RPM Battle Chargers Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2009, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Battlechargers, Movie (2007), Robot Powered Machines

Robot Powered Machines

General Information:
Release Date: November 2009
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None

Images:

Text from Hasbrotoyshop.com:
OPTIMUS PRIME inspires the other AUTOBOTS with his courage and dedication. No matter how dangerous a battle is, he is always ready to charge in and strike the first blow for freedom!

Pull back this ready-to-race vehicle and charge into battle! Crash it to convert to robot mode – and then flip it to reset! No matter which mode you choose, this fun figure is ready to charge into battle!

RPM stands for "Robot Powered Machine", a new sub-line of Transformers. RPMs began as a line of Matchbox/Hot Wheels styled and sized vehicles, but the line has since expanded to focus on Transformers that are aimed at a younger age group drawing focus away from complex transformations and more to action features and vehicle-based fun. One such sub-line are the Battlechargers. If the name "Battlechargers" ring a bell it's because the term was first coined in Generation One where the term was used to refer to two Decepticons with identical robot forms (but different colors). Their gimmick was an automatic transformation triggered by a spring loaded device. Pull them back, let them go and they would roll forward and transform automatically.

This new generation of Battlechargers isn't exclusive to Decepticons. Indeed, the entire first wave of Battlechargers are Autobots. The gimmick behind these Battlechargers involve "pull back and go" motors inside and a quick "auto" transformation by pressing the front bumpers which cause the torso, arms and robot heads to flip up out of the center of the vehicle. According to the packaging, the real gimmick is to use the pull back and go motor to "crash" the vehicle into something and thus activating the transformation. While this does sound fun, I'm not a big fan of smashing my figures around so I prefer just pressing the front end instead.

Robot Mode:
To call this form the "robot mode" is a tiny bit misleading. It would actually be more accurate to call it more of an intermediate mode or "partial robot" mode. This is because this form only shows half of Optimus Prime's robot form, from the torso up. The lower portion of the "robot mode" is actually just most of the vehicle mode which Optimus Prime rolls on. However, for the sake of keeping the two forms distinct in this review I think "robot mode" fits here.

The top portion of this form is an exaggerated version of the robot form seen in the movie. His head is totally oversized, almost three times the size of what it should be in proportion to the chest. The chest is the smallest part while his arms are rather large as well. His left arm leads to an oversized fist while the right arm leads to a cannon arm. While these proportions look very "cutesy", they are by no means simple in detail. The head detail is simply fantastic. He has a lot of layered details including the curved and sharp looking antennae on the sides of his head. His eyes also have a lot of intricate detail, down to the lines in the pupils! His main body has the layered panel look of the movie CGI model. On the sides are his iconic windows on the chest and the center even has the raised tube detail in the middle of the body. His arms have simplified versions of details from the movie including small panels on the shoulder that stick up a bit. Each digit of his fist is sculpted on the left hand while the right arm cannon has details including tubes and targeting scopes. In front of the robot parts is a panel with a large Autobot symbol sculpted into it including raised, tube like details.

Optimus Prime is cast in metallic blue, red and black plastic. The blue plastic makes up most of the robot mode parts while the red makes up a majority of the lower portion of the robot. Paint decos are done up in metallic blue, light blue, silver and red. On the robot parts, red is the main color. The Autobot symbol and much of the chest is painted red. The windows in the center of his chest are metallic blue. Details on the end of his arm are silver including the end of his right arm cannon. Silver is also used on his mouthplate while light blue colors in the eyes. The flames on the lower portion of this form are painted in metallic blue. It's a very simplified version of the color scheme for the CGI model, but it still looks cool.

Optimus has no articulation in this form. He can roll on his own if you pull him back and let him go. While it may have been nice for the figure's arms to be moved up and his head turn side to side, it's really not necessary for this robot. The main feature of this toy is the "stop and go" motor action. To facilitate this, the two rear wheels are cast in regular plastic with rubber in the center, allowing more traction as you pull the truck back before letting go.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Hold on to the tab in the front of the robot body and push it back.
  2. Snap the tab into place on the back.

Vehicle Mode:
Just as the robot mode has exaggerated features, the vehicle mode also reflects this design aesthetic. The proportions of the vehicle mode are more compact than those of the CGI model. This includes the front end being a bit more "squashed in" while the cabin section is rather low. The rear section is very high and the wheels are huge in proportion with the rest of the vehicle. Overall it is a chunky look that fits well with the robot mode.

There's plenty of sculpted detail in this form that look like they could have come right from a Voyager or Leader Class figure. The front grille has bold, raised lines, the bar under it has raised circles representing bolts and he even has an Autobot symbol sculpted in the center, right above the grille. Running along the top of the cabin section are oval shaped lights and on the sides the smokestacks have intricate horizontal details running up the length of the tubes. On the sides are lines clearly defining the doors and handles. On the back are line details as well as the circular piece in the middle where a trailer would connect. I really like the high level of detail on this figure, especially considering the younger age group it's targeted towards.

Just as with the robot mode, the vehicle mode is comprised of three main plastic colors: metallic blue, red and black. Indeed, the only parts now visible that weren't visible in the robot mode are from the top section of the vehicle. This section is mostly a nice metallic blue, with silver used on the smokestacks and metallic light blue used for the windshield windows. The front grille and headlights are painted silver while red paint is used for flames on the doors. Overall the details all evoke the look of the real life Peterbilt truck that this mode is based on and it looks great!

Final Thoughts:
Battle Chargers as a whole are not going to be for everyone. There are no complex transformations or cool weaponry. What you do get is a fun play pattern and some really nice detailing and sculpting. I primarily recommend this for younger kids or fans who want something a little different than the typical figure. Recommended.