"Bumblebee" Legendary Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Age of Extinction, Autobot, Bumblebee Movie, Leader

Bumblebee

General Information:
Release Date: October 2018
Price Point: $66.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: Blaster

Optimus Prime

Official Images are from Amazon.com.

In September of 2018 the "Bumblebee" toy line made its debut on toy store shelves in North America. The line had several price points and managed to create several toys out of only a handful of characters who appeared in the film. However, most of these figures were very simplified and aimed at a younger audience. Meanwhile, in Japan, Takara Tomy had fewer offerings, choosing instead to focus on more complex figures such as the Studio Series and Masterpiece figures. One of these was a new Leader Class figure based around some of the aesthetics and engineering from the "Age of Extinction" Evasion Mode Optimus Prime figure. Official photos popped up online in September 2018 before its release in October.

Packaging:
Optimus Prime is packaged in an interesting box that meshes the basic "Bumblebee" movie packaging design with some extra graphics thrown in. The box is a basic, rectangular shape, much like the Leader Class figures in "Studio Series". The main background is yellow overlaid with black and silver details. A black, vertical "Transformers" logo is set on the right side with the "Takara Tomy" logo above it. Below it is the "Bumblebee" Movie logo. The other side features a "Transformers 35th Anniversary" logo. Below that is a stock photo of the figure in robot mode with its weapon in hand. The figure is inside the box in robot mode. Below that is artwork of Optimus Prime and next to that is the figure in vehicle mode. The sides of the box feature artwork for both Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. The back of the box features several photos of the figure showing off its various features. These include the "face changing" ability and the weapon storage. The packaging is very classic in some ways and modern in others. It looks great.

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Robot Mode:
For those fans wondering just when Optimus Prime appeared in the "Bumblebee" Movie in this form, he didn't. It is likely this figure was designed when Takara Tomy was made aware Optimus Prime would appear in the movie, but not what his design would look like. The "Evasion Mode" Optimus Prime design was originally conceived as a homage to the original Optimus Prime, who transformed into a boxy cab instead of the long nose truck cabs that served as the vehicle forms for Optimus Prime in the live action films. It made sense that this design would have been chosen for an 80's "G1-esque" movie design for Optimus Prime's appearance in the "Bumblebee" movie toy line.

Legendary Optimus Prime stands at about 8.75 inches (around 22.22 cm) tall. From shoulder to shoulder he is about 5 inches (12.7 cm) wide. This makes him a nice and big when displayed with figures like "Studio Series" Bumblebee. The design of this figure is based on the CG model seen on screen in "Age of Extinction" and the "Evasion Mode" Voyager class figure. These include:

  • The shoulder area features two vertical panels sticking straight up.
  • The head is flanked by the smokestacks.
  • The torso has several layers of armor including windows broken up into different sections with headlights below them and a grille in the middle.
  • Each shoulder has two horizontal cylinders on them.
  • The area right above the waist and hips has two distinct curves above it.
  • The wheels from the vehicle mode wind up around the hip/thigh area.
  • The thighs each have one of the tanks from his vehicle mode attached to the sides.
  • The knee armor comes up over the thighs in front.
  • The feet have two distinct "toes" on either side.
  • The back has two panels set at angles.

While he is based on "Evasion Mode" Optimus Prime from "Age of Extinction" his colors are much more G1 based. The figure is made up of red, blue, silver and black plastic. Like G1 Optimus Prime, the upper body is mostly red with some silver and clear plastic parts here and there. The hip area and thighs are silver plastic while the legs are mostly blue plastic. The wheels on the legs are cast in black plastic. Paint colors on this figure include silver, light blue, blue and yellow. The silver is mostly used on the head and torso. The eyes are light blue while the darker blue and yellow are used on the hip area. Some parts like the grille and curved parts under the grille are vacuum metallized silver. The only thing I wish they had done was add some silver accents to the blue parts on the legs. They are not painted at all, and while this does work with the G1 vibe, it looks a bit plain. Other than that, the deco looks great.

There are twenty two points of articulation on this figure. This includes six on each arm and leg and even hand articulation. What surprised me was that several of these are ratchet joints! These include the two joints on each shoulder, the hip joints and the knees. The figure is not particularly heavy but it has just enough bulk that these joints really help make it a solid figure. However, this figure is not just about joints and articulation. There are two other key play features:

  • Optimus includes a weapon based on the one he carried in the movie. This weapon can fold out and attach to the back (via two small tabs). Detach it, swing out the ends of the cannon barrel, push in the barrel section and fold down the black sections to form the weapon. This can then fit into either hand. Instead of a regular 5mm peg, this peg has a notch in the back that fits into a corresponding slot in the hands. The weapon covers enough of the hand to make it look like the hand partly "transforms" into the weapon.
  • In the films, Optimus usually has an "unmasked" face with a mouth when he speaks. However, when he goes into combat he forms a mouthplate around the lower part of his face. You can perform this "face switch" on this figure. Tilt the head up, push up the face at the chin and rotate it around to switch between the mouth and the "faceplate" designs.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon if attached.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs. Close the fists if they are open.
  3. On the back, straighten out the blue panels on the back so they are set horizontally.
  4. Swing the inside of each lower leg up with the feet. Push the feet up against the lower part of the knee area.
  5. On each leg, swing the second wheel near he hips back onto the lower legs.
  6. Push the two lower legs together.
  7. Swing the chest panels out to the sides.
  8. Pulling the side panels (attached to the arms) out a bit, then swing the panel that surrounds the head back.
  9. Swing the middle section with the head and grille on it back.
  10. Swing the faux smokestacks on the panel from step 8 up, then swing this panel forward for now to allow some clearance.
  11. Swing the legs back.
  12. On each side, fold the sides in and swing the arms forward, then bend it back at the elbow to form the top of the truck cab on the sides.
  13. On the top of the cab, swing the red panels with the raised details on them back.
  14. In the front of the forward wheel wells, there are small panels on hinges, swing them out.
  15. On each of the shoulders, there is a small, rectangular panel on a hinge. These panels overlap on the back of the boxy section of the cab.
  16. Push the front panel in.
  17. Swing the panel with the grille down and push it in to fill in the middle of the front end.
  18. Swing the panels with the vacuum metallized panels on them (including the smokestack on the right side).
  19. Swing the silver panel in the middle section down, then fold the silver panel in.
  20. Swing out the silver side view mirror pieces on the sides.
  21. Flatten out all the various parts of the weapon, including the barrel (be sure to fold in the ends of the weapon barrel).
  22. Each weapon barrel end piece has a small slot. This corresponds to tabs on bottom of the vehicle. Attach the weapon there and snap it into place.

Vehicle Mode:
Between the transformation and the appearance of this mode, it becomes clear that this figure borrows some engineering from the Evasion Mode Optimus Prime figure, down to the way some parts fit on each other in this form. However, the size is much more substantial. So much so that the cab is actually sized to work with the trailer from Masterpiece MP10 Optimus Prime! The hitch on the back has two thin grooves to accommodate the corresponding tabs on the trailer. The vehicle looks great with the trailer attached.

This mode is a homage to G1 Optimus Prime. This includes having a boxy shape with a flat front end. There are lots of small details all over the surface of the figure including raised "bolts" lining the sides, a detailed grille section and angled panels above the front wheels. Unlike G1 Optimus Prime, this vehicle only has a single smokestack instead of two. There is one flaw in the design. The panel that forms the middle of the vehicle's front end never quite 100% aligns with the side panels, so the windshield is slightly "off" when you stare at it closely. This only bugs me a little bit. Overall the vehicle looks great, almost Masterpiece level thanks in part to its size.

The colors in this mode reflect the traditional aesthetics of the G1 Optimus Prime design. The front is mostly red, the back is mostly blue and there are some black, silver and grey parts showing as well. The smokestack in the back and the tanks on the side have nice, vacuum metallized silver on them (as does the front end). Other sections are painted silver such as the edges of the windshield windows, the grille, headlights and the sides of the wheels. A silver and red Autobot symbol is found on both sides. I really like the deco in this mode. It looks fantastic.

Final Thoughts:
Legendary Optimus Prime is a beautiful figure in both modes. He is almost like a "first shot" at a Movie Masterpiece figure, but at a much lower price (about $65 USD on Amazon as of February 2019) than the "Movie Masterpiece" line. Of course, some engineering is recycled from the "Evasion Optimus Prime" figure and this specific design does not actually appear in the "Bumblebee" Movie, so some collectors may not see a place in their collection for this figure. To me, this figure stands on its own (despite what its packaging says) as a fun piece you can play with or display. Highly recommended!

Pros:

  • Beautiful sculpt in both modes.
  • Great deco in both modes.
  • Strong joints and plenty of articulation.
  • Cool transformable weapon.
  • Ability to tow the MP10 trailer is a definite plus.
  • Masterpiece-esque size makes it an impressive display piece.

Cons:

  • Could use a tad more deco in robot mode.
  • The transformation is not straightforward, some fans may find it frustrating.
  • Does not accurately represent the Optimus Prime seen in the "Bumblebee" Movie.