Transformers Animated Toy Reviews: Cybertron Mode Optimus Prime

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


Transformers Animated

General Information:
Release Date: June 2008
Price Point: $10.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Axe, Shield/Energon blades/Windshield

Images:

*Images from Transformers.com.

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Despite having washed out of the AUTOBOT academy, OPTIMUS PRIME is a natural leader. Trained to lead the bravest of the brave into battle against overwhelming odds, he eagerly looked forward to his first assignment. It’s just too bad the DECEPTICONS were defeated ages ago, and the only crews left to lead are the maintenance squads that keep the Space Bridge network running. Since his assignment, he’s lost track of his ambitions. The last thing he expects is the chance to test his leadership abilities in a battle to defend his home and fight for freedom.

Join this mighty AUTOBOT leader in the fight! With a double-handled Ion-axe weapon that converts to a giant war axe and a windshield that turns into a shield, this brave OPTIMUS PRIME figure is ready for battle. When it’s time to call in the toughest of trucks, convert the robot figure to CYBERTRON truck
mode and help the AUTOBOTS win the battle against the DECEPTICON forces!

Figure comes with a double-handled axe weapon.

Before the Autobots arrived on Earth in "Transformers: Animated", they all transformed into Cybertronian vehicles. While talking to Ratchet, Optimus Prime was shown transforming into a Cybertronian truck, and that is the basis for this deluxe sized figure from the first wave of Transformers: Animated figures.

Vehicle Mode:
Optimus Prime's Cybertronian form is a stylized version of a truck cab. The overall shape is sleek, designed with curves and angles making it a lot less "blocky" looking than a typical Earth truck might. The front end has clearly identifiable elements such as a windshield, headlights and even a front grille. The sides have smokestacks and large wheels on the sides while the robot legs extend to the rear. The front grille has several panels overlapping at an angle sculpted into it, giving it a look very similar to classic G1 Prime's grille. Along the top of the cab are two cone shaped designs that resemble lights.

What makes this form interesting are the more "scifi" influenced aspects of the design. The top of the truck slopes down to connect with the windshield. Rather than being squared off at hard angles, the windshield actually curves from top to bottom. The smokestacks on the side look like they connect from side lights to the rear, angling upward from the sides instead of sticking straight up. While there are two wheels in the front, the rear section of the vehicle appears to have treads rather than wheels thanks to sculpted beveled sections running along the sides, and tread details sculpted on the underside of each leg. I really like this take on a classic form for the Autobot leader. It gives it an updated yet slightly alien feel all at the same time.

While the overall shape is very nice, finer details are what helps to make the figure. Each wheel in the front has hubcaps which extend outward a bit, giving the look over very well protected tires. Small tube details can be found leading from the "lights" on his sides to the end of the smokestacks. Small
line details are etched into the sides running down from the top of the cab to the sides of the windshield. Along the top of the windshield are sculpted lines that resemble vents.

This vehicle form is mostly show accurate, but it takes the very simple TV show model and adds elements to it. The basic shape and form (the curved windshield, sloping top, treads in the back) all borrow directly from the TV show. Some aspects however are a bit more detailed. For isntance, there are two trapezoid shaped pieces on the sides leading to the smokestacks. This piece was not on the animation model at all (making the smokestack piece with its double cylinders facing front instead). The sections with the front wheels are also different on the TV show. Here the parts are a bit more complex with several layers of design instead of the more curved, flat front ends as see in the animated program. On the top of the cab, the animated model does not have any vent lines at all whereas the toy does. Also, to contain the extra mass of his arms and main body, Optimus Prime's cab section is noticably thicker than it is on the Animated program. Still, I give kudos to the designers for adding designs since the vehicle would look very plain otherwise.

This figure is cast in red, blue, black, silver and translucent blue plastic. The translucent blue makes up the entire windshield including the part that slopes down, looking really nice. It even includes the small "U" shaped design as a faint outline. A majority of the front is red with the rear being blue (in keeping with Optimus tradition). Silver paint is mostly used on small details such as an Autobot symbol on the top of the truck, his bumper and grille. It is also used on larger details such as the hubcaps and the raised sections on the sides of the legs. Yellow paint can be found on the lights on the top of the cab and the lights on the sides. Most of the front of the cab leading to the sloped top part is colored red since its cast in translucent blue. The paint job is really nice and manages to take the most basic Optimus Prime colors and present them in a slightly new way that is visually appealing.

Optimus rolls on four wheels, two on the sides of the front and two on the underside of his treads. The weapon for this figure folds up and tucks in between the legs in this form, and part of that weapon is a peg that can be flipped up here to resemble a truck hitch. However, at this time there is no toy to really hitch onto it, but it is a nice little touch.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the top part of the cabin section and set it aside.
  2. Pull each half of the truck's rear section back to begin forming the robot legs.
  3. Swing each robot foot up at the ends of the truck in the back.
  4. Swing up the robot arms holding the axe (now visible).
  5. Detach the axe and straighten it out. Flip out the peg to form the axe's "rocket". Set it aside for now.
  6. Swing the lower body down on the central body hinge.
  7. Rotate each lower leg around so they face front.
  8. Swing out each half of the body so the robot arms are out to the sides.
  9. Swing the windshield piece out and move the chest piece down so the tab behind the windshield piece connects to the slot on his mid-section.
  10. Rotate each arm around.
  11. Rotate the head so it faces forward.
  12. Slide the left fist up.
  13. Rotate the smokestacks on his arms to whatever position you desire (it doesn't affect the overall transform or functionality of the figure).
  14. Take the top piece from the vehicle mode and pull each half outwards. This forms the shield which clips to the silver piece on his left lower arm.
  15. Insert the axe handle into either hand.

Robot Mode:
Many of the animation models from "Transformers Animated" draw upon design elements from previous incarnations of their respective characters. In the case of Optimus Prime, this figure is a unique amalgam of influences from previous Optimus Primes blended together and guided primarily by the animation model. Cybertron Mode Optimus Prime borrows from three primary sources, G1 Optimus Prime, Movie Optimus Prime and War Within Optimus Prime.

Where G1 Optimus Prime's design elements come in are in the overall design of the figure. The windows of the vehicle mode form his chest, a grille is found on the mid-section and the rear of the vehicle mode becomes his legs (down to wide, rectangular lower legs). The robot head design is largely influenced by the heavily detailed and paneled look of the movie Optimus Prime head. Like Movie Optimus Prime, Animated Optimus Prime's head features two discs on the sides of his head instead of just one (as the traditional Optimus Prime head would have) and he has several panels sculpted into his face indicating where his mouthplate would slide into place for "battle mode". The use of a mouth as his "default" face also bears resemblance to the movie Prime, and it was stated at Botcon 2008 that keeping certain movie elements in each character was a deliberate move on the part of the designers. Considering part of the point of this series was to simplify character models, it is nice to see a somewhat complex head design in the line. Each panel, disc and detail are sculpted really nicely. Finally, some War Within Optimus Prime design elements come into play in the design of the upper body. Near his shoulders his wheels from the vehicle mode are clearly visible, and his chest has an almost rectangular shape in the back that leads to a front end that curves in and then angles at the chest. This design is very similar to War Within Optimus Prime's which also featured a similar shape and had wheels exposed.

Like the vehicle mode, Optimus has many details which the animation model does not, but for the most part these differences are understandable given the transformation scheme. The aforementioned "wheels near shoulders" feature is one big one that looks great, but in fact does not appear on the animation model where the shoulder area is just flat, boxed off armor. On his forearms, the smokestacks are attached to the sides, but in the animation model these details are on his hips. There are some other super minor details that differ such as a series of inset lines on his chest that are located more towards his mid-section in the animation model. Overall I'd say the figure is 90% faithful to the animation model, which considering the radical new art style is quite impressive.

No new plastic colors reveal themselves in this form, but we do get to see a bit more silver plastic on his neck, elbow joints and upper legs. More blue plastic appears on his head and lower arms. Silver paint decos on his arms and face provide additional detail and his face is painted the same light blue that appears on the TV show. A silver Autobot symbol is stamped onto his right shoulder as well. Aside from the yellow details on his feet (that could already be seen in vehicle mode), he has additional ones on his waist and his head. The paint apps on his waist were a bit sloppy on mine, but that may be a one off issue and not indicative of every figure out there.

Optimus has fourteen points of articulation, all in the important joints such as shoulders, elbows, waist etc. Seven of these points are ball joints, allowing for some fantastic posability. Among my favorite poses are him holding the axe weapon overhead or just slinging it over his shoulder. Thanks to his transformation scheme, his legs can turn in and outward as well as bending at the knee joint. Fantastic work.

For a deluxe figure, Optimus Prime's weapon is quite versatile, having three distinct forms. The most basic is the axe blade at one end with the "rocket booster" on the other (the peg flipped out). However, if you want to turn it into a double edged axe, just swing the halves of the axe blade out and Optimus can chop from both ends. Need bigger blades to take on the baddies? Take the shield piece and slide the piece in the center into the notch on the axe handle and then fan the blades out to keep things securely in place and you have an even larger axe for Optimus to use! I really like how diverse they made the function of this weapon as it both adds play value and pretty much makes you forget that Optimus comes with no ballistic weaponry.

Final Thoughts:
Cybertron Mode Optimus Prime is a fantastic figure. He has all the requisites of a cool figure including detailing, posability, faithfulness to the TV show model and fun play factor. Highly recommended!