"Generations" Combiner Wars Battle Core Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2015, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Combiner / Gestalt, Combiner Wars, Generation One, Generations, Voyager

Generations

Optimus Prime General Information:
Release Date: September 2015
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blasters x 2

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
With Decepticon super robots threatening to pound cities - and even entire civilizations - to dust, Optimus Prime masters the power of the Combiners to stop them. Together, he and the Autobots will prove that courage is stronger when combined. The Combiner Wars are heating up and your 2-in-1 Battle Core Optimus Prime figure is ready to lead the way one more time! This powerful leader of the Combiners is a terrible powerhouse in robot mode, firing his two blasters at the Decepticons. But when the time comes for some heavy road work, he can convert to semi truck mode! He’s also got the power to combine with other bots (sold separately) to form a massive Optimus Maximus figure. Convert, combine and attack with your awesome Battle Core Optimus Prime figure! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

As the end of 2015 fast approaches it is time for redecos and retools of figures released earlier in the year to come out. One of these is Battle Core Optimus Prime, a redeco and retool of Voyager Class Optimus Prime. This figure was hinted at many months ago in artwork of the combined "Optimus Maximus" form that was shown at an overseas Hasbro event. Unlike the previous Combiner Wars Optimus Prime, this version serves as the torso of a giant known as "Optimus Maximus" instead of "Ultra Prime". Around the same time this figure was released a wave of Deluxes also came out (including Ironhide, Mirage, Prowl and Sunstreaker) that were based on original "1984" Autobots led by Optimus Prime. Between the timing of the release and Optimus Maximus' package art it is clear these Deluxes were intended to go with Battle Core Optimus Prime to form Optimus Maximus. Rounding out the team is Rodimus who forms the chest armor of Optimus Maximus.

Packaging:
Battle Core Optimus' packaging is the same style as the other "Combiner Wars" Voyager Class figures. The window box shows off the figure nicely and its mostly white color contrasts nicely against the darker black box. The bottom features new packaging art based on the figure (instead of recycling art from the "Legends" mobile game). The right side flap features Optimus Maximus artwork, showing the combination of the aforementioned Autobot Deluxes and Rodimus with Optimus. The back of the packaging shows off the toy against a grid background with a brief blurb about Optimus mastering the art of combining.

The "Combiner Wars" figures all come with collector cards printed on thick cardboard. In this case new artwork was commissioned for the figure which is great since a) The character does have a rather unique appearance due in part to its new head sculpt and b) The "Legends" mobile app game is now defunct, so there is less artwork from that source to recycle.

Accessories:
Battle Core Optimus Prime includes the same two weapons as the first version of this sculpt. This time out however the weapons are colored gunmetal grey which gives them a really cool, industrial look. Since white is the main color of the figure, it's nice to have a splash of color on his accessories to help liven up the overall appearance of the toy. They can still be combined into one long weapon and both still attach to Optimus without a problem.

Robot Mode:
One of the complaints that I heard from a few fellow fans about the first iteration of this sculpt was the head sculpt. Many felt that it was too tiny for the Autobot leader (especially set against the very wide shoulders of the body). This time out the designers have given Optimus a new head that is bigger than the original. It is also less curved and more angled then the previous head design. That's all well and good, but the real selling point for fans in the know is the homage the head represents! The head design is very iconic "Optimus Prime" with a large central crest, panels on the sides and "antennae" that stick up on the sides. The face has thin eyes with a mouthplate. Pretty standard right? But then you look at the creat and realize there are horns sticking out on either side. What's that about? Well, what we have here is a homage to Star Convoy, a version of Optimus Prime who only appeared briefly in Japan many years ago. The head sculpt is a wonderful homage and it really does have a bold, assertive look to it that the previous head sculpt does not. I am a huge fan of the Star Convoy concept and design, so for me personally this head alone makes the figure awesome.

The rest of the figure is the same sculpt as before. However, the hip joints have been fixed so they are not as loose as the first incarnation of this sculpt. I did not experience issues with my Motormaster or Optimus Prime, but many fans did. This version of the design has fixed the ratchet joints so they are stronger.

Instead of the traditional red, blue and silver Optimus Prime colors this version of Optimus is cast in white, silver, black and gunmetal grey plastic. Most of the upper body is white while the lower legs are silver. Gunmetal is found on the arms. Paint details are mostly done in gold, with some metallic blue and silver thrown in. The gold is used on some of the more detailed parts including the vent like structures on his lower legs, the gears on his thighs and the horns on his head. The mouthplate is silver and his eyes are light blue. This color motif is somewhat reminiscent of Vector Prime. This is appropriate since Optimus is (in some continuities) one of the original "13" Transformers created by Primus. The white and gold in particular give him an almost mythical appearance. The finishing touch on the deco are actually two stickers: large Autobot symbols on his shoulders. The deco is a very different one for the character, and it's not as iconic as the red, blue and silver of the traditional Optimus Prime design but it looks good in its own way.

All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight. From a functional standpoint I have no issues with this figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing both feet down.
  3. Push the lower legs together.
  4. Swing the legs up.
  5. Swing the waist section back
  6. Swing the lower legs back.
  7. The robot head rests on a panel that swings on a center hinge. Push one side in and rotate it then lock it into place.
  8. Rotate the lower arms around.
  9. Swing each of the arms forward and push the two shoulder sections together.
  10. Swing each forearm section back towards the legs.
  11. Swing up the panels from each forearm.
  12. On each of the knee sections, there is a small blue tab. There are small sections of the forearms that can fit over those to help keep the vehicle mode more cohesive.
  13. The weapons can be attached to the 5mm ports on the rear section of the vehicle. You may have to flip up the panel on the back first to reveal the ports.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle form a lot of the silver and gunmetal parts come together to form the front part of the cab section. There's still plenty of white of course, but the silver is much more prominent in this mode. Gold paint still features heavily, particularly on the sides where a large stripe is painted along the side of the cab. Some gold is also used in the front right above the headlights. The headlights themselves are painted silver along with the smokestacks. Finally the windshield is painted metallic blue. Looking at the back of the vehicle you'll find more gold paint along with metallic blue. Overall it's a really cool looking vehicle. It doesn't scream "Optimus Prime" I'll admit, but it looks good regardless.

The only critique I would give about this deco is the lack of paint on the sides of the wheels. I know I harp on this a lot, but when other sections have so much paint on them, having unpainted sections like this really sticks out like a sore thumb. It doesn't ruin the figure, but it is a minus for sure.

Transformation to Torso Mode (Starting in robot mode):

  1. Detach all weapons.
  2. Push the robot head in.
  3. Rotate the lower arms around.
  4. Swing up the forearms and make sure the small red tabs on the forearms fit into the corresponding notches on the shoulders.
  5. Swing the panel on the back down.
  6. Swing open the panels on the back, revealing the Ultra Prime head.
  7. Swing up the Optimus Maximus head. The chest piece will swing up with it.
  8. Rotate the waist piece around.
  9. Swing up each leg at the hip. The joint is a ratchet joint. I recommend you move it up three "clicks".
  10. Rotate each of the lower legs so the wheels face back.
  11. Bend each of the lower legs down at the knee joint.
  12. The inside of each lower leg has a silver panel. Swing it out and push it against the tab on the thighs to lock it into place.
  13. Swing the waist panel down.
  14. Limbs can be attached by sliding the connector pieces into the slots on the shoulders and legs.

Optimus Maximus:
Battle Core Optimus Prime forms the torso, waist and thighs of Optimus Maximus (not Ultra Prime) this time out. Unlike the robot mode head, this head is the same sculpt as the previous version of this figure. From a sculpting standpoint the figure is the same as the previous release.

This mode shows off a nice combination of white, silver and gunmetal colors. Gold paint features prominently on the waist/hip panel and silver paint is used on the thighs and head. Blue is used for the eyes and that's it color-wise. Much to my disappointment, the "Matrix chamber" in the chest is left unpainted, so it's just plain silver plastic. I can hear it now - the outcry of fans who are saying "Hasbro is just being lazy and cheap!" but I don't think that's what's going on here. In fact, I believe this section is left unpainted deliberately because of the way the panel slides in when Optimus Prime is in vehicle and robot modes. Part of the reason I think this is that Takara Tomy has also left it unpainted, and they usually take the opportunity to paint any parts that would enhance a figure's appearance. My guess (and it's only a guess) is that because this part slides in the designers fear that in time any paint there would just scrape off. I'm not sure if this would be the case, but it's the best reason I can think of for leaving such a nicely sculpted detail unpainted in four different releases of the sculpt.

The colors on this figure may sound extremely plain - and in a way they are. However it totally works as a torso section. Why? Because most of the limbs you'd attach to Optimus (especially the Autobot limbs) are a virtual rainbow of colors. The Autobots have red, blue, yellow and black colors. If you used the Protectobots they have a combination of blues and blacks going along with their white colors. The white and silver colors on Battle Core Optimus serve as a great canvas for a variety of colors to be set against. Instead of sticking out like a sore thumb the torso section winds up blending with the other colors in an unexpected way. I honestly wasn't very keen on the color scheme until I combined him with the Autobots. It was then I realized that it totally works.

Functionally the joints on the legs are nice and tight. I can't say I feel a huge difference between the first version of this sculpt and this one, but fans who have taken the figure apart indicate changes were made to the ratchet joints so I take their word for it, especially since it was for the better. All the limbs connection points also appear to be in good shape.

Final Thoughts:
I like Battle Core Optimus Prime, but I will be the first to say that if you own the original version of this sculpt there really is no great need to run out and buy this one. If you're a completist or a Star Convoy fan like me go for it, but otherwise you can skip this release.