"Authentics" Alpha Assortment Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Alpha, Authentics, Autobot, Generation One

Authentics

Megatron General Information:
Release Date: May 2018
Price Point: $10.00 (depending on location)
Retailer: Alternative Channels (Family Dollar etc.)
Accessories: None

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon India:
Transformers Authentic figures feature popular Transformers characters at a 7-inch scale. Experience the excitement of Transformers conversion play with this Transformers Authentic Optimus Prime figure. It changes from robot mode to truck mode and back in just 4 easy steps. Choose a side and collect other Transformers Authentic figures to stage epic Autobot vs. Decepticon battles (each sold separately. Subject to availability). Optimus Prime is the legendary leader of the Autobots. He is known for his wisdom, courage and strength on the battlefield. He fights to protect the freedom of all beings in the universe, ensuring his friends and allies are safe from evil Decepticons. Transformers Authentic figures bring the exciting conversion play you can come to expect from a Transformers figure. Transformers Authentic figures are a great way to start any Transformers collection.

In 2017 word came through the online grapevine that a line of Transformers was being released known as the "Authentics". These figures are simpler, lower priced figures aimed at the "alternative channel" stores such as Family Dollar. In early 2018, the "Authentics" were released in "Family Dollar" stores. As of March 2018, these figures have only been found at "Family Dollar" stores and listed as "out of stock" on sites like Target.com.

"Authentics" are separated into two sub-lines of figures. One is a 4.5 inch (about 11.43 centimeters) "Bravo assortment" and the other is a 7 inch (about 17.78 centimeters) "Alpha assortment". This Optimus Prime figure is part of the "Alpha" assortment.

Packaging:
"Authentics" figures are packaged on a bubble card. The bubble does not actually cover the entire figure. Instead the figure sits against the bubble and then the bottom part wraps around the insert. Each figure is packaged in robot mode with the insert showing its alt-mode. The card has a vertical Transformers logo on the right and the character's artwork towards the top to the middle. Overlapping the character art is a circle with numbers around it. The artwork used appears to be from the "evergreen" designs which feature classic characters in forms that are not unique to any particular toy line.

Unlike the smaller Bravo assortment of figures, the back of this packaging is color, not black and white. It shows Optimus in both modes and indicates a four step transformation.

Assembly:
The way Optimus Prime is packaged, the figure is separated from the "back pack" that forms the top of the vehicle mode's cab section. To attach the "back pack", just push it into the ball joint on his back, and press it up against the back.

Robot Mode:
The "Authentics" line of figures is partly aimed at developing a cost effective set of Transformers figures, and it appears that sensibility has been carried over between assortments. The "Alpha" Optimus Prime utilizes the same basic design as the "Beta" figure. This includes a lot of the distinctive details seen on the smaller "Beta" design. This includes key details like the circles on his waist area, the angled grille section on his mid-body and the rather unfortunate "hooks" on his hands formed by the front section of the vehicle mode. Given that many of these figures start as CG renders it is not surprising that the base design of a smaller figure can be reused for a larger figure.

All that said, this Optimus Prime figure is not just an "upscaled" version of the smaller figure. There are key differences in the design of the arms. On the smaller "Beta" figure the arms are just one solid piece. While the details on the arms are the same, the construction is not. On this figure the arms are two separate pieces connected by a ball joint at the elbows. Also, unlike the smaller Beta figure the forearms are not hollow. Instead they are two separate pieces held together with a screw. This gives the insides of the arm "filler" plastic (which does have some nice sculpted details on them).

For those wondering, this larger figure does not solve all the weaknesses of the smaller figure. The lower legs are still hollow (they are basically an "L" shaped piece of plastic) and the cab section of the vehicle form still forms a gigantic back pack on the figure. There are also the aforementioned "hook hands" which are perhaps the part that bugs me the most.

The deco on this figure is similar to the smaller one, but the designers added on a few extra paint apps. He is still red, silver, blue and black plastic but there are parts painted on this guy that were not painted on the smaller figure. These parts include the chest which now has black on the areas around the windows and the windshield wipers. The other extra paint apps are gold details painted into the circles on the waist. While relatively minor they do actually add a lot to the look of this figure.

Optimus Prime has nine points of articulation. Eight of these points are ball joints, giving him a good range of articulation. Oddly, the way his arms bend in the middle, his fists wind up facing outward which looks a bit odd. The fists have 5mm ports, allowing you to attach weapons from other figures.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  2. Rotate the arms up, then push them in.
  3. Swing the "back pack" over the arms to form the front of the vehicle.
  4. Swing the legs back up over the thighs.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode Optimus Prime is basically identical to the smaller Beta figure. Unfortunately that means the proportions on this figure are just as off as they are on the smaller version. While the overall sculpting on the vehicle is not bad, the rear section is raised so high that it looks almost bizarre behind the cabin section. Don't get me wrong, it is still a perfectly serviceable vehicle mode that you can roll around, it just looks odd.

From a deco perspective this mode looks almost exactly like the smaller one. The only difference is in the front. On this figure the vertical headlights are painted gold whereas on the smaller figure they are unpainted. I do kind of wish the designers had given him one more deco: silver on the smokestacks. I think this would have added a lot to the appearance of the vehicle.

Final Thoughts:
There is no doubt the elbow articulation and modified arms add a lot to this figure. Also the extra deco is a very welcome addition. These elements manage to move the needle up a bit to make this a very mildly recommended figure, but some of the design aspects such as the "hook hands" still bother me.

Pros:

  • The relatively low price makes for an easy entry into the Transformers toy line.
  • The new deco helps make the figure look much less plain.
  • The elbow articulation adds to the play value of the figure.

Cons:

  • There are hollow parts such as the legs.
  • The vehicle mode has really odd proportions.
  • The "hook hands" are really odd looking.