First Edition Voyager Class Optimus Prime
Review by Rob
“Transformers Prime” is Hasbro’s latest incarnation of the giant robots that turn into vehicles we all know and love from one form to another on the toy company’s premiere television network “The Hub.”
The series takes place in what is called the “Aligned Continuity,” the new establishment for all Transformers mythology wrapped into a single timeline spread across a multiverse of different Transformers titles.
What this means is actually simpler than it sounds. The new continuity reestablishes the franchise using old elements and make a new history for the things we already know through the new titles of Transformers Prime and High Moon Studio’s “Transformers: War For / Fall Of Cybertron” series. While both the “Prime” and “War/Fall” series borrow elements from one another in their continuities, they remain separate entities.
The elements of Generation One still exist only modified. The Great War still leaves Cybertron a barren husk, only this time with the added punch of being contaminated by corrupt Energon. Optimus Prime was still once the file clerk from Iacon named Orion Pax but he was once the protégé of Megatronus, a gladiator with political aspirations. One thing that didn’t change much was Starscream being Megatron’s punching bag.
The story of Transformers Prime follows the adventures of the Earthbound Autobots led by Optimus Prime (voiced by the great Peter Cullen) who are outnumbered in the war against the Decepticons led by Megatron (voiced by the legendary Frank Welker). While this seems like the story we already know, Prime is set to a more mature story than what we have witnessed on screen in years. There are the idioms of the trio of children who hang out at the Autobot base and the clandestine human group out to steal the Transformers’ technology, but they aren’t as annoying as those have been in the past.
The animated look to Transformers Prime is a hybrid of the Transformers: Animated (the Cartoon Network show) and Movie universe aesthetic. The characters, both Robot and Human, have exaggerated proportions and photo realistic texturing. The bots especially have a rich, powder coated look that is pretty cool.
From my point of view, Transformers Prime is a Damn Good Show. I will spare this toy review from going into details and spoilers from what’s already been said. Just Go Watch It! The animation is great, the cast is well rounded, and the story is pretty good. The only flaw is the marketing plan for Prime in its toyetic presentation.
While the Michael Bay Live Action movies had toys stocked up on the shelves months in advance, Transformers Prime’s toys are just now seeing their release nearly one year since the show’s debut.
The Transformers Prime: First Edition series were a limited production of figures released to promote the new franchise and set Hasbro’s changing point between the “Dark of the Moon” film toys and the future “Robots in Disguise” brand which will serve as the main line for Transformers Prime. The majority of the First Edition figures were released almost exclusively in Canada and parts of Asia and Europe, while some splintered off into Toys R Us stores back here in North America.
The First Edition line-up consisted of deluxe class figures for Cliffjumper (with a rumored Zombie version), Bumblebee, Arcee, Starscream, and the nameless Decepticon foot soldier “Vehicon” as well as two Voyager class figures for Optimus Prime and Bulkhead. There also exists somewhere deluxe sized versions of Optimus and Megatron in a two-pack while legend speaks of Megatron being single carded in Japan.
Considering the limited nature of the First Edition line in the United States and since I live in South Georgia where the shelves are still stocked with “Dark of the Moon” and even some “Revenge of the Fallen” leftovers, it’s hard to say these figures existed at all.
The First Edition figures were originally released in December of 2011 in rare numbers which made finding one locally go from virtually impossible to highly unlikely. I managed to find a Bumblebee but the figure was buried on the shelf behind three different movie versions and a few remnant Generations figures.
While the main line for the First Edition is almost gone, Hasbro still has a few left from the New York and San Diego Comic-Cons on their Hasbro Toy Shop website. However, it’s the figures that really count that have all but disappeared and reached triple digit values elsewhere.
Sometimes you can get lucky.
I had preordered the Voyager class Optimus Prime online but when the store sent out the en mass “Hasbro Death Letter,” I turned towards every collector’s last resource and found one for a decent price.
This First Edition, Voyager Class, Optimus Prime hails from the land of the great maple leaf and as such comes in multilingual packaging. Optimus Prime come packaged in clear plastic trapezoid boxes similar to those of the domestic Masterpiece series with the character in robot mode with his weapons in hand right out of the box.
At the bottom of the package is the cardboard title box that becomes a “bonus display stand” for the figure.
The First Edition Optimus Prime is awesome. I don’t think I can stress this enough. The designers really had their focus set on representing a great looking robot mode and vehicle mode without the excess of features such as “Mech-Tech” weapon gimmicks or light-up/sound technology.
Right out of the box, Optimus Prime looks like his on screen counterpart. Standing a good seven inches in height from head to toe, Optimus is molded into his unique proportions without any excess parts hanging off or cluttering his movement.
The folded panels from the sides of his vehicle mode are swung onto his back, but they do not stand out too much or hang in such a way that distract from the overall robot form.
While Optimus is made with plastic for his entire body, his smoke stacks and sword weapon are made of soft rubber. While the parts might feel weak, the rubber smoke stacks are easier to fit back into place when they get knocked around when changing Optimus from robot into vehicle mode.
In terms of paint and color, Prime is very simple but still looks good but there are some short comings in his paint applications in areas that were just ignored. Compared to his digital model, Optimus Prime has a bit more color than the toy in broad areas such as the backs of his legs and some silver color along the step rail of his truck form.
The vents and horns on the sides of Optimus’ head are supposed to be silver but remain colorless on the toy. Taking some time with a brush, this can be corrected with a little paint.
The First Edition Optimus Prime features a clear plastic piece for light-piping his eyes. The clear piece is molded into the full Mohawk going down the center of Prime’s head rather than stopping half way. Under direct lighting, the piping has more detail within Prime’s eyes that are hard to see in normal light.
Prime is well articulated, but his bulky proportions make it limited. His arms have a good range of movement and his legs are able to hold the weight of his A-framed torso.
Due to the engineering for his transformation, he lacks a true waist pivot for his robot mode.
Optimus uses a fake window piece for his chest in robot mode but still transforms in such a way that the truck cab is still the center of his torso. In some ways, the design for the First Edition Optimus almost reminds me of the Voyager class figure from “Dark of the Moon,” only with better results.
Borrowing from the movie design, Optimus’ vehicle mode is a smooth and animated long-nosed freight truck minus the flame broiled paint job.
Transforming Optimus into either mode is like unfolding and refolding an origami truck. The figure’s body is made of folding plates and panels that unfold from the robot mode and form the truck’s outer features.
Once in vehicle mode, Optimus is just a solid block of vehicle without any distracting features or action abilities. He is simply a truck.
Looking at the truck mode from all angles, Optimus has barely any visible robot parts in this mode which is good compared to other figures where the robot parts tend to stick out.
The rear of Prime’s truck mode has two peg ports for carrying his weapons. The hitching point folds onto the inside of the right leg in robot mode and serves as a locking tab to hold the legs together in vehicle mode.
Sadly the fold-away hitching point on cannot mount to another Prime’s trailer.
Since the designers’ intention for the First Edition Transformers Prime line is focused solely on the robots, they leave the weapons as accessories rather than the intention of the toy line. Optimus Prime comes packaged with one blaster and one sword weapon that simply peg into his hands.
The weapons are molded so that they fit over Prime’s hands and cover the wrists to make it look like the weapons form out of Optimus’ forearms as they do on the television show.
While the show depicts Optimus Prime having two of each weapon in both arms, the”one of each sampler” is good enough for this first impression figure.
The grip-space of Prime’s hands is wide enough to not limit the figure to only his packaged weapons.
Since there is no such thing as the perfect toy, Optimus does have a few flaws.
The shin guards (which fold into the back of Prime’s cab in vehicle mode) have a problem of sometimes not clipping to the legs properly. The plates bind against the legs and tend to push out from their tab points but even though the parts do not genuinely lock together, they don’t stop the figure from being able to stand on its own.
The choice for using rubber in Optimus Prime’s sword might seem like a decision for safety concerns, but the material is almost too soft. It could either come bent in the packaging or risk being permanently bent when pressed against another surface too long. While the sword is of little value compared to the whole figure, this rubber material problem can also affect Optimus’ vehicle mode smoke stacks as well.
From a general perspective, the First Edition Optimus Prime is a fun, great looking figure with all of the right touches to carry on the title of Prime.
However from the overall perspective since the First Edition line is almost gone, there leaves the question “Is it worth the extra cost?” For me, it was a fair price at the time but looking at what it has exploded to now, I feel like this is a coin toss question for the more hardcore collectors. While Hasbro is set to release a new Voyager class (dubbed “Powerizer”) Optimus Prime for the mass retail Transformers Prime series, I personally feel like this was the version they should have stuck with to begin with. If you happen to have the luck of finding a First Edition Optimus Prime, grab it and Roll Out!
|Posted 10 February, 2012 - 14:48 by Rob|