Hasbro Transformers Age of Extinction Optimus Prime Hasbro, 2014
Day #920: May 14, 2014
Optimus Prime Chromed
Transformers Age of Extinction Generations Leader Class
Item No.: Asst. A6516 No. A6517 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Vector Shield, Sword of Judgement Action Feature:Transforms from Western Star truck to robot Retail:$44.99 Availability: May 2014 Other: M4 Series #001
For every movie, you're going to get a few new Optimus Prime toys. We had a sizable, $60 Amazon exclusive sneak preview toy (which I didn't get) but this one dropped in my lap so I figured I may as well give it a look. After several movies, what are we as fans looking for? Greatness? Value? Innovation? As I get older I'm more interested in wildly experimental toys, or things that are a lot of fun. This one is neither of those things - the company is now calling its collector-oriented movie product "Generations" (it says so on the box) but this doesn't exactly seem to be the overly articulated, frustrating pile of nonsense we usually get. Instead, it's a simpler figure which changes in (according to the box) 20 steps.
Hasbro made a big stink about making simpler toys for kids - a smart move - and has made it a point of showing off the instructions from 1984 toys and comparing them to the nightmarish folded road map that were toys for Dark of the Moon. The company seems to be happy with the pretense of this being a collector toy (hence the chrome, if you ask me) but this feels like a toy for the younger set still. The figure is big and has chrome bits - this feels like a nod to collectors. It's also quite stiff, has a spring-loaded head reveal, lacks in painted details, and feels hollow in spots - this is more like a kid's toy. I suppose it might be a transitional product, but it seems to me that any consideration of marketing this to collectors came after the toy was developed.
The blue and red 9-inch Autobot leader looks pretty good. There's a definite "knight" motif for this movie's toys, with Drift and Grimlock designed as Samurai and Optimus Prime being all... knight-y. The chrome helps sell the concept - some red and blue metallic bits on his chest look quite excellent as a toy, and the figure's deco budget clearly went toward making the robot looks its best. Optimus has light-up eye ports for the yellow plastic, articulated thumbs, silver shins, and red paint all over. He's largely blue and grey plastic, with north of 16 points of useful articulation. The joints are stiff and ratchet nicely, showing that the Takara/Tomy/Hasbro engineers made sure this big guy won't fall over. He's not especially heavy either, but we've all had figures fall forward - or backward, as is the case with backpack-heavy robots - and this one seems pretty gosh darned stable. If you like what you see, that's basically what you get - you can move the arms some, and the legs some, but you aren't going to get any golly-gee-whiz poses out of this guy. There's enough movement where you can squeeze a fair amount of personality from his pretty generously sized form, but it feels a tiny bit limiting despite all the joints. I won't say it's a gorgeous robot, but it'll look good on any shelf or desk. Toy box, not so much.
Mr. Prime has two accessories. The Sword of Judgment is just plain cool - it's a 5mm peg with a groove in it that plugs in to a peg in the palm of his hand. It fits very well, and also fits in the hands of most other Transformers as an added bonus. The yellow weapon has red, blue, and silver paint on its hilt so it looks pretty nice. The Vector Shield looks sort of like a cannon on one end, is molded in grey, and plugs in to a hole on his forearm, or into the trailer hitch of the truck mode. It's simple, but feels fleshed-out and sturdy - I quite like it. Not having seen the movie yet, I don't know if it's significant but had Hasbro left it out of the box you'd never know it was missing. I'm glad they included it, it's a nice accessory.
Transformation is not difficult, as Hasbro really did do a good job making the kibble-heavy panel-puzzle transformation actually work. Some figures are a huge hassle snapping things in place or getting parts just-so, but this one seems to be friendlier to kids or people who may want to hit it with a hammer. I had no real difficulty going from either mode, but I do want to bark at Hasbro's instruction sheet designer for giving instructions only from truck-to-robot when the toy is packaged in robot mode. Especially with the emphasis toward kids, having both is helpful and if nothing else, at least package it in the same mode that the instructions aims to show you.
The 10-inch long Western Star alt mode ain't bad. It's not fantastic, but it has chrome to distract you from the uneven red flame paint job, the odd yellow windows, but bits and pieces are begging for paint or Reprolabels upgrade sticker sets. The step near the door is unpainted blue, as is pretty much the entire back of the truck - the deco is slightly better than the simpler Cyberverse toys. If you compare this to the candylike gradients used on the deluxe Dark of the Moon Optimus Prime, this comes up short. This is not a facetious, flippant fanboy complaint - there's just not a lot of paint here. The hubcaps are molded in grey, the tires are more rubbery than the typical hard plastic we see, and you can plug the weapons to the toy without too much of a fuss. I should note the wheels do not roll particularly freely, and my sample rolls maybe 3-4-inches on a desk if you give it a good, strong push before coming to a halt.
The silver vac-metal chrome highlights are praiseworthy, but it feels they come at the expense of other paint (or perhaps, as a replacement to it.) The shiny silver distracts you from the sea of blue plastic, but it's well-executed silver in car mode - the various pipes, grilles, and other bits that are silver do in fact look very good in silver, and unlike the baffling silver belly on Movie Leader Grimlock or the ugly red chrome on upcoming Generations Leader Jetfire, it feels like an absolutely perfect fit here.
Can we talk about the packaging? I love the packaging. It's bright and clean - one of the side panels is almost completely white, and it reminds me of some sort of sneaker box. I love it to death, and I hope we see this sort of thing in the future - especially for the IDW/G1 toys. There's a nice big picture on the front and the interior "wallpaper" on the insert is gorgeous. Hasbro puts a greater emphasis on its packaging than most companies, and most of the time they're the absolute best at it. This is one of those times. Kudos, Hasbro's anonymous hard-working graphic designers.
For its price I would not advise getting this figure - were it shorter and a deluxe, with slightly more/better paint, I'd probably love it. As it is, the truck mode is pretty ugly and the robot makes a better statue than a toy. It's wonderful shelf candy - the boxed sample is beautiful, and the robot looks just fine. I don't think it's all that much fun for the price. Get it on sale if you're so inclined - Amazon is running a buy one, get a second toy for 50% off now as I write this. This one looks good - I assume one that looks even better isn't far off, given the rich history of Optimus Prime movie toys.
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