"Reveal the Shield" Optimus Prime (Deluxe) Toy Review

General Information:
Release Date: January 2011
Price Point: $12.99 (varies depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Sword

*Text below and images from Transformers.com
As leader of the AUTOBOTS, and their foremost warrior, OPTIMUS PRIME has gone through many changes over the years. He alters his weapons and body based on the needs of a mission, or as a result of damage sustained in combat. He learns from every situation, always coming back to duty tougher and more powerful than before. Turn the tables on enemy forces when you throw this warrior into the fight! Press the button to reveal this figure’s robot allegiance and then prepare him for a battle. Your OPTIMUS PRIME figure is dedicated to destroying any opponent and his hidden sword will help you two get the job done. If robot combat turns into a car chase, convert your warrior into armored truck vehicle mode and send him racing off to rule the “road”! Ages 5 and up.

Audiences who have seen the "Transformers" live action films know Optimus Prime as a longnose style truck, a change from his Generation One incarnation where he was a truck with a more boxy shape and flat front end. However, long before the live action movies were a gleam in Michael Bay's eye, Optimus Prime had already taken on a longnose truck form in his "Laser Optimus Prime" incarnation during the Generation 2 era. It is that figure that is celebrated in this "Reveal the Shield" version of Optimus Prime.

Vehicle Mode:
The G2 "Laser" Optimus Prime action figure took on a very conventional looking longnose truck form, with many blocky angles and a relatively long nose. This homage to that truck mode is a bit different. This figure feels much more modern. Similar to "Freightline" trucks on the roads nowadays, many of the sections on this figure are smooth and curved, especially in the front of the vehicle where the front end slopes downward, leading to curved sections on the front end around the headlights and on the front wheel wells. Like the G2 version, this truck mode features are more angular cabin section, tube shapes indicating tanks on the sides under the doors and a rear section including a section with a hitch for a trailer (no, he doesn't come with one sadly).

While this version of Optimus Prime is sleeker than his G2 predecessor, that doesn't mean he lacks detailing. Many of the requisite details for this form can be found on the figure including a row of lights on top of the cabin section, horizontal lines on his grille, the "U" shaped piece found on trucks near the hitch and raised rivet details on the sides of the vehicle. Even his wheels have a very rough texture to them, indicating the vehicle is built to haul larger loads. Overall, it's a really cool looking sculpt.

Optimus Prime is cast in colors that are also inspired by his G2 predecessor. Dark blue, black, silver, red and translucent orange plastic make up most of this figure. The colors are pretty mixed throughout the vehicle. The front end combines red, silver and translucent orange plastic while the middle is mostly blue with translucent orange. The back is where a majority of the black plastic is found, both on the wheels and the rear hitch section.

Where this Optimus differs from G2 Laser Optimus are his paint applications. The paint apps are done in silver, black and red. Silver is used on the sections you'd expect such as the sides of the wheels and the smokestacks. You'll also find it on the edge of the windshields. However, the weird part is where you don't find it: the grille in the front of the vehicle. This piece is cast in translucent orange but it isn't painted, and that just looks odd. I know that paint applications cost money, and ever cent counts, but it's such a glaring detail omission I'm more surprised than anything else.

The red and black paint apps are used together, primarily in the front of the vehicle. The front end is cast in red, but uses black paint on most of the section in front of the windshield. This is consistent with Laser Optimus Prime's coloring, which also incorporated a combination of red and black in the front. However, unlike Laser Optimus Prime, the front end has red flame paint patterns painted onto it, which takes its inspiration from the live action feature films instead. Of course, the big "G1" homage piece here is the inclusion of a heat sensitive "rub sticker" on the top of the cabin section. I like this combination of homages representing an older and a modern generation of Transformers, and who better to embody those homages than Optimus Prime himself?

The truck can roll on all six wheels. The door panels do swing out, but that's more a function of the transformation than what you could consider a "real" truck door function. The hitch in the back does look functional to the point where there is even a handle that swings up to form a connction point, but as far as I know there is no official trailer we can expect from Hasbro any time soon. While it's not a huge deal to me since this was a deluxe release, part of me does wonder how cool it would have been to have had this figure be released on say, a Voyager Class price point with a trailer.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the silver panels on the sides of the vehicle up.
  2. Swing the black panels at the very back of the vehicle down.
  3. Swing the blue foot pieces down.
  4. Flip the vehicle over to get a better perspective of the robot mode.
  5. Split the legs apart from each other and remove the sword accessory.
  6. Swing the handle at the end of the sword out.
  7. Slide the blue piece on the sword down to form the hilt of the sword and set it aside for now.
  8. Swing the arms out to the sides and split the shoulder armor areas apart (these form the front of the vehicle mode).
  9. Swing each arm down to create a clearance in the center.
  10. From inside the cabin section, push the robot head out, flip it out, then swing the panel back into place.
  11. Swing the two window panels on the sides in.
  12. Swing the chest piece with the head attached to it down to form the robot chest.
  13. Swing the silver panels from the sides of the vehicle up, then connect them together on the back.
  14. On each leg, swing the top pair of wheels forward and up, creating a gap between the two sets of wheels.
  15. On each half of the leg are black panels on the back, swing them forward to rest against the insides of the thighs and lower legs.
  16. Push each of the wheels on the legs in so they rest partly inside the legs.
  17. Slide the sword into one of the hands.

Robot Mode:
Like the vehicle mode, this mode takes the same general shape of the G2 Laser Optimus Prime figure, but tweaks the details, updating them into a more modern sensibility. First, to the details that do carry over from the G2 design:

  • The chest piece uses the classic trope of Optimus Prime having his truck windshield right there in the center, however unlike the G2 Optimus Prime which "cheated" by sculpting a piece to mimic the windshield, this is the windshield.
  • The shoudler armor is formed from the halves of the front end of the vehicle. Inside each of these shoulder pieces are two circular details which look like similar details from the G2 Laser Prime (I always thought they looked like shoulder cannons myself). This overall detail creates high reaching pieces that give him a powerful and dynamic appearance.
  • In the middle of the torso is a sculpted piece that resembles a stylized truck grille. On G2 Laser Optimus Prime there was actually a truck grille like piece sculpted in the same area.
  • Each of the legs have wheels attached to the sides (though one can argue this pays homage to many Optimus Primes).
  • The lower legs have knee armor that rises up over the thighs a bit, similar to the design of G2 Laser Prime.

The above descriptions mention most of the detailing found on this figure, but there are many bits unique to this release. On each shoulder armor piece there are sculpated details including tubes and wires. Each hand has several lines sculpted into it that are set deeper than most of the hand. The head sculpt is distinctly an "Optimus" head, with the antennae on the side, high crest and mouthplate, however everything seems hyper stylized with the antennae on the side swing to the back at an angle and the mouthplate coming to a very sharp looking point at the bottom. Another sculpted detail I really like is the panel that connects the head to the chest. This section is raised a bit with several layers of angular detail leading to the head. Often, Transformers don't have much of a neck or anything connected to the head. This gives the head a bit of elevation that makes the proportions work nicely.

Perhaps the coolest and most intriguing detail can be found inside the robot mode, specifically inside his chest. There you will see that the insides of each of the side window panels actually come together to create a Matrix of Leadership! Taking the classic Matrix design of a circle in the center with handles on the sides, this is an awesome detail to have been included in the figure and is most definitely not something the G2 version had. My only regret is that it was next to impossible to photograph because the translucent orange plastic just didn't allow for a clear shot of it, but trust me, it's there and it looks really cool sculpt-wise.

This mode uses all the same plastic colors as the vehicle mode, but a lighter blue than the blue in vehicle mode is used for several parts including the feet, hands and head. Silver plastic also makes a bigger appearance here. You'll find it on his upper legs, the middle of the upper body, the shoulder panels and the back of the robot. Again, these colors fall into line with the colors used on G2 Laser Optimus Prime, though I think I like the breakout of the colors better on this figure as they distribute more evenly.

The same paint colors used in the vehicle mode appear here as well. Silver is the most prominent. You'll find it on his chest and head. The shoulder armor pieces use black and red paint detailing on the top and bottom respectively. Blue paint is found in this mode, but it is a lighter blue than the blue plastic seen in vehicle mode. This blue is found on the aforementioned "grille" detail on the torso. I really do like the color combination of this mode, but I can't help but feel that more paint applications were needed. The lower legs are cast in black for instance, but they have zero paint on them. A bit of silver to bring out more details or perhaps some on the thighs would have made for a better looking figure. The other detail that I am bummed about not receiving any paint applications is the Matrix inside the chest. If any detail should have been "called out", that would be it in my opinion.

Part of the appeal of the G2 Laser Optimus Prime figure was its posability, something which was not yet common at the time in Transformers figures. Back then, you were happy if your figure had articulation in the high single digits, never mind double. Staying true to those roots and modern Transformers design, this Optimus Prime has twenty two points of articulation. This includes six points of articulation in each arm and waist articulation. Facilitating his posability are ball joints on the wrists, hips and ankles. The arm articulation is important here because much of it is intended to allow him to hold his sword weapon in a variety of poses (as you can see from the pictures above). I have to say that he can strike some really mean and cool looking poses and I had a lot of fun just coming up with poses I've seen in martial arts films and seeing if this figure could do them (or at least an approximation).

In a bit of extra functionality, you can actually store Optimus' sword in the back by sliding it into the slot created by the two silver panels from the vehicle mode. I certainly didn't expect that and really dig the feature. Mind you, the sword doesn't clip tightly in there or anything, but for the purpose of display it's a cool way of freeing up Prime's hands for other poses (hands on hips etc.).

Final Thoughts:
This Optimus Prime figure caught many off guard when he was announced last year, and it really is a pleasant surprise to have a "G2" homage thrown in with a line that has its focus on the 1985-6 era of Transformers. I love the sculpt and I think this toy is really fun. My only complaint is that the paint job on it could have been done better. It's not just a matter of looking great, in the case of the grille in vehicle for instance, something just feels missing and that subtracts some points in my book. Recommended, but just shy of "highly".

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