"Transformers Tribute" Movie Anniversary Optimus Prime Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Leader, Movie (2007), Tribute

Transformers Tribute

Optimus Prime General Information:
Release Date: August 2017
Price Point: $79.99
Retailer: Amazon Exclusive
Accessories: Missile, Missile launcher

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Since 2007, fans have witnessed the epic Transformers action unfold on the big screen, with Optimus Prime leading the Autobots in the battle to protect Earth. Celebrate the legendary Autobot warrior from the movies with this Movie Anniversary Edition Optimus Prime figure, originally released with the first Transformers live action movie.

  • This Movie Anniversary Edition Optimus Prime figure converts in 14 steps
  • Figure converts between robot and truck modes
  • Figure is designed with eye-catching detail and premium, vac metal finishing
  • Activate electronic lights and sounds
  • Auto-triggered conversion mechanically completes final vehicle-to-robot step
  • Ages 8 and up

Premium Design
This Movie Anniversary Edition Optimus Prime figure showcases the heroic Autobot with premium details inspired by the movie. Standing at a 7-inch-scale, this figure is designed with vac metal finishing and high attention to detail. It also features intricate articulation for awesome action poses that makes it perfect for fans and collectors alike.

High-Impact Conversion and Features
Whether he is in robot or truck mode, Optimus Prime fearlessly fights for the freedom of all sentient beings. Convert this Optimus Prime figure from robot mode to truck mode in 14 steps. When switching from vehicle to robot mode, auto-triggered conversion mechanically completes the conversion. Activate electronic lights and sounds by pushing a button on the figure in vehicle mode. Figure also features a projectile and movie-inspired weapon accessory.

Legendary Autobot Leader
When the evil Decepticons tracked the Allspark to Earth, Optimus Prime fearlessly led the Autobots in an epic struggle to protect humanity. He is a beacon of hope with the power to turn the tide against the tyranny waged by his ultimate nemesis, Megatron. As evil Decepticon forces emerge, the legendary Autobot leader charges into action with an unyielding team of Autobot allies.

Back in 2007 the world was introduced to the first live action Transformers film. The movie was a hit, and with it came a toy line that also sold very well. Among the figures released in this line was a Leader Class Optimus Prime featuring lights, sounds and a new aesthetic. As part of the 10th Anniversary of the live action films, this figure was reissued with a new deco as part of the "Transformers Tribute" line launched in 2017. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
Optimus Prime is packaged in a large, rectangular window box. The figure is in robot mode inside, so there is a huge window that lets you see it. Unlike its 2007 counterpart, there is no "try me" window which makes sense. Since this was an Amazon exclusive, there is no brick and mortar presence for this figure so no one can "try" it before buying anyhow. The "Tribute" packaging has a premium look that differs from the "Platinum" packaging of years past. Instead of black, it is mostly white and black. The right side has a huge "Transformers" logo while the "Transformers Tribute" logo is very small on the upper left. I find it interesting how understated the logo is. There is artwork on the lower part of the packaging that is very muted and not heavily colored. The top of the packaging has a large, light grey drawing of Optimus Prime's head. The back shows the figure in both modes along with a blurb about the leader (seen in the official text above). The packaging definitely has a very distinguished and distinctive look and I like it quite a lot.

Robot Mode:
This Optimus Prime figure gives fans a look into another era of Transformers figures. Back then, Leader Class figures were heavy and often featured electronics. They were also larger than modern day Leader Class figures. When I did a "weigh in" comparison, this figure weighs about 1 pound, 7 ounces while Leader Class Overlord from "Titans Return" weighs a little over 10 ounces. I bet quite a bit of weight would be lost with this Optimus if you took out the electronics, but it is still an interesting contrast to see ten years later.

We have had a decade and dozens of figures released representing Optimus Prime in his live action movie form. It is important to keep in mind that this was one of the first attempts Hasbro made at a Leader Class version of the character from the movies, and if there is one thing the figure is guilty of, it is being rather chunky and bulky. While his on-screen counterpart was rather thin and streamlined in appearance, the trend at the time was to create bulky Leader Class figures who had a satisfying chunkiness that contributed to being "worth" the (then) $50 USD price point (which is around $60 USD in 2017 dollars). What this means is that this figure does not really recreate the appearance of the on-screen CG model as well as future figures would, but for the time it was great. Between some of the sculpted details and the Automorph feature, it really did have the "feel" of the movie designs even if it did not achieve it fully in the figure's design.

Now, all that is not to say that this figure does not have any details from the CG model used in the film. The head sculpt is clearly based on the Optimus from the 2007 movie, complete with horizontal "vent" lines on the sides of the helmet. His shoulders have cylinders on top and there are vertical panels on top of his shoulders. Windows are found on his chest, but they are split in the middle, showing an inner layer of mechanical detail. His knee armor comes up over the thighs a bit and his feet have two distinct "toes" in front. Ten years later, I still really love the look of this figure.

The colors on this figure are very similar to the original release, but the tone of the colors is intended to give the figure a brighter look. For the most part, the plastic colors are all the same but the shades are different. On the original, there was a heavy use of dark blue plastic. On t his version the blue is lighter and metallic. The red is now a lighter, metallic red and the silver plastic is also lighter in tone. The translucent blue used on the original's chest is now clear plastic. To add to the "premium" look of the figure, several key parts have been vacuum metallized with silver. This includes the covers over the windows on his chest, the feet and the faux grille sections on the torso.

The paint details on this figure are very similar to the original in some ways, and very different in others. For instance, he still has red on the shoulders and forearms and blue on the hips. He also still has flame patterns on his clegs and the top of his chest. However, the flames are actually a different pattern than the original (you have to stare at them a moment to see the difference) and they lack the orange spray op under the blue flames found on the original. Instead, the blue flames on the legs just overlap the red plastic with nothing in between. I have to say that these changes do enhance the look of the figure. I prefer the brighter metallic colors and I don't really miss the orange spray ops. It would have been nice to have them but I do not feel anything is "missing". The vacuum metallized parts really do add a premium appearance to the figure, though some fans rightfully get concerned about such parts as they are known to flake off or wear down easily. Clearly this piece is meant to be more of a collector/display piece so unless you are thrashing the figure about a lot, I would not be too concerned with the vacuum metallized parts.

It has been many years since this figure was released, but I am happy to report that the joints are all still nice and tight. I had also completely forgotten that this figure has individual finger articulation, something that is rare even with Masterpiece level figures nowadays. Interestingly, the right knee joint on my copy of this figure is significantly tighter than the left. It moves just fine, but it took a bit more effort than I expected. It is also important to note that you have to stand the figure in very specific poses if you want to display it as the weight on the "back pack" is significant.

One of Optimus' action features involves the missile launcher attached to his arm. In an attempt to simulate the way his blaster kind of "morphs" out of his arm in the film, this weapon swings over his right fist, making the forearm look like it has "transformed" into the weapon. The launcher has a clear blue missile inside (lighter in color than the original) that fires when you press the button on top. A really fun additional feature involves weapon barrels on the lower part of the forearm. When you swing the missile launcher forward, these two barrels slide out as part of the "Automorph" feature on this figure (more on that below). I really like this feature a lot and wish that modern Transformers figures had more like it.

The other action feature on this figure is also related to the "Automorph" feature. There is a stylized tab in the middle of the chest. Push it down and it moves up automatically. While it does so, the robot head moves up as if the figure is finishing its transformation into robot mode. When the head moves all the way up, the eyes and chest light up with orange lights and a sound plays ending in the sound of laser fire. This is a really fun feature that plays into the "Automorph" gimmick of the time. Like the missile launcher's "Automorph" feature, I wish more toys nowadays had gimmicks like this.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
This Optimus Prime figure features what is known as the "Automorph" feature that was featured on many of the 2007 movie figures. "Automorph" refered to a design feature where as you move one piece, another piece moves at the same time - mostly to facilitate transformation. On Optimus this is seen on two parts. Using the tab on his chest, you push it down and his head moves down while his chest panels move together. When transforming him into robot mode you press the tab on his lower body and this part slides up as the chest panels slide to the sides. This is accompanied by a sound and orange lights on his chest and eyes flashing. The other Automorph feature is found on the feet. When you turn the fender piece to the sides, his "claw feet" fold back. Not only is this feature nice to see in action, but it is a nice play on the visuals seen in the film where several parts on the character moved at one time during transformation.

  1. Fold all the fingers on the hands closed and swing the thumb down.
  2. Swing the weapon back if deployed.
  3. Push the tab on his chest down and lock it into place.
  4. Swing down the silver panels on his shoulders.
  5. Swivel the blue panels on his upper arms over the top of the shoulders.
  6. Swing down the panels on the undersides of his lower arms.
  7. Swing open the silver panels and fold the fists in before putting the panels back in place.
  8. Swing the lower arms up and connect them to the shoulder panels and upper arms.
  9. Swing the rear truck wheel section on the back down.
  10. Swing the waist section back, kdeeping the robot legs pointing down.
  11. On the back, swing the red panels out and then swing the tube sections forward.
  12. Swing the arm sections back and connect them together.
  13. Swing up the rear wheel sections and connect them to the arm sections.
  14. Swing the fenders on the underside of the feet to the sides, then slide them into place to lock them.
  15. Connect the two legs together.
  16. Fold out the knee armor panels.
  17. Swing the knee armor panels forward.
  18. Swing the legs up and straighten out the panels to form the hood of the truck.
  19. Swing the red panels on the sides (with the vertical tanks on them) forward.

Vehicle Mode:
From the 2007 "Transformers" movie to "Dark of the Moon", Optimus Prime transformed into a customized Peterbilt longnose truck. Say what you will about the movies or the choice of vehicle, but this figure is a gorgeous representation of the Peterbilt truck. The truck has a lot of the key features of the Optimus Prime Peterbilt vehicle including:

  • Like the real life vehicle this one has a long nose in front leading to a boxy middle section and a flat rear section.
  • The headlights are two circles set horizontally inside an oval.
  • A distinct front grille complete with a small Autobot symbol on top.
  • Cylinders mounted horizontally on the sides.
  • Vertical cylinders near the doors.
  • Steps that lead up to the doors.

There are lots of small details including raised "bolts" on the front panels, the distinct ridges on the wheels and rims and the thin lines along the smokestacks. Overall the detail on this vehicle mode is super cool and looks great.

Like the robot mode, this mode shows off plenty of the lighter plastic colors, especially the metallic red and blue. However it also shows off a lot of vacuum metallized silver. From the front, to the rims to the cylinders on the sides the vac metal gives the vehicle a certain realistic feel that was absent in the original release. It is also worth noting that the wheels are all rubber, which adds to the realistic appearance of the figure.

Like the robot mode, the paint details are different in this form than the previous release. There are some extra blue details on the front end and the flame details are new patterns (though similar to the original). Overall the truck looks gorgeous.

It is not just the robot mode that has electronics. On top of the cabin section there is a button on the right side. Press it and the windows light up orange and the truck gives off a loud "Honk honk!" noise which is very fun.

Final Thoughts:
The most difficult part to swallow for this figure is the price. At the original price of $79.99 this figure is a no go for most fans, and I totally get it. For that price you could conceivably get two modern day Leader Class figures (before tax) at Walmart. You could also buy a ton of smaller figures or put that towards a Titan Class figure. Indeed, I myself waited until this went on sale (my original "jump on" price was $50 USD, but during the Black Friday sales of 2017 it went down to $30 USD for one day!). If you can get this at a price approaching the original retail (around $60ish in today's world) then I say it is absolutely worth it. If you can get it for even less like I did, it is absolutely worth jumping on if you do not already own the original.

All that said, the price does not fully shock me. If you start with the $60 USD price point (based on inflation from 2007 to 2017) and consider this is an exclusive figure (which are generally more expensive) the $79.99 price point makes sense, but it is still rather expensive for most fans to go after.

This is a solid, chunky and fun figure that looks cool in both modes. Recommended if you can get it at a discount.

Pros:

  • Heavy and substantial weight and design.
  • Fun action features.
  • Fun lights and sounds.
  • New deco is brighter and more visually engaging.
  • All joints and features are still functional despite age of tooling.
  • Beautiful vehicle mode.
  • Vacuum metallized parts look fantastic.

Cons:

  • Price point is higher than most fans will want to pay (wait for a discount).
  • While there are many points of articulation, the weight of the figure makes it difficult to pose.
  • The sculpt is based on, but not a great representation of the Movie CG model.
  • Vac metal has a mixed history with Transformers toys. On some toys it flakes or rubs off after a while. On others it's just fine. It's too early to tell how these vacuum metallized parts will do, so I recommend if you do get it be careful with those parts.