"Generations" Cybertronian Optimus Prime Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: June 2010
Price Point: $10.99
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Rifle/blaster

*Images & text below from Transformers.com:
When he first became leader of the AUTOBOTS, OPTIMUS PRIME was not certain he wanted the responsibility. The war with the DECEPTICONS was going badly, and it looked like there was no end in sight. He vowed to himself and to the warriors under his command that he would never surrender, never retreat, and never stop fighting until the DECEPTICONS were defeated.

Race into action with this fearsome CYBERTRONIAN OPTIMUS PRIME figure! In robot mode with his “rifle” that converts to a blaster accessory, this fighter is as tough as they come. When it’s time to chase down his enemies, convert him to armored truck vehicle mode and attach the weapon accessory to him so he can “tear up the streets” in hot pursuit!

Heroic robot fighter converts from fierce robot mode to armored truck vehicle mode — and back again! Blaster accessory attaches to vehicle! Ages 5 and up.

The year 2010 brings about a new age of "Transformers" history. After twenty five plus years of various continuities, ambiguous stories and sometimes outright contradictions in the fiction, Hasbro decided the line needed to have its fiction consolidated into one, comprehensive continuity that could extend across the toy and cartoon brands. It is this history that serves as the basis for the recently released "War for Cybertron" video game, set on the planet Cybertron when the war between Autobots and Decepticons tore their homeworld apart. For the first wave of "Generations" figures, Hasbro released two of the characters from this game, portraying them as they appeared on Cybertron so many years ago. One of these is Optimus Prime, one of the few deluxe sized interpretations of the character put out in the past couple of years.

Robot Mode:
There are certain iconic elements one should generally utilize when creating a new incarnation of Optimus Prime. Windows on his chest, vent lines on the legs, a mouthplate face with antennae on the sides of his head and he should absolutely have a commanding appearance. When High Moon studios worked with Hasbro to develop a new Optimus Prime for "War for Cybertron", they kept all these elements in mind. Taking some design cues seen in past incarnations of Optimus (including Transtech and "The War Within"), the result is an amalgam of influences that is instantly recognizable as the Autobot leader.

Despite being a deluxe sized take on the Autobot leader, this figure has a good amount of bulk to it. His upper body has a chest piece that points out to the center (almost like an exaggerated version of Star Convoy's chest) and wheels on his back. His shoulders come out wide, curving down to relatively huge forearms. His waist section is wide, leading to blocky, chunky looking legs. This general aesthetic suggests power and strength with its bulk, but elegance and sleekness with its curved parts. This exaggeration of features also extends to his head design, which incorporates all the standard Optimus Prime design cues including a central crest, antennae on the side and a mouth plate. The antennae are set rather high in comparison to other Prime figures, which gives him an extra bit of distinctiveness in this form.

Detail wise there's a lot to love here. The head has lots of vent lines and small lines etched into it. His waist area has raised details that look like robotic equivalents of abdominal muscles and his legs have the distinct series of "vents" seen on Optimus Prime toys since G1 as well as tubes mounted on the sides of either leg, evoking the silver canisters attached to the sides of G1 Optimus Prime's legs. The canisters have layers of detail including raised vertical lines running up the sides and rings of raised sections towards the bottom. Look on the sides of his thighs and there are details that angle in with line details etched into it. It's really a wonderful sculpt that is very accurate to the computer game model. One of my favorite details, which would be really easy to miss is an Autobot symbol sculpted into his back! The symbol is a variant on the Autobot symbol design and resembles some buildings seen in Iacon in the "War for Cybertron" game.

Optimus is cast in traditional "Optimus Prime" colors. He is made up metallic red, metallic blue, silver and black. As one would expect, the red makes up most of the upper body while the blue makes up his hands and lower legs. Most of his waist/hip and upper legs are silver while the black plastic is used for his gun and wheels. The silver is not a plain color at all. Instead, it has almost the look of The paint applications on this figure are minimal, but work very well. Most of the painted detail is done in neon orange, found on his chest, waist and legs. In the video game, the Transformers have several panels and line details that glow in the dark world of Cybertron. These orange parts represent these sections including circles on either side of his head, Autobot symbols on his shoulders and details on his waist and legs. Silver paint, matching the silver plastic can be found on the head, chest and legs. This doesn't sound like a whole heck of a lot, and I guess it's not but the fact is the colors work so well on the figure that it looks fantastic. Also, Optimus Prime isn't generally the most colorful figure in the room, so this minimalist approach not only works on a visual level, but it also stays consistent with the character.

There are twenty four points of articulation on this figure including six in each arm and waist articulation. His rifle weapon is pretty cool, and represents a unique design despite early drawings of this figure having a more G1 inspired one. The rifle is almost triangular in shape on some parts with an ammo clip sticking out the side leading to a small barrel in the front. The cool part is that you can transform the gun into a smaller blaster! Lift the flap on the side and then fold the gun in half and it forms a smaller looking weapon. Press the flap and the gun springs out into a rifle mode, simulating the feel of the weapons that transform out of the characters' arms in the "War for Cybertron" game. The weapon can be put in either of Prime's fists, but he also has holes on the sides of his forearms that you can plug the weapon into. The holes are the standard size being used right now, so you can take say, Mini-Cons from the Power Core Combiners and plug them into these holes as well. I was really happy to see this as it gives him an extra element of play in a figure that primarily relies on transformation as its main gimmick.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Remove the rifle from the figure and transform it into "blaster" mode as described above.
  2. Swing each of the fists into the forearms.
  3. Swing the sides of the waist armor piece out to the sides and swing up the waist section up.
  4. Swing up both of the "toes" of the feet against the lower legs.
  5. Connect the two lower legs together.
  6. Swing the smokestacks down, then swing the blue panels they are attached to down.
  7. Swing the wheels on the lower legs forward.
  8. Swing the blue panels back against the legs.
  9. Bend the legs at the knees so the lower legs point back, then slide the lower legs forward.
  10. Extend the upper body up using the hinges under the chest section.
  11. Rotate the chest piece around so the waist piece is in front of the head.
  12. Rotate the waist around.
  13. Rotate the curved armor piece that was on the back of the robot around.
  14. Swing the arms down, along with the panels on the back of the upper arms.
  15. Swing the panels on the sides of the arms out.
  16. Swing the wheels on the back of the figure forward.
  17. Swing the robot head back.
  18. Swing the forearms up against the upper arms and back.
  19. Swing the top portion of the body over. Be sure the clips on the blue portions of Optimus' legs connect to the silver upper leg portions.
  20. Swing the blue panel with the smokestacks on them forward, then swing the piece from the back of the robot arms over them.
  21. Swing the cover for the front of the vehicle back and snap it into place.
  22. Connect the three tabs in front to the robot waist piece, forming the front bumper.
  23. Attach the gun to the hole on the top of the vehicle.

You'll note that this transformation has a lot of steps for a Deluxe Class figure. There are Voyager Class figures with only half the steps. It's an amazing transform and I think it's largely due to this design that Prime does not wind up being a shellformer in this incarnation. Kudos to the design team for one amazing transformation design, perhaps the most challenging I've encountered in a while!

Vehicle Mode:
G1 Optimus Prime started as a boxy truck with a flat front end, but it seems starting with his Generation 2 "Combat Hero" incarnation, he is mostly going to remain a longnose style truck, even on Cybertron! Taking design cues from the never used Transtech design, Optimus Prime's truck mode is a curved, scifi looking style truck cab. The front section is smooth and curved, going up a slight incline to the back section where it leads to two smokestacks set at an angle. The front wheels are larger than the two back wheels on either side, giving the forward section a sense of power. It is not always easy to take a design and make it sleek looking and "brute force" powerful at the same time, but that is exactly what has been done with this vehicle mode.

While Cybertronian in nature, there are definitely design influences from previous versions of Optimus Prime at work here. The front end has a grille design in the center with a fender underneath it. His "chest windows" from the robot mode peek out here in the front, and the two smokestacks in the back are evocative of the smokestacks from many versions of Optimus Prime including the original. While curved, the rear section is decidedly angular and blocky, similar to G1 Prime's vehicle mode.

Like the robot mode, the metallic red, blue and silver colors dominate this form, but are used in proportions that also pay homage to the original Optimus Prime. The curved section on the middle and front is mostly red while the rear, more blocky section is blue. Smaller parts such as his front grille, fender and smokestacks are all cast in silver. The wheels are of course, cast in black plastic. Silver paint is used for a lot of edge work such as the section on the top of the vehicle towards the back. It is also found on the sides of the wheels. The aforementioned "glowing" color paint can be found on the front end of the vehicle as well as the sides of the wheels, outlining the silver sections. Again, this is a rather simple color scheme, but it is a very effective one, which looks simply awesome and matches the CGI model in the game to boot!

As mentioned in the transformation instructions, Prime's gun connects to the top of the vehicle. You can use this weapon in its smaller form or larger one, it looks great either way. All six wheels on Prime roll as well.

Final Thoughts:
"War for Cybertron" has garnered a lot of love from Transformers fans, due in part to the Cybertronian designs of a lot of the characters. In the top five of that list is Optimus Prime, who looks absolutely amazing in this form. My only lament is that he was not made larger so he could include an axe weapon with his rifle, but for a Deluxe Class representation of this character, this figure is spot on awesome. Highly recommended!

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