"Age of Extinction" Smash & Change Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Flip & Change

Age of Extinction

Optimus Prime General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); May 17, 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images and text in italics below are from Amazon.com:
Optimus Prime wields a mighty sword to battle Decepticons. This Optimus Prime Flip and Change figure comes with a sword of its own so you can imagine you're fighting to protect the people of Earth. The sword connects to the side of the truck so you can keep it ready when the figure is in vehicle mode.

As part of its drive to appeal to different segments of the toy buying audience, Hasbro has introduced different sub-lines of "Transformers" figures for the "Age of Extinction" toy line. One of these are the "Smash and Change" Transformers, a set of figures that are centered around a type of action that transforms the figure quickly. One of the first figures in this sub-line is Optimus Prime, using the same base design as the First Edition and Leader Class Optimus Prime toys.

It's worth noting that older collectors who want complicated figures are not the target audience for this class of figures. It's really aimed at kids who want a larger toy that transforms quickly.

Robot Mode:
You may think that a simplified transformation/gimmick would mean a hugely simplified sculpt on this figure, but that's actually not the case. Optimus is very nicely detailed in this form. He has a lot of the requisite details from the new incarnation of Optimus Prime, featuring armor on his chest and "collar" pieces near his head. His waist has a "loincloth" type armor piece leading to the legs. The legs have a ton of detail including overlapping armor plates, wires and even screws that "hold" those wires in. His lower legs have overlapping armor pieces that are curved in a way that makes them look like the armor worn by medieval knights.

From a front view Optimus looks fantastic and very streamlined, much like his on-screen counterpart. However, he does have a rather large backpack since he's basically wearing a chunk of the vehicle mode. This is where the gimmick "takes over" part of the design of the figure. Since it's key to the figure's functionality, I accept it given the gimmick - but if you're not into the "Smash and Change" pattern, then this will definitely be a deal-breaker.

Optimus is cast in blue, silver and black plastic. The blue makes up most of the figure. Silver is used for sections like the heels, thighs and waist. Black is used for the wheels, which show on his arms and legs. Paint details are done in gunmetal grey and red. The paint is most heavily used on his chest with some gunmetal on his face. It's a simplistic paint job for sure, but again, applying the standards of say, a "Generations" style figure is unfair as this wasn't the intent behind the figure. It has just enough detail to look good and appealing. Would it look better with more paint detail? Absolutely. But it doesn't look bad despite that fact.

There are four points of articulation on this figure. His arms can swivel in and out at the elbow and bend at the elbow. The rest of his articulation is sacrificed for the transformation gimmick, which involves a system of hinges and sliding parts that start at the top of the figure and go all the way down to the feet. His hands can hold the sword included with the figure. The sword is long. It measures almost 8 inches (almost 20 centimeters). The figure itself stands 9 inches (approximately 22.8 centimeters) so the sword is quite impressive looking. It slides into either hand and holds in place nicely. The hands are not 5mm pegs however and instead have a roughly rectangular shape. Optimus has a hole on the outside of his left forearm, but it is not a 5mm port. Instead, it is intended to fit the shield included with First Edition Optimus Prime. It connects perfectly and it looks good too. I was surprised by this since the 5mm standard is so prevalent in the toy line, but at the same time it's cool to be able to use the First Edition Prime's shield somewhere besides that figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Pull the sword out from the hand and set it side for now.
  2. Straighten out each arm.
  3. Hold the figure by the "handle" on the back and push it down on a flat surface.
  4. The shoulder armor will fold up and the legs will compress, you'll feel a click that locks the figure into vehicle mode.
  5. The sword can be attached to one of the holes on the right side of the cab.

The transformation gimmick is definitely a unique and fun one. I admit to enjoying going back and forth between the two modes, and this is where most of the play value of the figure comes in. The mechanism works really nicely and I didn't have any problems with the parts locking in place over multiple transformations.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode, Optimus Prime is a Western Star 4900 Custom Truck. This is a more curved and futuristic looking vehicle than Optimus' previous Peterbilt truck mode. He has many of the design elements seen on the First Edition and Leader Class figures. This includes a row of lights above the windshield, a grille with vertical lines in it, a curved wind vane leading back to curved smokestacks. There are spare tanks on the sides and a round hitch section in the back. In an interesting detail choice, his "handle" you hold for the transformation is actually the "Vector Shield" (though it cannot detach). The vehicle looks good, but its proportions are a bit wide compared to the other iterations of Optimus.

This mode is mostly blue, with the smokestacks and rear-most section cast in dark silver. Red paint is used to create a flame pattern from the front to middle of the truck. Some gunmetal paint is used to paint the front of the vehicle and the panels above the windshield. The windows are painted black. It looks good, though I did find myself wishing the Vector Shield detail was painted or that the sides of the wheels had been painted with the silver color.

Optimus rolls nicely on his six wheels. You'll notice there is a hole in the center of the Vector Shield. This does not fit the sword as you'd expect. Instead, it is sized to fit the Sentinel Shield from the First Edition Optimus Prime figure. The shield looks great on the figure and adds a welcome burst of color.

Final Thoughts:
"Smash and Change" Optimus Prime is a fun figure. He's nicely sculpted and I found the compatibility with the Sentinel Shield a pleasant surprise. I will say however that $19.99 is a tough price to swallow for this guy. However, as of this writing, some stores have knocked it down to prices from $14.99-$16.99 which I think is more in line with the value you get. Definitely recommended for younger kids who want a simpler transformation in a big figure. Older fans may enjoy the novelty, but others are probably best saving their money for the more "Generations" style figures.