Release Date: 2013
Price Point: $119.00 (depending on retailer)
Retailer(s): BigBadToyStore and Amazon (US), Mass retail (Philippines), K-Mart Exclusive (Australia) and Toys 'R' Us (Canada).
Accessories: Missile launcher; Missile
In 2013 two Transformers figures were released under the banner of the "Platinum Edition" series. These were generally figures from previous lines with "premium decos". During 2013's "Year of the Snake" series, the "Energon" Optimus Prime figure was retooled slightly, given a new deco and released as "Year of the Snake" Optimus Prime. This was released alongside "Year of the Snake" Omega Supreme, a redeco and retool of "Energon" Omega Supreme so you could combine the two. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
The "Year of the Snake" Platinum Edition packaging was very elaborate. The outer packaging was a thick, cardboard box. The box is mostly red with gold foil "Year of the Snake" symbols forming a wallpaper type patterin in the back. In Chinese culture, red is considered the color of good fortune. Yellow or gold is considered the most beautiful color. Overlaid on top is beautiful artwork for Optimus Prime in his Super Mode. The top has a red handle to hold the substantial weight of the set.
The front panel can swing open, revealing an inner panel with Optimus Prime in his cab's robot mode charging forward. Next to him is a brief bio and the "Year of the Snake" symbol. On the other side is a window box with Optimus Prime and his Drones inside a yellow tray. This packaging is absolutely gorgeous and worthy of the "Platinum" designation.
Prime Force Drones
Fire-1 (OP 1)
In "Energon", each of Optimus Prime's Drones had their designation printed on the sides of the vehicle. However, this release moved away from that idea and instead these vehicles are given more generic decos. That is not to say the decos don't look good. Instead of the bright orange of the original OP1, this version features a nice, deep red color intended to match up with the Platinum Edition Omega Supreme figure. The ladder is a lighter grey than the original while the wheels are black. The areas where the original "Fire-1" Drone had the "OP 1" deco has been painted gold. Surprisingly, the blasters (or water hoses depending on your perspective) on top of the cabin section have been painted silver. The originals were left unpainted, and it is little touches like this that help with the "Platinum" designation. Rounding out the deco is a beautiful metallic blue paint on the windows in front.
Copter-2 (OP 2)
The OP 2 Drone is a helicopter (aka "Copter-2"). This time out the helicopter is black plastic with light grey rotor blades. This is a heavy contrast to the original, which was mostly white plastic with dark grey plastic rotors. The windows are painted metallic blue in the front and sides. There are a lot of small windows sculpted into the helicopter so I really appreciate the care that went into the paint job. Instead of having "OP 2" printed on the sides, the side panels are painted gold. Under each gold section is a landing skid painted silver.
Digger-3 (OP 3)
The OP 3 Drone is a drill tank known as "Digger-3". The original version had some really nice deco on it (including a great spray op on the drill end). This version is nice, but in a different way. The tank is cast in a metallic copper color. The drill bit itself is painted silver while the sides of the tread are painted black. The side panels where the original had "OP 3" printed on it is painted gold instead. I do wish the cockpit cover for the tank had been painted like the original, but that is my main quibble.
Push the drill tank along the ground and a wheel on the bottom is turned. As it turns the drill bit spins. It is a fun action feature that I really enjoy seeing in action.
Submarine-4 (OP 4)
OP 4 is a submarine known as Submarine-4. The original was mostly blue, which made sense since the vehicle would be in water at least part of the time. This time out, the colors were selected to align more with the Platinum Edition Omega Supreme figure. The Drone is mostly light grey. The tower on top is painted red and several details on the sides are painted gold. Interestingly there are two shades of gold. The side panel that had "OP 4" in the original version is now a darker gold color. Meanwhile, the claw under the front section and the fans towards the back are a much lighter shade of gold.
In general, the joints on the Drones are just slightly more loose than the original, but I felt that the originals were a bit overly tight so it works for me.
When "Energon" Optimus Prime was released, the idea was to pay homage to the original Optimus Prime while doing something new with the character. While some of the G1 Optimus Prime elements were intact (a cab, a trailer, two windows in front, a grille in the middle) other design elements were very different including a very angled trailer and colors that leaned towards white and blue while de-emphasizing the red. This time around, the designers went in a much more classic direction with colors inspired by G1 Optimus Prime.
The cab section of this version of Optimus Prime is primarily made up of red, blue, black and silver plastic with some smaller bits of white plastic in the joints. Key design elements of this sculpt have been kept intact such as the "Spark Crystal" on the left side and the large Autobot symbol sculpted on the right side. There is liberal use of silver paint on this figure to fill in details. This includes the windows (front and side), the grille and bumper and a very G1-esque silver stripe running along the sides. Gold paint is used on the crest on top of the cab and yellow is used for the headlights. The colors really do look like a semi-modern day version of G1 Optimus Prime and they look great.
The trailer is a lighter shade of grey than the original "Energon" Optimus Prime's trailer. Unlike that trailer the doors and helipad panel are not black plastic. Instead they are the same grey plastic as the rest of the trailer. The wheels are black and the tabs to "launch" his Drones are black plastic. The sides and back of the trailer also feature a red "Year of the Snake" symbol. This looks like a large Autobot symbol with an elaborate snake symbol inside.
From a functional standpoint the weapon still stores nicely on the back of the cab section. The trailer can still be "stood up" to serve as a launching pad for Optimus' Drones. The panel that forms the helipad feels a bit more loose than the one on my original "Energon" Optimus Prime, but it works just fine and the helicopter Drone can rest on it without an issue. Both the cab and trailer feature two 5mm attachment points that can be used for weapons with 5mm ports or Mini-Cons.
Transformation of Cab to Robot Mode:
- Detach the cab from the trailer.
- Detach the missile launcher from the cab (if attached).
- Flip up the blue piece in the middle of the cab's top portion to reveal the robot head.
- Swing the robot arms forward, slide the fists out using the white tabs.
- Swing the lower portion of the cab forward to reveal the robot legs.
- On each robot leg, flip out the gray foot and heel pieces.
- Fold the rear wheel portions against the back of the robot.
- Place the missile launcher in one of Prime's hands.
Transformation of Trailer to Base Mode:
- Flip the supports/weapons on either side of the trailer back.
- Open the black, side panel where OP2 resides.
- Stand the trailer on the front piece (so the big Autobot symbol points up to the sky).
- Position the radar dish as desired.
When the robot mode of the cab section was originally revealed back in 2004, fans immediately latched on to how erm...portly Optimus Prime had become for "Energon". The torso and thighs on this figure are disproportionately large compared to his arms, legs and lower legs. This was necessary to create proper proportions for his "Super Mode" where the Drone vehicles transform into limbs for Optimus. When combined, the robot looks great. Each Drone can transform into an arm or leg, so you can have a lot of fun swapping the parts around.
When "Energon" Optimus Prime was originally released, his head design featured a mouth similar to Optimus Primal's, meaning he had a mouthplate with a small mouth in the middle. You can see this in the side by side pics above. Later releases would feature a mouthplate with a more traditional Optimus Prime design without a mouth in the middle. That is the version used for this figure. Since it is clear the designers wanted to use G1 influences on this figure, using this version of the sculpt makes perfect sense.
Also leaning into the G1 look, the deco uses very traditional G1 colors for the character. The top of the robot mode is mostly red plastic (with some dark blue and black here and there) while the legs are dark blue and light grey. Silver paint is used extensively in this mode. You will see it on the face, the Autobot symbol on the right shoulder, the torso and the thighs. Black paint is used for some detailing on the chest while the eyes are painted light blue. The metallic blue windows from the vehicle mode form the chest here and they really pop against the red plastic. Overall, I really like this deco on this figure. Sure he's kind of chunky (okay, very chunky) but he looks like a cool version of the Autobot leader.
All the joints on this figure are just as tight as my copy of the "Energon" version. There is one issue that I noticed. Each of the legs are connected to the torso via ratchet joints. Due to what I believe is an assembly error, the way the ratchet joints lock in place are not even between the two legs. That means at any given time, one leg is set slightly further back than the other. That said, this is on my copy but that does not necessarily mean they are all assembled this way. Just be warned it is a possibility.
Transformation to Super Mode (starting with the cab in robot mode):
- Remove any weapons Optimus may be carrying.
- Push in the robot fists and swing the arms out to the sides.
- Fold the feet and heel pieces up.
- Fold the helmet hanging behind Prime's head over it, making sure the
- antannae point upward.
- Attach OP Units as you see fit. Each OP Unit has a big hole in the
- back that allows it to connect to Prime's arms or legs.
- The missile launcher can attach to the fists of OP1 or 2. Otherwise
- you can attach it to the back of the robot.
- Flip the chest pieces open and swing them to the sides.
The Super Mode is really where this set comes together (no pun intended). The colors all work together nicely. The red and blue colors at the core offer a nice contrast to parts like the submarine and helicopter Drones while blending nicely with the Fire Engine and Drill Drones. With the chest open we get a new splash of color with a lot of silver and light blue in the center of the chest. The inside part of the chest window panels are painted silver, offering some nice detail against the red. Taken as a whole, I find this mode a lot more cohesive looking than the original.
The four core joints (the shoulders and hips) on this figure are ratchet joints. They are not quite as tight on my copy of this figure than the original, but they are good enough to pose the limbs. The figure also has knee and elbow articulation. If you use the submarine as an arm it also has "claw" articulation.
The original version of this figure included electronics that featured different sounds for each Drone and a light in the chest. These have been removed for this release. On the one hand, the electronics were never the primary feature of the figure. However, if you were going to charge over $100 USD for this figure, electronics would have been nice to have. On a more personal level, I am not a big fan of parts of a figure being removed for a release unless there is a really good reason for it (ex: safety considerations). That said, he does retain his other feature: the missile launcher. This accessory is now painted gold with the missile cast in light grey.
The original "Energon" Optimus Prime figure averages anywhere from $40-100 USD on ebay nowadays. As of May 2019, BigBadToyStore has the set on sale for $119.99 USD so that is not much more if you really dig the packaging and the new colors. I really like these new colors and I appreciate the figure being released alongside Omega Supreme. Most importantly, this is a fun set to play with!
Recommended with some reservations.
- Lots of play value.
- Beautiful G1 inspired deco.
- A really solid toy design from another era.
- The hip/leg ratchet joints are slightly uneven.
- The electronics have been removed.