"The Last Knight" Knight Armor Optimus Prime Toy Review
Release Date: April 28, 2017 (Official Street Date)
Price Point: $19.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Official images and text in italics below are from Amazon.com:
The explosive Transformers saga continues with Transformers: The Last Knight. With the fate of Earth at stake, new heroes must rise in an epic struggle to forge a future for all. Join the action and experience the thrill of quick conversion with Transformers: The Last Knight -- Knight Armor Turbo Changer figures. Switch this Turbo Changer Optimus Prime figure from robot to truck mode in 2 exciting steps. Flip the knight’s helmet over the figure’s head in robot mode to activate Knight Armor. Imagine charging into battle with this Transformers: The Last Knight -- Knight Armor Turbo Changer figure. Optimus Prime fights for the freedom of all sentient beings. Now he must travel to deep space on a quest that will put him to the ultimate test. Join the mission and imagine battling treacherous forces with the legendary Autobot leader. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
The term "Turbo Changers" has been introduced in "The Last Knight" to refer to simpler figures, separating them from the more "Generations"-esque "Premiere Edition" toys. These figures are then further sub-divided into different categories. Taking a cue from the "Robots in Disguise" line, the "3 Step Changer" style of figures has been adopted into "The Last Knight" as "Knight Armor" figures (in some cases they were referred to as "Armor Up" figures). These figures are roughly 8 inches tall in robot mode and feature a simplified transformation. In addition to that these figures have an extra bit of armor that pops up over the character's face. One of the first figures released in this sub-line was Optimus Prime.
Not only is the concept of the 3 Step Changer carried over to this line, so is the style of packaging. The Knight Armor figures are attached to a bubble which is in turn attached to a cardboard box. The box has a flat backing that shows off character art and the Transformers logo. It then wraps around in front of the figure showing the Knight Armor action feature, the vehicle mode and the movie logo on the bottom. There is no bubble or anything over the figure, so you can see the figure in packaging unobstructed.
The design for Optimus Prime introduced in "Age of Extinction" was a rather problematic one from a toy perspective. Sure it looked fantastic on screen, giving Optimus the look of a medieval suit of armor. On screen it was easy to manipulate pixels and patterns on screen to turn that form into a real life truck. Unfortunately creating a functional action figure of that model is another story. One of the biggest weaknesses of previous designs was basically Optimus Prime having a giant truck on his back. Now, don't get me wrong, this figure does suffer from this to a degree, but thanks to the way the truck bits on the back are integrated into the robot form, it is not as obtrusive as it has been on other figures. The top of the truck mode actually fits over a chunk of the torso and into the back of the thighs, giving the robot mode a slightly more streamlined appearance than some of his predecessors.
When the constraints of having tons of articulation or features is removed, some room frees up for the sculptors to let loose a bit. Thanks to that this figure has a ton of detailing in the sculpt. The head has a lot of the key details including the crest and antennae on the sides. Since he has a mask that flips over as part of his action feature the face has his mouth sculpted on it instead of the mouthplate. The arms, torso and legs all have layers of mechanical detail covered up with armor panels. Some of my favorite details are the arms which have some circles and wires on the forearms with armor panels on the sides. On top of all this the proportions of the figure look like the CG model complete with a bulky chest/arm area, a waist area that narrows and then legs that widen a bit towards the bottom. Overall I think the figure looks fantastic from a sculpting perspective.
This figure is cast in three key colors: metallic silver, blue and black. The silver makes up most of the figure from the head down to the legs. The wheel well armor on his shoulders and the truck parts on the back are blue. The wheels on his arms and legs are black. Blue paint is used to fill in detailing from the head to the legs. There are red flames painted on the chest and shoulders over the blue. Some silver is used on the smokestacks mounted on the back of the figure. Overall there is not a lot of deco on the figure, but to be fair this version of Optimus does have a lot of silver on him. If this figure had some more blue on the legs and forearms it would have been more screen accurate.
Optimus has two points of articulation in this mode: the forearms. They can swing up and down and each first has a 5mm port so he can hold weapons from other figures. To activate the "Knight Armor" features, press the button on his chest and a helmet flips over from behind the head and fits right over the head. The helmet is interesting. It has a mouthplate with what looks like a row of teeth running across it. There is also a large crest on top and armor panels that point upward and sweep back at a slight angle. It's an almost "savage" looking mask that reminds me of some of the "Mutant Heads" from "Beast Wars" and I really dig that aesthetic.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Straighten out the arms.
- Swing the battle mask back if deployed.
- Hold the front half of the figure, then pull on the back, lifting up the truck section then folding it over and pushing the tabs on the sides into the corresponding slots on the robot legs.
- Swing the smokestacks up.
When it comes to licensed vehicles in the toy world, generally the company that owns the license for the vehicles have standards they want toys to adhere to when representing their product. That's a good thing when it comes to Transformers because it means that fans get more screen-accurate vehicles! This vehicle mode has a lot of the key details from the real life Western Star truck that is used as Optimus Prime's vehicle mode in the films. Among the details it has are:
- The general shape is a longnose truck with a curved front end that angles up to the passenger area and then curves up one more level.
- Over the windshield is a row of lights on a panel.
- The grille has a series of vertical lines with an Autobot symbol in the middle on top.
- The sides feature a couple of steps to get into the truck and cylinders behind that.
- The smokestacks each feature three pipes that curve and angle outward.
- The wheel/tire design is the same as the on-screen model with the front wheels having circles on them while the rear ones have cylinders that stick out a bit in the middle.
- There are Western Star logos under the steps into the cab section and between the two rear wheel wells.
The most movie "inaccurate" part is found on the back where the robot legs and feet are visible. Does this kind of ruin the illusion? Yeah, a bit. However given the simplified nature of this figure I appreciate what the designers were able to do with this form.
This mode shows off a lot of the blue plastic from the back of the robot mode. Silver appears on the sides and back. Silver is used on the grille, the row of lights on top of the windshield and the ends of the smokestacks. Red flames are painted on the hood and sides, roughly matching some of the flame patterns on the real life vehicle. Unfortunately some parts are unpainted including the sides of the wheels and the headlights. This is hardly a shock given the simplified nature of this figure. Overall the deco looks good, just not spectacular.
"3 Step Changer" style figures are always tough to whole heatedly recommend because their articulation is so limited and they generally do not have accessories. However for younger kids it is a big Optimus Prime who looks powerful and has a neat action feature. He also transforms easily making for fun play with friends. I think this figure is great for kids, but older fans will want to focus more on Premiere Edition figures.
- Detailed sculpt.
- Fun action feature.
- Easy transform.
- Limited articulation.
- No accessories.
- Limited deco.