Robot Powered Machines: Optimus Prime Toy Review

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

Robot Powered Machines

General Information:
Release Date: July 2009
Price Point: $3.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: None


*Text below and images from
Leader and most powerful of the AUTOBOTS, OPTIMUS PRIME is sworn to defend life and freedom, across the universe. Under his command, the AUTOBOTS have traveled through space, battling and destroying the evil DECEPTICONS wherever they are found.

Roll into action with this detailed, tough truck vehicle! Flip it over to reveal the mighty OPTIMUS PRIME character etched on the bottom!

RPM stands for "Robot Powered Machine", a new sub-line of Transformers. The concept introduces Hot Wheels/Matchbox sized cars that have super smooth axles that allow the vehicles to roll really well, especially around race tracks made for small toy cars. The concept harkens back to Generation 2, when a small line of Transformers known as "Gobots" were created. Like the RPM's, the Gobots were also made to resemble Hot Wheels/Matchbox style vehicles in size and function. While the Gobots had relatively simple transformations, the RPM's are primarily toy cars. Acknowledgement of their robot modes is done by having a raised, sculpted interpretation of the character's robot mode on the underside of the vehicle. The vehicles do not "transform" per se, but instead you stand the vehicle up and reveal the robot mode underneath.

Optimus Prime is part of the "Commander Series". The co-sells listed on his packaging are Bumblebee, Barricade and Mixmaster. While Bumblebee is clearly listed, Mixmaster and Barricade have "MORE VEHICLES ON THE WAY!" in bold text stamped over their names.

Vehicle Mode:
Optimus Prime's vehicle mode is based on the real life Petebilt truck he transforms into in the Transformers movies. It's a very powerful form with a bulk that conveys the strength that the character of Optimus Prime wields. At the same time, there are many sleek lines in this form, and both types of design aspects get represented very well in this form. Since part of the idea of the small RPM vehicles is to create high speed racing toys, a truck mode isn't exactly common so it is nice to see Optimus' form was not reinterpreted in any way. Instead, the designers paid a lot of careful attention to incoprorating the details of the real life Peterbilt truck into this toy. These details include:

  • The wide panel in the front with a row of raised circles representing bolts.
  • The tall grille complete with the small piece on top where the Autobot symbol would be. The shape of the symbol is sculpted here, but the symbol itself is not there. It would be rather tiny if it was so this omission is not unexpected.
  • The row of lights running along the top of the cabin section.
  • Fuel tanks on the sides, sculpted with the raised bands that circle around the tube shaped tanks.
  • While he has no trailer, the section in the back that would normally link to a trailer is present.
  • Rows of three rear lights on either side of the vehicle.

Within a lot of the details described above are many sculpted details that really impressed me. This includes a cross hatch pattern on the steps leading into the cabin of the vehicle, small details representing chains on the back of the cabin section and raised lines on the side of the cabin section representing doors. I think sometimes with smaller toys such as this it becomes easy to gloss over details such as these, but at a $3.99 price point, I demand a bit more, especially if a figure doesn't transform, and in that regard Optimus definitely delivers.

Optimus is cast in two types of plastic. Most of the figure is mad eup of a solid plastic that is light enough to allow the vehicle to speed along smooth surfaces. The main plastic color is silver, with some black plastic used for the wheels. The other plastic is a soft plastic used for the panel on the back of the cabin section, the vertical tubes by the sideview mirrors and most importantly the smokestacks. I really wish that safety laws would allow these smokestacks to be more solid since the smokestacks bend really easily but that would defeat the purpose of using the soft plastic.

Paint applications are done in metallic blue, silver, metallic red and orange. The covers on the rear wheels and the mid-section of the cabin are painted blue. The front end of the vehicle is painted mostly red. The orange is used on the front of the vehicle's nose where it creates a base for the blue flames to contrast against. On the sides of the cabin are red flames on the doors and behind the smokestacks. The top of the cabin section also has flames behind the row of the lights. Overall the colors are very dramatic and look fantastic. Using the metallic paint is a nice way to give the toy a metallic appearance and it's nice to see the flame details done so intricately.

Unlike most of the RPM vehicles Optimus rolls on six wheels instead of four. As far as I can tell this doesn't affect the performance of the vehicle when rolling it around on a desk or other similar hard surfaces. I can imagine that with a slightly bulkier and less aerodynamic vehicle form he would not move quite as fast as say, RPM Bumblebee.

Robot Mode:
The sculpture of Optimus Prime is found on the underside of the vehicle. Above the sculpture is a sculpted Autobot symbol inside a circle. Thanks to the somewhat larger vehicle mode Optimus has, there is more room for the sculpture to fill out than on other RPMs, allowing him to not only not look crammed in, but also posed with one arm slightly bent!

The sculpt of the robot mode is very detailed. You'll see a lot of his vehicle mode panels layered on top of intricate mechanical details including his windshield chest panels and armor on the arms. Among my favorite mechanical details are the small lines and tubes that look like they come from parts of his engine. His right arm is sculpted with his blade weapon extended, which looks much more dynamic than he would have if they just sculpted that arm with the fist.

Optimus Prime's robot mode is set against dark brown plastic. The Autobot symbol is cast in red plastic. The actual sculpture of Optimus Prime is painted silver, red and blue, all the requisite colors for the character. In a nice touch light blue is used for his eyes, showing a fair bit of attention was paid to this robot mode's color scheme. He even has a bit of blue flame detail painted onto the right forearm. Underneath the culpture, the words "Optimus Prime" are printed in white using the Transformers Movie font.

Final Thoughts:
Optimus Prime is a very well done RPM vehicle. I was surprised at the amount of detail and the amazing job done on the deco. Highly recommended!