Name: Optimus Primal
Series: Convention Exclusives
Alternate Mode: Racing Car
Thanks to kup for loaning me Optimus Primal, making this review possible (I have since acquired Optimus Primal).
Height: 6.5cm Length: 25cm Width: 22cm
A black Cybertronian racing car, Optimus Primal is actually a repaint of Crumplezone. Primal is roughly arrowhead shaped with stabilisers on the front and rear fenders, and three transparent red tyres. He has a prominent single front wheel (strictly speaking this vehicle is a tricycle) and two partially concealed rear wheels. There are collapsable blue winglets at the rear. There are silver and red painted highlights while the cockpit window is transparent red. The engines themselves are white burgundy colour, rounding out a fairly consistent and attractive colour scheme. The combination of black, red, white and blue is fairly generic really, so this car doesn't instantly jump up and say "Optimus Primal". Having said that, once you're aware of the identity, the homage becomes very clear. It's an attractive colour scheme - Primal's colours have been applied well. There's even some grey on the electronics block behind the cockpit.
Primal is quite obviously not based on an Earth vehicle, although there are plenty of recognisable aspects defining this vehicle as a racing car (other than the wheels). There's an engine block between the engines, the stabilisers and general shape - not only the arrowhead shape but a tapering towards the front. This car looks like it's built for speed, yet there's a brutish feel as well, thanks to a profusion of angles and hard, flat surfaces (almost like a stealth jet).
The wheels roll remarkably well, and it doesn't take much of a push off for Optimus Primal to roll on his own - he'll travel further unassisted than most Transformer cars. There's a key slot at the back of the engineblock, plugging in his gold Planet Key causes the engines to flip out and forward, forming very aggressive missile launchers. The blue winglets will open out (if collapsed) as the launchers deploy, adding to the visual impact of this gimmick. Unlike many BotCon toys, the electronics _are_ included here. When you push in the key you'll hear a "big" sound which I'd describe as a drawn out sound of laser fire. I generally don't think much of sound gimmicks, but Optimus Primal's is pretty good as sound gimmicks go.
There are small blue buttons on top of the launchers which will fire the blue missiles about a metre. There are quite detailed painted details on the launchers including exhaust and vents. There are fan motifs on the front of the launchers - engine turbines, and the missile tips work as the centre of the turbines, although they're longer than they should be.
An unusual vehicle, but the distinctive colours shape work quite well. His bulk fits with the powerful look we saw on the gorilla mode of the Beast Wars toy. The play value is pretty good - the included electronics are a bonus for a convention toy. The missile launchers are effective and the wheels are remarkable, while the sound gimmick is better than most and manages to keep out of your way, unlike some hair-trigger sound gimmicks we've seen down the years (Armada Starscream being a low point). While this might not be the most obvious choice of a vehicle mode for Optimus Primal, the colour map makes it work very well.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unclip the front fenders from the wheel, swing underneath to form legs. Unclip the rear fenders, pull out to the sides, allowing clearance for the cockpit to swing down as his chest. As you swing the chest down, you have to simultaneously flip out the head from inside the cabin and fold away the front wheel (which is easier than it might sound). Swing out his fists, slide the front fenders down and flip up to form his feet.
Height: 18cm Width: 20cm
As the proportions imply, this is a stocky, powerful robot with broad shoulders. Optimus Primal has massive arms, reminiscent of a gorilla's forearms - now we see why this particular mould was chosen. The forearms are proportionally huge compared to human forearms. The black dominates his robot mode, with blue on his upper arms and head, white on his groin and thighs. There are red and silver elements here and there - including the transparent red tyres on his arms and the cockpit on his chest. The head has been resculpted to match the cartoon head - there's a white mouthplate, red eyes and silver antennae. The colour map is fairly faithful to the BW robot mode, and the colour homage is immediately recognisable - thanks in no small part to the resculpted head.
Big and brutish, Optimus Primal is quite top heavy but has large flat feet, so stability is not an issue. The sleek form of the vehicle mode is nowhere to be seen here. The engines form a sizeable backpack, which flips out over his shoulders when you plug the key into his... skidplate. While this makes the figure even more top heavy, Optimus Primal's feet are easily able to cope.
Both the launchers and electronics are available here and Optimus Primal is fairly poseable. His head turns while his shoulders can swing and lift out to the sides. His elbows are hinged with rotators immediately below the hinges. The waist rotates, his hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees bend and there are rotators just above the knees. Prmal's ankles are hinged as part of his Transformation, which aids in posing a little. The top heavy nature of this figure naturally restricts what sort of dynamic poses can be achieved, but the leg joints are tight enough to make sure some useful poses can be achieved.
The key gimmicks are both available here and the missile launchers over his shoulder look quite good, adding to the already colossal look of this robot. The key can stow in the slot, despite the fact that it's hanging down. There are holes in his fists and rounded shafts at the tail of the missiles, however these are of different diameters - regrettably, Optimus Primal can't use his missiles as clubs. While it would have involved more retooling, it would have been a nice tribute to the Transmetal.
While this robot mode is fairly simple for a mega, the gorilla arms make this a good match to the character. The resculpted head is great and really anchors this toy as Optimus Primal. There's enough play value here to satisfy the mega size. I'm glad that the key gimmicks and launchers are still available but disappointed that the missiles can't be used as clubs. Having said that, this display very well as Optimus Primal, which is the most important aspect of this robot mode.
As mentioned, Optimus Primal is a repaint and retooling of Crumplezone. He was sold exclusively at BotCon 2006, and as such was likely limited to a single production run.
A good tribute with good colours and simple yet well executed gimmicks and a distinctly gorilla feel in robot mode, justifying the choice of this mould as Optimus Primal. The car rolls very well and the gimmicks work quite well. The car is distinct and interesting while the robot mode's gorilla-esque feel is the clincher. The retooled head is good and while he's simple for a mega, as a limited repaint this is a great figure. While he won't come cheap, Optimus Primal is a rewarding figure - 8.5/10