"Movie (2007)" Nightwatch Optimus Prime Toy Review
Release Date: 2007
Price Point: $50 (Depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys 'R' Us, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Missile, Missile launcher
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
OPTIMUS PRIME® prefers a straight forward battle, in which opponents can look one another in the eye and know that what they do is for real and forever, as adversaries should. When fighting an enemy as deceptive as MEGATRON® however, he knows that more subtle tactics are often called for. His stealth mode is designed exactly for such situations. The darker colors are sensor transparent, letting him slip in unseen, often even directly under the eyes of DECEPTICON® guards. New servos in his joints move him silently across the ground, and sophisticated hand-to-hand programs let him take out enemy troops without a single pulse from his Ion Blaster. Get ready to rule the universe with this awesome OPTIMUS PRIME figure that features Advanced AUTOMORPH Technology! This TRANSFORMERS technology is designed to enhance vehicle-to-robot conversion with partially animated mechanical triggers that activate the final shift to battle mode. See armor slide to protect vital points! Flip down the Ion Blaster in robot mode to launch the projectile! And press the button in vehicle mode for electronic horn sounds and lights! This is one impressive figure for your collection.
Back in 2007 the world was introduced to the first live action Transformers film. The movie was a hit, and with it came a toy line that also sold very well. Among the figures released in this line was a Leader Class Optimus Prime featuring lights, sounds and a new aesthetic. Of course, with such an expensive figure Hasbro had to maximize the return on their investment, so "Nightwatch Optimus Prime" was born. This was a redeco of the previous Leader Class figure. Last year, this base sculpt was given a new deco and released as "Tribute" Optimus Prime. I went into the figure in depth with that review, so some of that text has been carried over into this review.
Unlike a lot of modern day Transformers packaging which usually takes some type of rectangular shape, the Leader Class figures of the time were packaged in an interesting box that curved on one side and then angled on the other. The front has a huge window allowing you to see the figure in robot mode. While most figures of the time were packaged in vehicle mode, this one was packaged in robot mode. The lower right hand corner featured artwork of Optimus Prime's head (full body artwork was not used for this line). Along the upper half of the box was the "Allspark Power" logo, which was a theme for the latter part of the 2007 movie toy line. The cardboard insert behind the figure had a black background with "lightning bolts" coming out of it (really meant to be the Allspark energy as seen in the film). The window in front had an opening to try Optimus Prime's light up and sound feature.
This Optimus Prime figure gives fans a look into another era of Transformers figures. Back then, Leader Class figures were heavy and often featured electronics. They were also larger than modern day Leader Class figures. When I did a "weigh in" comparison, this figure weighs about 1 pound, 7 ounces while Leader Class Overlord from "Titans Return" weighs a little over 10 ounces. I bet quite a bit of weight would be lost with this Optimus if you took out the electronics, but it is still an interesting contrast to see ten years later.
We have had a decade and dozens of figures released representing Optimus Prime in his live action movie form. It is important to keep in mind that this was one of the first attempts Hasbro made at a Leader Class version of the character from the movies, and if there is one thing the figure is guilty of, it is being rather chunky and bulky. While his on-screen counterpart was rather thin and streamlined in appearance, the trend at the time was to create bulky Leader Class figures who had a satisfying chunkiness that contributed to being "worth" the (then) $50 USD price point (which is around $61 USD in December 2017 dollars). What this means is that this figure does not really recreate the appearance of the on-screen CG model as well as future figures would, but for the time it was great. Between some of the sculpted details and the Automorph feature, it really did have the "feel" of the movie designs even if it did not achieve it fully in the figure's design.
Now, all that is not to say that this figure does not have any details from the CG model used in the film. The head sculpt is clearly based on the Optimus from the 2007 movie, complete with horizontal "vent" lines on the sides of the helmet. His shoulders have cylinders on top and there are vertical panels on top of his shoulders. Windows are found on his chest, but they are split in the middle, showing an inner layer of mechanical detail. His knee armor comes up over the thighs a bit and his feet have two distinct "toes" in front. Ten years later, I still really love the look of this figure.
Instead of the traditional red, blue and silver Optimus Prime colors, this figure opts for metallic teal, silver and translucent purple parts. The teal and the silver mostly alternate. For instance the shoulders and elbows are silver while the forearms are teal. The translucent purple parts are used for smaller parts such as his chest panels and the missile that you can fire from his cannon. Many of the paint applications on the figure are light blue. This is meant to reflect the light blue "Allspark energy". Some silver detaisl are used on the face and the legs for a flame pattern (a detail that carries over from the original). Interestingly some gold details are found on his shoulders and thighs. It is not a color I would have expected in concert with teal and silver but it does manage to look good. While this deco doesn't scream "Optimus Prime" it is a neat color combination that is very distinctive and different from the original version of the figure.
One of Optimus' action features involves the missile launcher attached to his arm. In an attempt to simulate the way his blaster kind of "morphs" out of his arm in the film, this weapon swings over his right fist, making the forearm look like it has "transformed" into the weapon. The launcher has a clear purple missile inside that fires when you press the button on top. A really fun additional feature involves weapon barrels on the lower part of the forearm. When you swing the missile launcher forward, these two barrels slide out as part of the "Automorph" feature on this figure (more on that below). I really like this feature a lot and wish that modern Transformers figures had more like it.
The other action feature on this figure is also related to the "Automorph" feature. There is a stylized tab in the middle of the chest. Push it down and it moves up automatically. While it does so, the robot head moves up as if the figure is finishing its transformation into robot mode. When the head moves all the way up, the eyes and chest light up with orange lights and a sound plays ending in the sound of laser fire. This is a really fun feature that plays into the "Automorph" gimmick of the time. Like the missile launcher's "Automorph" feature, I wish more toys nowadays had gimmicks like this.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
This Optimus Prime figure features what is known as the "Automorph" feature that was featured on many of the 2007 movie figures. "Automorph" refered to a design feature where as you move one piece, another piece moves at the same time - mostly to facilitate transformation. On Optimus this is seen on two parts. Using the tab on his chest, you push it down and his head moves down while his chest panels move together. When transforming him into robot mode you press the tab on his lower body and this part slides up as the chest panels slide to the sides. This is accompanied by a sound and orange lights on his chest and eyes flashing. The other Automorph feature is found on the feet. When you turn the fender piece to the sides, his "claw feet" fold back. Not only is this feature nice to see in action, but it is a nice play on the visuals seen in the film where several parts on the character moved at one time during transformation.
- Fold all the fingers on the hands closed and swing the thumb down.
- Swing the weapon back if deployed.
- Push the tab on his chest down and lock it into place.
- Swing down the silver panels on his shoulders.
- Swivel the teal panels on his upper arms over the top of the shoulders.
- Swing down the panels on the undersides of his lower arms.
- Swing open the silver panels and fold the fists in before putting the panels back in place.
- Swing the forearms up and connect them to the shoulder panels and upper arms.
- Swing the rear truck wheel section on the back down.
- Swing the waist section back, keeping the robot legs pointing down.
- On the back, swing the teal panels out and then swing the tube sections forward.
- Swing the arm sections back and connect them together.
- Swing up the rear wheel sections and connect them to the arm sections.
- Swing the fenders on the underside of the feet to the sides, then slide them into place to lock them.
- Connect the two legs together.
- Fold out the knee armor panels.
- Swing the knee armor panels forward.
- Swing the legs up and straighten out the panels to form the hood of the truck.
- Swing the panels on the sides (with the vertical tanks on them) forward.
From the 2007 "Transformers" movie to "Dark of the Moon", Optimus Prime transformed into a customized Peterbilt longnose truck. Say what you will about the movies or the choice of vehicle, but this figure is a gorgeous representation of the Peterbilt truck. The truck has a lot of the key features of the Optimus Prime Peterbilt vehicle including:
- Like the real life vehicle this one has a long nose in front leading to a boxy middle section and a flat rear section.
- The headlights are two circles set horizontally inside an oval.
- A distinct front grille complete with a small Autobot symbol on top.
- Cylinders mounted horizontally on the sides.
- Vertical cylinders near the doors.
- Steps that lead up to the doors.
There are lots of small details including raised "bolts" on the front panels, the distinct ridges on the wheels and rims and the thin lines along the smokestacks. Overall the detail on this vehicle mode is super cool and looks great.
Like the robot mode, a dark metallic teal plastic makes up most of this mode with plenty of silver parts to back it up. The headlights and windshield are both translucent purple plastic. The tires are all rubber, a great throwback to the G1 era. For safety reasons, the smokestacks are flexible silver rubber. The main paint details in this form are found towards the front of the vehicle. The hood has a beautiful spray pattern in black with silver flames overlapping the black paint. All four wheel wells also have silver and black on them. The mirrors on the side are painted black, and a bit of red is used on the Autobot symbol above the grille. Overall this deco is consistent with the robot mode and looks great. It isn't an iconic Optimus Prime deco, but it is definitely very different than its predecessor.
It is not just the robot mode that has electronics. On top of the cabin section there is a button on the right side. Press it and the windows light up orange and the truck gives off a loud "Honk honk!" noise which is very fun.
This figure really is a reminder that the Leader Class offered a very different kind of figure once upon a time. Heavy, chunky, electronics and action features come all in one package with this toy. This is a solid, chunky and fun figure that looks cool in both modes. Recommended if you can get it at a discount. I appreciate that the designers went for a very different deco than the original figure while incorporating some of the "Allspark energy" theme into the deco. The only issue is getting one now will cost you about $100 USD on the aftermarket, and frankly it isn't worth that. If you really want this sculpt I recommend going for the Tribute version which is about $68 USD at the time I am writing this review.
- Heavy and substantial weight and design.
- Fun action features.
- Fun lights and sounds.
- Beautiful vehicle mode sculpt.
- Deco is distinct and not just a slight variation on the original.
- While there are many points of articulation, the weight of the figure makes it difficult to pose.
- The sculpt is based on, but not a great representation of the Movie CG model.
- After market price on this figure is quite high.