Sunday, 22 March 2009

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

So, first review only a few years after the release, goes to Optimus Prime.

Optimus Prime was one of 3 'Voyager' size moulds released by Hasbro in the original Classics series. It was also the only one to see a repaint in the original run (no prizes for guessing as whom), although Jetfire has since been repainted for release in the current Universe series.

When this toy was first released, there was some whingeing from those across the Atlantic that this doesn't look like a contemporary truck, i.e. it isn't a long-nosed American style truck. Well, that suits me fine. Firstly, the Classics series was specifically designed along the parameters set down by the original toys (something not strictly adhered to in Universe). G1 Optimus Prime was a flat-nosed truck, he is still a flat-nosed truck. Secondly, living in the UK, we only have short-nosed lorries, and as such this toy is relatively convincing, more so than anything likely to be released based on the movies. I imagine that this is also the style of lorry you'll see in continental Europe and Japan. Remember Yanks, people in other countries buy toys too (if only Hasbro/Takara would stop making every Jet Transformer an F-15 or F-22, I could sleep at night. What's wrong with a Eurofighter or a Rafale?).

The toy does exactly what it needs to - give it a push and it rolls along happily. Look closely at the windshield, and you'll see two seats and a steering wheel (on the wrong side ;)) The deco is clearly 'inspired' by the original, but doesn't follow it slavishly. It's worth noting that the blue plastic used is a lot lighter than the G1 toy, but the red is a decent match (as far as I remember. I must admit that I no longer have G1 Prime. In fact I'm not a fan of Primes, as a rule). The Henkei release is more G1 accurate, but as I don't have, or intend to buy, it I can't say too much.

There are two downsides to the vehicle mode, both of which a fairly minor. The rear of the lorry is clearly made up of legs and feet and the smokestacks are clearly gun barrels. As far as Transformers go, minor quibbles.
On to the robot mode. This is, in my opinion, the best Optimus Prime toy produced so far. The proportion's are fantastic - giving a sense of power, but keeping a sense of scale. As with most modern Transformers, the toy has a simple, but clever transformation which leaves only a couple of bits of kibble. Most of which, i.e. the vehicle mode's grill is tucked around the robots back, which leaves to portions of the cabin hanging off the arms. I don't particularly mind these, as they look like they could be some sort of shields.

Prime has fantastic articulation, counting each limb separately there are 13 points of articulation, giving a fantastic range of movement and poseability. He is also quite heavily armed, with a sub-machine gun and a, err, red blob, which is formed from the aerofoil section of the vehicle cab. The the two weapons can also be combined to form an over-the-shoulder cannon arrangement. The aerofoil can also be stored as a backpack.
It seems to me that the toy is not based on a particular Optimus, rather, it is a fantastic composite of all previous G1 and G2 Primes. In fact, if I had to choose one toy it reminded me of, it would be G2 Combat Hero Prime or Sureshot as it was known over here.

Rather than giving the toy star rating, or a number, I thought it'd be fun to compare it to someone or a band from the world of popular music. Classics Optimus Prime is... Queen (without Paul Rogers) - a popular, well executed, slick crowd-pleaser.

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