Transformers Animated Sentinel Prime Review

in 2008, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Elite Guard, 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: Lance, Shield

Images:

*Image from Hasbrotoyshop.com

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
Graduate of the same class as OPTIMUS PRIME at the AUTOBOT Academy, SENTINEL PRIME is commander of a squad of the best the AUTOBOTS have to offer – the Elite Guard. Though he is a powerful warrior and a cunning leader, he is also obsessed with following rules to the absolute letter. He is unbending in his interpretation of procedure, and dislikes the way OPTIMUS PRIME and his crew improvise. If he had his way, that whole group would be sent back to Basic Programming.

Prepare yourself for battle with this awesome figure! Detailed robot-to-vehicle figure features a battle lance and shield in robot mode that attaches to the heavy-duty truck when converted to vehicle mode!

Way back in the days of G1, the comic book series by Marvel indicated that there was a lineage of "Primes" who had led the Autobots through the ages. Among them was a character named "Sentinel Prime". However, until recent years, he was usually a throwaway character whose purpose was simply to get killed. "Animated" takes the character in a whole new direction by giving us a full blown (live) character who is in fact a rival of Optimus Prime's and he transforms into...a snow plow?!

Vehicle Mode:
Okay, okay, Sentinel Prime isn't exactly a snow plow by design. He's the more commonly seen pickup truck with a big shovel mounted on the front (can't get away from them in New Jersey during the winter). As pickup trucks go, he is rather compact, almost having the proportions of Fast Action Battler Ironhide from last year's movie line (but not quite that squat).

Starting in the front, Sentinel has a big shovel blade that is about the same width as the vehicle on top and then widens out at the bottom. Mounted on top of either side of the shovel are headlights. This connects via hinges to the truck itself, which has a rugged look to it thanks in part to its large wheels an air intake on the hood and the cage on top of the front grille. A row of lights is arranged over the top of the canopy in the middle and a spoiler raises up a bit on the back.

Smaller details are found all over the truck. The sideview mirrors are nicely sculpted, with small tubes holding a flat piece instead of just being a flat piece of plastic sticking out the side. The doors have vertical handles sculpted into them and steps with traction lines for a hypothetical passenger to "step up" into the vehicle. The back of the vehicle has a handle on the door of the truck's bed and line details inside the bed itself.

Sentinel Prime is primarily cast in three plastic colors: metallic dark blue, black and orange. There is a bit of light grey plastic as well. Deco is done in yellow, black, orange and grey. Yellow is used for headlights both on the vehicle itself and the headlights. Grey can be found on the shovel and on the rear of the vehicle. Orange is used for an arrow design on the doors and finally, an "Elite Guard" Autobot logo is tampographed onto the top of the hood.

In terms of show accuracy, the sculpt matches the show very well, but does not include details such as hydraulics and tubes that were visible on the underside of the vehicle. I don't really consider these essential details and I didn't even notice their absence until I looked at a cartoon screen capture for reference. I love the choice of using a metallic blue color instead of just a flat blue. It makes the figure a lot more visually interesting.

Sentinel rolls well and thanks to the high tires, he has plenty of clearance to roll around your pretend battlefield. The shovel can turn slightly side to side, something I had not expected, but it is most welcome. While they don't really serve any purpose in this form, you can attach the shield and lance together and then slide the shield handle into a slot on the back of the orange lights to keep the accessories with the figure, which is a nice touch and unfortunately not something every "Animated" figure has.

Overall, I like this vehicle mode a lot. It fits perfectly into the "Animated" aesthetic not only because of its smooth lines and squat appearance but also because of how unconventional the mode is. I'm a big fan of a Transformers line producing a never-before-seen vehicle mode now and then, and this definitely qualifies!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the lance and shield and separate them. Set them aside for now.
  2. Split the shovel halves and swing them out to the sides.
  3. Swing the central canopy and truck bed up and back.
  4. Swing the canopy section against the truck bed section, and then split that section in the middle to form the robot legs.
  5. Swing the truck doors out to the sides.
  6. Swing the truck doors out and then swing the robot arms up and attach the shoulder pieces to the wheels. You may have to rotate the wheels a bit to fit the peg into a slot properly.
  7. Swing the shovel halves down, and then swing them to the sides on the hinges so they go over the shoulders.
  8. Move the robot head forward.
  9. Attach the lance and shield to his hands.

Robot Mode:
The character design for Sentinel Prime in "Animated" is an inspired thing to see, and a wonderful example of how Transformers can cross different influences in pop culture and come up with a workable figure. While perhaps not in personality, Sentinel Prime's appearance is heavily influenced by the cartoon/comic book character known as The Tick. Known for his bulky upper body, smaller lower body and huge head and chin, this character endures to this day as a fan favorite parody of the super hero genre. This carried over into the design of the character, especially after Townsend Coleman (who had voiced The Tick in its animated series) was cast as Sentinel Prime. In essence, we have the answer to the question "What if The Tick was a Transformer?" and surprisingly he doesn't have a beast mode. Go figure.

Anyhow, The Tick analogy is apt as Sentinel Prime's structure has a huge frame on the upper body including a big head, chest, shoulders and arms which then lead to a tiny waist, relatively small thighs and then slightly larger lower legs and feet (but still nowhere near the size of his upper body). This is a fantastic look for the character as it really accentuates the "powerfu jerk" persona he has on the television show. You look at this guy and think "How could he not be a total jerk?" and it works brilliantly. Add to that the annoyed expression he has on his face with his mouth upturned on the left side and it's a very visually expressive figure.

The head design is a piece of work that draws influence from two primary design points. First is the aforementioned "Tick" head design, with a large chin and an outer "helmet" around a face. The antennae on his head are influenced by designs seen in various comic books showing such piping as a design element of Transformers on Cybertron.

The chest section is designed to look like a compressed version of the front of the vehicle mode, and it works brilliantly. You can see the grille and headlights "squashed" against his chest, giving the illusion that the way he transforms in the animated program is the way he converts to robot mode here. It's a bit of visual magic that I appreciate very much. Using the wheels from the vehicle mode to go even wider and further enhance his bulk is a fantastic idea and looks great here. The shovel halves forming shoulder armor is a nice touch as it makes him look even more formidable. His fists just add to this look with thier huge size, especially compared to the lower body.

The lower body is very narrow in the middle, which fits the animated model. The toy designers had to fudge a bit with the lower legs and feet, but the design elements are all there, just a bit wider than he looks on the show. The overall effect is that Sentinel Prime looks like he is wearing a blue leotard (not too unlike The Tick, hmmmm...) with some armor slapped on.

Sentinel's lance and shield are nicely designed, with some squarish designs that resemble pixels. This reminds me of a design feature you would see in something like "Tron". The accessories are cast in grey plastic and colored with light blue and dark metallic blue paint. One concern I have is the way the lance fits into the shield. It holds very snugly, to the point where if you pull it out you risk scraping paint off the lance, so be careful and don't apply too much pressure when connecting the two.

Sentinel's robot mode shows some more grey plastic and black plastic thanks to his arms, legs and shoulders, but for the most part there are no color surprises. His chest is colored with yellow, grey and black to look consistant with the vehicle mode's front end. He even has an Elite Guard symbol on his chest which corresponds to where it would be in vehicle mode. Again I state how it was a good decision to use metallic blue for his base color. It makes him pop visually and it adds a great touch to an already cool sculpt.

Sentinel Prime has thirteen points of articulation, which may not sound like a lot but he has them where they count. His arms can swing outward as well as up and down and his legs are articulated on ball joints.

Final Thoughts:
The Geek in me finds it very hard not to love a Transformer largely based on "The Tick", but at the same time this really is a fun figure with neat weapons and a cool looking robot mode. Add to that a super expressive face and design and you have a winner. Highly recommended!