Galaxy Force Toy Reviews: Primus

in 2005, Action Figure Review, Galaxy Force, Generation One

Transformers Galaxy Force

General Information:
Release Year: March 2006
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $100 (Depending on Import Retailer, purchased at Image Anime)
Accessories: Omega Lock, Force Chip, Missiles x 2

Images:

Sounds:

Primus Box art scan by </p />
<p>Sean Hill

Tech Specs:*
Transformation: Planet (Seibertron) Super-colossal spaceship
Abilities: Creator of all Transformers, a god-like figure to them. Considered a legendary being since the birth of the Transformers, his true form is in fact a titanic Transformer who turned into their homeworld of Seibertron. With his love for all of space, achieves the exact opposite of the evil cosmic emperor Unicron. Capable of super-subspace flight in spaceship mode, thought to have existed in another dimension's universe prior to the Transformers' creation. His existence is enshrouded in many mysteries.

Profile: Loves universal peace and order.

Weapon(s): Shoulder-mounted Planet Cannons capable of destroying a fixed star. Brightness Shot slices through planets.

Strength: NA  Intelligence: NA  Speed: NA  Endurance: NA
Rank: NA  Courage: NA  Firepower: NA  Skill: NA



*Tech Specs translated by Doug Dlin.

When I was in elementary school and Transformers were still one of the newest things around, my fellow fans and I would often speculate on the toys that could be made. Some of these ideas would prove to be great and others not over the twenty plus year history of the line. Combining Dinobots?, not so much. Transformable Star Wars vehicles, wow, they actually made that?! Of course, after Transformers: The Movie came out, everyone wanted Unicron, and then over a decade later we got him. So you've made the biggest monster planet Transformer, what's left?

The answer was actually kind of obvious. Since those innocent days when we didn't even know what a Headmaster was yet, fans had speculated on what it would be like if the planet Cybertron itself was a Transformer, and now we have our answer: it looks a lot like the God of all Transformers: Primus!

Introduced to Transformers fans during the course of the Generation One comic book series, Primus has since taken on a life of its own as a character. While fans may have been content in leaving Primus to the obscurity of the Marvel comics, the Beast Wars series resurrected his name as a significant figure in Transformers history. Since then, Primus has been somewhat of an omnipresent force in the Transformers mythos, culminating in his appearance being a critical portion of the Galaxy Force series.

Packaging:
Although technically this figure is part of the Galaxy Force/Cybertron line up of figures, Takara chose to package Primus differently since the Galaxy Force toy line has effectively ended in Japan. Perhaps to make him more widely acceptable, or just for the sheer coolness factor of it all, Primus is packaged in Generation One style packaging. The background is a red to black fade with a yellow light burst in the center. Primus' impressive package art dominates the front of the box along witht he classic Generation One Transformers logo. No sub-headers, no specific line names, just a good old fashioned Transformers package, which is actually a rarity nowadays.

In Japan, all Generation One Transformers were given designation numbers, roughly corresponding to which release they were in the line. Primus boldly displays "00" as his numerical designation, showing he was the very first Transformer. Period. To emphasize his special place in history, the back of the packaging has an amazing piece of art. Primus is in the background with Cybertron leaders from every generation in front of him including the original Convoy, Superlink Convoy, Rodimus Convoy, Victory Saber and Beast Wars Convoy. Special thanks to fellow fan Sean Hill for allowing me to use his professional scan of this image in this review.

Omega Lock and Force Chip:
The Omega Lock is the device which connects Primus' Spark to Cybertron's structure, allowing him to transform the planet into its robot form. The device has four slots which each accomodate a Force Chip. When you connect the Omega Lock to the top of Cybertron or Primus' chest, the center piece lights up. The main section is cast in silver, the four pieces on top are cast in translucent light blue plastic.

Primus' Force Chip is the "special" key included with figures such as Exigeyser. This key is cast in clear translucent plastic. Metallic blue-silver paint is used to detail the edges and the Autobot symbol in the middle.

Robot Mode:
While this is the first figure ever made of the Primus character, he has appeared in Transformers lore efore. In issue #74 of the original Marvel comic book series, Primus was shown as a being whose design was influenced by Rodimus Prime. Years later, Transformers artist Don Figueroa would come up with a hypothetical robot form for Primus if Cybertron transformed. It is largely this illustration which influenced the design of this robot form.

The Hasbro and Takara designers had a bit of a challenge ahead of them with Primus. The bar for a planetoid Transformer has already been set with 2003's Unicron release. Not only did the designers have to match that level of detail and play factor, but they also needed to make sure they did not create a toy that would just look like Unicron with a new head.

Primus stands at fifteen inches in robot mode with his missile launchers deployed. This makes him a tiny bit shorter than Unicron, but he still can size up the devourer of worlds if necessary. Primus is also significantly lighter than Unicron, much of this I attribute to sheer bulk. Primus is simply a much more streamlined robot than Unicron is, and he does not have the "wings" on the back since Cybertron doesn't have any rings around it (much, I'm sure, to the delight of the designers).

While Primus may be sleeker and lighter, this does not mean he is not impressive looking. There are three primary types of detail on this figure. The first are the planetoid type details including cities and towers, most of those will be covered in the planet mode review. The primary type are intricate tech details found throughout the body intended solely for the robot mode. A third type of detail is found on smaller section such as the head and chest. These curved details look like some type of ancient Cybertronian design. This design aspect links Primus with Vector Prime who also has similar intricate detailing, providing nice figure to figure continuity.

Since this mode is the unfolded form of Cybertron, in many respects what you are seeing are the inner workings of the planet. Many of the details in this form reflect that. On the shoulder armor there are all different types of details including beams, tubes, vents and the aforementioned ancient Cybertronian designs. On his back, the central section of Cybertron has a lot of vertical lines and cut details which resemble canyon walls.

Every section of Primus is multi-layered, looking like section after section was built on top of something else. The result is not messy looking however. All these layers flow into each other very well. A great example of this can be found on his lower arms which have five primary sections, each at a slightly different level. Each has a fantastic amount of detail, many of which are so small that it adds a sense of scale to the figure.

After twenty plus years of looking at Transformers head sculpts, it is very easy to start seeing influences from characters showing up on other characters. While I will not say that his head design is definitely influenced by these sources, I would say that you can see a bit of Rodimus Prime, Optimus Prime and even the Autobot symbol in the face of Primus. The large central crest and somewhat "V" shaped sides are reminiscent of similar details on Rodimus' head. The ovals and "antennae" on the sides are reminiscent of Optimus. With the large crest and chin strap, you can almost make out an Autobot symbol in that face (though unquestionably, it is Vector Prime's face that is the most Autobot-symbol influenced).

Primus has thirty seven points of articulation in this form. To be fair, this includes nine points of articulation on each hand since his fingers are
articulated (something not common to Transformers toys). But other points such as the arms and legs are articulated at all the appropriate points, and most
of these parts contain ratchet joints so they lock into place nicely. Primus is absolutely stable and has no problem standing.

While Primus may be a God of Light, he is a very heavily armed God of Light. It would be hard to say what his "primary" weapon is since they all look rather threatening. Starting from top to bottom he has:

  • Two shoulder cannons. Each has a functional missile launcher and two sub-missile launchers. The detail level on the barrels is extremely intricate.
  • Each arm has a dual barreled cannon built into it. Inserting a Force Chip into his lower arm activates these weapons. Look at the support struts which have hydraulic details sculpted in. The cannons also have Mini-Con Powerlinx points for additional firepower.
  • Insert the Omega Lock into the side of his leg and rotate it to reveal a battery of weapons inside his lower legs and on the sides. The inside weapons
    have five barrels of various weapons including one that looks like a machine gun. On the sides are five missile tubes (non-functioning).

An additional detail are two claws that extend out from the lower legs. These were one of the miscalculations of the figure's design. Both claws are functional in that they open and close, and both are multi-jointed so they can be posed. They also have Mini-Con Powerlinx points on them, which is great in theory. The problem is, these claws are made of soft plastic, and the joints they have are not strong enough to support most Mini-Cons. Even those it can support wind up leaning against Primus leg.

When transforming the planet to robot form, moving the chest section with the Omega Lock activates a sound effect that sounds like quick laser blasts.

Primus' robot mode is very well done. The sculpting and action features clearly show how twenty years of design experience have been utilized to create one
impressive robot form.

Transformation to Planet Mode:

  1. Collapse the arm cannons if activated.
  2. Fold the claws back into the lower legs.
  3. Use the Omega Lock to rotate the leg cannons into their hidden positions.
  4. Fold the fingers into a fist shape and push the hands into the lower arms.
  5. Swing the front of the robot feet in.
  6. Swing the missile launchers up and rotate them. Swing them into the planet sections on the back.
  7. Straighten the arms and position them to the sides.
  8. Straighten out the legs and connect them.
  9. Insert the Omega Lock into the slot on the chest and push down. This pulls the head into the body, collapses the chest and shoulder armor.
  10. Rotate the lower body around.
  11. Fold the upper body over into the lower body section.
  12. Swing up the blue knee armor pieces.
  13. Fold the rear section of the planet down.
  14. Insert the Omega Lock and push it forward to bring the two top sections of the planet mode together.

Planet Mode:
Cybertron is one of those planets which has taken on many different appearances throughout Transformers history. Perhaps the most well known is the war torn Generation One cartoon appearance. This set the precedent for Cybertron looking like a layered planet with large highways and buildings clearly visible all over its surface. Primus represents this idea well, to the point where they drew from design influences found in the Dreamwave "War Within" comic books.

Most of the surface of Cybertron looks like large metal plates jointed together. Seams of various designs are found all over the surface, some at right angles, others angling off in odd ways while others still just curve. Layered on top of those plates are small details such as circles with lines extending out, possibly buildings with highways leading out of them. These details also include layering, playing on the theme of parts of Cybertron's surface being "cut away" to reveal more details below.

Cybertron is often portrayed as having large sections exposed, revealing detailing (generally buildings) inside. Primus' planet form is no exception. On the top are four sections, each revealing small buildings with highways. What really impresses me is that each of these cities are sculpted differently. Though some of the buildings are similar, their configuration, the locations of the highways etc. all differ. Four large towers also dominate the top of the planet, each with a Mini-Con Powerlinx point at the end.

More cities are found on the lower part of the planet as well. These are larger, having more buildings and highways than the four on the the top. Again, each city is a different sculpt than the other, so no time saving measures were taken by just duplicating a city on the opposite side.

Located on the side of the northern hemisphere is a city that has been known to Transformers fans since the very first episode aired in 1984: Iacon. Painted gold to differentiate it from the other cities, Iacon is clearly based on the design laid out in the DK Ultimate Guide to Transformers. Among the specific buildings sculpted into Iacon are the Chamber of Secrets, the Tower of Pion and the Stellar Galleries.

Another key Cybertronian city gets a nod too. The City-State of Kaon, first introduced in the "War Within" mini-series is here too. It is easy to recognize. On the middle section of the planet you will find a small, circular city that looks scarred, almost like a blight on the planet. This is Kaon, which is said to be one of the cities that represent the taint of Unicron on the Transformers. Here it looks like an infection on Cybertron. This is an awesome detail.

Running along the edge of the northern hemisphere is a large section cut away, primarily for the missile cannons to store away in. However, the design detail along the edges of this suggest some influence by the "Sonic Canyons", a series of constructs on Cybertron that absorb information and feed it to Vector Sigma. I cannot say this for sure, but they look close enough and are a wonderful detail on their own.

Although Primus does not have a ring like Unicron, he does have several towers sticking out the sides of the planet which could double as weapons of some sort. These are all cone shaped and intricately detailed and reflect design aspects from Don Figueroa's original Primus drawing.

Cybertron has been presented in a variety of colors over the years, Primus utilizes a spread of influences from the comic books to cartoons. The main colors are blue and grey. Silver is used on some smaller details and the city of Kaon. The four cities on top are all painted yellow, reflecting the appearance of buildings from Cybertron's "Golden Age". Iacon and the two cities on the lower portion of the planet are metallic bronze colored. The cone shaped towers and cannons on the sides are black. The planet stands on four small black legs on the bottom.

When using the Omega Lock to transform the planet into spaceship mode, a sound effect activates that sounds a lot like a spaceship engine with additional background noise.

Transformation to Spaceship Mode:

  1. Insert the Omega Lock on the top of the planet.
  2. Push the Omega Lock back.
  3. Rotate the missile launchers so the smaller launchers are on top.
  4. Lift the rear panel up.

Spaceship Mode:
Primus' "spaceship mode" (as the tech specs refer to it) is really just a variation on the planet mode, and in some ways is reminscent of how the Beast Wars Transmetals had "third modes" which were really just variants on the beast mode.

With the missile launcher cannons deployed, you get a much better look at the interior of the northern hemisphere of Cybertron. The "Sonic Canyon" details continue all the way to the center of each half, which is really nice to see. The details are intricate and do not repeat the same pattern over and over.

While horrendously out of proportion size-wise, you can attach Mini-Cons to the seven Mini-Con ports on the ship. This also means you can attach Energon weapons to the ship as well, giving it an added set of firepower. Combine weapons and Mini-Cons and you can have one interesting looking spaceship to fight enemy forces with.

I think most fans would have been happy with just two modes of transform for this figure, but having the third offensive mode is a nice touch and adds a lot to the play factor.

Final Thoughts:
Years ago I wondered what it would be like if a toy was made of Cybertron, now fans know the answer to this question. With its high attention to detail, playability and use of well known Cybertronian locations, Primus is truly a figure that belongs in any Transformers collection. Highly recommended.