"Age of Extinction" Evasion Mode Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Generation One, Voyager

Age of Extinction

Evasion Mode Optimus Prime General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); May 17, 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $24.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Missile launcher, Missile

Images:

*Images and text below from Amazon.com:
Optimus Prime and the Autobots are faced with a new kind of war. Alliances that once were strong now stand in doubt. Nonetheless, Earth needs their protection more than ever. Optimus Prime adapts, redesigning his alternate mode so he can move unrecognized. If he cannot ?ght the battle with firepower on the front lines, he can ?ght it with covert maneuvers from the edge. Gear up for massive Transformers action with this awesome 2-in-1 Evasion Mode Optimus Prime figure! This powerful leader of the Autobots is a terrible powerhouse in robot mode, firing blasts at the Decepticons with his ion cannon. But he'll mow them down when he's in rumbling truck mode! Convert him back and forth as the battle rages on! Can any enemy stand against him? There's only one way to find out! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

In the early "Age of Extinction" trailers it was revealed Optimus Prime had changed his form to hide from human authorities. The vehicle mode he took on was a rusted old, flat nose truck. Long time "Transformers" fans were excited because this mode was based off the vehicle mode of the original Optimus Prime from 1984! Among the more modern Optimus Prime figures in the first wave of "Age of Extinction" figures is one based on this "older" version, hence the "Evasion Mode" name.

Robot Mode:
Someone once said to me "Ben, the movie Transformers look like they took the characters we know and warped them. It's like giving Wolverine six arms or something.". Now, while the characters may not have been that extreme, it's hard to argue that the Movie Transformers don't have a very distinct look to them. Optimus Prime probably retained much more of his traditional appearance than most, but even then you can see through his various movie toys that his look differs quite a bit than his Generation One counterpart. However, fans have wondered now and then what if you took the "Bayverse" look and just pulled it back a bit more towards a G1-style appearance, how would that look? I think Evasion Mode Optimus Prime gives us that answer.

Evasion Mode Optimus Prime has many design aspects that evoke his G1 counterpart. These include his chest/torso area, which features "windshield windows" on his chest, a grille on the mid-body area and even headlights flanking the grille. While the other versions of Optimus had these features, they were much more "busy looking" whereas here the panels and lines are very clean in comparison. the same can be said for the arms, which are more blocky looking than a traditional "Bayformer". His legs armor also seems a bit more solid looking than other Primes (although it still "breaks up" at several points, true to "Bayformer" design). The overall effect is that Optimus looks much more cohesive as a robot instead of leaning towards being more of a collection of parts slapped together.

Now, this isn't all to say this isn't a "Bayformer" in design - it absolutely is. The head design takes cues from the G1 design (crest in the center, antennae like parts on the sides) but it uses the "mouth" version of Optimus Prime's face, which frankly I've always found awkward looking. Give me a mouthplate moving up and down any day over the weird mess of parts that this figure has. I'm not against a different interpretation of Optimus having a mouth, but for some reason the movie design puts the mouth so low on the face it looks like someone grabbed Prime's chin and pulled it down cartoon style. other design bits carried over from previous movie versions are the flaps of armor that are set vertically near his shoulders and the feet with large "toes" on the front. He also has sculpted bits on the shoulders that resemble the shoulder armor from previous versions. This all makes sense since this represents Optimus Prime before he takes on his new form in the movie.

Overall, I like the look of this sculpt. It's a nice blend of what we've seen before with a bit more cohesive looking parts. I'm not terribly fond of the face, but that's really my biggest complaint in terms of the design.

Optimus is cast in red, blue, silver, black and clear plastic. These are classic Optimus Prime colors, so none of these come as a shock. The red is found mostly on the torso and forearms. Blue is used on the head, upper arms and lower legs. Silver (I hesitate to call it gunmetal, though it is a darker shade of silver and metallic) is used on his waist, thighs, grille and the spare tanks on the sides of his legs. Black, as you've probably guessed, is used to sculpt the wheels, all of which show in this form. The clear plastic forms the windows on his chest. the way these colors are arranged, they are meant to invoke the G1 Optimus Prime figure. In that respect, it succeeds, but it's not perfect.

You see, in terms of paint deco, there's not a ton happening here. Silver (matching the plastic color) is used on the head and torso, blue is used on the hands and feet and really, that's about it. While this is a nice homage to G1 Optimus, it winds up leaving the figure feeling incomplete in the deco department. At the very least, I would've liked to see silver lines painted on the front and sides of the torso area, a detail which G1 Optimus had. perhaps some type of deco on the lower legs as well. The problem is, not all of G1 Optimus Prime's details were paint or plastic colors. Some of his details relied on stickers, which aren't used much anymore. The result is that this robot mode looks like it's missing deco and that's unfortunate.

There are twenty four points of articulation in this mode. This includes five on each arm and six on each leg. This also includes waist articulation, so you'll have no trouble posing this guy. His feet are wide too, so they give him lots of stability. His elbow articulation is a bit weird because of the way his fist is set, but you can rotate them around so it doesn't look like he's holding his weapon out to the side when you bend his elbow.

Speaking of weapon, that brings us to the second "homage" component of this figure. Optimus Prime's weapon is actually the shotgun that was seen on screen in "Dark of the Moon" being used by none other than Megatron! This weapon has a very distinct, curved end that makes it instantly identifiable. Perhaps Optimus took the weapon after the battle of Chicago? Let your imagination decide. The weapon is cast in silver and serves as a missile launcher which fires a good distance. There are two pegs on the sides, allowing you to attach it to other Transformers with 5mm ports. Optimus holds the weapon via the 5mm peg at the bottom of the handle, however "Dark of the Moon" Megatron can also hold the weapon using the tabs at the handle in the back of the weapon! This is a really nice design "Easter Egg" and I think it's great.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. On each hip, swing the panels with the wheels out to the sides.
  3. Push each of the feet up, which will fold the lower legs in and bring the top of the feet flat against the lower legs.
  4. Swing the back panel out.
  5. Swing the chest panels out.
  6. On the side panels that the chest panels are attached to, swing all the smaller panels up.
  7. Rotate each of the robot arms back.
  8. Swing the grille section from the chest up, which will cause the robot head to swing back.
  9. Bend the upper body forward.
  10. Swing the side panels down.
  11. Rotate the robot arms up, then bend them at the elbow to form parts of the windshield and the top of the vehicle mode.
  12. Swing the panel that formed the back of the robot up (this now begins to form the bottom section of the vehicle mode's front end, complete with the headlights. Be sure to connect the tabs on this section into the side panels.
  13. Swing the grille/robot head section down over the piece from the step above - this forms the grille and part of the windshield.
  14. Swing the windshield panels from the robot mode back and swing up the smokestack half on the right side.
  15. The weapon can attach to the top of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
While the robot mode of this figure is meant to be a partial homage to Optimus Prime's Generation One form, the vehicle mode is a very detailed homage. First off, this truck is a box shaped "flat nose" truck instead of a "long nose" as Optimus has appeared in several movies (and the "Transformers Prime" series). For long time fans, this is a bit of a treat as it's been a while since Optimus had a form like this. It's not just the basic shape of the vehicle that's inspired by G1 Optimus Prime, so are many of the sculpted details. These include:

  • The windshield windows have outlines around them and window wipers underneath.
  • The headlights have an oval shape, though here they have two lights on each side instead of one.
  • The grille has a curved, rectangular shape with grille lines divided in the middle.
  • The bumper section in the front has rectangular details in the middle area with round details flanking them.
  • On the sides, there are raised, circular details that look like bolts. These carry over from G1 Optimus, who had similar detailing.
  • On the front wheel wells, there appear to be ladder like steps leading to the truck door.
  • If you look on the sides, several of the sculpted details are very similar to G1 Optimus Prime's including the handle for the door and a rectangular section towards the back.
  • The top of the vehicle has raised grooves intended to be rails.
  • The area above the windshield has a row of tear drop shaped lights. While G1 Optimus also had horns there, it's clear the inspiration came from that detail.
  • The sides of the vehicle have spare tanks on the sides, similar to G1 Optimus Prime.

Even with all these similarities, there are definitely some differences. Unlike the G1 Optimus Prime toy, there are rectangular side view mirrors near each side window. He also only has one smokestack as opposed to one on each side. The back also has a much more detailed looking hitch than G1 Optimus had. Also, the wheels are shaped very differently, with the front wheels having rims that stick out a bit while the rear wheels have rims that curve inward. These are minor differences for the most part, and actually help to make the vehicle look more detailed. Overall it's a great looking vehicle mode with tons of detail and serves as as a wonderful homage to G1 Optimus Prime.

In this mode, the color break out is very similar to G1 Optimus Prime. The front of the vehicle is mostly red plastic with the rear section cast in blue. The middle has silver plastic while the wheels are black. Silver paint dominates here. It's used for the windows, the grille and even the lines that start in the front and wrap around to the sides. There are red Autobot symbols painted onto the stripes in red. Regrettably, the rims are not painted, so there is a bit of an unfinished feel to this mode as well (but less so than the robot mode in my opinion).

Despite the photo I have above, the G1 Optimus Prime trailer does not hitch onto this cab, I just wanted to get a shot of the two together. Instead, there are three 5mm ports where you can attach his weapon. This includes one on the top and two on either side of the truck hitch. All six wheels are functional so he can roll on them (no fake wheels here).

Final Thoughts:
This figure is a great concept and has a wonderful design. I love the homage and he looks great in both modes. The problem is the relative lack of deco. I understand the designers were going for more of a G1 look, and in that sense a lot of the colors do match up. I do think he could do with more detail (as many of the fan repaints online have illustrated), but even given that I still think this is a fantastic figure well worth adding to your collection. Recommended!