"Generations" War for Cybertron: Kingdom Optimus Primal Toy Review

12/09/20

General Information:
Release Date: Q4 2020/Q1 2021 (Estimated)
Price Point: $29.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Swords x 2

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:

  • DISCOVER KINGDOM: Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever
  • BEASTIFY THE BATTLEFIELD: Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Optimus Primal collectible figure, featuring detailed beast mode with intricate gorilla-inspired molded fur texture
  • UNLEASH THE BEAST MODE: Optimus Primal toy converts to Beast Wars-inspired gorilla mode in 22 steps. Hip articulation allows for posing gorilla mode upright or in a crouch. Well, that's just prime!
  • CLASSIC BEAST WARS CYBER BLADES: 2 Cyber Blade accessories inspired by the Beasts Wars cartoon attach to figure's back, also features hidden forearm cannons and Mega Blasters
  • GOLDEN DISK CARDS REVEAL POSSIBLE DESTINIES: Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character!

Beastify the battlefield! Worlds collide when the Maximals and Predacons join the fight, coming together with the Autobots and Decepticons in an epic battle that will alter their destiny forever. Primal power floods the battlefield as the fierce beast modes of the Maximals and Predacons are unleashed!Unleash the primal power of the beasts with this Optimus Primal collectible figure, featuring a detailed beast mode with intricate molded gorilla fur. Toy converts to Beast Wars-inspired gorilla mode in 22 steps and features hip articulation that allows fans to pose him upright or in a crouch. Comes with the character's classic 2 Cyber Blade accessories that attach to figure's back. Also features hidden forearm cannons and Mega Blasters. Well, that's just prime!Includes a Golden Disk card that reveals a possible destiny of a key character. Collect other Kingdom figures to reveal all 3 alternate destiny variants for each character! (Each sold separately. Subject to availability.)

Disclosure: This action figure was provided by Hasbro as part of a Kingdom unboxing event. BWTF thanks Hasbro for its generosity.

Every Transformers series needs its lead hero, and for Beast Wars that was Optimus Primal, a descendent of the Autobots who would start the series as a starship Captain and end it as one of the most important figures in Transformers history. Various iterations of the character have appeared in Transformers fiction and toy lines over the years, but this time the designers have gone back to what is probably his most well known form from season one of the Beast Wars cartoon.

Packaging:
A new style of packaging has been introduced with Kingdom. The shape is very similar to what has been seen with Siege and Earthrise, with a rectangular box that has an angled panel on the left. This time however the box does not have a window in front that shows off the entire figure. Instead, the window is much smaller and basically shows the figure from the mid-body up. This small window has plastic over it, but what this allows for is artwork featuring the character in both modes, something that is extremely uncommon for the Transformers line. Like previous Generations packaging the Transformers logo is set vertically on the right side with the Generations and Takara Tomy logos above it. On the lower part (under the window) is the Kingdom logo. On this box, Optimus Primal is in beast mode on the front seemingly charging at an enemy while the robot mode is on the side aiming his forearm cannon at an unseen enemy. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous and there were many fans on the Unboxing Event call who asked for a coffee table book of the artwork from the Generations line.

The back of the box shows Optimus Primal in both modes calling out a twenty two step transformation. Above him is a modified Maximal symbol which appears to incorporate elements of the Autobot symbol. In the corner is a nice, classic callback featuring the Transformers logo with the "More than Meets the Eye" tag line under it. Overall this packaging is beautiful and I think it is really going to pop on store shelves.

Boxed figures such as Optimus Primal include a card featuring characters in the line and their potential "destinies". There are 16 variants of these cards to collect and they come randomly packaged in the inserts. In this case Optimus Primal included a card with Dinobot on the front. I also highly recommend being careful with the cardboard trays. Do not just toss them out. Look on the back and sides to be sure you have removed all the accessories and cards before you dispose of them.

Robot Mode:
With this figure being the first of a new set of Voyager Class figures, let's get some stats out of the way. Optimus Primal stands at about 6.25 inches (about 15.87 cm). That makes him shorter than most Voyager Class figures (which average 7 in/17.78 cm tall). That said, Optimus Primal is bulky and he was never the tallest character to begin with. The figure weighs in at 4.7 ounces. In contrast, a Siege Seeker weighs in at 4.9 ounces, so the difference in plastic quantity from Siege is very small with this figure.

This Optimus Primal figure is based on the character's appearance from the first season of the television show (and the first episode of Beast Machines, but let's not get too much into that can of worms). Some of these design elements are shared with the 1996 Beast Wars Ultra Class Optimus Primal figure, which of course served as the basis for the CG model in the show. Optimus has a very distinct silhouette, featuring an Optimus Prime-esque head design with a crest in the middle and "antennae" on the sides. His torso is bulky and each arm features shoulder armor sticking out to the sides. His legs are distinctly curved instead of the blockier looking legs of traditional G1Transformers characters. There are also many smaller details that come right from the CG model. These include:

  • Optimus Primal's "mouth plate" is split int he middle, revealing a mouth in the middle. The Ultra Class toy from 1996 did not look like this. The animators chose to give him a mouth, and then when necessary Optimus could slide a mouth plate up over his mouth so the CG model looked more like the action figure.
  • The chest features a distinct design that includes a circle in the center and lines angling out to the sides.
  • Each bicep has a raised band wrapped around it.
  • The waist area features several angled sections and three circles.
  • The thighs have a ball shape at the hip joints and they curve towards the knees, which are raised armor pieces.
  • Each foot is attached to the lower legs by a piston.

The designers were very much inspired by the TV show, but they did not stop there. The CG model for Optimus Primal was very flat in terms of any fur textures due to the limitations of budget and the CG of the time. This figure however features beautifully sculpted fur patterns on parts such as the shoulder armor and forearms. The detail level on the mechanical bits was already fantastic, but the fur patterns just add a whole other level to the figure. I absolutely love the sculpt on this figure. When it was originally announced I was super psyched to have this figure in hand and now that I do, I can see my enthusiasm over its aesthetics was justified!

Optimus Primal is made up of black, metallic blue and grey plastic. Black is used for most of the "fur" portions of this mode while the grey and blue are used for mechanical parts. There are plenty of paint apps to add on to its appearance including metallic blue on the chest, white and red on the biceps and thighs. The deco looks fantastic, with parts big and small being painted with details both big and small. Some of my favorite details include the chest panel, which has two different shades of blue on it and even a circle with small orange circles painted on. I'll confess I totally forgot this was even a detail in the TV show's CG model until I looked up some screenshots. I love this deco.

Optimus Primal has quite a bit going on in this mode in terms of play value, so let's do a rundown:

  • There are twenty four points of articulation on this figure. This includes six in each arm (If you count the shoulder hinge this goes up to seven in each arm) and four in each leg. One fun note: his fingers can swing out from the thumb, but he holds his weapons via a 5mm slot sculpted into the grooves of his hands. An additional note: all of the joints on my copy of this figure are tight, but not so much so that I feared breakage at any point.
  • Optimus Primal includes two swords based on the appearance of his weapons in the TV show. The original Ultra Class figure had these swords too, but the show designers amped up their designs to make them look more formidable. Each sword is metallic blue plastic with the blade painted light grey. The swords are held by 5mm pegs and you can store them on his back using the tabs on the sides. While the swords are meant to be held separately in Primal's two hands, you can fit both swords into one. Place one sword in a hand first, then push the peg up until it is about to come out. Then push the other sword in from below and close the fingers around the handle to hold it into place. The result is a cool "double bladed" weapon!
  • Swing the back/head panel open and you'll see Optimus Primal's shoulder cannons tucked away inside. Swing these out and snap the panel back into place and Optimus will be read to blast away at Predacons. Each cannon is metallic blue and you can attach Blast Effects to the ends!
  • On the inside of each forearm, you'll see a rectangular outline. Push that piece and Optimus Primal's arm cannons will slide out on the other side! On the TV show these were originally inspired by a missile launching feature on the Ultra Class toy. However, the toy only had it in one arm while the TV show decided to give him this feature in both arms. I was really happy to see this figure reflecting that choice. The cannons are metallic blue and they look great. Even better? Despite their small size you can attach some Blast Effects to them!

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. If you have the forearm cannons deployed, push them in. Same with the shoulder cannons.
  4. Push the shoulder armor pieces down over the biceps.
  5. Turn the figure around and lift up the panel that covers his posterior.
  6. Swing the back/head section out.
  7. Rotate the chest plate around to switch it to the beast mode chest.
  8. On the back panel you will see the robot head and beast mode head rest on the same piece. Lift this up, rotate it around and move the beast mode head up, then rotate it around before pushing this piece back down.
  9. Rotate the upper body around.
  10. Swing down the panel on the back, rotate it around, then swing it down. This piece will ultimately cover the robot mode thigh details (well, most of them anyhow).
  11. Push the robot mode feet up.
  12. Swing the beast mode's lower legs up then bend them at the knees. You'll notice a double joint here. You can either position the gorilla to be standing or hunched over depending on how you adjust this joint.
  13. Move the arms forward, then rotate the arms around to hide the robot bicep pieces, then rotate the fists around.
  14. While it ruins the "disguise" element, you can store Optimus' swords using the same slots as the robot mode.

Beast Mode:
While Optimus Primal's robot mode is heavily influenced by his TV show CG model design, the beast mode takes its inspiration from a more realistic looking gorilla (well, as realistic as a gorilla who transforms into a robot is). The face especially lacks some of the more cartoonish appearance of the TV show model and instead has a very grim and determined look about it that evokes a creature looking to survive in the wild more than a Maximal leader. The other big difference between the CG model and this figure is the fur pattern that is carefully sculpted all over the body. From the head to the arms to the back and the legs there are intricate fur patterns all over this figure and it gives him a more realistic edge. Now, the illusion is not perfect. His robot mode thighs show through in the back , but I'm not super bothered by this. Hiding these pieces would have likely required more plastic and more moving pieces and thus, send this figure into a higher price point.

Optimus mostly shows off black plastic in this mode. His toes and hands are grey along with his face. Some white and red peeks through from the robot mode, but I am not stuck on them.

There are twenty four points of articulation in this mode as well, which is not a big surprise since the robot mode utilizes most of the same joints as the beast mode. As mentioned above, the knee hinge is designed so that you can have the legs swung back for Primal to be on all fours or you can bend them in such a way that he is standing up. The character was seen doing both on the TV show, so it is awesome that they included this as a feature!

Final Thoughts:
Optimus Primal was one of my most highly anticipated figures in this wave and he is now one of my favorite figures. He's the entire package. Show based details, excellent sculpt, great deco and fun with an intuitive transformation. Highly recommended!

Pros:

  • Excellent robot mode sculpt that pays homage to the CG model from the 90's beautifully.
  • Beautiful and aggressive looking beast mode sculpt.
  • Excellent deco.
  • Lots of fun play features.
  • Intuitive transformation.

Cons:

  • You can still see robot mode bits in beast mode, but that is hardly a deal breaker in my book.