"Generations" Cyber Battalion Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2015, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Cyber Battalion, Generations

Generations

Starscream General Information:
Release Date: July 2015
Price Point: $30 (Estimated)
Retailer: Limited Release / Universal Studios Exclusive
Accessories: None

Official images and text below in italics are from BigBadToyStore:
This Optimus Prime figure won’t back down from any battle with his Decepticon enemies! He’s the leader of the heroic Autobots and sworn defender of Earth, and it only takes 7 steps for him to change from mighty robot warrior mode to rumbling semi truck mode. Will any Decepticon be able to stand against him? There’s only one way to find out!

In March of 2015, some interesting listings popped up on the Official Transformers web site for "Cyber Battalion" figures. These appeared to be simplified figures that resembled upscaled Legends Class figures. However, these figures were not present at both Toy Fair 2015 and they were not part of Hasbro's presentation at Botcon 2015. Still, sightings of these figures in countries like Brazil were popping up here and there online. In July of 2015, Ben's World of Transformer sponsor Bigbadtoystore listed several of these figures (including their larger "Cyber Commander" counterparts) and they sold out fast and a week later the listings were gone from the web site.

A couple years later, three of these "Cyber Battalion" figures were repurposed by Hasbro as Universal Studios Exclusive figures. Unfortunately as of this writing (April 2017) the figures are not available via their online shop. The only way to get them is to go to the park itself and pick them up in person. Fortunately I recently visited Universal Studios so I was able to snag this figure!

Packaging:
Unlike most Transformers packaging on the market nowadays, this figure comes in a rectangular box that has no window, so you can't see the toy inside. instead the front has photography of the toy in both modes with a white and grey grid behind it and a Autobot symbol in grey. Cut in a triangular panel is artwork featuring Starscream. To the right is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. The back of the packaging features the figure and instructions along with a brief bio blurb in four languages (including English and Spanish). Towards the bottom is safety information.

Open the flap on the side and you pull out a cardboard tray with the figure attached by plastic ties. This explains why there's no window box. Basically money was saved by not having to print a fancy background for the tray. It's just plain cardboard. My guess is given the simple nature of the figure, the designers figured most folks getting this would ditch the packaging anyhow. What I like about the packaging is that it is reusable and easily fit onto a bookshelf. There's even character art on the side with the character's name so you can line them up!

Robot Mode:
Before getting into my review, it is important to note that this figure is not simply a resized/upscaled version of the Legends Class Optimus Prime figure. The two share a lot in common (especially parts of the transformation scheme) but there are a ton of differences between the two. Here are a couple for your reference:

  • This figure's chest does not open up to reveal tech details underneath the windshield panels.
  • The grille section on this figure's mid-body looks more like the traditional G1 Optimus Prime design whereas the Legends figure looks a bit more futuristic.
  • The wind vane pieces on the shoulder armor are part of the shoulders instead of being separate pieces that swing up.
  • The top of the forearms have the traditional arrow with two rectangles behind it seen on other Optimus Prime figures whereas the Legends Class does not.
  • The headlights from the vehicle mode wrap around the top of the hands whereas they do not do so on the Legends Class figure.
  • The row of lights from the top of the vehicle mode are a part of the top section on the chest. On the Legends figure they flank the head.
  • The head design is different, with this version featuring a more classic G1 design while the Legends Class figure favors a more modern IDW Publishing style interpretation.
  • The sides of the thighs have containers sculpted onto them. The Legends Class figure does not have these.

Now don't get me wrong. Clearly when this figure was designed, someone was thinking of the Legends Class figure. They do share some similarities in design. This includes having the angled wind vane halves form parts of the shoulders as well as the design of the legs. Each lower leg section features a circle at the knees and then overlapping panels that lead to the feet. These are very similar to the designs found on the Legends Class figure, so the two figures do share some features.

This figure is cast in metallic red, metallic blue, silver and black plastic. The Red makes up most of the upper body, the blue is used on the head and lower body. The silver is mostly found on the torso/waist section. His wheels are very obvious in robot mode and are made up of black plastic. For a "simplified" figure, he has quite a bit of deco. Silver is used on his crest, mouthplate and lower legs. Light blue is used on his eyes and chest windows. Both shoulders have a white Autobot symbol on them and shockingly, the wheels all have silver paint on the sides (a practice that is rare nowadays, but used to be common). Overall he looks really good for a figure aimed at a younger market. Sure there are a couple deco points that could have been filled in (such as painting the fists blue and adding some yellow here and there) but overall I am pleased with how the figure looks.

There are fourteen points of articulation on this figure. Indeed, for the most part his articulation is just as good as a typical modern day Legends or Warrior Class figure. Unfortunately one of the characteristics of the "Cyber Battalion" toys is a lack of knee articulation. This restricts the poses you can achieve with the figure, even though his hip joint can move forward and back or out to the sides. The fists have 5mm ports in them so Optimus can hold weapons from other figures. Sadly he does not have a weapon of his own.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Push the legs together.
  2. Push the robot head down into the chest.
  3. Swing the upper body down.
  4. rotate the top half around.
  5. Swing the arms back, then swing the forearms forward. Use the clips on the grille section to connect to the grooves on the forearm sections.
  6. Swing the legs (and the middle hinged section) up. Connect the clips at the back of the forearm panels to the corresponding grooves on the thighs. This keeps the vehicle halves locked together.

Vehicle Mode:
Like the robot mode there are definite similarities between this figure and the Legends Class Optimus Prime, however there are also some big design differences. In many ways this figure is a blend of the more modern IDW Publishing interpretation of the character and the G1 version. Like the Legends Class figure there is a wind vane on top, a row of lights on top of the cab and the robot feet show pretty clearly in the back. However the front end angles more towards the center than the Legends Class. It also has round headlights instead of the horizontal rectangles on the Legends Class figure. This figure also lacks the 5mm port found on the top of the Legends Class figure. Instead the place where the head was has a panel with a vent on top of it. Of the two aesthetics I actually prefer this one. I think between the angles and varying shapes on the truck it is more visually interesting.

The same plastic colors used for the robot mode appear here. Red and silver make up the front while blue makes up the middle to back section. Since the windshield windows from the robot mode are the windows here they are painted light blue. The headlights are painted yellow. As mentioned earlier, the sides of the wheels are (surprisingly) painted silver. The Autobot symbols from the robot shoulders also appear here on the sides of the vehicle. This is a good amount of paint given that this was meant to be a simplified figure for a younger market. There are some details I wish were painted including the side windows and lights sculpted into the front of the wind vane, but overall I think this vehicle looks bright and colorful.

The only real functionality in this mode is rolling the truck around on its wheels. Keep in mind this figure came with no weapons so there was no need to give him ports in this mode to attach any to begin with.

Final Thoughts:
The hard-to-find nature of this figure really skews my thoughts on it. Had this been released at mass retail and sold at its original MSRP of $14.99 I would have recommended it for younger fans who are transitioning out of the "Rescue Bots" phase and towards the "Robots in Disguise" level of play. However whether you buy this at Universal Studios or have someone outside the United States pick one up for you it is going to run you at least $20-30 (possibly before shipping). At that price this figure basically becomes a curiosity more for hardcore collectors. The exception is of course if you are at Universal Studios on vacation or something and you do not mind shelling out extra to buy the figure for a younger fan. I like this figure, but not enough to tell everyone to run out and spend $20-30 on it.

Pros:

  • Nice sculpt in both modes.
  • Not simply an upscaled Legends Optimus Prime.
  • Good deco.

Cons:

  • Lack of knee articulation.
  • No accessories.
  • Difficult to obtain at a non-premium price.