"Robots in Disguise" (2015) Three Step Changer Optimus Prime Toy Review
Release Date: March 2015
Price Point: $21.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
*Text in italics below from Amazon.com:
Decepticons beware, because this 3-Step Changers Optimus Prime figure converts in a heartbeat from robot mode to mighty semi truck mode, and he's ready for a fight! Convert him in 3 easy steps to either mode, and keep converting him back and forth so his Decepticon enemies can't keep up! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
The "Robots in Disguise" toy line is aimed at a younger audience than the "Generations" segment so the folks at Hasbro and Takara Tomy decided to continue the theme of having figures that could transform quickly in the line. While there are One Step Changers in "Robots in Disguise", there is now a new segment: Three Step Changers. Also known as the "Hyper Change" assortment, these figures are roughly Voyager Class in size, but transform in three simple steps featuring limited articulation with no accessories. I already reviewed Three Step Changer Grimlock who I think could have been much better. In wave two of this segment we have Optimus Prime as he appears in the show, read on to see how well this guy compares to Grimlock.
The Three Step Changers are packaged in a cardboard box with an open window. There is no clear plastic blocking you from poking at the figure at the store, though it won't do a whole heck of a lot. The front and side features artwork of Optimus Prime as he appears in the television show. The back shows the figure in its various modes with transformation instructions, but there are no tech specs. Instead there's a boatload of safety information in different languages. It also features instructions on scanning the Autobot symbol on the figure to interact with the mobile Transformers app.
Optimus Prime returns in "Robots in Disguise" as an ethereal form that can solidify now and then. Along with this resurrection he has also gained a new body. Gone is the super bulky form he had at the end of "Beast Hunters" when he sacrificed himself to save Cybertron. Enter a powerful looking yet elegant form that evokes designs from the past. You can look at my Warrior Class Optimus Prime review to see the ways in which this design resembles the G1 "Star Convoy" interpretation of Optimus Prime. Some of these design aspects include his very angled and "V" shaped upper body and his thick, bulky legs. Unlike the Warrior Class figure however, this figure only has two points of articulation: the arms, making him more akin to Star Convoy than the Warrior Class figure. In fact, the way this figure is designed gives it a bulk that looks more like a powerful Autobot leader than the somewhat more sleek proportions of the Warrior Class figure. Overall, I really love the look of this figure from the small line details in the arms and legs to details like the lower legs being angled slightly outward providing both extra stability and some aesthetic appeal to the look of the figure.
So how about accuracy to the animation model? Based on the brief look at the character in this video I'd say the designers did a good job of getting several features of the animation model worked in. The body shape is right, with his angled windshield, the extra "L" shaped panels on either side of the chest and the six sided shoulder armor and the raised knee armor. He also has curved armor panels around the waist section, just like the animation model. Of course, being a Three Step Changer several parts have been simplified so he doesn't quite have the exact same form but it's very close, even down to small details the the row of three vertical lines on each shoulder section.
Optimus Prime is cast in red, blue, silver and black plastic. the red makes up most of the upper body while the blue makes up the lower legs, waist and forearms (not to mention his head). Silver is used for the thighs. Paint colors are done mostly in silver, black and a lighter shade of blue. The silver is used on the crest, face and elbows. The light blue is used for the vertical line details on his shoulders and the robot eyes. I find the deco on this figure a bit lacking. The lower legs need something on them and there are sculpted details on the chest and waist that should have been painted light blue to reflect their "glowing" appearance in the TV show. I know older, more discriminating fans are not the target audience for this figure, but after seeing some preview photos of the Japanese release of this figure, it was sad to see that they managed to squeeze a few more paint decos that we didn't get. Japanese and U.S. markets are different of course so it's no shock Japan would paint up the figure a bit more.
Optimus Prime stands at about 7.5 inches (approximately 19.05 centimeters) tall and about 5.5 inches (about 13.97 centimeters) wide from shoulder to shoulder. His only two points of articulation are his arms, which can move up and down. His fists are sculpted to allow him to hold 5mm peg weapons even though he does not come with any accessories. I'm very thankful for this touch since the Three Step Changer Grimlock lacked it. It adds a good amount of play value to the figure.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
Most of the play value in this figure comes from its super quick transformation. Make sure the arms are down to the sides. Now pull the chest piece up then swing it back and back up to form the front of the vehicle. While you're doing this, the arms will swing in to where the chest was and the front panels of the legs will form over the wrists/hands.
Optimus Prime's vehicle form is a futuristic ten wheeled tractor trailer truck. He has a lot of sleek and angled styling from the front cab section all the way to the back of the truck where the back is raised like a spoiler. The sides have an angled pattern that starts low towards the front and raises towards the back. On top of that are three angled lines sweeping back. Everything about this form gives the notion of speed, power and a type of retro-futurism that reminds me of "Transformers" designs from the 90's - and I love it. It's a really great looking vehicle form and its larger-than-Warrior Class size gives Optimus Prime his due in terms of scale.
This mode shows off a lot of blue plastic thanks to the leg and back sections forming most of the trailer area. Red is found on the front cab are and the back 'spoiler' section. The wheels are all black. On the top of the hood is a scannable Autobot symbol for use with the "Robots in Disguise" mobile app. The front also uses silver and light blue for the grille/bumper section and headlights respectively. The windshield and side windows are painted black. The sides of the trailer have red paint on the angled stripe and light blue on the row of three angled lines sweeping back. Once again I like the deco but find it is more of a beginning point than the end. The sides of the wheels should be painted, the top looks rather dull (just tons of blue) and again there are sculpted details (such as three vertical lines towards the back on each side) that should have been painted. It's not that the vehicle looks bad, it's just that it could have looked so much better.
All ten wheels in this mode can rotate, allowing the vehicle to move on them. Unfortunately there are no ways to attach weapons to this form.
I definitely have some reservations about this figure, but at the end of the day I can't lie and say I don't have fun with it. It's cool moving it back and forth from mode to mode and I really love the design of the character even if he's lacking in paint applications. I'm also supremely happy his hands have 5mm holes (I still can't figure out why Grimlock doesn't have them). Recommended but most older fans may want to keep their focus on the Warrior Class figures.