"The Last Knight" Voyager Class Optimus Prime Toy Review
Release Date: April 28, 2017 (Official Street Date)
Price Point: $29.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Sword, Shield
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. The legendary action comes to life with Transformers: The Last Knight Premier Edition Voyager Class figures. This Premier Voyager Optimus Prime figure converts from robot to truck in 30 steps and comes with sword and shield accessories. The Premier Edition features iconic characters with movie-inspired details from Transformers: The Last Knight. As the legendary leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime never wavers in his fight for the freedom of all sentient beings. His valor and strength make him Earth’s greatest protector as the human race encounters the merciless Decepticons. But when fate hangs in the balance, even Optimus Prime encounters a foe that could push him to his limits. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
Optimus Prime is packaged in a window box. The design feels like an evolution of the "Age of Extinction" packaging design. If you are facing the package the right hand side has a vertical "Transformers" logo against a light grey background with some metallic looking finish on it and the "Premier Edition" logo above it. Under the "Premier Edition" logo is a Cybertronian glyph which some fans online have figured out is the letter "V", which makes sense since "The Last Knight" is the fifth movie in the series. The figure sits in a plastic tray inside the packaging against a background printed on cardboard. The background has an Autobot symbol and some ancient looking designs (alluding to some of the iconography of the movie itself). Set in front of the figure is artwork of Optimus Prime from the movie. In a nice touch, this artwork actually wraps around to the side of the packaging where there is another vertical "Transformers" logo.
The back of the box has photos of Optimus Prime in both modes with the 30 step transformation called out between them. To the side is the cosell of the wave: Voyager Class Grimlock. Sadly there is zero bio information on the back, which is a shame. If you are going to call a figure "Premium" you may as well go all out on the packaging and provide some type of write up as well. Overall the packaging looks great, but this was a disappointment.
Optimus Prime's design became more and more problematic as an action figure as the live action movies went along. At first he was a very straight forward design that was clearly meant to transform into a truck, complete with his traditional "chest windows' and parts of the truck mode being heavily featured in robot form. However by the time "Age of Extinction" rolled around, the designers gave Optimus Prime the look of a knight in armor. That meant he had very humanoid proportions, but it also meant that his transformation into a longnose Western Star truck quickly became the stuff of magic. In the "Age of Extinction" toy line many Optimus Prime toys wound up having big chunks of his vehicle form hanging off of them partly because the robot torso, arms and legs needed to look curved like a human being's body.
Fast forward three years and Hasbro has been given the chance to take another shot at creating this design in toy form, and I have to say I am very pleased with what they came up with. First off the sculpt on this figure is spectacular. As I wrote this review I stared at a big photo of Optimus Prime from "Age of Extinction" and this figure and it really amazed me just how many tiny little details they integrated into the figure. This includes the tiny details on his head including the vent lines on the sides of the helmet and the way the middle of his mouthplate comes together with some vertical indentations. Other crazy details include the collar like parts on either side of his neck and some of the Y and V shaped bits of armor on his torso. They even sculpted in "wires" that hang off the top part of the thighs and curve down to the sides and then back up. From a sculpting point of view this figure looks amazing.
The visual appeal of this figure does not end with tiny details (because frankly, other versions of this Optimus Prime have had tiny details too). What this figure manages to do better than other versions of this Optimus is give him much better proportions. Instead of having a humanoid looking body with a giant truck hanging off his back, the designers found ways to compress the truck mode parts so they are mostly flattened or out of the way. One of the best examples is the top part of the vehicle mode which rests flat against his back. This was accomplished partly by having the door/side panels fold out against the back. In another brilliant design choice, the front wheels of the vehicle wind up on the sides of the ankles and the rear wheels of the vehicle mode are hidden under panels behind the lower legs. While this does not replicate the look of the CG model 100%, it comes really darn close.
This figure is cast in several plastic colors including metallic red, metallic blue, gunmetal grey, silver and black. The metallic colors really sparkle under the right lighting and they give him the look of heavy machinery. The gunmetal color is distributed throughout the body from the torso down to the legs. Silver is mostly concentrated on the top portion on parts like his smokestacks. Metallic red and blue are distributed throughout the figure as well, forming bits of armor on parts like his shoulders arms and legs. The plastic colors are not the only beautiful colors chosen for this figure. Silver and metallic blue are heavily distributed all over this figure from the head to the chest to the legs. Like the plastic, these paint colors look amazing and they really do look like colors from a deco we would have only previously seen in a "Platinum Edition" figure.
All that gushing aside, the deco is not perfect. The accessories are painted very flat, bright colors which look kind of cheap next to the metallics on the figure. Also, Optimus is missing many of the signature flames that his movie incarnation is known for. This is especially noticeable on the chest and shoulder armor. Finally, the hip armor was left unpainted (it is blue on the CG model) and that part looks unfinished.
There are twenty points of articulation on this figure. This includes five on each arm, four on each leg and waist articulation. As part of his transformation, the shoulder section has a swivel joint that allows the arms to swing forward. I am counting this since this helps him hold his sword using both hands which frankly, looks amazing. Each of his fists has a 5mm port in it and the sides of his forearms have ports as well. This allows you to attach the shield to the forearms, which also looks fantastic. In an unexpected move, the designers included a sheathe on his back, allowing you to stow his sword away at an angle. Thanks to the way his arms are designed, he can actually reach back as if taking the sword out! I had not expected this functionality and it was a pleasant surprise indeed.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the sword and shield and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the panels on the chest down.
- Swing the panels on the back of the forearms down.
- On each leg, push the front of the foot down a bit and then swing it back. It will swing back along with the panel on the back of the leg.
- Rotate each lower leg in so the rear wheels of the vehicle mode face outward.
- Swing the front halves of the vehicle mode out.
- Swing the robot feet around, then swing them up. There is a tab on the top of the feet that fit into a corresponding slot on the panel that was on the back of the legs.
- On each leg swing up the halves of the trailer hitch.
- On each half of the vehicle's front end, swing the grille halves up.
- Rotate the top half of the body around.
- Move the back panel (the top of the truck) up.
- Swing the side/door panels on the back out to the sides, straightening them out.
- Move the arms forward on the shoulder hinge (this gets them out of the way for now).
- Swing the waist armor piece up.
- Swing the legs up.
- Pull the torso panel forward and flip it on the hinge and push it down so it is laying flat.
- Push the robot head down into the chest compartment.
- Swing the arms in. Move the shoulder armor pieces down.
- Swing the sections from the back forward to begin forming the sides of the vehicle. On each of the forearm panels you connected in the previous step there is a tab sticking out to the sides. Each of the vehicle mode's front halves has a corresponding groove that connects to it.
- Push the two halves formed by the arms and front wheel wells together to form the nose of the truck.
- Swing the panels from the sides forward. They tab into the sides of the nose (you will see the groove there).
- Swing the top of the vehicle over and down, tabbing it in to hold the truck form together.
- The sword attaches to the bottom of the vehicle for storage.
- The shield can be attached to the trailer hitch in the back.
I do not usually comment on the transformation, but this one is absolutely amazing. This level of complexity is close to the level of Leader Class figures from the first and second live action film toy lines, but the movements of the parts are far more intuitive. While there are a lot of steps, I figured out most of them without having to look at the instructions. The transform is fun and that is one of the keys to a successful Transformers figure.
The "Transformers" designers have had ample experience in recreating Optimus Prime's Western Star vehicle mode. This figure features a lot of the key design elements of the real life Western Star truck that serves as Optimus Prime's vehicle mode in the films. This includes the overall curved shape in front that sweeps back to the rear wheels. The smokestacks curve at a distinctive angle on top, with three of them bunched together on either side. Running along the edges of the sides are cylinders and there is a row of lights right above the windshield. Small details have been captured as well, including an Autobot symbol at the top of the grille in front, tiny Autobot symbols on the sides of the wheels and the "Western Star" logo sculpted into the sides. From a sculpting perspective the designers nailed the look of the real life vehicle in this figure.
The deco is where this figure falls a bit short, though to be fair it still looks great. This mode mostly shows off metallic blue and black plastic. The front end features metallic red plastic. Paint applications are done in red, metallic blue and silver. The silver is used on parts such as the cylinders on the sides and the row of lights above the windshield (essentially substituting for the parts that would otherwise be vacuum metallized silver on the real life vehicle). Silver is also used to paint the front grille and bumper. Red and blue are used for flame patterns on the front and sides. These do not match up exactly with the ones from the real life vehicle, but the style is the same and they came close. Overall I think the deco on the truck mode is good, but not great. Among the paint applications I would have liked to see would have been silver on the sides of the wheels and actually painting the logos on the sides of the vehicle.
The sword slides into the center slot on the bottom of the vehicle. The shield can be stored on the back where the trailer would connect.
Voyager Class Optimus Prime is the highlight of the entire first wave of "Premiere Edition" figures for "The Last Knight". The figure looks amazing in robot mode with fun play features and an intuitive transformation. The vehicle mode deco is not the best, but it looks good. If you are into the movie lines at all, this Optimus Prime deserves to be on your shelf.
- Sculpt looks great in both modes.
- Has largely solved the "truck on my back" issue of previous versions of this Optimus Prime.
- Ability to sheathe sword on back.
- The robot mode deco looks really good.
- Intuitive and fun transformation.
- For the higher price ($29.99 versus $24.99 for your typical Voyager Class figure) the deco in vehicle mode should be more complete.