"Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" Smash Changer Optimus Primal Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: March 2023
Price Point: $34.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Entertainment Earth, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: None

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

  • SMASH CHANGERS: Smash into battle with Transformers Smash Changers! Each 9-inch figure converts from alt mode to robot mode in 3 steps by smashing!
  • 2 MODES: This Transformers Optimus Primal action figure converts from robot to Transformers gorilla mode
  • SMASH TO CONVERT: This Optimus Primal toy converts to robot mode in 3 steps by smashing! Each smashing motion activates a conversion step. Manually convert back to alt mode in 3 steps
  • TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS: Featuring robot and beast characters inspired by the epic Transformers movie, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts!
  • LOOK FOR MORE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE TOYS: Collect other Transformers: Rise of the Beasts movie toys (Each sold separately, subject to availability)

Optimus Primal, the strong Maximal leader, quickly converts to robot mode and charges onto the battlefield. Smash Changers figures are based on characters from the new Transformers movie, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts! Figures convert from alt mode to robot mode in 3 steps by smashing. (Each sold separately, subject to availability.) The battle on Earth is no longer between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts introduces mysterious factions, the Maximals, the Predacons, and the Terrorcons, in an epic 90s globetrotting adventure. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro. © 2022 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Licensed by Hasbro.

Optimus Primal is packaged in a relatively large box. The figure is 9 inches (about 22.86 cm) tall so the box could easily fit a Leader Class figure. The packaging uses a lot of the same core design elements as the packaging from figures like the Battle Chagners. This inclues a mostly green background with patterns on them that resemble those from an ancient Mayan temple. The bottom of the box has the Rise of the Beasts logo. The right has the vertical Transformers logo while the left side has the "Smash Changers" logo showing Optimus in both modes. The figure itself is packaged in robot mode and CG art from the film is under that showing Primal in beast mode.

The back of the packaging has a jungle background in green. At the top are designs that look like ancient stone work and the name "Optimus Primal". Below that Primal is shown in both modes calling out a 3 step transformation along with the "Smash Changers" logo. The packaging looks great and is very eye catching.

Since the introduction of the 1-Step Changers in The Last Knight toy line there has been a regular flow of Transformers figures that transform in simplified ways to emphasize the "magic" of transformation. When the Rise of the Beasts film was delayed last year, Hasbro released an Optimus Prime figure as a Cyberverse "Smash Changer". That figure has since been repackaged and re-released as part of Rise of the Beasts. I have the Cyberverse Optimus Prime and it's...not great. However, when I saw "Smash Changer" Optimus Primal I decided to give the figure a try. I'm always game for a new gimmick!

Robot Mode:
Like the Beast Combiner and Beast Weaponizer Optimus Primal figures, this figure seems to take a lot of design cues from the traditional Beast Wars Optimus Primal design while blending in aspects of the movie design. The head design is very "Optimus Prime"-like with a large central crest, blade-like designs on the sides of the head connected to circles and mouth plate with an opening in the middle that shows his mouth. The chest has a large circle in the middle and there are patches of sculpted "fur" on parts like his shoulder armor and forearms. For a "simplified" figure the sculpt on Primal looks fantastic.

Optimus Primal is made up of brown, dark blue, and grey plastic. I have to admit the brown color in particular surprised me as none of the footage or artwork of Optimus Primal has indicated he has brown fur. My guess is that this design is intended to be "screen inspired" and not necesarily "screen accurate". Paint colors include bright blue, green, red and silver. The blue is heavily used on the head's helmet section and the torso, offering a beautiful burst of color in his mode. The green is used for his eyes while the red forms a large Maximal symbol on his right shoulder and paints in the circle on his chest. Silver is used to paint parts like wiring running throughout this form.

There is one point of articulation in this mode. No, I'm not kidding. The head can turn left and right and that's it. Sure the arms can kind of move up, but only as part of the transformation and they cannot stay up. The fists each have 5mm ports, allowing you to attach weapons like the Rise of the Beasts Battle Masters.

Transformation to Beast Mode: The entire play value of this figure revolves around its transformation. The figure is packaged in robot mode, but the actual fun starts with the figure in beast mode, so first transform it into beast mode:

  1. Swing the arms up and lock them into place.
  2. Push the robot head down into the chest.
  3. Twist the lower body around and lock it into place.

To transform the figure, hold the legs and push the figure down. The first time you do this the upper body will rotate around. The second time you do this the arms will swing down. Finally on the third push the head will swing up. This is most effective if you "smash" the figure down on a flat, hard surface but don't go overboard. It doesn't take too much strength to activate the transformation. You can see this transformation in action in the video below by Takara Tomy:

This transformation play pattern is actually fun. There is a kind of "magic" to seeing the various steps work and finally forming the robot mode.

Beast Mode:
Optimus Primal's beast mode appears to be heavily based on the design seen in the movie's trailers so far. There are definite organic bits like the fur sculpted into his shoulders, forearms and back. Mechanical details can be seen on the head and running through the torso and legs. This figure has a really detailed sculpt and from a design perspective it looks great.

This mode shows off the beast mode head more, showing off dark blue colors on the face and chest. Brown still features heavily in this form and the large Maximal symbol on his right shoulder is very prominent. The eyes are painted green and several parts are painted silver. From a deco perspective, the figure may not be screen accurate, but it does look good.

There is zero articulation in this mode, a reminder that all the play value is in the transformation gimmick.

Final Thoughts:
Similar to 1-Step Changer figures, most of the value of this figure is wrapped up in its unique transformation. For younger fans I think the 3-Step "Smash Change" transformation could totally make the figure worth it. For older fans however, $34.99 is a dollar amount more often associated with Voyager Class figures which offer articulation and (usually) satisfying multi-step transformations. This is definitely a figure aimed at a very specific audience and in that respect it is recommended.


  • Very nice sculpt in both modes.
  • Good deco for a "simplified" figure.
  • Unique transformation gimmick.


  • Only one point of articulation in robot mode and none in beast mode.

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