Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2013, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Beast Hunters, Prime, Voyager

Transformers Prime Beast Hunters

General Information:
Release Date: February 2013
Price Point: $19.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: "Star Saber" Sword, "Ionic Pulse Launchers" x 2, Missiles x 2

Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics from the Official Transformers Web Site:
The hunt for the Predacons begins here! A mighty army of robot beasts has allied itself with the Decepticons, and their battle against the Autobots will decide the fate of our planet. Each figure converts from toy beast or vehicle to robot and back. With awesome action features, amazing detail, and a variety of characters to choose from, there's something for everyone with Transformers Prime Beast Hunters toys (each sold separately). Collect your favorite characters, pick your side, and join the battle.

Includes Converting Optimus Prime action figure, 2 Ionic Pulse Launchers, 2 missiles, Star Saber and instructions.

Features

  • The legendary leader of the Autobots
  • Converts from robot to truck and back
  • 2 Ionic Pulse Launchers each fire a missile
  • Wings fold out in robot or vehicle mode to keep Optimus Prime ready for any battle situation
  • Optimus Prime carries the legendary Star Saber into battle

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

At the end of second season of "Transformers Prime", the Autobots were scattered, in hiding form the Decepticons. Among the Autobots trying to survive is Optimus Prime, but he's not doing it without some upgrades! Unlike the first wave of Deluxe figures, this version of the character is a completely new sculpt and represents Optimus Prime's new look in the "Beast Hunters" segment of "Transformers Prime".

Robot Mode:
The idea behind Optimus Prime's new form is to give him more armor and generally make him look more like a brawler than before. Extra armor, claw like pieces and a distinctly angular design on many sections gives him a much more aggressive look than the previous iteration of the character, who was largely based on the live action movie version of the character. I talked a bit about some of these design changes in my Commander Optimus Prime review, but this sculpt is much more accurate to the images of the CG model released so far. Among the highlights of this new design are:

  • The "helmet" section of the head wraps around the face a lot more, protecting more of it and leaving a very distinct "T" shape open where the face is showing. This version of Optimus Prime also shows off his mouth set in a grim expression instead of the usual mouthplate.
  • The shoulder armor is angled and layered, coming to a point at the sides towards the upper arms. His forearms also have a similar appearance. The result is it looks like Optimus could lose chunks of armor and keep on fighting if he had to.
  • Optimus' chest now has thinner, wide windows. The sleek design echoes those of such Optimus Prime figures as Star Convoy and Galaxy Convoy.
  • The mid-body features a "grille" inspired by the truck design, but it also features claws in front that would make any Predacon second guess ramming into him!
  • Each of the lower legs has a much more layered look to the armor. Instead of just one panel or even two on topof one another, it looks like three layers are sitting on top of each other, offering extra protection. The knee armor has pointed, claw like designs sweeping up, which work nicely with the look on the rest of the figure.
  • Optimus is one contained vehicle, with his trailer forming a large part of his back in this form. Part of this involves the trailer giving him "wings" in the back, a look that seems like it could partly be inspired by "Dark of the Moon" Optimus Prime's flight mode.

Optimus Prime is cast in red, silver, blue and translucent green plastic. In this sense he is a very "classic" looking Optimus Prime. His upper body is mostly red, with silver on his shoulder joints and upper arms. His head, fists, waist and lower legs are blue. The back section, thighs and feet are silver. Translucent green is used for his chest windows, but interestingly it's also used for his eyes, allowing light piping but deviating from the "Autobots have blue eyes" coloring standard.

Silver paint makes up most of the detailing in this form. You'll find it on his crest, face, forearms, waist, chest and lower legs, filling in critical detailing. A bit of yellow is used on the headlights on his chest. Unfortunately, that's about it for the painted details, and he would look so much better with them. You'll note for instance that on his lower legs, there are faux wheels sculpted into the insides of each leg, but without any paint detail they easily get lost in a sea of blue color. Also his shoulder armor is sculpted nicely, but it really needed some type of color to help bring it out. I'm actually surprised there's not even an Autobot symbol to be found anywhere. In terms of appearance, the lack of deco, not the sculpt definitely knocks this figure down a couple notches.

Optimus PrimeThere are twenty four points of articulation on this figure, including five on each arm, six on each leg and waist articulation. While once fairly common, in recent years this particular point of articulation has often been sacrificed either for cost or design reasons. It's nice to see it back whenever it appears. Optimus comes with three weapons: the Star Saber sword and two missile launchers. The Star Saber is much more impressive than the one included with last year's Voyager Class Optimus Prime figure. It's longer than the length of his arm and it's nice and wide, which gives it some of the exaggerated appearance it has on the television show. The sword is cast in translucent green plastic, with the base colored gunmetal grey. His missile launchers are designed to look like two large boosters, with the missiles resembling flames. On the sides of each booster are blades that can swing out, making the weapon look almost like some type of crossbow. Each of these weapons can attach to Optimus' hands, and both missile launchers can attach to one hand by putting one on top and one on the bottom. You could also attach the boosters to the red part of his back pack section or the wings themselves. The launchers are cast in dark silver plastic, with the blades on the sides cast in a lighter shade that matches the rest of the figure's silver color. The ends of the launchers are painted blue, giving some much needed extra paint detail to this figure. The center of his back piece has a 5mm hole for weapon storage, making it an ideal place to store the sword.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Swing each heel piece against the front foot piece and swing them up.
  3. Swing the back piece with the wings up.
  4. Pull down the section tucked behind the chest with the two wheels on it.
  5. Turn the head around, then swing it back.
  6. Rotate each arm so it is pointing forward, then swing it back so the shoulder armor winds up behind the chest compartment.
  7. Rotate the upper body section (chest/arms/wings) around.
  8. Swing the robot legs back, and connect the tabs on each of the forearms to the matching holes on the lower legs.
  9. In the front, swing the piece with the two wheels down and back so it's tucked under the chest/windows section, then swing the wheels out to the sides.
  10. Swing the wings section down, and connect the tab on each inner wing to the corresponding holes on the forearms.
  11. Swing the "claws" connected to the front wheels forward.
  12. Attach the missile launchers to the sides of the wings.
  13. Attach the sword to the hole on top of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
On the surface, there's a lot going for this vehicle mode sculpt. In the design sketching phases I can see how this was going to look incredible. The front end reflects this the most I think. With a row of bolted armor above the windshield, big, bold tires on either side and the four "claws" in front, Optimus Prime looks like a force to contend with! The sides have some cool details too, including two more big tires, smokestacks that aren't made out of bendy plastic and wings forming a nice layer of armor panels on the sides. If you look at the vehicle from the top, the section that joins the two wing areas has a really dynamic looking sculpt, with several "V" shaped panels sweeping back, making this part of the truck look like it was designed for flight. If you have the weapons attached, it looks even better with big boosters on the side conveying power and the sword adding to the sleek "V" shaped sections.

Unfortunately, two design elements and a lack of deco really undermine what could've been a much cooler and solid vehicle mode. First, on the front end, it's not hard to see where the head was. It still peeks out a little bit actually, which kind of breaks the "illusion" of the vehicle mode. The same type of weakness can be found towards the back, where the robot hands are not covered at all, so they're quite obvious. You can rotate them around a bit so the back of the hands face up and this mitigates it somewhat, but really a swivel joint allows the hands to swing into the forearms would have solved this. From a design perspective, this was the most disappointing element in my book because it's been such a fundamental part of "Transformers" design for years.

Like the sculpt, the deco starts really strong in the front, but then becomes virtually non-existent by the time you get to the back. The front end has plenty of paint applications, with yellow making up not only the headlights, but the side windows too. The armor above the windshield windows is painted silver, as is the grille. Unfortunately, that's it for the colors. Everything else is left unpainted, including the wings on the sides (a missed opportunity to use the old G1 "stripe" with an Autobot symbol if you ask me) and the wheels are left unpainted, so they wind up looking pretty plain.

Despite the deco issues, there's definitely fun to be had with this mode. The holes on the top and sides of the wings section are all standard 5mm holes, so you can attach most weapons from the last decade or so of "Transformer" toys to these areas. You can also rotate the wings and splay them out so they form wings for the vehicle mode, giving him "flight" ability. With the missile launchers attached to the wings, he looks even more like he could flyin vehicle mode, echoing Galaxy Convoy's "flying firetruck" design.

Final Thoughts:
Some folks have complained that this Optimus Prime feels "cheap and hollow", and I guess depending on what standard you go by I can see that perspective. The fact is there has been cost cutting in recent years on many fronts, be it plastic type, gimmicks, paint applications etc. So in that respect I can agree that the figure feels different than other Voyager Class figures from the past five years. However, on its own merits, this figure is fun, articulated, loaded with cool weapons, nicely sculpted and fun to transform. Its greatest weakness to me are some of the gaps in the vehicle mode and the lack of paint deco (but I find myself saying that more and more nowadays anyhow). I spent a moment trying to see if I should connect with the current parade of haters on this figure, but I can't. I honestly have fun with it, transforming it back and forth and I think he looks great in robot mode. I also dig his weaponry and nods to previous Optimus Primes. Recommended with the caveat that there are a lot of fans who don't share my opinion on this figure.