Optimus Prime (Clear)
Review by Ghost_XIII
Greetings my brothers and sisters in toy collecting or anyone who is reading this. Welcome to another Ghost_XIII’s review. For this time around, we will be looking at the limited repaint (I think) of the Takara Dual Model Kit (DMK) 01 Optimus Prime from the movie ‘Dark Of The Moon’.
I’m not entirely sure how people throughout the globe take the redesign of the Bayformers but I personally love them. I did not grew up with the traditional G1 as the show was not available as far as I can remember in my country when I was 6 or 7 years old (plus I do not understand English at that age) so I do not have much attachment to the G1 design and I have a thing for complex looking, mechanical, inorganic living being so yeah…
Enough of my opinion of the franchise and lets get on with the review.
First and foremost, what I have here is the Amazon exclusive DMK01 which came with the ‘Dark Of The Moon ’ bluray DVD and the regular release of this DMK has already been reviewed by Rob (which you can read here). Head over there if you want to know more of the construction and what not as I bought mine used and already assembled so I will be looking at this model kit as more of a figure like I always do. Of course with some discretion that this is a model kit.
Lets start off with the box.
It’s huge. Almost bigger than the backdrop I’m using. I’m only taking the top half of the box as the bottom half is just a blank box so rest assure you are not missing out on anything :).
Here is the only picture of the unmasked Optimus in this review. I don’t really bother with the face swap as the whole process seems finicky and too much hassle just to change out the face (^^;).
A look of the inner body frame before all the armor bits went on. Very poseable from the look of it.
And here’s the big guy himself.
Lets take one moment to appreciate the sheer beauty and screen accuracy…It’s INSANE!! By far, this is the most screen accurate Optimus I’ve ever seen. Granted, he’s not transformable thus able to achieve this ridiculous level of screen accuracy and the clear plastic on him make this a born centerpiece that will sure capture the attention of anyone looking at your collection.
The inner skeleton is very detailed and the clear parts kinda tease your view of what’s inside. The only thing I dislike with the overall look is how his forearm looks a little gappy without the blade attachment. Oh, I did not attach the chrome side mirrors. Just realized that after finish the whole photo shoot (forgive me (^^;)).
Articulation wise, he’s good. Almost great in theory. There’s a lot of little parts moving on him so I’m gonna cover just the main point of articulation.
First off, a single jointed elbow with a very nice range. Note the shoulder pad (?) is moveable to allow more clearance when you raised the whole arm outward. The shoulder is connected to the torso via a peg and hole system which can barely support the weight of the whole arm when you move them forward and backward. I’m not sure if that because my Optimus is used thus that issue occurred or the whole DMK have said problem.
The head is on a ball joint but feels quite limited - probably because of a rubber piece that goes in the neck construction. The fingers are my main issue with this kit. They are on a peg/pin system which by looking at the instruction manual, very good in theory but when you move the fingers, they tend to slide out of their hole which is really annoying. I gave up trying to pose the finger and leave it in a fist state.
This kit also has a waist swivel. In theory, it is really good but when you added all the stuff on the skeleton, you are bound to hook some part when you turn the waist. The leg can move forward all the way but just like the shoulder, the peg and hole joint just can’t support the whole weight of the leg. The knee has a 90 degree bend which will split the thigh like some Master Grade (MG) and Perfect Grade (PG) by Bandai which is really cool. The thigh can swivel. The ankle has a very nice tilt sideways and forward / backward motion and Optimus’s toes are also poseable with upward and downward motion.
Accessories wise, Optimus came with an interchangeable face plate (not gonna bother with that) and his energon sword. I wish there is a gun provided for him.
This is one point where I think the clear plastic kinda went against the whole look. The sword body is pure clear white. With a bright lighting, this will become almost invisible in pictures and make the orange blade look like its floating. I think this can be averted with clear grey or something darker than pure white.
To equip the sword, there are two alternatives you can choose, either you want the sword to attach directly in the hand socket or make it appear from his forearm. I’ve seen a review where the ball joint attachment broke when you try to remove it from the socket so I’m not gonna risk that.
Attaching the sword to the forearm will need you to disassemble some of the forearm which will give you the chance to look inside the inner skeleton detailing. The sword attachment has a tab on them and will slot in at the armor piece.
While the whole thing looks awesome, the awesome factor is brought down by the looseness of the shoulder connection. Optimus already has issues supporting his own arm and now we’re adding a blade to it. But you still can get some nice poses.
I really wish a gun is included in with him.
Some of my opinions on this kit - You can just skip this and go to the verdict.
If I’m not mistaken, I think this is the first time Takara made a model kit (correct me if I’m wrong and TOMY did made some Zoids model kit way back then) and to think they could achieve something of this level of intricacy and detail is surprising for a first try. But all in all, they still have a long way. Lets talk about the whole idea and concept of the kit.
“Dual Model Kit”
I’m still figuring out what Takara meant by this. Probably the inner frame and the armor pieces are considered to be different things thus the “Dual” part. Regarding the inner frame, a part of me felt it’s a good thing (less work for the builder) but a part of me felt Takara should just let us build it so we know what went where to give us a clearer view of what is going on in there. Probably they want the proto-form vibe with this kit thus they made the inner frame.
The material of the inner skeleton is something to worry about a little in my opinion. They are not cheap or fragile per say but not as solid as I would like. The quality is somewhere between Kotobukiya and Bandai. Not that fragile but not that solid either. The armor bits are fine though.
Another thing about the inner frame is its engineering. I wish some ratcheting joint or maybe some joint which tightness can be controlled by screws like Bandai G Gundam MG is implemented here as the joint doesn’t feel as solid as I would want. Sure I bought mine used but if given some time or constant fiddling I’m quite sure the joint is going to loosen up.
And how does the whole thing stack up?
Just like the plastic quality of the inner frame, it's somewhere in the middle. Not too flimsy but not so solid either. When moving a part around, some small parts like to fall off or pop off especially the fingers which can bring down the joy of posing this thing. Sure it’s a model kit but I just can’t help it but compare this to Bandai PG gunpla. They were a joy to fiddle around with despite being a model kit. I’m not against the idea of a Transformers model kit (would be cool to have Megatron or Sentinel prime in this format) but Takara really needs to look at Bandai as a role model if they want to continue going down the model kit road.
Should you buy this?
Before concluding this, I’m gonna talk about the regular version. Although I did not build mine but I could say I’m quite experienced with gunpla (I’ve built every grade there is at least once) and I agree with Rob, this is totally not for beginners. The construction of this kit is somewhere between an MG and a PG with the hardest part being the chest. Took me 30 minutes to understand what’s going on there. So if you are someone new with model kit but really want this Optimus, find someone that can build it for you.
Then the other problem, the price. I’m not sure why but it’s so expensive. The price is almost equal to Bandai PG and if I don’t have any love for the design I doubt I’ll buy it. But, if by any chance you saw one going for cheap or with the price you are comfortable with, go for it.
And then this clear version.
Honestly, although the clear plastics do elevate the aesthetic level of this kit, I do not feel it’s necessary. All in all, this exclusive is a luxury item to put bluntly and not a must. If you have to choose the regular or this clear version, just go with the regular. It will still look good. But if you a real sucker for translucent stuff like me then, just try to find one with a price that doesn’t make you feel you have been robbed in broad day light :p.
And that wraps up my review for this time around. As usual, any comments or critics (positive or negative) are always welcomed. Ghost_XIII reporting out :).
|Posted 25 January, 2014 - 14:44 by Ghost_XIII|