Transformers Animated Activators Optimus Prime Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Transformers Animated

Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: August 2008
Price Point: $7.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None


*Image from

Text from Hasbrotoyshop:
Young and inexperienced, but also utterly fearless, OPTIMUS PRIME commands his squad of loyal AUTOBOTS with strength and wisdom. For its own reasons, the AllSpark chose him to protect it, and he has sworn to do so with all his might. He is a natural leader and a powerful fighter for peace. Where he goes, his AUTOBOTS willingly follow.

Spring into action with this quick-conversion, vehicle-to-robot hero! With the press of a button, this AUTOBOT warrior changes from truck mode to robot mode!

Activators are a new sub-line of Transformers aimed at providing simpler transformations with a fully functional and posable Transformers figure. Activator transformations are primarily accomplished through the pressing of a switch or tab and manipulation of a few extra parts. Such transformations are much akin to the early "spring loaded transformations" used in many Beast Wars Transformers figures.

It's a foregone conclusion that almost any sub-line of Transformers product needs to have an Optimus Prime figure, and Activators is no different. Introduced in the second wave of figures, Optimus Prime is represented in his Earth cab/truck form without the rest of his emergency vehicle mode.

Robot Mode:
Perhaps the most striking design aspect of Optimus Prime is how much his proportions differ from those of his predecessors from G1 (and almost any generation really). His upper body is particularly wide and large (along with his shoulders and arms) and then his waist is relatively tiny, his upper legs are thin and then they angle out to rather large lower legs. This striking image actually put off a lot of people at first, but having seen it in action in the TV show and now having it in plastic form really helps one understand just why this visual works. Each section draws emphasis upon another, leading to a very cohesive whole and even in small Activator form, the designers managed to achieve this look.

Optimus Prime's head features all of the design bits that fans have come to expect from an Optimus Prime figure including his central crest, antennae on the sides, discs on either side of his head and a mouth plate. While the Animated series Prime does have a regular mouth and only uses a mouth plate in battle, I have often found it amusing that whether we're talking about Movie Optimus Prime or Animated Optimus Prime, Hasbro generally opts for the mouthplate to be up if they have to choose a "default" look.

His chest is actually based on a very old design with some modern influences, containing the original "truck front on the chest" design including the windshield windows, grille and headlights. The main difference here involves the extreme angles these design elements have taken as opposed to the very straight and rectangular designs from G1 Prime. This chest design also borrows heavily from the G1 figure Star Convoy, which featured simalarly shaped windows. In a touch virtually unchanged from G1 Prime to this one, you'll find four small lights running along the top of the chest unit.

Optimus' other design aspects are fairly simple, with his arms lacking any sort of extra sculpted bits such as the smokestacks on G1 Prime. His legs are certainly shaped similar to G1 Prime, with an almost blocky, rectangular appearance but the aforementioned unique design of going from thin upper legs to thicker lower legs keeps them looking interesting.

This robot mode is very much in line with the characters' animated appearance. The head sculpt is spot on, along with the designs on the torso. His waist has several designs on the sides and center and his lower legs have the truck wheels wrapped around the ankle areas, something carried over from the animation model (albeit there the wheels get much thinner and virtually vanish). Here, the bulk of the wheels actually makes Prime look even more powerful, giving him a nice tough look. What I love is that the angles of the design work out such that he looks like he is "puffing out" his chest while his legs are slightly backswept. This is a very dynamic pose often used with anime characters and in comic books, and it's nice to see it realized in 3D form.

Optimus is cast in red, blue and silver plastic. Since these are Optimus' primary colors, few paint applications are necessary. Silver paint is used on his mouthplate, the edges of his headlights and the grille on his upper body. Yellow can be found on the head, waist and feet, providing smaller details that contrast nicely against the blue plastic used on these parts. His eyes are painted light blue, in keeping with the tradition of Autobots having blue eyes. An Autobot symbol is tampographed on his right shoulder, which has rapidly become the "traditional" place to put the symbol following the G1 Optimus Prime's animation model design.

Optimus has fifteen points of articulation. This includes ball joints on his shoulders and hips as well as parts that move as part of the transformation such as his wrists and feet. The ball joints allow for a fantastic range of motion and do not compromise the visual design at all.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Swing the wheels from the inner leg out, straightening out the panels both wheels rest on.
  2. Swing the robot feet down.
  3. Attach the peg on the wheel panels to the holes on the upper legs.
  4. Slide the large tab on the right leg into the flat grooved piece on the left.
  5. Pull the silver parts on the back of the figure back. The arms will tuck in a bit but you may have to help them.
  6. Swing the front cab section over the robot shoulders/elbows section and tuck the fists in, forming the fender sections underneath the headlights.
  7. Swing the siren section forward and lock it into place bo pushing the tabs underneath the sirens against the tabs on the top of the cab.

Vehicle Mode:
Optimus Prime's vehicle mode is the cab section of his emergency vehicle form. For the most part, the front section of the vehicle itself is very show accurate, including the angled sirens on top and details such as the aforementiond lights running along the top and even sideview mirrors. In this form some other details are a bit easier to see such as side windows sculpted into the figure. Running along the panels with the wheels are lots of nicely sculpted details and in this from we get to see grooves and indentations on the underside of the robot feet.

Where the figure looks a bit odd is the wheel section. Since the wheels are attached to the legs by several swing panels, this adds a bit of extra bulk to the vehicle mode that makes the wheels stick out to the sides a bit. The net effect is that the vehicle looks oddly wide. Also, while an effort was made to create a fender of sorts from his wrist panels, there really isn't anything on the lower portion of the vehicle's front end to tighten it up visually, so it looks like a vehicle cab on two legs (which is what it is, but you get what I mean). Had there been something else there (a panel to give the illusion of a fender or something) the vehicle would look a bit more solid.

There is a ton of kibble on the back, mostly owing to the silver tab in the center which acts as the trigger mechanism for Optimus' transformation into robot mode. Like the wide wheels and lack of fender, these are things that I chalk up to the constraints of creating a convincing figure of a new aesthetic, spring functionality and full transformation capacity at a relatively lower price point.

Final Thoughts:
Optimus Prime has a fantastic robot mode. It looks great, has excellent posability and represents the animated character well. The transformation is fun, but results in a less than stellar vehicle form. However, there are many more pluses than minuses with this figure. Recommended!