Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Images & First Impressions: Transformers Animated Cybertron Mode Optimus Prime

No matter which generation you're looking at, the influence of Optimus Prime can't be escaped. He was a bigshot Autobot leader, he's been the namesake of space explorers, and he's even been a movie star. Generally, he's the big hero who always knows what's right, but in Transformers Animated, he's younger, less sure of himself, and sports a huge chin.

"As a team, we can accomplish anything." (Quote from back of packaging.)

By virtue of his popularity, Mr. Prime has had numerous toys made of himself over the years. In Transformers Animated alone, plans call for no less than 4 versions of the character before November ends, most of which are very similar in appearance. This one stands out because it's based on his Cybertronian "space truck" mode, which really isn't all that different from his Earth mode. There are a number of differences in how this toy transforms, plus he has his face shield permanently down and a smaller, transformable axe.

The axe is unique in that it, too, transforms. It can be stored in truck mode, or be a single bladed weapon in robot mode. It can also be fanned out and have a sharp point on two ends. Or you can attach the "shield" to it to create some big, bizarre weapon which looks more like a snow shovel than a mighty tool of the Gods. In any form, it holds together fairly well but the joints which allow it to be stored may flip and flail with time. I can see sagging too as gravity weighs down on the axe's joints. Did I mention how weird it is to have a jointed axe? There are like five points of articulation on this thing.

Full Photo Set on Flickr

The figure transforms fairly easily, and his wheels roll fairly well-- not as well as other toys in the line, but well enough I suppose. He has no problems holding his weapon, and is a big, colorful hero. His face looks great, his vehicle mode looks great, I'd say my only big complaint is that the shield seems unnecessary and it's a royal pain to get him to hang on to his axe in vehicle mode. I'd rather just toss it aside and worry about it later, but I really don't feel that weapon storage should ever be an afterthought.

The deco on the figure varies from toy to toy. If even paint jobs matter to you, examine it before purchase.

PROS: Wonderful head, colorful appearance, fun "space truck" mode, excellent robot articulation. I had no problems with parts popping off or anything like that.

CONS: Paint sloppy in places (under eyes), eyes don't light up particularly well, poor storage of weapons in vehicle mode. Transformation can be sticky.

VALUE: As $10 Optimus Prime toys go, this one is well worth your money. It's big and has more articulation than should be expected at the price point.

This figure is pretty remarkable. Each elbow has two joints. The legs have a wonderful range of motion. The coloring is nothing short of gorgeous. Obviously, Hasbro is trying hard to make the $10 toys even better with each new line, incorporating even better sculptors and designers than before. The new stylized look largely works, and the figure's face has more personality than you'll likely be used to from the robots in disguise. If you have to buy an Optimus Prime toy for your collection or a gift, this is a really good one.

I got this at a Toys "R" Us in Los Angeles for $10.99, less $10 in store credit I was sitting on.