"Generations" War for Cybertron: Earthrise Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2020, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Generations, Leader, War for Cybertron: Earthrise

Generations

War for Cybertron: Earthrise

General Information:
Release Date: February 2020
Price Point: $49.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Ion Rifle, Trailer (includes shield and repair drone)

Optimus Prime

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com and Hasbro Pulse:
This ecosystem of collectible figures allows fans to build out epic space battle scenes! This Optimus Prime toy can convert into a Modular Battle Station mode and connect to other Stations to expand the battlefield. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).

The noble Autobot Leader, Optimus Prime, converts into classic G1 truck mode in 35 steps and comes with Ion Blaster, Matrix of Leadership and trailer. Includes Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Earthrise Leader Optimus Prime figure, 3 accessories, and instructions.

  • The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark
  • Earthrise figures allow fans to build out epic space battle scenes, featuring figures that can convert into Modular Battle Station modes and connect together to expand the battlefield (each sold separately, subject to availability)
  • Optimus Prime toy can convert into a Modular Battle Station mode
  • Optimus Prime figure converts into classic G1 truck mode in 35 steps and comes with Ion Blaster, Matrix of Leadership and trailer
  • Every pack includes a piece of the Transformers Universe map and a red decoder to unlock the map's hidden paths! Collect other Earthrise figures to piece together the full map! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)
  • Figure scale: 7 inches
  • Ages 8 and up

Earthrise Optimus Prime represents the Autobot Leader in his updated form as he arrives on Earth in the 1980's. You could be forgiven for thinking that this figure is just a retool of Siege Optimus Prime, but this figure is in fact a new figure that only borrows a few parts from its predecessor.

Packaging:
Earthrise packaging is the same basic shape as Siege boxes. They feature one flat side and one angled side with a window in the middle. Optimus is packaged in robot mode with his trailer opened up into base mode behind him. Like the Siege boxes the boxes feature a red Transformers logo set vertically to one side with the Generations logo above it. Under the window is the Earthrise logo with the War for Cybertron Trilogy logo beneath it. Off to the left is the name "Optimus Prime" with his rank symbol above it. The other side of the box features the character's artwork. Optimus' artwork shows him holding his rifle surveying the battlefield.

The back of the box shows Optimus Prime in both modes: vehicle and robot. He is also shown using his trailer as a repair bay set horizontally and vertically. The box also shows him with his chest open and the Matrix coming out of it. The transformation is listed as having 35 steps. Earthrise inserts feature a piece of a Cybertronian map. A translucent red plastic strip is included to "decode" the planet on the map. In Optimus' case his insert has the world of "Micron" on it.

Accessories:
Unlike Siege Optimus Prime, Earthrise Optimus Prime is sold as a Leader Class package. Optimus himself is a Voyager Class figure, but he also includes several accessories that "add up" to the Leader Class size. Here's a rundown:

Ion Rifle
Based on G1 Optimus Prime's rifle, this is not a simple reuse of Siege Optimus Prime's rifle. This is a whole new accessory. It features a wide barrel in front and the familiar vertical section in the back. Under the middle section is a "clip" set at a slight angle. This accessory is cast in silver plastic but mostly painted in a beautiful gunmetal grey color. Only the pegs are left unpainted (which is fine since you don't want paint wear).

The rifle features one 5mm peg on the bottom and one on the left side. Even cooler? The rifle folds in half so it can be stored on Optimus Prime's back! This is a feature "borrowed" from Masterpiece Optimus Prime and it is quite impressive to see it employed in a figure of this size class.

Trailer/Modular Battle Station
If there is one thing fans have wanted for years now, it is a proper trailer for Optimus Prime. Now they have one! Optimus Prime himself is a Voyager Class figure, but he includes a trailer which bumps the set up to a Leader Class price point. The trailer comes packaged in its base mode (aka the "Modular Battle Station" Mode). Like G1 Optimus Prime the trailer forms a boxy base with the sides of the trailer forming sections on the sides with "walls" on the edges. The trailer's ramp forms a ramp towards the front. Towards the back of the base is the repair module featuring a curved section that looks like it has a cockpit. Unlike G1 Optimus Prime, there are no stickers to provide details in this form. Instead, the designers sculpted a ton of details into the floor and ramp. The detail level in this base is awesome. Even the arm that the repair drone sits on has faux pistons sculpted into it.

The trailer is made up of plastic in two shades of silver. The ramp and the sides are silver and the middle section is made up of a darker silver. The repair drone is silver with two dark silver claw arms. This is a nice start, but unfortunately there are no paint applications in this form. On one hand there is so much sculpted detail I almost don't miss it. On the other just having silver and well, darker silver as the colors looks rather plain. At the very least I would have liked some blue on the repair drone.

The trailer itself has some interesting features. First, on the part of the central ramp closest to the repair drone, there is a 5mm peg and a slot that looks like it might be intended for a Roller figure in the future (maybe a Weaponizer? That would be neat!). Then running along the sides of the base on either side are four 5mm ports to store accessories. Unfortunately the ports are really close to the edges of the base mode, so this limits the types of weapons you can attach.

The repair drone is attached to an arm by a hinge, and the arm connects to a base piece that in turn is connected to the trailer by two pegs. Why? Because you can detach this piece for Optimus (or any other figure with 5mm ports) to use as an accessory! Under the base is a 5mm port that allows you to attach it to Optimus. I find it works best on his back or arms. It would also look pretty snazzy on Ironworks as an alternative to his crane arm in base mode. Finally, you can use the end of the ramp to connect to another Earthrise base (or Siege Omega Supreme). For added play value, you can detach the middle section of the ramp for other figures to use as a shield! I love how the designers worked in extra functionality into the trailer instead of just having it serve as a base.

To transform the base into a trailer, just push down the repair drone, swing up the front ramp and then the sides. Finally, swing up the support legs on the bottom. The trailer design is very G1. It's a big rectangle with horizontal lines running along the sides. Towards the front is a circle on each side. Running along the middle and then an upwards angle towards the back is Prime's distinctive design borrowed from the sticker on the G1 toy. The only complaint some fans have expressed is how high the wheels are, but this is a necessity given the size of Optimus' robot legs which form part of the cab.

Unlike the base mode, this form does have some paint applications. Light blue lines go across the sides and there is a red Autobot symbol towards the front. The sides of the wheels are also painted silver. Personally I would have preferred some type of metallic blue along the sides to look more like the G1 sticker, but the light blue will do.

Robot Mode:
The first time I saw Earthrise Optimus Prime (or rather the early factory sample) New York Comic-Con 2019 I would have sworn it was a simple retool of Siege Optimus Prime, eliminating the back pack and maybe adjusting the chest. However, now that I have it in hand I can tell "retool" would not be an accurate description. The two figures do share a couple parts, most notably the front panel on each leg and the foot pieces. However, there are a lot of notable differences at the same time. Here's a rundown of some of them:

  • The chest design is different. While Siege Optimus' chest factors into the transformation by having parts tuck into it, Earthrise Optimus' chest is made up of differently shaped parts and it mostly just folds away in vehicle mode. Also, the windows on Earthrise Optimus are rectangular while Siege Optimus has angles towards the middle. Finally, Earthrise Optimus has windshield wipers while Siege does not.
  • There is no "back pack" on Earthrise Optimus. Instead, he has a smaller back pack piece that only goes down to the middle of the back.
  • The arms are completely different. For example, the shoulder pieces on Siege Optimus are square shaped while the ones on Earthrise Optimus are rectangular, and both feature different line details than the other.
  • The smokestacks on Earthrise Optimus Prime are thinner and longer than those on Siege Optimus.
  • The forearms have completely different designs. Siege Optimus' forearms have several panels and parts that fold into the vehicle mode. Earthrise Optimus' forearms allow the fists to tuck in and then fold into the vehicle mode.
  • The fists on Siege Optimus were just single pieces sculpted as a closed fist. Earthrise Optimus' fists actually have a hinge allowing the fingers to swing out together as one piece.
  • While the waist sections on each figure look similar, the section on Earthrise Optimus is bulkier.

Between the way this figure transforms (more on that in a bit) and the different parts in the robot mode, this is a super heavy retool. The parts that this figure shares with its predecessor are the legs, but even they are assembled a bit differently. As far as I'm concerned, this is practically a brand new figure.

Earthrise Optimus uses similar colors to Siege Optimus including red, grey and blue. However the red is a bit lighter on this figure while the blue is darker. The paint colors on this figure include silver, metallic blue, light blue, yellow and gunmetal grey. The original production sample of this figure displayed at Hasbro's 2019 NYCC event featured grey hands with yellow eyes. However the final product has metallic blue eyes and metallic blue painted hands. On the one hand, I'm glad the hands are painted, however, the blue paint on the eyes are set against blue plastic with no silver border around them, so it looks almost unpainted from certain angles. I would have preferred they kept the yellow eyes for the contrast (and I like the G1 toy callback). For fans who were not fond of the "battle damage" paint on the Siege figures, fear not! This figure is a more traditional "clean" deco without "scrapes" or "blast damage".

Optimus Prime has twenty eight points of articulation in this form, which is kind of insane for a Generations figure. This includes seven points in the arms (including the ability for the shoulders to swing back) and six on each leg. As mentioned above, each hand has articulation allowing one panel to swing out into an open hand gesture. Despite this, the curved section that allows him to hold the rifle works perfectly so the weapon does not flop around at all. There are nine 5mm ports on this figure. Each arm has three (including the fists) and each leg has one. He also has one 5mm port on the back that can be used for weapon storage or to attack Weaponizer weapons. There are also four 3mm pegs to attach Blast Effects, two on the shoulders and two on the legs.

It feels like the designers of this figure were aiming for a middle ground between traditional Generations style figures and Masterpiece figures. It's not just Optimus' aesthetics, but some of his functionality as well. You can detach the repair drone from the trailer/base and attach it to his back as a weapons pack or as a rocket pack! You can even attach Blast Effects to the ports in the back pack to simulate exhaust coming out of the thrusters. Similar to Masterpiece Optimus Prime, the rifle can fold in half and be stored on his back. If you want to go "Diaclone style" with this set, you can have Optimus standing in or lying down on the base mode. Even more fun? You can detach the middle section of the trailer's door to form a shield for Optimus!

One more awesome feature is a Matrix chamber inside the chest! Swing each half of his chest to the sides and inside you will see a Matrix of Leadership attached to a chamber. The Matrix is removable and he can hold it using both hands! Even better? The Matrix has a port to attach a Blast Effect so you can make it look like he is releasing the power of the Matrix! This is one of my favorite elements of this figure.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Transform the base into trailer mode as described above.
  2. Detach any accessories and set them aside.
  3. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  4. Swing the inner panels on each forearm out, then swing the hands in and swing the panels back.
  5. Push both halves of each foot together.
  6. On the back swing the wheels out to the sides, then swing down the front bumper of the truck mode.
  7. Swing the arms out to the sides to keep them out of the way.
  8. Swing the back halves of the mid-body sections back.
  9. Swing the legs back.
  10. Swing the middle panel on the back out.
  11. Swing the head back, then swing the back panel back into place.
  12. Rotate the upper body around.
  13. Swing the chest back.
  14. Swing the panel with the grille and headlights on it out.
  15. On the back of the grille panel and the chest panel swing out the side panels to help form the vehicle mode.
  16. Swing the windshield and grille panels down, connecting them to the front bumper panel.
  17. Bend each arm at the elbow, then swing the shoulders back, then swing the forearms forward.
  18. Swing all the panels that are sticking out to the sides inward to complete the sides of the cab.
  19. On the robot thighs, swing out the cylinder shaped pieces.
  20. Fold up the Ion Rifle then attach it to the port on Optimus' back.
  21. The trailer can attach to the hitch on the back of the cab.

Vehicle Mode:
When Siege Optimus Prime was released, many fans agreed it was a great Optimus Prime toy, but the vehicle mode bothered a lot of folks who felt that the efforts to make it look "Cybertronian" detracted from its aesthetic appeal. I personally thought it looked great, but I can see why some fans were disappointed, because this is the vehicle mode they were hoping for! The cab section of this mode features a much more Earth-like truck design borrowing inspiration from previous incarnations of the character. Unlike Siege Optimus, he does not have a big set of lights on the top of the cab. Instead he has the expected rows of lights, windows with windshield wipers, a grille in the center and a flat bumper panel in front (which has some nice sculpted detail on it). I absolutely love the smaller details in this mode including his side view mirrors and raised circles that look like bolts, a direct callback to G1 Optimus Prime.

If there is one aesthetic weakness with this mode it would be with the trailer. While the sides of the trailer have a classic G1 Optimus Prime styling (including a circular design, a series of rectangles and a large, angled line running down the middle) the way the rear wheels are set so high looks rather odd. Now, I totally get it, the height had to match the height established by Optimus Prime's legs which form the back of the cab section. However it winds up looking somewhat awkward in the process.

One area where this mode does not have any issue is the deco! The cab section has the traditional red in front, silver in the middle and blue in the back. Silver paint is used for a lot of detailing including the border around the windshield windows, the border around the headlights and the traditional stripe that runs across the middle of the front of the cab section. Even the wheels are painted on the sides and it looks fantastic! Metallic blue is used for the windows and the headlights, adding a beautiful splash of color. From a deco perspective, this mode is beautiful.

Optimus has a 5mm port on either side of the cab mode to attach additional weapons. In an extra fun feature that also calls back to G1 Optimus Prime, the repair drone can swing out of the trailer and act as a weapons platform (or maybe he's repairing Optimus on the go?). Swing out the trailer door at the back and you can use the trailer to store other figures. Now, most Deluxe Class vehicles will not fit in the trailer, they are simply too wide. I tried this with Mirage and there was no way to do it even at an angle. However, Cliffjumper, who is technically a Deluxe Class figure can fit in the trailer without a problem. Of course, that means any figures smaller than Cliffjumper will also fit in including Micromasters and Legends Class figures.

Final Thoughts:
I like to call this Optimus Prime a "mini-Masterpiece". It really feels like the designers took learnings from making both Generations and Masterpiece Optimus Prime figures over the years and worked them all into one package. The figure is not perfect of course (few figures are) but it is fantastic and highly recommended.

Pros:

  • Beautiful sculpt all around.
  • The deco on the cab is awesome.
  • Excellent play value (including the trailer's features and Matrix).
  • Above average articulation.
  • Intuitive and fun transformation.

Cons:

  • The trailer's rear wheels are set a bit too high out of necessity, but it affects the aesthetics.
  • The side panels of the base mode need supports underneath (like G1 Optimus had).
  • I would have preferred the original yellow eyes on the head instead of blue.
  • Some fans will be let down that (most) Deluxe Class vehicles won't fit in the trailer.
  • The ports in the base mode need to be further away from the walls to properly accomodate wide range of weapons.