"Generations" Power of the Primes Evolution Optimus Prime Toy Review
Release Date: December 2017
Price Point: $45.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rifle halves x 2, Matrix handles, Matrix
Official images above are from Hasbro. The official text below in italics are from BigBadToyStore:
The Autobots and Decepticons use Prime Masters to wield the incredible powers of the most legendary bots in the universe: the Primes. Prime Masters carry the spark of a Prime, allowing them to share a Prime's godlike ability with other bots. Anything is possible and everything is at stake when the Power of the Primes is unleashed!
With the Matrix of Leadership, Orion Pax becomes leader of the Autobots: Optimus Prime. Transformers Generations Power of the Primes Leader Class figures are 9-inch-scale figures that come with a Matrix accessory and converting Evolution Armor. Use the Evolution Armor to evolve this figure from Orion Pax to Optimus Prime.
- 9 inch (22.86cm) scale
- Made of plastic
- Figure evolves from Orion Pax to Optimus Prime
- Works with Prime Master figures
- Converts from robot to tractor-trailer in 33 steps
- Optimus Prime figure
- Matrix of Leadership
- Collector Card
The trilogy that began with "Combiner Wars" concludes with "Power of the Primes". This line focuses on the original 13 Primes themselves returning. However, instead of gigantic beings storming the battlefield, the Primes have distilled their essence into Sparks that can be used by Transformers to gain all new powers. Depending on which Spark the Transformer takes on, they are powered up in different ways.
With the Leader Class figures, Hasbro and Takara Tomy saw the opportunity to do something a little different with this size class. Instead of being Combiners or Pretender/Targetmaster hybrids, this size class has been labeled as "Evolution" figures representing characters in their pre-leadership forms and then their final forms. This set features Optimus Prime both in his original "Orion Pax" form and then his final form as a G1-based Optimus Prime!
Optimus Prime is packaged in a large cardboard window box. Similar to last year's Leader Class figures, each has a black background with red borders. On the right side is the vertical "Transformers" logo with the "Generations" logo above it. In the window you can see Optimus Prime with his accessories. Below that is his artwork. The back of the packaging shows off the various forms of this figure and how the cab and trailer combine to form Optimus Prime. His cosell is Micronus. Each "Power of the Primes" figure comes with a collector card that tells you what effect a specific Prime's powers will have on this character. In my case I received a card for Liege Maximo who gives Optimus the power of "prescient strategic vision".
Optimus Prime includes three accessories. The first is his blaster. Based on the weapon wielded by G1 Optimus Prime, this rifle features a five sided shape in the back angling upward and a long barrel that includes a lot of sculpted detail. This weapon is cast in black plastic with no paint applications. The rear section of the rifle has two 5mm ports on either side, allowing you to attach additional weapons to it. There are two 5mm pegs on the bottom of the blaster. Why two? Well, to give Orion Pax weaponry as well, this weapon can be split in two! Pull on the front and back halves and they come apart, forming two weapons that either Optimus or Orion can hold in their hands.
The other two accessories are meant to be one object: The Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Using the animated version of this relic as the foundation for its design, there is an oval shaped handle section with notches along the sides. The middle section is a round casing with a crystal inside. This piece is the same size and rough shape as the Sparks formed by the Prime Masters (as well as the "Enigma" accessories included with the Voyager Class figures). This accessory is split into two pieces to allow you to attach other Prime Master Sparks or Enigmas into the handle. This works very well and it is a fun idea, adding a different dimension to the whole "Powered up by the Matrix" theme that has been part of Transformers history for 30 years now.
The handle piece is cast in silver plastic. The center piece is translucent blue plastic and shaped in such a way that it looks like a crystal. The outer "casing" is painted orange, calling back to the look of the Matrix from "Transformers: The Movie". The Matrix looks fantastic.
Last year Optimus Prime took on two different forms inspired by "upgraded" versions of Optimus Prime such as Powermaster Optimus Prime and previous to that he was reimagined as a Combiner torso. This time out however, Optimus' form is purely based on his G1 appearance. Indeed, there is a lot of agreement among fans that a lot of the design of this figure is actually based on the MP-10 Optimus Prime's design, which is considered by many fans as the most "pure" version of Optimus Prime in action figure form. This is a great place to start as MP-10 did a great job of combining toy-based and cartoon-based design elements from G1 and combining them into a cohesive figure. Here is a rundown of some of those design elements:
- The head sculpt looks like it came right out of the G1 cartoon. It features a crest in the middle, a round helmet section, antennae on the sides sticking up and of course a mouthplate.
- The top of the chest has lights from the vehicle mode pointing forward.
- The arms each have smokestacks on the shoulders (though here they are on the back instead of the sides).
- The chest features windows from the vehicle mode and small raised, circular details around them representing bolts, a feature from the G1 action figure.
- The forearms each feature two rectangular lines with a triangle in front.
- The middle of the torso has a faux vehicle mode grille on it.
- The waist/hip area features a series of details including a rectangle in the middle and angled shapes on either side.
- The thighs feature raised shapes on them also found on the G1 animation model.
- The lower legs have a series of angled panels overlapping. This is a callback to a series of horizontal lines on the original toy and animation model.
- The panels on the sides of the lower legs have storage tanks sculpted into them.
- The front of each foot has a thin series of horizontal lines on it, based on a sticker found on G1 Optimus Prime's action figure.
Not only does this figure have a lot of MP-10's design elements, it is about the same size standing at 9 inches (about 22.86 centimeters) tall. MP-10 Optimus Prime is about a half inch taller but side by side they look almost the same size in height and width. This gives him a nice size despite being a fairly "simple" version of the character without tons of extra armor or gimmicks bulking him up.
While everything I mention above is great, the figure is not perfect. To accommodate the transformation pattern of the figure, there are some design compromises that had to be made. On the back of the figure you'll see Orion Pax's legs folded up. The wind up looking like some type of back pack, but definitely not Optimus Prime's traditional "back pack". The the forearms have panels from the trailer folded up on the sides and bottom. Then the sides and back of the lower legs are also formed by silver panels from the trailer. For the most part, these parts do not really bother me that much. They do wind up breaking the continuity of the red plastic on the arms and blue plastic on the legs, so if that shatters the illusion of the robot mode too much for you, be warned. The good thing is you can see this right in package so you will be able to see for yourself before you buy.
It may not look like it at first, but a majority of this figure is cast in silver plastic. Other parts are cast in blue and translucent blue. Much of the red on the top half of the figure is actually painted silver plastic. You can see a bit of red plastic at the elbows and the shade of red is slightly different. Blue is found on the head and lower legs while the chest windows are translucent blue. Silver paint is used on both the head and the lower legs for detailing. Yellow paint is used on the waist/hip area. The rest of the details on this figure are actually stickers inspired by G1 Optimus Prime. These include:
- Each shoulder has an Autobot symbol on it with a silver foil back. Unfortunately they are not cut well, so the borders are thicker on one side than the other.
- Each forearm has a sticker with two blue pill shaped designs on it, borrowed from the G1 Optimus Prime figure.
- The knees have stickers on them with various shapes including triangles, circles and rectangles. This is based on the stickers from the knees on the G1 Optimus Prime figure.
- The front of each foot has a tiny sticker on it with a vertical rectangle and two smaller rectangles stacked. This is based on a similar sticker from the G1 Optimus Prime figure.
Overall the deco is good and I appreciate the stickers that pay homage to G1 Optimus Prime. I do wish more care was taken to the way the Autobot symbols on the shoulders were cut. The other issue I have are the fists, which are silver and unpainted. It would have been cool to have them painted blue. This would make him more G1 accurate and break up the silver on the arms.
There are twenty one points of articulation on this figure. That includes four in each arm and six on each leg. Sadly, he lacks both waist and wrist articulation, which would add a lot of posing possibilities. Each fist has 5mm ports, allowing him to hold his weapon(s). If you want to attach additional weapons you can use the 5mm ports on the sides of the forearms. The Matrix accessory comes into play when you open up the chest panels. Now, technically there are two sets of panels. The top ones are basically "false" panels revealing an extra set of panels underneath. Open those and the Matrix sits inside. You can pull it out by holding on to the center section. You can easily attach an Enigma or a Prime Master in Spark Mode and place it back into the chest.
Overall Optimus Prime has a fun robot mode that looks great and is fun to play with. It is not perfect (for the reasons outlined above) but I do like it more than I originally expected to.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapon(s) and set them aside for now.
- On the back there is a blue tab. Push it down and pull out the "back pack" to remove the Orion Pax portion of the figure.
- Swing the blue legs on Orion Pax down, then rotate them outward so the wheels are on the left and right sides. Slide the tab on the right side into the corresponding slot on the left side at the end of the legs to keep them together.
- Swing the clear panel on the back down. Then swing Orion's head down.
- Swing Optimus Prime's head down.
- Swing each of Orion's arms back, covering Optimus Prime's head.
- Swing down each of the window panels in the front, revealing the front wheels and side windows.
- Swing the panels with the front wheels back to form the sides of the cab.
- Starting with the trailer, swing out the silver panels on each of the lower legs and unfold them all so the panel is flat.
- Push each foot up.
- Push the top of each smokestack down.
- Fold out the silver panels on the forearms, swinging each small panel out.
- Swing each arm up, rotate it around, then swing the arms forward on the shoulder hinge.
- Swing the silver panels on the lower legs up and fold the top halves together.
- Swing the small panels on the arms back to complete the trailer. The panels on the arms clip to the ones on the legs.
- On the front of the trailer, swing out the small blue peg. This allows you to connect the trailer to the cab.
- The rifle can be attached to the top of the trailer.
Update: Thanks to fellow fan Pascal Isabel it was pointed out to me that Orion Pax's arms are actually meant to swing down. There are slots on the wrists that connect to the tabs on the back of the chest panel. Check out the last two vehicle mode pictures below to see the cab transformed in this fashion and a close up of the tab and slot. I am sure this was the original intention, but somehow it did not translate into the official photos.
I normally try to remain positive when it comes to my reviews, but even I must admit that the vehicle mode is the weakest part of this figure. The main issue here is that the transformation is designed to facilitate the combination of the cab and trailer and of course remain at a certain price point. Due to those restrictions, the vehicle mode largely feels like it needed another pass in planning or simply a bit more budget (which in turn would have raised the price, so that was a non-starter). The biggest issue with this form are all the exposed robot bits. The back of the cab section clearly has Orion Pax's arms just sticking out. This is compounded by the way the trailer narrows suddenly in the back whereas this form is normally portrayed as being more uniformly boxy in shape. Then on top of the trailer, you can clearly see Optimus Prime's arms and the front is just an open gap. This really breaks the illusion of a truck and instead it looks like a truck with odd robot bits sticking out of it.
I do not want to make it seem that everything in this form is horrible. There are some nice details on the cab including plenty of sculpted details in the front such as windshield wipers, lights on top, side view mirrors and truck horns on top. The trailer has the classic G1 horizontal line pattern running down the sides and there is even a circle on either side of the trailer that is directly inspired by a detail on G1 Optimus Prime's trailer. The designers definitely made an effort with this, I just wish it had been taken a step or two further to cover up all the open bits.
The cab section is mostly red plastic with some black, silver and blue parts. Meanwhile the trailer is mostly silver plastic with some blue and black plastic showing on the rear "doors" and wheels respectively. The cab actually has a good amount of paint detailing. Silver is used on the front and sides. The headlights are painted yellow and the side windows are painted light blue. The trailer relies on stickers for the familiar blue and silver stripe detail running along the sides. Unfortunately the stickers can easily come off at the front edges when you fold the panels during transformation, so be very careful. Sadly, the rims on the wheels are not painted and they really could have used some silver or chrome to help the figure stand out.
The top of the trailer has two 5mm ports, allowing you to attach weapons to them. The same area also has four Titan/Prime Master pegs, allowing you to have some passengers riding on top.
Transformation to Orion Pax:
- Separate the cab from the trailer.
- Swing the panels with the front wheel wells up.
- Swing the side panels out, then forward.
- Swing the sections with the two rear wheels down, then separate them from one another to begin forming the legs.
- Swivel each lower leg so the wheels face the back.
- Swing each foot out.
- Swing the robot arms back, then rotat ethe lower part of the arms around.
- Swing the fists out of the forearms.
- Swing the torso panel up and swing the head down.
Orion Pax is a character that was introduced in the G1 cartoon as the Autobot who would eventually become Optimus Prime, but it took years for there to be an action figure made of him. In 2005 a redeco of G1 Kup was put out as an e-HOBBY exclusive representing Orion. Years later there would be a "Generations" version based on his IDW Publishing appearance and more recently a redeco of of "Titans Return" Kup released as an Amazon exclusive. This is the first time that a brand new sculpt has been created for the character.
Unlike its predecessors, this sculpt is largely based on the design from the G1 episode "War Dawn" which showed us how Orion Pax was wounded in battle and changed into Optimus Prime. For those curious, the figure stands at about 6.5 inches (16.51 centimeters) making it larger than a Deluxe Class figure. The design of the character is very distinct, and this figure has many of the design elements from the animation figure including:
- The head sculpt features a round helmet section with a "U" shaped crest on top that has flat panels going over the top of the head. It also has thin rectangles on the parts of the helmet that flank the mouth area.
- The chest has a large "windshield" on it that narrows in the middle.
- Under the "windshield" on the chest are what appear to be headlights from the vehicle mode.
- The middle of the body has "abdominal muscles" sculpted as a rectangle with a cross inside.
- The shoulders are curved with circles sticking out on the sides.
- The forearms look like curved gauntlets.
- The panels over the waist/hip area have a beveled section in the middle.
- The lower legs look almost like tall boots, with a curved section at the knees with a notch on top. There are also circular details on the sides and trapezoid shapes on the feet.
It is absolutely amazing that fans now have a cartoon accurate Orion Pax figure at mass retail who is not a retool/redeco of some sort. He looks fantastic and I love how his aesthetic is so different than many other figures in the line right now. The only part which may put some folks off are the truck windows on the back of the figure, but most fans will likely wind up displaying this with the front facing forward so to me it is not much of an issue.
This figure is mostly red plastic with smaller parts cast in silver and blue. For the most part the colors match up very well with the animation model. However the parts that were white on the animation model are silver here (including the thighs and elbow joints). I don't mind this as the silver works nicely with the red and blue colors. The chest windshield is cast in translucent blue.
The paint colors on this figure are mostly inspired by the cartoon model. The "headlights" on the chest are yellow and silver is used on the face, "abs" and ankle area. Stickers are also used for detailing. The center of the chest has a small Autobot symbol sticker and the lower legs have stickers on them with a yellow background and red triangles at the bottom. These stickers did not appear on the animation model so they are an embelishment for this figure.
Orion Pax has seventeen points of articulation. This includes four on each arm and leg. The shoulders and hips are ball joints, giving him a good range of motion. His fists have 5mm ports in them, allowing him to hold the rifle included with the figure (either split up or as one weapon).
Evolution Optimus Prime with Orion Pax is a really fun figure. Yes, the vehicle mode is relatively weak but I love the Orion Pax figure and the way it combines with the trailer/armor is awesome. I also appreciate the use of design elements from the Masterpiece MP-10 figure and the use of the G1 animation model for Orion Pax is great. Is this figure perfect? No. However I do think it is worthy of being part of your collection.
- MP-10 design elements look great.
- Using the G1 Orion Pax animation model was a great idea.
- The "Evolution" gimmick is fun.
- Fun interaction with other Enigmas or Sparks.
- Stickers are not all cut well and some lift off easily during transformation.
- Lots of open gaps in vehicle mode.