"Beast Wars Transformers" Transmetal Optimus Primal Toy Review
Release Date: 1998
Price Point: $14.99 (Depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, K-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster/missile launcher, Club weapons/missiles x 2
Name: Optimus Primal
Function: Maximal General
Changed into a mighty, metal gorilla by the planetary destruction device, Optimus Primal has a built-in, rocket-powered hoverboard that lets him hang ten on the air-waves of the Beast Wars world! Stronger and faster than ever, he converts to become the huge, organically enhanced Maximal General loaded with weaponry. Predacons who value their health best avoid any monkey business with metal Optimus Primal!
Strength: 10+ | Intelligence: 10+ | Speed: 10+ | Endurance: 10+
Rank: 10+ | Courage: 10+ | Firepower: 10+ | Skill: 10+
Transmetal Optimus Primal is the first Transmetal incarnation of the Maximal commander. This was also one of the first Transmetals released, causing a lot of excitement. Transmetal Optimus Primal is a Mega sized Beast Wars Transformers toy, filled with fun and a good introduction into the world of Transmetals.
Optimus Primal's new body still has the same beast mode: a gorilla. However, instead of the organic gorilla seen previously, this is a robotic gorilla. His color scheme is primarily metallic blue (where the toy is vacume metallized), silver, red and metallic brown. This mode has nine points of articulation. Unfortunately, the beast mode had does not turn. On his back are two mace weapons which can detach and be held in his hands.
Although there is extreme detail on Optimus' arms and legs, he looks rather odd as a gorilla. The legs are very stumpy and the feet are extremely small, almost totally to the point where they seem non-existent. The "mechanical" nature of this beast mode truly shows through.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
Transmetal Optimus Primal's transformation to vehicle mode is concentrated in his legs. From the back of the legs two panels fold out. Two "peg in hole" attachments link up and the blaster which is holstered on his right thigh swings up to form a "rocket booster". His waist can twist so he may face the direction he is "surfing" to and his mace weapons can still be placed in his hands.
The difficult part about judging this vehicle mode is that one has to first get past the fact that the Maximal commander is now a sky surfing gorilla. Once you get past that, the mode is actually kind of cool, especially if you have his melee weapons in his hands in this mode. Like the character has on the TV show, there is a good combination of blunt power with flying speed.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
The two halves of the "surfboard" split up and fold down to form Optimus Primal's legs. His sides split up and the back compartment folds up and down, essentially "switching sides" to cover the metallic blue of the gorilla chest. The brown and orange "robot mode chest" then swings forward. The gorilla head folds down and the robot head folds up. The chest snaps into place. Next the lower arms open up and his fists actually revolve on the wrist to reveal the robot mode hands. The arms then swivel around, as does his upper body. Again, the mace weapons can be placed into his hands or weapons, or the "thruster" on his right thigh holster may be used as a gun.
In robot mode, Optimus Primal is more brown than blue. His chest is extremely wide and has an orange hue to it. Since this mode is meant to be more organic, there is a lot of fur like detailing on his face, hands and upper body. His weapons array is enhanced by folding forward his rear panel which holds the mace weapons. This way they can be used as a dual barrel cannon. Although many complain his face is ugly (some calling it an eggplant face), I think it has a very powerfully determined look on its face. In robot mode, Optimus Primal has forteen points of articulation. The toy is rather top heavy, giving Optimus Primal a very "beefcake" type of appearance. I recommend this toy highly for its detail and play value. A
Updated Thoughts (February 10, 2018)
I am glad I revisit these old reviews sometimes because there are points that I totally missed originally that I like to bring up in retrospect. One of the fun parts of the Transmetals was turning the designs of the first year of "Beast Wars" on their head. Essentially Transmetal Optimus Primal looks like a mechanical ape that turns into an organic robot and there is something really weird and cool about that at the same time. There is also something incredibly goofy and fun about the hoverboard riding gorilla "vehicle mode" that I think few Transformers figures have matched in the last twenty or so years. I also have to give kudos for the creativity behind aspects of this figure like turning the back armor and melee weapons into a machine gun weapon.