Dark of the Moon Preview Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Commander, Dark of the Moon, Revenge of the Fallen, Cyberverse

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: March 2011
Price Point: $7.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Jet Pack/Trailer, Rifles x 2


*Images with asterisk and text in italics below from the Official Transformers web site:
Though OPTIMUS PRIME has led the AUTOBOTS for many years, he is only the latest in a long line of great leaders. He looks to the history of his world for lessons on honor and duty, and lives his life according to the ancient principles established by the leaders of the past.

Fasten your seatbelts for high-energy fun with this vehicle-to-robot hero! This mighty OPTIMUS PRIME figure changes from battle-ready robot mode to truck mode so he can chase down his enemies or fight his fiercest foes. And with your included 3-D glasses, you’ll be able to view exclusive content on Transformers.com. As the battle rages on, keep converting him back and forth so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him! Ages 5 and up.

As with previous Transformers live action movie toy lines, there is always a "preview" figure put out ahead of the main release. This time out Hasbro chose Commander Class Optimus Prime as the preview figure. Few Transformers are as iconic as Prime, so this made the perfect choice.

Packaged on a fairly generic card with 3D glasses included, the packaging promises 3D content on the official Transformers web site. This began in March 2011 with previews of upcoming action figures that could be viewed in 3D or 2D. Check out this screen capture to get an idea of the content. These glasses are not meant for use in theaters, but they are a nice reminder that "Dark of the Moon" is being filmed for 3D.

This is the first introduction to the new "Commander" Class of figures from the "Cyberverse" line of Transformers figures. The "Cyberverse" of Transformers is partly made up of figures that are somewhere between the traditional Scout Class in size and complexity and the old Legends Class of figures. In general, Commander Class figures in the Cyberverse (not to be confused with Commander Class figures in the Power Core Combiners line) have weaponry that can be utilized by the smaller Legion Class figures. In concert with the Legion Class and playsets being released, the "Cyberverse" forms a complete world of play at a smaller price point.

Based on what I saw at Toy Fair 2011, I believe this is the same figure that will later be released in curved "Cyberverse" packaging. There does not appear to be any significant color difference between this figure and the one shown at Toy Fair, but we'll see for sure in May!

Robot Mode:
Taking a cue from his "Revenge of the Fallen" form combined with Jetfire, this version of Optimus Prime comes with a jet pack and two large guns. As soon as I saw this figure, my mind immediately leapt to thoughts of Powermaster Optimus Prime. Many of the design elements on this figure remind me of Powermaster Optimus Prime, or rather his Japanese counterpart "Super Ginrai" who combined with an extra trailer known as "Godbomber". The features that remind me most of this G1 combination are:

  • Optimus Prime's chest has a much more blocky design now, with the sides flanked by sections that stick out a bit and have small windows sculpted onto them.
  • Under his windshield pieces on the chest is a rectangular section with mechanical looking details inside. This is reminscent of the area Ginrai's "Godmaster" engine would have attached.
  • The jet pack on Optimus Prime's back is reminscent of the wings that Ginrai had on his back when Godbomber combined with him.
  • The long blasters being held by Optimus remind me of the long rifles held by Ginrai.

These touches really add an element of history and appreciation for the design that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I already love the fact that Optimus Prime has a rocket pack and powerful looking weapons, but to add a bit of homage material in there to boot is really awesome.

The other details on Optimus Prime come straight form his previoius appearances in the live aciton movies. His head sculpt has the familiar mouthplate, crest and protrusions on the sides. His arms have cylinders on the sides of the shoulders and his legs have armor pieces overlapping onto different sections of the legs. Worked into all this are small details such as layers of horizontal lines on his thighs and wire like designs on his waist. It's a really nice looking figure in terms of sculpting and shows promise for other Commander figures to come.

Optimus is cast in red, blue, silver and black plastic. The colors are dispursed throughout the figure. His legs for instance start with silver at the thighs, then go to black plastic for the lower legs before ending in red plastic at the ankles and feet. His chest piece is blue while his upper arms are black. Silver is focused on the jet pack and rifles. The silver has a nice, worn look to it that makes it look a bit more realistic than say, a shiny vacuum metalized piece would have.

Paint decos are done in silver, red and light blue. The silver is used on his chest, head, smokestacks and feet. Red is found on the chest piece, under the windshields. The light blue is the most subtle detail, found on the eyes. The paint job on the figure is nicely done, enhancing the alternating colors that already exist by virtue of the plastic colors.

Optimus Prime has nine points of articulation in this form. This includes two articulation points on each of the arms and legs. His weapons are designed to allow other Commander Class and most Legion Class figures the ability to use them. The jet pack piece can be detached from the figure to create a well armed (but flightless) robot mode.

While the articulation points on this figure are good, the waist joint is a bit problematic. The first couple days I had the figure, it was fine. However, after messing with it and tranforming it several times, the central joint connecting the upper body and the lower body has come loose a bit, causing Optimus to "flop" back slightly. He can still stand and look cool, but it also looks like he's looking up slightly at something constantly. I am hoping my issue is a one-off and that most of the figures are not like this.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the rocket pack and weapons.
  2. Swing the wings on the jet pack down.
  3. Attach the weapons to the holes on the bottom of the jet pack so the boosters are facing back.
  4. Push the robot feet up.
  5. Rotate the upper body around.
  6. Move the panels on his back down and connect them together.
  7. Push the robot head down.
  8. Slide the chest piece forward.
  9. Swing the side blue panels with the smoke stacks back.
  10. Tuck each of the arms up vertically and connect them together.
  11. Clip the rocket pack/trailer onto the back of the cab.

This transformation really stood out for me as it does not use the typical format of having Prime's arms form the front or back of the vehicle, but rather part of the middle section. The mechanism of having the chest slide forward against the legs to make the front end is also quite notable. For a figure of this size, it's a very satisfying transformation scheme.

Vehicle Mode:
By now, most fans are familiar with Optimus Prime's longnose Peterbilt truck mode as it has been featured in the two previous Transformers live action films. This sculpt represents that vehicle mode well, with details including the large front grille, dual headlights on either side, a large plate in the front with rivet details in it and angled panels over each windshield window. While it is tiny the Autobot symbol at the end of the vehicle's front end is also present. This is no surprise as Hasbro and Tomy have had years to sculpt this vehicle mode over and over but it is still great to see the quality being adhered to.

The new feature here is of course, the back pack. It's sort of a trailer, but it doesn't really "trail" behind him so much as it sits on top of the rear section of the vehicle. I mentioned earlier that there are some homage elements to Ginrai in the robot form and the same holds true for the vehicle mode. The trailer section is very reminscent of the "Godbmber" trailer in its vehicle form. Godbomber had wings mounted on the sides and a missile launcher on top. In a similar fashion the trailer has wings on the sides (but they are pointed downward instead of up as they were on Godbomber) and he has two cannons on top, not just one. In this way he is more like Ginrai in vehicle mode, who had two rifles that mounted onto the top of his trailer. This really adds a lot ot the figure and it looks fantastic. I'm not sure if this will be portrayed in the film or not, but it would be a real treat to see in live action!

This mode emphasizes the blue and red plastic much more than the black, which shows up on the wheels. The red and black make up most of the trailer, with red in the front and back and blue in the middle. Silver and blue details are painted in, with silver used heavily for the details in the front and middle of the cab. Blue of course appears in the form of the infamous flames on the front section of the vehicle. The trailer is not painted, but its dark silver color is striking when set against the red and blue plastic, giving it a very real world/industrial feel.

Functionally, the vehicle works fine if you take the trailer off, and the sculpted details on the connection point clearly indicate the figure is meant to be able to stand on its own without the trailer. The trailer itself has standard "Cyberverse" holes on top, so you could take some weapons from other figures in the line and attach them there instead.

Final Thoughts:
This figure would have easily been a highly recommended were it not for the one flaw with the waist joint. There's great homage material here which I had not expected and the idea of Prime having a rocket pack and new weaponry is super cool. Between that and a cool sculpt, this is saved from being not recommended, but rather recommended with caution.