"Age of Extinction" Silver Knight Optimus Prime & Grimlock Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Dinobot, Movie (2007), Target Exclusive

Age of Extinction

Optimus Prime Art General Information:
Release Date: June 2014
Price Point: $29.99
Retailer: Target Exclusive
Accessories: Swords x 2; Shield

General Images:

It has been a long time tradition for stores like Target to carry exclusive items related to live action movie releases. In June 2014, Target released a two pack featuring redecos of the Deluxe Class Optimus Prime from "Dark of the Moon" and "Generations" Grimlock. I never got to review the Deluxe Optimus Prime, so this will be the first time I'm reviewing that figure. However, for the Grimlock figure, check out my "Generations" Grimlock review. This review will provide details on the changes made for this release of Grimlock.

Optimus Prime
Optimus Prime

Images:

Robot Mode:
This version of Optimus Prime is based on the form we've seen him in since the first "Transformers" live action film. He also had this form in "Dark of the Moon" so the form carried over to this Deluxe Class figure. Being a Deluxe Class figure, this version of the live action movie Optimus Prime had to consolidate a lot of details. Fans are now quite familiar with the "Bayformer" aesthetic where panel upon panel of jagged metal seems to layer on in an endless stream of machinery to form a Transformer. There's definitely some of that here, but a lot less than you'd expect. Like the movie design most are familiar with he has a chest that's "split" in the middle, revealing machinery underneath. His mid-body area shows off more of this machine detail as does much of the sculpting on the arms and thighs. It all looks really good. He feels cohesive while still maintaining some of the "Bayformer" aesthetic.

Other parts are much more solid and feel akin to something you would find in a line like "Generations". The front of the vehicle becomes a back pack, his lower legs are just one long piece and he even has a bit of shoulder armor over his arms, but with the possible exception of the "back pack", nothing feels extraneous or excessive. What detail the designers wanted to express is done through really nice sculpting, particularly on the head, torso and arms. Much to my delight, he even has the "closed mouthplate" version of Optimus Prime's head instead of the "open mouthplate" version which would reveal his mouth (not one of the live action movie Prime's better features in my book).

Keep in mind this figure has had three previous releases in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, so this is the fourth deco this sculpt has seen in the U.S. Previous versions leaned towards his movie aesthetic with red, blue and silver being the primary colors. This version does the same in many respects, but it features a heavy emphasis on the use of vacuum metalized silver which is meant to reflect his "Shining Knight" status. In "Age of Extinction", Optimus Prime takes on a new form with a robot mode that takes a lot of influences from the armor of ancient knights (I go into this in my "First Edition" Optimus Prime review). Based on a couple of current toy releases, it seems at some point he becomes a "Shining Knight" (though it's possible this is just a conceit for the toy line) which emphasizes a bright silver color. This figure uses that idea for its deco.

Optimus Prime is cast in silver, blue and black plastic. The silver parts include the arms and thighs as well as the inside of his torso. The blue is used on smaller sections like his feet, the inside of his lower legs and the head. Black is found on the wheels, which are plainly visible in this form. The rest of the figure is made up of vacuum metalized silver parts (including the chest armor, shoulder armor and lower legs. This is a lot of vac metal and certainly makes the point of him being a "Shining Knight". Since his "back pack" is also vac metal, the shining silver really makes its presence felt all the way around the figure.

Paint colors on this figure include red, blue, silver and light blue. The red is used on the forearms where they are painted on with a beautiful fade pattern leading to the elbows. There's also some red on a panel behind the robot head. Some red also appear as flames on his shoulder armor. These get an extra metallic look to them thanks to the vac metal. Silver is used on the robot face and his eyes are painted light blue. The dark, solid blue is used on the mid-section of his torso and a slightly different blue is used in the middle of the lower legs. This color gets a particular brilliance thanks to the vac metal. There is something wonderfully gaudy, but in a way that I find quite appealing. The deco is certainly eye catching and it gets across the "Shining Knight" theme very well.

There are thirteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes three in each arm and leg. The shoulder and hip joints are ball joints, so he actually has a good range of motion. His shoulder armor can fold up and out of the way too. This figure was designed during the "Mech Tech" weapon series, meaning there was heavy emphasis on the ability of figures to attach multiple 5mm peg weapons to upgrade their firepower. To that end, Optimus has six connection points for weapons in this form. Four are located on the arms (the fists and the sides of the forearms) and two are found on the shoulder armor pieces. This gives you an opportunity to really pile on the weaponry, which I find fun and it can make the figure look quite powerful.

Speaking of weapons and accessories, this two pack does provide Optimus Prime with a weapon all his own: a silver sword. Interestingly, this is not an original, sculpted accessory. Instead, it is the sword from the G1 Predacon Rampage (who was reissued last year in the "Platinum Edition" line). The handle has been slightly retooled so it has a 5mm peg, but the design is very distinctive. The scale works perfectly with Optimus and looks great. Optimus can also use Grimlock's accessories in this set, so the shield attaches beautifully to the side of his forearms to complete the "knight" image.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach any accessories and set them aside.
  2. Swing out the wheel from the inside of each lower leg.
  3. Rotate the robot feet so they are vertical.
  4. Swing the robot feet down (they should now be resting against the wheel from step one).
  5. Push the robot head down and push the halves of the robot chest together.
  6. Swing the forearms up against the upper arms.
  7. Push the shoulder armor down flat against the shoulders.
  8. On the back, swing the front of the truck down.
  9. Rotate the upper body around.
  10. Swing in each of the arms (and the panels they are attached to) and connect them in the middle.
  11. Swing the waist section and legs of the robot mode back.
  12. Swing each leg out to the side then forward, connecting them in the middle. There are also tabs on the front section that connect to corresponding grooves on the knee armor.
  13. Slide the front of the truck in.

Vehicle Mode:
Optimus Prime's vehicle mode is the Peterbilt longnose truck see in previous movies so I won't go into its design too much. Compared to the "Age of Extinction" design, it is more boxy and has many more angles. Still, it manages to look sleek and powerful. All the requisite details are here including the long nose that narrows in the front, smokestacks on the side, a slightly "V" shaped windshield section, spare tanks on the back, six wheels and a hitch on the back. This hitch detail was actually used for a trailer which was released as part of the "Dark of the Moon" toy line (in Japan the trailer came with an extra weapon, in the US there were no weapons). That is the trailer you see in the photo linked above.

There are a lot of tiny details on this figure. Such detailing is expected in larger class figures, but they're especially welcome on figures on the Deluxe Class scale and smaller. These include side view mirrors, round "bolt" like details outlining most of the front section, outlines of the truck doors and even steps leading up to those doors. This is a fantastic amount of detail for the vehicle mode.

Just like the robot mode, the vacuum metalized silver really dominates in this form. It makes up the entire front half of the vehicle and most of the rear half. The wheels are black and there's a bit of silver plastic on the rear wheel well. The hitch is cast in blue plastic. The windows of the truck are cast in translucent blue. Red flames are painted onto vac metalized sections on the hood and the top of the cabin section. On the left side there is a small Autobot symbol. A bit of blue shows on the back section via the blue paint details on the robot legs. Thankfully, the sides of the wheels are painted silver, offering some more detail. Given the "shining" theme of this figure, I think the vehicle mode looks great. It absolutely captures the theme and is eye catching at the same time.

Grimlock Review
Grimlock

Images:

This release of Grimlock is a redeco of "Generations" Voyager Class Grimlock, whose design was based on his appearance in the "Fall of Cybertron" video game. I'll be focusing on the changes made to the figure for this release, so check out my original review for more in depth thoughts on the sculpt.

In a bit of unintentional humor, the Target web site listing for this item called Grimlock "Ivan". For those wondering what that's about, "Ivan" was Grimlock's "code name" during the production of "Age of Extinction". Even though this is not the "Age of Extinction" Grimlock in form, it appears he is in spirit.

Robot Mode:
While this figure is sold as an "Age of Extinction" toy, its new deco is from another era altogether: Generation One! Paying homage to Grimlock's previous incarnations, this figure has a dramatically different color scheme than its predecessor. What's really cool is that it takes influences from both the Generation One action figure and animated model for this deco. The result is a modern day Grimlock with a retro-feel to him that is absolutely welcome on this sculpt. Let's start with the influences fro mthe original G1 toy:

  • Grimlock is mostly made up of silver plastic. You'll find it on his arms, lower legs and back. This shade of silver is very close to the color of the original G1 toy, and yes, that shade is quite different from the one used for "Generations" Grimlock.
  • The torso section and the beast mode claws on the forearms all have gold vacuum metallized parts. The G1 figure also had gold vacuum metallized plastic on these sections.
  • The head, fists, waist and thighs are all black (though the hands are painted), matching up with the G1 figure.
  • The waist area is painted red, along with the hip sections of his legs. In the middle is some light grey detailing. Both colors also appeared on the G1 toy in the same area.
  • The robot head is black with red eyes.
  • Some dark grey has been used to paint the mechanical details on his chest. A similar design element appears on G1 Grimlock, though it's a grey window on that figure.

Everything described above covers a majority of the deco, but there are some very distinct details on the legs that need to be addressed. There you'll find blue, red and green blocks painted down his lower leg. These are not some random flourish, they are details that appeared on Grimlock in the G1 cartoon series! What makes them interesting is that they're not details that have generally been used on Grimlock figures over the years, so it's great to see his G1 cartoon appearance recognized in such a way.

Both of Grimlock's weapons are still cast in translucent red plastic, but the shade seems a bit lighter than the originals. The sword is painted with black, but the shield is unpainted. Given how much attention has been paid to the deco on Grimlock himself, this really doesn't bother me. All of Grimlock's joints are still nice and tight. The weapons fit just fine in his hands as well. You can still pull the switch on the beast mode head in his back to activiate is light up feature. It still comes through bold and strong on his chest making it look like he is "burning" with rage and power.

Grimlock's deco is nothing short of fantastic. It's an awesome blend of G1 toy and cartoon details on a figure I already liked. Something about the gold gives him a regal appearance befitting the leader of the Dinobots, and all the other colors really help add a bright splash of color against the darker silver plastic. I'm really blown away by the job the designers did on this figure.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing the arms out to the sides at the shoulder joints.
  3. Rotate the arms around and pull them out slightly.
  4. Swing the back piece (that includes the dinosaur head) over the robot head.
  5. Rotate the robot arms again and push them in, filling the gap left by the back piece.
  6. Each of the robot shoulders has a tab at the top, this should fit under the chest piece.
  7. On each forearm, swing the part with the two claws out, then swing the fists in.
  8. Swing the front part of the lower legs up, exposing the inner workings and tail ends.
  9. Swing the lower leg pieces up and push them down.
  10. Connect the tail ends together.
  11. Push the robot feet down.
  12. Attach the shield to one side of the leg at the hip and the sword to the other side.

Beast Mode:
So much of the robot mode appears in beast mode that there aren't a whole lot of surprises. In fact, the section that acts as the biggest "reveal" here is his beast mode head and neck. The head is silver like most of the body and the neck is vacuum metallized gold. This is a detail influenced by G1 Grimlock's appearance in beast mode. There his neck had a translucent layer over a bunch of machinery details that were gold. Like the G1 Grimlock toy, his eyes are red (but here they're translucent). This is sort of a "finishing touch" in my book that makes the figure an overall success as a homage to G1 Grimlock.

The light up feature in this form works great and his whole head winds up being red (now that's some serious rage!). The only slight problem is that his dinosaur arms pop off relatively easily. They popped off twice as I transformed him for this review. They snap back on easily enough but I wish the ball joint they connected to was able to hold them better. The holes on the sides of the beast mode also hold his sword and shield without a problem. Aside from the dinosaur arms issue, he remains a solid figure.

Final Thoughts:
I'm extremely happy with the deco on Grimlock in this set. While I really like the Optimus Prime, Grimlock makes this set worth adding to your collection even if you already have both sculpts. In a way Optimus is sort of a "bonus" figure (and I do appreciate giving him a sword all his own). Highly recommended!