Transformers Prime: Comic-Con Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Comic-Con Exclusive, Deluxe, First Edition, Prime

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: July 2011
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: San Diego Comic-Con / Hasbrotoyshop exclusive
Accessories: Blaster

Images:

*Images with an asterisk and text in italics below from Hasbrotoyshop:
The DECEPTICONS ran rampant across CYBERTRON, destroying or subverting all for which the peaceful population of the world had worked. The planet lay in ruins, growing darker and colder as the energy requirements of the vast armies that huddled in the rubble of once great cities sucked it dry. The survivors, desperate to stop the destruction of their home world, found themselves on the run and leaderless. It was in this dark hour that OPTIMUS PRIME arose. He took control of the faltering army, stopped the enemy's advance. And mounted a desperate counterattack that broke the back of the DECEPTICON forces. Despite the victory, OPTIMUS PRIME was forced to lead his comrades in an evacuation of their home world, hoping to allow the planet the time and peace it needed to recover from the long and destructive war. But before he left, CYBERTRON bestowed on him the legacy of the AUTOBOTS - a powerful artifact known as the Matrix of Leadership.

Take home this First Edition figure of the unstoppable AUTOBOT leader. Switch this fierce fighter from robot mode to vehicle mode and back again! Contains robot figure. Ages 5 and up.

"Transformers Prime" debuted in 2011 as the first fully CGI animated Transformers television show in years. While other shows had blended traditional animation and CGI, this as the first to harken back to the days of "Beast Wars" and "Beast Machines". This show introduced a storyline heavily influenced by the live action movies, and thus the designs of the characters had very "movie like" sensibilities to them. The first action figure from this line to be officially sold was Optimus Prime, who made his debut as an exclusive sold at San Diego Comic-Con, and then later made available on Hasbrotoyshop.com.

Packaging:
San Diego Comic-Con is an event where you want to make a splash with any product you present, and with this verison of Optimus Prime, the designers did not disappoint. Optimus is packaged in a very sturdy cardboard box with gorgeous original art drawn by Marcelo Matere. The front of the box shows Optimus Prime's chest design with the two windshield panels fans are familiar with. Each panel on the front of this box is actually half of his chest and can fold out. The two panels are held in place with a round magnet that has the Autobot symbol in the center with the "Transformers Prime" logo and the name "Optimus Prime" under the Autobot symbol. It's a very bold and visually striking presentation that grabs you as soon as you look at it.

The sides of the box have a dark background with lightning patterns in the background. The "Transformers Prime" logo is found there as well with the words "First Edition" under it, referring to this figure as being one of the first waves of figures from the toy line. The back of the packaging has a gorgeous drawing of Optimus Prime holding the Matrix above his head as it glows with power. The quote "One day, an Autobot shall rise from our ranks and use the power of the Matrix to light our darkest hour.", a line from the 1986 "Transformers: The Movie" film spoken by G1 Optimus Prime.

Remove the magnet and you can open the panels on the front of the box to reveal artwork and text inside each panel. The artwork includes the familiar "group" shot of the Autobots standing on a cliff which was used to advertise the series before it aired. The other panel has a longer view of the same illustration from the back of the box, allowing you to see more of Optimus Prime and includes some of the text provided at the top of this review.

Sitting inside the box is a plastic, vacuum formed Autobot Matrix, complete with a round center section and two large handles. Strapped to the handles are black velcro strips that have "chain" patterns on them, essentially making this a Matrix that you can wear! Inside the center of the Matrix is the Optimus Prime figure in robot mode.

Overall, this packaging is a gorgeous presentation and really helps make this exclusive special. A lot of thought went into the design of this packaging and it paid off beautifully!

Robot Mode:
Optimus Prime's look is an iconic one, and with only a few exceptions, most of his basic design elements have remained consistent over the years. When Optimus Prime was redesigned for "Transformers Prime", the idea was to take the Optimus Prime most people knew nowadays from the live action movie, but give him some more familiar elements that he had lost in translation from Generation One to live action film. The compromise on the design winds up paying great homage to the original Optimus Prime while serving as a faithful callback to the live action movie CGI model.

First, let's look at some of the more traditional G1 influenced design elements:

  • The head design has all the iconic Optimus Prime components including the central crest, antennae on the side and a mouthplate. While Optimus Prime does have a mouth in "Transformers Prime", this head is sculpted with the mouthplate covering his mouth in "battle mode".
  • Optimus Prime's chest panels are intended to look like the windshield from his vehicle mode, but in this case they're not. Instead, they are separate pieces altogether due in part to the transformation scheme, but also due to the fact that the CGI model's chest design really doesn't look like the vehicle mode's windshied. This offers a good way to make the figure accurate to its CGI model and work in a satisfying transformation (more on that later).
  • The lower legs each have two wheels from the vehicle mode on the sides.
  • In the middle of each lower leg is a section with layers of panels sculpted to look like they are overlapping. These resemble the horizontal lines found on G1 Optimus Prime's legs.

As for the movie design influences, Optimus Prime's overall shape is much more in line with his movie form that the G1 form. He is a lot less blocky than most Optimus Primes. He is designed with many curved parts including his shoulders, waist, hips and thighs. Even parts with angular areas such as his lower legs have curved sections. An example of this is found on the lower portion near his feet where the leg is curved, but the area near the feet comes to a "V" shape. In addition to the curved designs, he has many sharp looking sections that reflect the liberal use of angular panels on the live action movie Transformers. Here you'll find such panels on his shoulders and hip area.

The design of Optimus Prime's weapon is also heavily influenced by the movies. In G1, the Transformers generally held their weapons, but in the movie universe many transform their arms into blasters and cannons. In the "Prime" cartoon, Optimus does the same, but this figure does not have that capability. Instead, the blaster can rest over his fist and wrist in such a way that it looks like his forearm has transformed into a weapon, which is a really good compromise in my book. The design of the weapon is also bulky and large, with a long barrel and a shorter one (perhaps a targeting scope?) that relaly looks fantastic.

Finally, while it is traditional for Optimus Prime to have smokestacks on his upper body, G1 Prime had them on his arms. Here, they wind up on the back of the figure, very similar to the way some elements of the vehicle mode from the movie wound up on the back of the character's robot mode.

Optimus Prime is cast in five plastic colors, all iconic to the character: metallic red, metallic blue, silver, black and translucent blue. These colors are distributed rather evenly over the robot mode. Red makes up most of the upper body while blue is used for the head and lower legs. The silver parts are set in between the red and blue sections on parts like his elbow joints, thighs and ankle joints. The smokestacks on his back are cast in silver as well. His chest "windshield" panels are also cast in silver, resembling the CGI model's color scheme. The black plastic is used for any parts that become his vehicle mode wheels as well as the front of his feet. An attempt was made to use translucent blue to provide Optimus with "light piping" in the eyes, but it seemed the designers abandoned the idea. The clear plastic does form part of the back of the head and the eyes, but the eyes themselves are painted over. Overall, the distribution of these colors is a very "traditional Optimus Prime" color pattern and it looks great on its own.

The paint colors used on Optimus Prime are very much in line with his plastic colors. The paint colors include silver, metallic light blue and gunmetal grey. The silver color is the most heavily used. On the face, it's used not only for the mouthplate and the area around his eyes, but also part of the helmet that resembles vents. The top of his chest and parts of his mid-section and hip area are also colored silver. On his legs, silver is used to paint a portion of the figure near the feet. Gunmetal grey is used to offer some metallic looking contrast with the silver on his chest and mid-section. The metallic blue is used on curved parts around his hip area which really stands out nicely and keeps that section from looking too monotone. The metallic light blue paint is only used on his eyes, which I mentioned earlier are painted over. Frankly, I odn't think the light color of the clear blue plastic would have worked well. This stands out much more.

Optimus Prime has twenty points of articulation in robot mode. This includes five in each arm, four in each leg and waist articulation to boot! Prime has a really nice assortment of ball joints including his head and wrists. While his hands are sculpted in a semi-open palmed position, the design accomodates any standard Transformers weapon. The caveat I would add to that statement however is that the pegs on these weapons need to be fairly long to fit into the slot while not getting in the way of his wrist joint.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. If the weapon is attached, set it aside for now.
  2. On each forearm, swing the wrist/hand areas back against the forearm.
  3. On each forearm, swing the red panel down to clip it against the silver "grille" panel.
  4. Swing each arm forward on the shoulder hinge.
  5. Bring the two "windshield window" pieces together.
  6. Swing each arm/shoulder hinge back against the back of the "windshield window" pieces.
  7. Connect the two forearm sections together.
  8. Swing the chest panel down on its central hinge.
  9. On the back of the figure, separate the two panels with the smokestacks on them.
  10. Rotate the waist around.
  11. Swing the forearm pieces (really the nose of the truck mode) up against the chest. This begins to form the front of the vehicle.
  12. On each of the back panels you just swung to the side, swing the panel with the wheel on it out, then swing the middle panel forward.
  13. Connect the front wheel wells to the tabs sticking out on the nose of the truck.
  14. Move each smokestack so it is pointing straight up.
  15. Swing the robot head back.
  16. Fold the front and back halves of each foot together.
  17. On the right leg, there is a round, silver piece on the inside of the lower leg. Swing that piece out.
  18. Connect the two legs together.
  19. The front half of each lower leg can swing up, so swing the two connected pieces up and then fold the red panels over the top of the truck.
  20. Attach the weapon to the silver piece with the hole on the back of the truck.

Vehicle Mode:
Just as the robot mode of "Transformers Prime" Optimus Prime takes a lot of influences from the movie, so does the vehicle mode. Unlike his Generation One counterpart, "Transformers Prime" Optimus is a longnose truck, making him similar to the Peterbilt truck that Optimus Prime transforms into in the live action feature films. In many respects, this design is a simplified version of the design from the movie, with some softer and sleeker lines. Instead of a tall, wide front end, there is a beveled bumper/fender section with a grille that comes up at an angle. The front wheel wells have deep set headlights without many design greebles on top. Over the windshield is a row of lights sculpted into the figure. On either side of the vehicle are the smokestacks, which come out from the sides of the vehicle at a curve and then come up in a cylinder shape, which then condenses into a smaller cylinder at the end.

Much like the traditional Optimus Prime color layout, Optimus favors red in the front and blue in the back. While inspired by the movie Optimus Prime, it is important to note that the front end here is pure red instead of having a flame pattern on it. This looks very clean and almost elegant compared to the more loud patterns that have been seen on Prime in recent years. The red and blue plastic colors are balanced out by silver on the front grille and smokestacks. On the grille, there's a small area sculpted in the shape of the Autobot symbol. Here you'll find the Autobot symbol painted in, analagous to the Autobot symbol found on the top of the grille on the movie Optimus Prime truck mode. In this form, translucent blue plastic shows prominently on the windshield, and stresses the difference between the "windshield chest" from the robot mode to the "real" windshield in vehicle mode. Silver paint is used on the front over the windshield and on the sides on the cross hatch patterns. Silver is also used to paint the sides of each wheel. A bit of blue paint is used on the sides as well, painted at an angle leading to the blue pieces on the back of the vehicle. Overall, this color scheme is a spot on "Optimus Prime" color scheme and pays a lot of homage to the legacy of the character. It's attractive and looks very clean. I like it a lot.

There are a lot of very well sculpted details on this figure. On the sides there are raised circles representing rivets and cross hatch patterns. These details help to give the vehicle a more realistic look. On the back is what appears to be a trailer hitch, but it's really for the weapon. On the back of the vehicle, you'll find raised, rectangular rear lights. Unfortunately they're not painted, but they're hard to miss.

Final Thoughts:
Optimus Prime is a really nicely designed deluxe class figure. His transformation is intuitive, but complex enough to be satisfying. I love the sculpting and the deco is done well. If the rest of the "Transformers Prime" line is like this, it's going to be a very strong line. The box and artwork really just sends this whole package over the edge. As of the writing of this review (early August 2011), this figure is still available via Hasbrotoyshop.com and it is definitely highly recommended!