Dark of the Moon Voyager Class Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Dark of the Moon, MechTech, Revenge of the Fallen, Voyager

Dark of the Moon

General Information:
Release Date: April 2011
Price Point: $20.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Ion Blaster/Battle Cannon weapon

Images:

*Images and text from The Official Transformers web site
OPTIMUS PRIME has defended countless worlds against the threat of the DECEPTICONS, but Earth is the first since CYBERTRON that he has considered home. He lays his life on the line in the defense of his adopted world. Every action he takes, and every modification he makes to his formidable body, is done to protect Earth.

Spring into action with this vehicle-to-robot hero! Switch your mighty OPTIMUS PRIME figure from robot mode to vehicle mode – and switch his ion blaster to a battle canon! As the war rages on, keep converting him back and forth, so he’s ready to face whatever his enemies throw at him!

Weapons work with any MECHTECH TRANSFORMERS figure! Ages 5 and up.

While the Cyberverse makes up a smaller scale of figures in the "Dark of the Moon" toy line, the size class most fans are used to returns with "Mech Tech" technology. The generaly concept behind "Mech Tech" are weapons that transform from one type of weapon to another. These have standard peg sizes that allow the weapons to be swapped between figures. Optimus Prime is generally represented in almost every class of Transformers figures in the movie line, and one of those is the Voyager Class.

Mech Tech Weapon:
Since the Mech Tech weapons are critical parts of this toy line, I will review the weapons separately if they have some type of functionality. How they work with each figure will be discussed in the review of the various modes.

I don't think it's fair to say that Optimus Prime's "Ion Blaster" weapon is one of the more impressive blasters we've seen a movie Optimus Prime outfitted with in recent years. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the Ion Blaster is actually longer than Optimus' entire arm. It's also thick, conveying a sense of power like there's a powerful energy generator inside. The design is fantastic. The front end has a large barrel wit armor covering the top and bottom. The center has several tubes that you can imagine to be anything from extra ammo to battery packs or targeting lasers. On the top of the rear section of the weapons are flat panels with honeycomb patterns inside. To me they almost resemble solar panels, making it look like this weapon can not only generate its own energy, but supplement it with additional energy from the sun, something I just find super cool. Sticking out the back is an extension piece that I imagine to be a shoulder rest, but it's sculpted in such a way that it almost looks like the thruster at the back of a jet engine. Again, there is this image of power conveyed through the design.

To transform the weapon, push the shoulder rest piece in the back in. When you do so, a few things happen simultaneously:

  • The "solar panels" on the top of the weapon come together, creating a flat panel on the top of the weapon.
  • Two of the small tubes on the sides swing up, forming additional weapon barrels.
  • The armor of the front of the weapon slides down to the sides, exposing the barrel in the front.
  • An extra "point" sticks out the front of the barrel of the weapon.

The cumulative effect of the transformation definitely recreates the feel of how weapons and parts in the movies transform on the Transformers themselves. It's a very dramatic series of movements and I think it's cool that not one or two but four different things happen during the transformation of the weapon. Even better? All you have to do is turn the "shoulder rest" piece to the left a bit and the weapon can lock into its Cannon Weapon form. This is how all Mech Tech weapons should be as far as I'm concerned, so it's great to see this one designed in this way.

As if the weapon itself did not already look powerful enough, Optimus Prime's cannon has three holes to attach additional Mech Tech weapons (or anything with a standard sized peg). Two are located on the sides and one is on top. When you do connect additional weapons, it is insane how over the top this weapon winds up looking! I mean that in the most positive way of course!

The Ion Blaster is cast in grey plastic. Dull gold paint is used on the solar panel honeycomb pattern as well as the rounded pattern on the inner barrel revealed when the weapon is transformed. It looks very simple and utilitarian, but that's part of the point. Optimus himself is quite colorful, so having a weapon that looks like it is meant for non-flashy military use offers an appropriate contrast.

Robot Mode:
Over the last few years, there have been a few iterations of Optimus Prime in the Voyager Class scale for the movie toy lines. This time out, a whole new sculpt has been developed to represent "Dark of the Moon" Optimus Prime. For the most part, his design is essentially the same. His has the classic head design including antennae on the sides of his head with a mouthplate and central crest. His chest features windshield windows in the middle while his legs have wheels from the vehicle running up and down the sides. Other detail points are also intact including his two "toed" feet, sleek armor over his lower legs and his spare "tanks" from the vehicle mode winding up on his back.

If I were to point towards the major difference between the design of this figure and its predecessors, it would be one of proportion. While other Voyager Class Optimus Prime figures have fairly equal upper body and lower body proportions, this Optimus has a relatively small upper body compared to his very long legs. His torso section has been downplayed in size, as have his arms by a bit. The legs meanwhile are rather long and end in large feet. The tanks on his back are huge compared to other iterations of the character as well. This sounds bad, but in fact it manages to make the figure look very distinctive and cool at the same time. I think part of what does the trick here is how wide his arms/shoulders are set apart in concert with the spare tanks on his back being so large. This offers a bit of balance in terms of bulk between his upper and lower body sections. It's different and it looks good.

In terms of fidelity to the CGI model used in the films, what I'll say is that a lot of the details that come from that model are prsent, but the proportions of those details vary from part to part. For instance, on each shoulder, there is a piece of armor that sigs across the top of the shoulder. Here, that piece is relatively small and looks like a rounded part of the shoulder section, but on the CGI model it's much larger and truly looks like shoulder armor. On the other hand, on the back of this figure the cylinders from the sides of the vehicle mode are positively huge (looking almost like rocket boosters) whereas on the CGI model those details are heavily downplayed. Other important details that are present include the sculpt of Prime's face, shaped to have his battle mask up over his mouth and the design of his chest, which features windows from the vehicle mode as well as details in the center reminscent of the grille section on G1 Optimu sPrime. Overall there's no mistaking which Prime this figure is meant to represent.


Some of the minute detail in this sculpt is really interesting. Under the grille section of the upper body are several tubes making up his mid-body. On each arm are more tubes with lines that look almost like metallic muscles near the elbow and he has his "wheels" from the vehicle mode sculpted onto his thighs along with spring like details. Sure great sculpting is almost expected nowadays, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be noticed when it is done nicely on a figure.

Optimus Prime is cast in five primary plastic colors: red, dark blue, light rey, silver and black. These colors probably come as no surprise to anyone. They are pretty much the "staple" Transformers color scheme for Optimus Prime. In concert with these plastic colors are red, silver, blue and gunmetal color paint. The upper body is where most of the red is emphasized. There, you'll find it on his forearms and painted onto his shoulders and chest. A spot of red "flame" detail is seen on his legs as well. It's interesting how much his flame details get played down in this form considering how emphasized they are in the CGI model. Frankly I like it as it brings the excessiveness of the flames down a notch in this form. The dark blue parts are found everywhere on the figure including his back, arms, chest and legs. The legs are the section where the blue makes its biggest splash, making up most of the leg sections. Silver and light grey are used for many of the smaller parts including his thighs, feet and fists. While silver is used to provide additional detail on his chest, fce and arms I can't help but feel he could have used a bit more paint (even with gunmetal on his chest). It's probably the large swath of blue on his legs that gives me this impression. It's a cool color scheme, and he looks great, I'm just thinking more could have been done.

There are twenty four points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm and leg as well as waist articulation. Optimus has four places where you can attach Mech Tech weapons in this form. His fists of course are two of them, and he has two holes on his back, dark blue panels that allow him to store weapons on his back as well. Technically he has holes on the insides of his legs where you can attach Mech Tech weapons, but that just looks awkward! If you load up the Mech Tech weapon included with this figure and then add more weaponry, Optimus looks like he's ready for some serious combat! It's cool to have this level of interaction with weapons from other figures. Of course, technically you could also attach weapons with standard peg sizes and even Mini-Cons if they have pegs. There's a lot of hero work Optimus can do loaded up like that!

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Remove any weapons attached to the figure.
  2. Lift the back panel on each robot leg.
  3. Swing the wheels on the inside of each robot leg out.
  4. Swing up the robot feet and tuck them against the lower legs, with the raised section on each foot fitting into the slot in the center of the legs.
  5. Connect the two legs together.
  6. Swing each robot arm forward.
  7. Swing the chest panel down.
  8. Swing the robot arms back up on their hinges so the silver part they are attached to is now on the back of the chest panel.
  9. Raise each arm and bend the forearm so the fists point down.
  10. Rotate the upper arms around so the pegs on each upper arm connect to the holes on the forearms.
  11. Move the fists up against the forearm.
  12. Connect the forearms together.
  13. Connect the two panels with the hex patterns on them together.
  14. Push the hex panels back so the pegs at the end connect to the holes on his chest.
  15. Behind the head, swing the silver panel down.
  16. Push the robot head down.
  17. Swing the panels from the back of the robot (with the cylinders attached) down and then forward to form the sides of the truck.
  18. Swing the robot legs up and connect the panels from the legs to the front of the vehicle, forming the top and sides of the truck cab.
  19. Rotate the smokestacks so they point up.
  20. Swing each of the cylinders back on its hinge and connect the using the tabs on the sides.
  21. Rotate the front wheel wells so they align with the rear wheels.
  22. The Mech Tech weapon can be attached to the hole on the back of the figure.

Vehicle Mode:
Like the robot mode design, there are elements of this vehicle mode which most fans are familiar with from the past two movies, but there are also new details which are unique to this iteration of Optimus Prime. The general design of the vehicle is still based on the Peterbilt "longnose" truck cab that we've seen in the previous two movies. Specific design elements include a tall and wide grille in the front with an Autobot symbol right at the top, oval shaped headlight sections in the front, small vertical cylinders on the sides and a pair of "V" shaped panels over the windshields. Other standard details included are side view mirrors, his smokestacks and a hitch at the back in a "C" shape.

Where the details differ on the vehicle are some parts that look like they've been added on and others that look modified. I made mention earlier of "hex" patterns on Prime. You'll find these located on the top of the "nose" section of the vehicle in front as well as the main cab section behind where the driver and passenger would be. These are an interesting design element that I don't recall appearing on the CGI model (and they're not on the "prop" truck used in the film). I dig these as they look like some type of solar energy collector, and they mirror the designs found on his Mech Tech weapon. Another detail that really differs from the other iterations of this vehicle are the horizontal cylinders on either side of the truck. These are huge and their intricate sculpt makes them look more like some type of weapon or battery than simple storage cylinders. On top of all this, Prime now has raised panels over his rear wheel wells with angled panels that look almost like fins from a jet. Adding to this "jet" feel are two thrusters located at the back of the vehicle, a detail not seen in previous versions of the figure.

Like the robot mode, the dark blue color still dominates in this form, but we do get to see more red in the form of the edges on his hood panel, the front wheel wells and painted flame patterns over his rear wheel wells. Blue and red paint are used to paint red flame patterns on the vehicle's front section while a bit of yellow is used for the lights in the front underneath the headlights. The aforementioned honeycomb/hex patterns are painted silver with clear plastic panels glued over them. Silver paint is used to paint key details such as his vertical cylinders and the lower sections of the smokestacks. Altogether, this is a good color scheme for the vehicle mode. The darker color scheme fits with the darker theme of the movie and adds a bit of a gritty appearance to the vehicle. I only wish that a bit more paint had been applied to the blue panels on the sides as that area looks a bit too unfinished for my tastes.

All of Optimus prime's wheels roll without a problem. In this mode, he has five slots for you to attach additional Mech Tech weaponr. Two are found on the sides of the vehicle's middle section. Another two are found on the panels over the rear wheel wells. Finally, the fifth is on the hitch section in the back. I am mildly curious if that hole is also sized to allow the upcoming "Ultimate Optimus Prime's" trailer to attach to this figure as well. While this may not be intentional, the tops of the smokestacks are just the right size to attach "C-Clip" weapons to as well. When you load Optimus up, he looks like one badass vehicle ready to blast away whatever he cannot mow down!

Final Thoughts:
Aside from some minor quibbles about his paint scheme, I really do like this figure in terms of how it looks and its play factor. Having so many slots in both modes to add weaponry is great and he looks fantastic in both forms. I also really love his Mech Tech weapon, which is weapon worthy of an Autobot leader! My only reservations are a bit about the paint scheme and the fact that some fans may have "Voyager Class Optimus Prime fatigue" at this point, but other than that thi sis a sold recommended from me!