Release Date: March 2018
Price Point: $5.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Trident weapon, Submarauder Decoy Armor
Official images above are from Hasbro. The official text below in italics are from BigBadToyStore:
The Autobots and Decepticons use Prime Masters to wield the incredible powers of the legendary bots who shaped the universe: the Primes. The Prime Master of Alchemist Prime grants bots mystical scientific abilities. How will the Autobots and Decepticons use these vast scientific powers? Anything is possible and everything is at stake when the Power of the Primes is unleashed!
The trilogy that began with "Combiner Wars" concludes with "Power of the Primes". This line focuses on the original 13 Primes themselves returning. However, instead of gigantic beings storming the battlefield, the Primes have distilled their essence into Sparks that can be used by Transformers to gain all new powers. Depending on which Spark the Transformer takes on, they are powered up in different ways. From a play value standpoint these figures are an extension of the Titan Masters from last year. Instead of coming with beasts or vehicles, these mini-figures now come with "Decoy Armor" based on the designs of G1 era Pretender shells. The idea is that the Primes do not want just any Transformer to take their power, so they infuse these characters with their essence and are "pretending" to be other Transformers, a wonderful play on words and concepts.
Submarauder was not a significant character in the 80's fiction outside of Japan. He made some appearances here and there in the comic books but by the time his action figure was released there were no longer new animated episodes of G1 being produced for the markets outside of Japan. Meanwhile in Japan, the "Masterforce" series helped continue the story of the Transformers with an all new storyline. While Submarauder did not appear in an animated series, his Japanese counterpart (named "Gilmer") did, making this release a "staind in" for two different characters!
The packaging for the Prime Masters is similar to last year's Titan Masters. The figures are in a blister attached to a small card. Unlike last year however the card art on the front features Alchemist Prime in his Submarauder armor in a very dynamic pose with all sorts of energy around him. This is a far better choice than last year where Fortress Maximus' head was on all the packaging for the Titan Masters. The back of the packaging shows a CG render of Alchemist Prime and how he interacts with the Decoy Armor. On top it shows the weapon mode. The side shows a cosell of Alpha Trion.
The basic structure of the Prime Master figures share the same core design as the Titan Master figures. They have the same tab on the back that allows you to attach them to vehicles and playsets from "Titans Return" and "Power of the Primes". The heads are also square in shape and while these figures do not form heads, you can attach them to the larger figures from "Titans Return".
Keeping with the premise of Alchemist Prime "pretending" to be Submarauder, his robot form is based on the G1 Submarauder "inner robot" toy. Among the design elements the two share are:
- The head design features a round helmet with two rectangular pieces flanking the central crest. There are also two half circles on either side of the head calling back to similar circles on either side of G1 Submarauder's head.
- Each shoulder has a distinctive set of angles on the outside and circles in the center.
- The chest has a square shaped section that stick out in the middle with two smaller ones set closer to the shoulders.
- The thighs have two tube-like designs set vertically in the middle.
- The knees have round details on them with indentations on the sides.
- Each of the lower legs has two horizontal lines on them, calling back to stickers on G1 Submarauder's legs.
- The lower legs have two vertical rectangles etched into them. These call back to similar sculpted details on the lower half of G1 Submarauder's legs.
- The sides of the legs have a series of horizontal lines and an indentation towards the bottom, similar to G1 Submarauder's legs.
The main details that are unique to this figure is the Prime symbol on the back of the figure. The symbol shows a series of dots in different sizes, no doubt representing atoms or molecular structures. This is very appropriate for a character named "Alchemist Prime".
This figure is cast in teal and grey plastic, making it quite different than the G1 Submarauder figure. The teal moakes up the torso, waist/hip area and lower legs. Grey makes up the rest of the figure. The most significant deco is black paint used to color in all the circles on his back.
The Prime Masters all have five points of articulation. This includes the head, arms, hips and knees. The legs move together since they are fused together. The joints on my copy of Alchemist Prime are nice and tight with no issues.
Transformation to Spark Mode:
The Prime Masters all transform in the same fashion as the Titan Masters from "Titans Return". Swing the hips up and fold the lower legs in.
The Spark mode is basically the same as the head modes from last year's Titan Masters. Instead of a "face plate" however, there is panel with Alchemist Prime's ancient Cybertronian symbol (discussed above).
The Prime Master Spark modes are designed to attach to Voyager Class figures directly or connect to the "Prime Armor" included with Deluxe figures in the "Power of the Primes" line.
Decoy Armor Mode
The Submarauder Decoy Armor is based on the design of G1 Submarauder's Pretender shell. This Decoy Armor has many of the key elements of that shell's design. These include:
- The head features a giant fin on top and a fish-like head, complete with two thin, creepy eyes and gills where the mouth would be. There are also scale-like details on the top of his head.
- Each side of the chest has a circle on it.
- The arms look humanoid and round with armor pieces on the shoulders and forearms.
- The middle of the body features a series of three tubes that lead to the "abdominal" area.
- The "belt" on this figure has teeth like designs on it that look similar to the ones on the G1 Pretender shell.
- The thighs have raised circles on them, similar to the G1 Pretender shell.
li>The knee armor and feet are similar in design to G1 Submarauder's Pretender shell, but instead of looking organic they look mechanical.
I love how much this Decoy Armor looks like the G1 Submarauder's Pretender shell. Clearly the designers worked hard for the two to look alike and they did a great job.
Taking its cues from G1 Submarauder, this Decoy Armor is cast in teal and grey plastic. Teal makes up most of the figure with grey on the arms and the weapon blade on the back. The deco on this shell is really nicely done. He has red eyes, orange "gills", blue on the torso and purple for the belt. Some grey is used for his knee armor. I love how these colors match up with G1 Submarauder's deco. Also kudos to the designers for not trying to darken the colors or make them more "realistic". These are very much colors of their time (the late 80's) and they look wonderfully retro.
The Decoy Armor has two points of articulation: the arms. The weapon accessory included with the figure can be held as a trident weapon or attached to the back for storage. Interestingly, the fist holes are 3mm, allowing you to attach Cyberverse weapons too!
Transformation to Weapon Mode:
- With the weapon attached on the back, swing the trident forward.
- In between the feet, swing the peg down.
- Attach Alchemist Prime in Spark mode to the small pegs in the back.
Unlike his wave mates Vector Prime and Micronus Alchemist Prime transforms into a melee weapon, not a blaster. It would have been easy to just give him a single sword blade to emulate his G1 weapon, but instead the designers decided to go with a sea-based theme so his blade weapon is a trident instead! The trident is cast in grey with purple details on top.
The 5mm peg in the back allows most modern day Transformers figures to hold this weapon, but it is likely he will be more stable with figures from Deluxe Class and up.
The Prime Masters continue to impress. The shell and the inner robot both look fantastic. I also love how the weapon mode keeps in theme with the "aquatic" theme of the Decoy Armor. Highly recommended!
- Both the Armor and inner robot are great homages to a G1 character.
- A wonderful modern take on the Pretender concept that some considered goofy in the 80's.
- The trident weapon mode is a perfect in theme for the character of Submarauder.
- Good to see screws are being used now to hold the "plates" in place instead of bolts.
- If you are not a fan of the Pretender concept, this likely won't change your mind.
- I personally would have liked more "organic" looking detailing on the Decoy Armor (particularly on the feet).