Armada Toy Reviews: Optimus Prime (Powerlinx)

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Armada, Autobot, Generation One


General Information:
Release Year: June 2003
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price Point: Approximately $39.99 depending on retailer
Accessories: Corona Sparkplug Mini-Con figure, Missile x 1, Rifle, Smokestacks/gun halves x 2

In the final episodes of Transformers: Armada, Optimus Prime underwent a change where his color scheme changed (of course, he was "powered up" as well). In the comic book, he also "powered up" with an accompanying color change. These were based on the Armada toy "Final Battle Optimus Prime", a redeco of the Super Optimus Prime toy. As a bonus, his Mini-Con partner, Sparkplug has been retooled into a new form as Corona Sparkplug. Check out the Super Optimus Prime toy review for more details about this toy. This review will focus on the changes made for this release.

Corona Sparkplug

Sparkplug has received an upgrade to "Corona Sparkplug". While the transformation scheme for the toy remains the same, Virtually every part has been retooled.

Vehicle Mode:
From a regular sports car, Sparkplug is now a stylized, futuristic looking car. While still sleek, the basic shape of the car has been altered. The front has small points on the sides and the front has a grill with two lines. The section from the top of the hood to the headlights area is indented. Even the shape of the windows are different. Angles have been added to the windshield and side windows. The rear section is very different than the original. On either side are large vents and in the middle is a huge turbine.

Some fans have described Sparkplug's upgrade as being a "Batmobile-esque" type design, and that wouldn't be all too surprising considering one of the designers on Transformers once worked on the Batman toy line.

Robot Mode:
In robot mode we find that Sparkplug's main body frame piece is dark red. This becomes his legs and upper arms in this form. This color primarily helps him match up color-wise with Optimus Prime. Sparkplug's hands have been remolded to define the fingers and thumbs better.

Many people equated the first Sparkplug toy with the G1 character Bumblebee. Besides being yellow, his head design was similar to Bumblebee's, so much so that some artists at comic publisher even drew Sparkplug with a very Bumblebee-esque head. This brings us to Corona Sparkplug's color scheme, which is very appropriate considering this "relation". When G1 Bumblebee "upgraded", he received an upgraded body and renamed himself "Goldbug". In this case, Corona Sparkplug is now vacuum metallized gold. Quite appropriate.

I really like the way the remold of this toy was done, and the color scheme is very appropriate. An awesome job.

Final Battle Optimus Prime

Vehicle Mode:
Optimus Prime's new color scheme is very subdued compared to the more traditional red/blue scheme the first version of this toy had. The idea seems to have been to make him more "gritty" and "dark". His primary colors are all grays and blues. The front of the cab is mostly dark blue. The rear section is gray and light blue-gray. On the front section of the cab, silver and dark red are used for details. The lights on the top part of the cab are painted yellow.The trailer is mostly molded in red and black plastic. Metallic silver (both dark and light) are used to paint details such as the machinery on the treads.

I really like the whole "black/red/gray" color scheme. The toned down red and blues are enough to evoke the standard red and blue colors used for most Optimus-esque robots. The metallic silver color helps offer a bright contrast that still evokes the feel of machinery.

Robot Mode:
Optimus Prime's robot mode is colored very differently than the typical Optimus Prime color scheme. Whereas the vehicle mode has red on it, this form is mostly different shades of gray and blue. His shoulders, upper arms and lower arms are all dark blue. His chest, waist, upper arms and feet are gray and his head, fists and lower arms are light blue-gray.

Smaller parts were done in red, helping it to match up with the vehicle mode. His eyes, mouthplate and elbow joints are red. Yellow paint details have been added on the crest, shoulders, the chest plate and the Matrix chamber. The Matrix itself is still gold with the crystal in the center painted metallic blue.

What I like about this color scheme is that it is dark, but not "evil" like Nemesis Prime's. By keeping with shades of blue and gray, the color scheme is just enough to evoke the standard Optimus color scheme.

Base Mode:
Since the base mode is comprised of the trailer section, the colors are all the strong black, silver and red colors. While this isn't a terribly "Prime-like" color scheme, it certainly looks striking. The original blue/gray colors were nice, and appropriate to boot. However, having these colors really draws your eye in, and it makes the base look that much more formidable.

All the base's functions are intact, including the neat little seat at the top of the tower for a Mini-Con to operate. The electronics are all the same as well.

Super Mode:
As long time readers of this site know, I'm a big fan of the "black/red/silver" color scheme, and although this toy is not exactly those colors, they play enough of a part in the scheme to really make this guy look cool.

Two shades of gray play a huge part here. The shoulders, fists, rifle and part of the back are light gray. The lower arms and most of the head is blue gray. The upper body is mostly dark blue with red designs. It's really nice to see how the red designs from the vehicle mode carry over to form details on the chest, including the nice tampo stamped Autobot symbol on the center. The robot head is painted silver, and the "smokestack/ears" are red.

The lower body is mostly a mix of the three aforementioned colors, red, black and silver. What makes these colors look cool is that each is a very strong, dominating color - when they're combined, the contrast is quite visually powerful. Oddly, there is a panel on the upper legs one side (the left) is painted yellow, but the right isn't. However, I know that versions exist where both sides are painted yellow. I bought this toy when it first came out,
so this may have just been an error in the early run.

Final Thoughts:
Final Battle (or Powerlinx) Optimus Prime is a great looking redeco. Kudos to the designers for going against using all traditional Prime colors, and instead using a cool color scheme that is somewhat reminscent of Prime. If you didn't buy the first Armada Prime, here's your chance again!