Rescue Bots Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2011, Action Figure Review, Autobot

Rescue Bots

General Information:
Release Date: July 2011
Price Point: $11.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Transformers.com:
This brave OPTIMUS PRIME figure converts from robot mode to vehicle mode in one easy step! Pull the figure apart to convert to vehicle mode, then convert back as the rescue mission gets more dangerous! Ages 3 and up.

As long as Transformers have been around, there have always been sub-lines of toys dedicated to a younger age group than the main toy line. In 2011, the "Rescue Bots" line takes this role. Focusing around Transformers working with humans on rescue missions using equipment ranging from helicopters to rocket packs. Unlike previous attempts such as "1-2-3 Transformers" and "Go-Go-Gobots" however, this line actually includes Generation One inspired characters in it. This line is firmly aimed at the younger set (ages 3-6 according to the packaging), so I'll say right away that older collectors may find it a bit lacking by their standards.

I've always felt one of the weaknesses of previous attempts at a younger children's line of Transformers was the lack of an identifiable leader figure in each line. In the Go-Go-Gobots for instance, every character had a fun personality, but none was really an "Optimus Prime" type character in the fiction. This time out, the problem has been been solved by using, well...Optimus Prime! In this universe, it's Optimus himself who gives the orders to his Autobot Rescue Bots.

Robot Mode:
There are many iterations of Optimus Prime created year after year. From his many "Classics/Generations" style iterations to the versions from the Movie universe, Optimus Prime generally keeps certain key features such as his head design and chest design. Almost all of these however owe their source design to the original "Convoy" action figure from Japan that became Generation One Optimus Prime. As an old skool fan, it made me very happy to see that Rescue Bots Optimus Prime is based on that original version of the character.

Everything about this design says "Generation One Optimus Prime" - but with cute design elements. His head design is the classic Optimus Prime design, with a central crest, antennae on the sides of the head and a mouthplate. His torso has the windshield windows from the vehicle mode on top and the grille on the lower portion. Along the top of his chest are a row of lights used for the vehicle form. His arms each have the truck smokestacks attached t othem and his legs have two wheels on each along with the cylinders from the side of the truck mode attached.

Aside from being kiddified and made into a less aggressive looking character, Optimus does have some details unique to the figure. On the center of his chest is a sculpted Autobot symbol and the middle of his lower legs are curved rather than being blocky like the traditional Optimus Prime design. You'll also find coil like designs on his back, which look like springs but are really meant to be the types of coils often seen on tractor trailer truck cabs.

Optimus Prime is cast in red, blue black and grey plastic. His upper body is mostly red plastic, exxcept for smaller parts like his fists and head. His lower body is cast in blue and his wheels are all black. There is a piece that joins the upper and lower body, and that is grey. The paint colors used on Prime are just as traditional as his plastic colors: silver, yellow, black and white. The silver color is heavily used, particularly on the grille and the top part of the legs. The smaller silver details include the lights on top of his chest, his crest and his mouthplate. Yellow paint is used for lights, his eyes and stripes on his feet. In particular, I like the use of yellow for his eyes as it serves as a nice callback to the original Generation One Optimus Prime figure that had yellow eyes. The black paint is used for the windows on his chest and finally the white color paints the horizontal stripes on the torso and the sculpted Autobot symbol on his chest. Overall, it's a really traditional color scheme and looks bright, friendly and familiar all at the same time.

The figures of this class in the Rescue Bots line do not have any articulation to speak of, with the emphasis on the actions behind its transformation. What Prime does have are holes in his fists that allow him to interact with smaller vehicle playsets such as the Chief Charlie Burns figure/vehicle set. What I do like is that Prime's arms are sculpted to be bent at the elbow, so they are pointing forward, which is a lot more of an action-oriented pose than having his arms down to the side would be.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Point the robot feet down.
  2. Push the feet together and swing the legs back.
  3. Push the robot head down.
  4. Push the robot arms in, the fists will retract at the same time.

This simple type of transformation has a lot to do with the design philosphy behind the Rescue Bots. The idea of each of these figures is to have a child focus on using a certain set of motor skills, but not overly complicated to the point where they're folding panels around and swinging limbs left and right. In comparison to Bumblebee's transformation, Prime's has more steps but they're still fairly simple. In this case it seems to emphasize moving smaller parts without the need for tons of panel moving and part swiveling. As an older fan, I liked this "middle ground" between having parts to move in the transformation scheme but not having too many steps so it's still fun for younger kids.

Vehicle Mode:
Optimus Prime's vehicle mode is a chunky looking truck cab. Like the robot mode, his truck mode is very traditional looking. The front is boxy with a flat front section and the back is made up of the robot legs. Like G1 Optimus Prime, the figure rests on six wheels. The smokestacks are found on the back of the boxy section. In a way, the form has been modernized slightly. The windows are thin and wide rather than being more squared off as they were on G1 Prime. The white stripes on the front of the vehicle angle off in diamond shapes in the front and his grille follows those angles on the top. Overall, this is a nice balance of the traditional design with some new elements. An extra light along the top of the cab is revealed on the panel that the robot head is attached to.

All the colors from the robot mode carry over here, with silver sitll being the main color as it is found on the grille and smokestacks. You'll also find it on the sides of each wheel. Like the robot mode color scheme, this is bright, friendly but a nice homage to G1 Optimus Prime.

Final Thoughts:
I think it's a great idea for the Rescue Bots toy line to have G1 based characters as part of its assortments. Optimus Prime is the perfect character to include as he symbolizes a lot of the ideals kids would want to be and fron a learning perspective he plays the role of the wise elder. In terms of being a toy, this Prime is great as it has a very traditional Optimus Prime design, but still manages to bring some modern sensabilities into the design. It's important to say that when I highly recommend this figure, it's being highly recommended for kids of the target age. As an older fan, your mileage may vary.