Tuesday, 6 September 2011
O is for Optimus Prime
The Winning Toy
"With the destruction of Megatron, Optimus Prime thought he was finally, after millions of years, at peace. Little did he know that the escape of Starscream would draw dozens of new Decepticons to Earth. The desire that burns brightest in his spark is that the war will soon end. He is determined to see that end come, and so he works with his human comrades and the other Autobots to hunt the Decepticons that have come to Earth, and destroy them, one by one."
Toyline: Revenge of the Fallen
Generation: Live Action Movies
Size Class: Leader
I have heard this version of Optimus Prime be referred to as "Masterpiece Movie Prime" in the past, and I have to say, I fully agree, he's basically perfect. He has nearly perfect articulation and looks very screen-accurate. His body has a lot of sculpted mechanical parts, such as pistons and some false parts, like the front grill in his abdomen (his actual grill is on the soles of his feet).
Optimus is a combination of silver, blue and red with a few highlights in yellow, gold and orange with black wheels as well. He retains the flame deco from his truck mode, but most of it is hidden in this mode.
Optimus's arms are connected to his upper torso by by a series of hinges and pivot joints that give him full articulation in his shoulders and elbows. His hands are connected to his lower arms via pivot joints that allow them to rotate fully. Sadly, the hands lack any real articulation, as they just have sculpted fingers, with a slot for any weapons he may happen to hold to go in (ie Jetfire's blaster). Optimus has a flip out sword on both arms that are activated by pulling up a small trigger.
Optimus's legs are connected to his groin area by a pivoting hinge connector, giving it full articulation (when there's no obstacles anyway). There is a small pivot at the top upper legs that enables them to rotate slightly. His knee is on a hinge that allows it to bend backwards by about 90 degrees, and forwards by about 80, his "kneecap" his able to be folded outwards if needed for any reason on a small hinge. Optimus' feet are connected to his lower legs by some pretty huge ball joints (which also happens to make them easy to pull off by the way) The feet are quite bit and wide, which means that they can easily support his upper body weight, which is a BIG plus for a toy this cool :D
Optimus' torso is quite cool in itself actually, by pushing the small button on the bottom of his abdomen you can make his chest windows move slightly, whilst the voice box activates as well, which makes it look like he's actually speaking. In my version, Optimus just says "Optimus Prime" (due to mine being a European version) however the American release has him saying "I am Optimus Prime" in Peter Cullen's voice. The chest and eyes also light up in red and green (respectively) when the button is pushed. When you are actually transforming Optimus Prime, you can hear the famous transforming noise when you connect his waist into his groin (and when removing it as well)
Optimus' head is able to rotate on it's connector, and be repositioned slightly (due to that being required for his transformation to truck mode). His head is mostly blue with a silver mouth piece and side vents, he also has sculpted eyes, forehead chevron and ear antennae amongst other little pieces of details
Optimus' back kibble is pretty tidy as well on this toy, with most of it seemingly becoming back armour rather than just hanging there (like on his original toy), it's also possibly to hold small weapons in some of the gaps as well, making it practical as well.
As seen in the Revenge of the Fallen movie, Optimus can take on the parts of the ancient Transformer Jetfire to give him more power. Basically to make this mode, you have to turn Jetfire into a strange looking coat, clip on the belt around Optimus' waist and stick Jetfire's feet inside Optimus'.
This mode is a mixed blessing to be honest, it makes Optimus A LOT bigger, gives him more weapons, a jet pack and makes him look stronger in general, the problem however is that Optimus also loses the ability to move his legs effectively (however his arms are still able to move around.
Please note, I WAS able to get Optimus into my little orange studio, but getting the combined form in there required me to add more cardstock!!
Optimus Prime's truck mode is a heavily updated version of his 2007 Movie release version, and...well, it's basically perfect, it hides all it's weapons within the actual vehicle and doesn't have a giant gun sticking out it's back (like the older version did) and even has a connector area that could be able to haul a trailer.
Optimus has 6 working wheels, one pair at the very front, and 2 pairs on the rear section. He also mas a lot of sculpted/aesthetic pieces of detailing on the vehicle form, such as rear indicator lights, headlights and smokestacks. The front wheels have an outward bulging hubcap, whilst the rear wgeels each have inverted ones, it's unknown why they are different types. On the very top of the front grill you have a small red Autobot insignia. None of the lights work as real ones (but then again, were you expecting them to?)
The vehicle's colour-scheme is very similar to his original toy's one (as both are based on the same on screen character) and is a combination of blue, red and yellow with a flame deco in specific points (from the front grill to the end of the wheel rim, and on the sides of the driver's cab. Potions of the vehicle are a grey/silver painted colour for the smoke stakes, engine parts, back guard and other parts that would be left a metallic colour on a real truck. By pushing a small discrete button on the bottom of his cab's back guard, you can hear engine noises
In the franchise, this incarnation of Optimus Prime is by far the most war hardened and willing to kill, as shown by his constant head-shots on his enemies, beginning with Bonecrusher, which of course began a massive fan meme about how Optimus likes to collect faces. This Optimus is perhaps the most realistic in terms of how a warrior would actually act in an eons-long war rather than the very peaceful Optimus Prime from G1 or any of the other incarnations (with maybe RiD Optimus Prime being the exception)
There have been many Optimus Prime toys made for the Movie toy lines, so it would just be pointless to mention every single one, so I'll just mention a select few. In the 1st Movie's toyline, Optimus had a legends, voyager and leader mold made up for his character, with the most impressive being the Leader versions, which are, for all intents and purposed simplified versions of this very toy. The leader version also received a blue, black and silver repaint called Nightwatch Optimus Prime, which can very easily be re-purposed as a Movie Continuity Nemesis Prime. In ROTF the toy received new molds in each of the afore mentioned size classes, with his legends version being able to combine (sort of) with the Legends Jetfire as well. The Voyager and Leader versions (leader one shown here) have been remolded with new weapons, accessories, colour schemes and other very slight differences many times (from replacing the blades with hooks, to even removing his face mask to allow his true face to be shown, as in the movies. In the DOTM line he receives several new toys including a Cyberverse Commander, Deluxe, Voyager and Ultimate toy, the latter comes with a trailer which acts as a jet pack in robot mode.
Now as for other incarnations of Optimus Prime...again there's far too many to count, it's actually easier to count the number of series' where Optimus DOESN'T appear in!
Okay, in the G1 cartoon Optimus was the Autobot commander until his death at Megatron's hands in the animated movie in 1986 (set in 2005) when he passed on the Matrix to Ultra Magnus, who in turn gave it to Rodimus shortly afterwards, where he became Rodimus Prime, who remained leader until the end of Season 3 when Optimus was revived. Now in the US version, Optimus remained leader until the end of the 3 part Season 4, whilst in the Japanese continuation he was killed off at about the same time, when Rodimus was made leader again, until Cybertron was destroyed and Rodimus flew off into space, leaving Fortress Maximus as commander.
This is significant because after this point in the Japanese fiction, Optimus is never leader again in the cartoons, as Fortress Maximus is succeeded by Ginrai, Star Saber and Dai Atlas in that order, until the end of Zone's one and only episode. He does return as Star Convoy in the Return of Convoy series, but this again was quite short lived.
In every series originating from Japan after G1 finished, the commander was a different character, who just happened to look like Optimus (and of course WAS renamed as Optimus in the Western versions). This trend however ended with the appearance of the Live Action Movies and Animated in Japan (which originated from America) where the character who would have been called "Something Convoy" was actually called Optimus Prime still.
In the West, Optimus Prime was a main character in every cartoon with the exception of the Beast Era cartoons, where he was replaced with Optimus Primal (originally meant to be a new version of him, as shown with an early product catalogue, but is in fact a totally different character) a trend that was also used in Japan's own Beast Era cartoons by replacing him with Lio Convoy and Big Convoy, two totally different character who just resembled him slightly
Optimus' two most recent TV representations are both quite different, the Animated version is a younger character who leads a small band of Autobots on Earth, who began as a Space Bridge Maintenance crew, meanwhile his newest incarnation, the Prime version is shown to be basically a less head-shot prone version of his Movie incarnation.
Optimus has been a main character in most official comic series', as he's one of the few very recognisable characters in the franchise (along with character like Bumblebee, Starscream and Soundwave)
One very prevalent fact about Optimus remains throughout every incarnation, and even amongst those who just share his basic appearance...he ALWAYS dies, at least for a little while. Something else that is quite uniform when it comes to the many Optimuses (Optimi?) is that they all tend to turn into a Truck Cab, and some have a trailer than can either become a base of sorts, or a power up for the character (this is also the case with Star Saber and Rodimus Prime having Trailers of sorts, and of course Ginrai as he shares a mold with Power Master Optimus Prime) Some significant difference to this is the Alternators version of Optimus Prime, who turns into a Dodge Ram Pick-Up Truck, and of course his Beast Era counterparts. Also, most Convoys/Primes/Opitmi also have similar faces, with a chevron on their forehead and sometimes a face plate and ear antennae.
Is He Cool?
This Optimus toy is very cool, I mean his high level of articulation alone makes him a very worthwhile toy to play with, and on top of that he's pretty sturdy and durable as well, meaning that a small child can play with him very safely, with only the huge feet likely to pull off easily (and if a small child can swallow these feet...then they were VERY determined to choke themselves!). He is a very beautiful toy that I doubt can be surpassed for this character (although the DOTM Ultimate Optimus Prime does look pretty nice as well)
On the negative side however, this version of Optimus is extremely hard to transform, so basically if you're not used to a high level of transformation sequence, then you'd better decide whether you prefer him in truck or robot mode and keep him that way forever. It takes me a fair few minutes to transform him personally, and the point where his chest connects into his torso is very hard to remove once it's in, sometimes just requiring you to yank it out with all your might and pray you don't break it!
His combined form is interesting, but since it requires 2 Leader class figures, which would cost you about £90 to make, it might not seem worthwhile for the less enthusiastic fans to buy them.
So, in summary, I personally believe that this is one of the best Transformers around for multiple reasons, but because of it's price I can see most parents just choosing the cheaper Voyager options instead. However, if you really love Optimus Prime, and like the Live Action Movie aesthetics, then tis is definitely a toy you MUST own.