prime
Series: Transformers Universe
Function: Harbinger of Doom
Alternate Mode: Woolly Mammoth
Height: 13cm Length: 24cm Width: 11cm
A black woolly mammoth with a silver paintwash at the bottom and on the tip of the trunk, which fades away to the base black more or less halfway up the toy. His big curly tusks are beige with blood red tips - a rather sinister touch which fits in with the whole pure evil thing Hasbro are trying to achieve on this toy. His eyes are also red while the toenails are painted off-white. It's a pretty good colour scheme that does what it's intended to. It's also based on the Armada toy of the same name's colours.
Well, as you might expect, Nemesis Prime looks more or less like a walking shag-rug (as Ironhide succinctly put it). He's a big heavy lump covered in woolly fur moulding, with two tusks on the front, a soft plastic truck and hinged ears. There's also a black tail on his rump which is hinged, but you're best not looking at it since from behind there's some robot kibble visible. From any other angle (other that below, of course), he looks quite convincing, other than the fact woolly mammoths were brown. Of course, it's quite possible there were black mammoths at some stage during pre-history, so black's believable enough for me.
To be honest, there's not really much I expect of this sort of beast mode, yet Nemesis Prime has some play value. The tail lifts and the ears can flap back and forth, as mentioned. You can also pull back on the ears which will cause the tusks to lift up - each side is a separate mechanism. There's a lever concealed on top of his head, pulling it back will cause the soft trunk to lift up - this is my favourite gimmick in this mode. There's pretty much no leg movement, since any shifting will open the mass of panelling that sits on his sides. You can lift out the crown of the head, trunk and tail as one section and turn it around so the trunk hangs out the back and a missile launcher under his rump aims forward. The overall effect is kind of bizarre, and I prefer leaving the launcher for robot mode.
A good mammoth mode overall, but the panelling on his side is a little easy to crack open. There are also triggers for his robot mode shin-launchers visible on the sides, ruining the illusion slightly - they would have been a lot better painted silver. Still, on the whole this is a pretty good mammoth mode that's quite believable, which is what you'd expect of a BW Neo mould. The colours do a great job of selling the whole dark warrior theme, too.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
A complex shellformer, basically. The short version is you unfold the entire toy and remove the trunk-missile launcher assembly. The arms fold out from the mammoth hips, the legs are underneath the beast and the panelling ends up decorating the robot. It's far too much to cover every step here. The reverse transform back into mammoth mode is probably the most difficult and fiddly transformation ever, since you've basically got to fold the robot up into a ball and get everything in exactly the right spot or it just wont work. The instructions describe transforming _into_ robot mode with no text, only outline drawings, despite the toy being sold in robot mode - and hence are absolutely useless.
Height: 23cm Width: 27cm
Now a mix of beige, black, jade, silver and transparent red with blood red on his shins and feet, Nemesis Prime again does the whole harbinger thing rather well. The tusks sit on his shoulderblades and point out to either side, hence the impressive width of this robot mode. Other than the tusks, most of the beast kibble is black, and includes the black shoulderblades (mammoth cheeks), missile launcher panels on the outsides of his shins and beast forelegs hanging off his thighs. For the most part the kibble stays out of the way and the clever use of the side panels and cheeks as robot mode features actually enhances the look of this toy - which looks really good.
Of course, he's almost the definition of a shellformer - since the Neo line really advocated the concept and Nemesis Prime is a repaint of that line's flagship toy. There are a few panels on his back and the gun is a mess of panels, and trunk with a missile launcher wedged in the middle. The gun is huge and heavy with a weird disc-trigger so not only is it tough for him to hold, it's harder still to fire whilst he's holding it. I'd actually recommend removing it although or just leaving it on his back. I prefer simply giving him the missiles as clubs, the brute force of clubs works with his dark nature anyway.
Not that the missile launcher is the only weapon in Nemesis Prime's arsenal. There are red spiked clubs that fold out from beast panels under his forearms, giving him wrist-mounted melee weapons, and of course a set of launchers on the shins that will fire crossbow shaped black missiles about a metre. His chest is a transparent red plate which has a moulded Maximal symbol on it - surely they could have re-sculpted or at least overstamped a Decepticon symbol here. Anyway. if you fold down the chestplate you'll reveal a black and transparent red "Dark Matrix" (so named on the box), which is removable - Nemesis Prime can grasp the handles in either hand. There's not really much explanation of what this Dead Matrix does, but I suppose Hasbro felt they had to explain this removable accessory that was already a part of the mould.
This is a very articulated robot mode - the neck, shoulders, elbows and hips are ball joints. There are hinges below the elbows, at the ankles, on the heelspurs, both above and below the knees and and on his wrists. Above the his twin-hinged knees are swivels, and there's another at the waist. So the poseability is in theory excellent, although the various mammoth bits here and there hinder some joints. Nothing is too restricted, but you have to make sure you move the kibble first for a lot of poses. The hindlegs of the mammoth can actually act as extra heelspurs of sorts to stabilise the toy if you like, although this will ruin the illusion from side on. You might find he'll stand up a lot easier without the massive gun assembly.
The robot mode surfaces are all well sculpted, with pistons, hoses and other mechanical detail, surpassing the well sculpted beast mode. Attention to detail was something of a feature of BW Neo, so again it makes sense that this flagship mould features an excellent sculpting.
It's immediately obvious that time and effort went into this mould, which is poseable, majestic and detailed. The play value is great. Sure, if the main weapon is a spectacular failure, but there's a lot more happening that makes him for a fun robot mode. The most pleasing aspect is that Hasbro have obviously paid attention when repainting this mode - my only real complaint is the still-visible Maximal symbol on his chest.
None that I know of, but this is a repaint of Big Convoy of Beast Wars Neo.
A fantastically complex mould, and one that takes the shellformer concept to it's pinnacle - making for a transformation that's very complex and in a way excessive (I'm leaving him in robot mode for now!). The mammoth mode has more play value than it's entitled to and the robot mode is poseable and a lot of fun. While much of the Universe line has been unfocused and random repaints, it's quite clear that Hasbro really paid attention to this figure - the individual backstory (Dark Matrix and individual blurb) prove this, and the colour scheme works very well as a result, which is sadly unusual for the line. If you're a fan of Beast Wars toys in general I'd really recommend Nemesis Prime. Even if you have Big Convoy, this repaint is well executed it's worth considering - 8/10, losing marks for the kibble-gun and Maximal symbol.