In all of Transformers lore, or at least the toy box, Optimus Prime with Autobot Roller is an increasingly uncommon pairing. Were it not for the incessant remakes of the original 1984 toy (like Hybrid Style and Masterpiece) this is a somewhat unique release. Heck, the only other time that Roller got a licensed, transforming toy in the USA was in the 2011 Dark of the Moon line. The little guy doesn't get a lot of love, and his pairing with a new small Optimus Prime is actually a fun little package for the price that's worth the ten bucks.
As Hasbro continues to struggle with the sub-$10 price point, the direction of lines can swing drastically. While the bulk of the toys around this price since 2011 have been under the "Cyberverse" banner, this is a departure in that it's a larger build with 5mm, rather than 3mm, peg holes. That means Optimus Prime's weapons can be used by most larger toys from several lines over the past two decades (and beyond), but it also places these toys in a category of their own. They're too small to be proper "Classics/Generations" toys, but their larger status and the overall feel puts them at odds with the smaller Cyberverse aesthetic. Look at them like a new miniature line that should be judged on its own merits. Or as "king" of your old Legends toys.
Based on the IDW Comics redesign of the character, Optimus Prime is an odd one due to some genuinely amazing sculpting and detail plus some annoyingly floaty parts. The most unique design trait on this toy is his opening chest with an Autobot logo inside, which should be on display while in his robot mode. Unfortunately, these panels do not lock in place - so when you move his arms, the chest sort of swings open and close. There is a good and simple fix for this - the toy ships with a small chunk of clear plastic in this gap, which fits right in and keeps it in the right shape. I'm glad I have the piece to prop it open, but I shouldn't have to prop it open. It should just work. I wouldn't want to explain to a kid "oh yeah, it's not broken, it just could've been designed better." The designers did manage to fit in a ton of articulation including a swiveling neck for a total of about 9 meaningful points of articulation.
Once you get beyond this, the toy is a ton of fun. The big hands look fantastic on the figure at this scale, plus the legs are some of the best I've seen on an Optimus toy in some time. The sculpted knees are covered in some silver paint, and the way the light hits it really makes it pop. I mean, in person, it's amazing. At a distance it looks like there might be stickers or another form of deco, so his appearance gives the illusion of being a slightly better figure. He has floaty shoulder panels which really don't add much to the robot mode or to the truck mode, so their inclusion doesn't add much to the toy. The figure does have some awesome deco details like light blue eyes, a silver mouth plate, and yellow bits on the top of his chest. The figure doesn't feel like Hasbro cheeped out in any way, and going from robot to truck is pretty simple. If you need the instructions, well, you shouldn't need the instructions.
There's not much to the truck, although I do appreciate that the back of Optimus' robot head has a 5mm hole for weapon storage if you're so inclined. All 6 wheels roll freely, and the Autobot symbol disappears allowing him to actually be in disguise for once. The truck mode is pretty great, particularly for such a small toy.
What makes the figure really nifty is Roller, otherwise you'd probably feel you overpaid for the set by about two bucks. Roller looks and feels like a "classic" toy for many reasons, namely the high-quality feel of the plastic and the so-easy-it's-an-accident transformation. In car mode, put the wheels on the ground. For a robot, tilt it back so it "stands" not he rear hatch and pop out the arms. It's just that simple. The face has some paint and the quality of plastic is higher than I would have anticipated. Turning it into the gun is a little more tricky as there are some bits that more or less change automatically as you rotate around the grip, and it's a nice bonus. The "Roller Cannon" can be combined with the included 5mm Optimus Prime ion blaster to form a goofy, much-larger means of menacing Decepticons. I feel that the Roller gun mode is too large for Optimus, but it looks pretty great with deluxe-sized and larger toys.
Roller is a fine example of 11 years of Mini-Con evolution, while Optimus embraces both the evolution and shortcomings of the smaller "basic" and "scout" price points. This is a figure that has learned lessons from the very first Rattrap and some of the smaller Vehicons, while retaining problems like how certain kinds of kibble lock in place in robot mode. Despite having too many Optimus Prime toys I couldn't help but want to get this, and I'll wager you're going to feel the same way. Get it cheap if you can!
A tangent - the weird thing about this toy is that at $10, if you put it against the $15 deluxe Fall of Cybertron Optimus Prime, it's something of a toss-up. I like the larger toy overall as it has fewer flaws, but the articulation is not significantly improved and for the price, the smaller toy really does have better gear. If anything, this smaller "Legends" Optimus Prime shows there may still be hope for a decent $10 deluxe toy if fans are willing to accept some concessions in height and articulation.
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