Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Optimus Prime (2014) Toy Review

in 2014, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Beast Hunters, Prime, Voyager

Beast Hunters

Optimus Prime General Information:
Release Date: January 2014
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Missile launcher, Missile, Nexus Sword, Vector Shield

Images:

*Images with asterisks* and text below in italics from The Official Transformers web site:
The legendary leader of the Autobots changes from robot to truck and back in 11 steps. Optimus Prime uses a new vehicle mode to track Predaking. Optimus Prime battles with the ancient weapons of the Primes, the mightiest warriors from the planet Cybertron; blast a missile in vehicle or robot mode.

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class action figures are the ultimate warriors in the ancient conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons! These mighty soldiers from the planet Cybertron have come to Earth to continue their epic battle, with Optimus Prime and the heroic Autobots fighting to protect our world from the tyranny of Megatron and his Decepticons. And now the savage Predacons have joined the fray, blasting all before them with an inferno of dragon fire.

Ages 5 and up Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

As the "Generations" and "Age of Extinction" segments of the "Transformers" toy line roar into 2014, "Transformers Prime" has not been forgotten. An entire line of figures ranging from Legion to Voyager Class figures are due for early 2014. One of the first releases reflects part of a new philosophy in the toy line I addressed in my recent article "Simplified Transformers & Chicken Little": simplified transformations. The idea is to still have a fun transformation pattern, but not one so complicated that it is frustrating. One of the introductions into this type of figure is Optimus Prime. This figure is an interesting experiment. It is a Voyager Class figure, but it takes the basic design of the Cyberverse Commander Class figure (that was later given a new deco as Beast Blade Optimus Prime and then the Target exclusive Optimus Prime).

Many fans have been calling this figure an "upscaled" version of the Commander Class figure, but there's a lot more to it than simply making parts bigger and then slapping them together as a Voyager Class figure. You should definitely read the Cyberverse Commander Class Optimus Prime review since the two figures do share a lot of features. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure (outside of being upscaled) for this release.

Robot Mode:
If you look at the photos in my "Beast Hunters" Optimus Prime Voyager Class figure review, you'll see that the figure has most of the basic design elements of the television show model. However, it also has a relatively lean profile and doesn't quite have the powerful looking bulkiness of the CG model used on the television show. This Optimus Prime however has the chunky proportions of the Commander Class figure. Now, you may think that the figure winds up looking too chunky and but it actually looks good. The wide chest piece, the huge arms and legs really remind me of the look of the character from the television show - bulky but powerful looking. The figure actually feels quite solid when you pick it up. Nothing feels cheap or like it's going to pop off, and that was one of my biggest fears when this figure was first announced.

While this figure does use the Commander Class as its basis in design, many changes have been made to the figure for this release. Here's a rundown:

  • In general, most of the joints have been changed from the typical ball and hinge joints to ratchet joints. You'll find this in both the arms and the legs, which can move much in the same way as the Commander Class figure, but feel much sturdier thanks to the ratchet joints holding the parts in place.
  • The robot head is a new sculpt, featuring Optimus Prime with his mouthplate "off", so you can see his mouth, set in a thin, grim looking expression.
  • The arms have been resculpted. In the previous version, the smokestacks were molded as one piece with the forearms, they are now part of the upper arms and the forearms are a more distinct piece. Even the sculpting on the hands is more detailed and quite different from the Commander Class figure.
  • The thigh pieces are new. Instead of the ones intended for ball joints used on the Commander Class figure, these are built to connect to ratchet joints at the hips and they don't have an gaps on the inside of the thigh the way the Commander Class figure does.
  • The lower legs have a very similar design to the Commander Class, but the sculpt is slightly different most notably thanks to a small gap at the bottom of the knee armor section.
  • The feet are different than the ones on the commander Class. These are a bit longer and come to more of a narrow point in front, and the beveled section on the top of each foot is raised higher on the Voyager Class figure.
  • The shield accessory has been altered and sculpted as one solid piece, so it no longer swings out to become wings.
  • The missile launcher is a completely new piece. It is flat in design like the one included with the Commander Class figure, but it's longer and the missile is fired by pushing a tab mechanism on top, not pushing the missile out the back. Interestingly enough, the missile itself is the same size and design as the one included with the Commander Class figure.

As you can see from the list above, a lot was done to make this figure into a voyager Class and it pays off. The figure feels solid and stable. It looks good and doesn't feel "cheap" at all. Indeed, from the perspective of height and width, he's both taller and wider than the previous Voyager Class Predaking figure.

This version of Optimus Prime borrows most of its color scheme from the first Commander Class figure. Most of his parts are red, dark silver, black and blue. The upper body has most of the red, with the silver and blue on the bottom. The black plastic comes into play with the wheels on his shoulders and legs. The one plastic color that put me off is neon green. Several parts are cast in this color including the shoulder joints, the "claws" in the front and the missile launcher. The shield and sword are cast in translucent green, which looks cool, but the solid green is very jarring. I think the intent may have been to give him a more vibrant, "energized" appearance. Unfortunately it doesn't quite work with the traditional Optimus colors.

The paint colors used include silver, light blue, gunmetal grey and gold. The blue is used for the windows on his chest and shoulder armor as well as the eyes. Silver is the most heavily used color. You'll find it outlining the windows on his chest, the bars on top of the windows, the crest, face, forearms and the smokestacks on his shoulders. There's also a silver Autobot symbol on the top of the chest. The gunmetal grey is used to paint the hands. The gold is used on the headlights. Overall it's a very "standard" Optimus Prime color scheme (minus the green of course).

The shield included with the figure is designed to look like a heavily stylized Autobot symbol with angled patterns coming out on all sides like energy bolts. The shield is cast in translucent green with the Autobot symbol section painted silver. The sword is cast in the same green and is based on the Star Saber design from the television show.

Optimus has eighteen points of articulation in this form. That includes four in each arm and five in each leg. The new forearms are designed to work with his weapons. The left arm has a 5mm peg hold in the fist to hold the missile launcher, sword or shield. The right forearm is a bit different. It has a hole on the fist but it also has a 5mm hole on the side of the arm. This allows you to attach any of his weapons or the shield. Thanks to this design, Optimus can wield all his accessories at the same time.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and shield. Set them aside for now.
  2. On each leg, swing out the "cage" halves.
  3. Swing the robot feet down.
  4. Swing the robot chest up.
  5. Rotate around the section with the robot arms and head attached to it.
  6. Swing the robot head back.
  7. Rotate the forearms around, then fold it against the shoulder armor so the smokestacks are facing outward.
  8. Push the arms up and together to form the front part of the vehicle.
  9. Connect the legs and cage halves together.
  10. Swing the hip section forward, bringing the leg sections up against the robot arms, condensing the vehicle.
  11. Each weapon can attach to one of the holes on the sides of the "cage".
  12. The shield attaches to the top of the cage section.

Vehicle Mode:
On the television show "Beast Hunters" Optimus Prime's vehicle mode was based on a prototype vehicle from Earth's military. When the vehicle was introduced, it was a powerful looking vehicle with huge wheels. In this scale, you really get that same visual impact thanks to the way the proportions of the vehicle work out in this mode. Like the robot mode, there are some changes from the Commander Class version of the figure and this one:

  • The "cage" section that makes up part of the back half of the vehicle is made up of newly sculpted pieces. The details are very similar down to the basic shape of the cage. However, some details are much more intricate such as vent lines towards the back and layered details on the "V" shaped section towards the front half of each side.
  • The wheels are all completely new pieces. On the Commander Class figure they were basically rings that snapped onto the figures' legs, leaving the area where the rims should have been hollow. These wheels have rims covering up that area so they look like more complete wheels. Their design is also different than the Commander Class with more tread details.
  • The smokestacks are more detailed than the ones on the Commander Class figure. The base has line details and the smokestacks have circular and oval details in the middle section.

As you'd expect, the front section of the vehicle is largely red, with the back section made up of a combination of blue and dark silver. The wheels are all black and the "claws" in the front section are neon green. Most of the paint deco in this form is light blue and silver. The light blue is used for the windows while the silver is used on the sides of the wheels and small details on the front section like the side view mirrors. The smokestacks are also painted silver. Overall the vehicle looks great, I just still find myself wishing the "claws" in the front weren't green.

The sides of the cages have 5mm holes allowing you to attach Optimus' weapons or other 5mm peg weapons. The shield attaches to the top of the cage section.

Final Thoughts:
Many people were very worried about the "upscaled" versions of the Commander Class figures being cheap, almost "knock off" in quality. I can say with certainty that this figure is not a "knock off" in any sense of the word. I am impressed at how significantly the sculpt was reworked for this scale. It's absolutely worth the $20 price tag and represents the character well. Now, if you already own this incarnation of Optimus Prime in several other scales, then you probably don't need another, but if you were looking for another "Beast Hunters" Optimus to add to your collection, this would be a good one. Recommended!