When a new line of Transformers hits, I expect a new Optimus Prime toy. For most lines, I'll usually buy one or more Optimus toys as a matter of habit - they're pretty fun and show a neat evolution of what Hasbro is doing with Transformers over the years, although they don't always carry the line's best gimmicks. This one is an exception - Optimus, a premold of Motormaster, is fully functional as a combiner torso. You get a decent torso, a decent truck, and a fun robot - it's a modern throwback, if that makes sense. It even has foil stickers which we very rarely see on these toys. I think the last one was Metroplex.
Since Optimus doesn't have his own drone team on the market yet, your need to get him doesn't yet exist - but the rumor that's probably not a rumor tells us to expect Jazz, Mirage, Ironhide, and Sunstreaker down the road. Today, he'll merge with any Stunticons or Aerialbots you may have.
The robot mode stands 7 1/2-inches tall and has 18 points of articulation, bringing you a wide tack on Optimus that doesn't feel all that far off from some of his other incarnations. The 5mm fists can hold is two, combinable guns and his head is a little on the smallish side. The sides of the helmet are a little different from previous incarnations, but it's totally Optimussy. His chest windows are sort of fake - the real truck's windshield are actually on the back of the arms, so it's a bizarre ornamental choice to have these here. The required silver vents on the shins are present, but it drops the yellow on the knees and the infamous yellow crotch spatula of the 2006 Classics version. Some gold bits on the thighs look almost like stickers, but some overspray makes me believe they're actually painted.
Despite all this articulation, it still feels sturdy and chunky - nothing here is going to pop off without a hammer, and that's great. You can get some nifty combat poses out of him, but the figure has a few bits which restrict - and in some cases, enhance - movement. The shoulders can move in for transformation if you want. He can even hold the combined blaster with both grips if you loosen one of the shoulders, so I have to give them credit for ensuring he really can handle his weapon. Most of the joints are tight and ratchety, so the figure has no problem standing upright on your shelf or desk. If you're just going to buy one Optimus toy (and are joining the Combiner Wars cult) this is a decent enough robot to keep around. After all, you're probably going to want spare robots for limbs and torsos to futz with.
Transformation is similar to most Primes, as the legs become the back of the truck, the chest becomes the cab, and the head goes into the chest. What's unusual is how - the head rotates to the side rather than falling forward or backward. The arms are quite complex, and there's a quasi ab crunch joint involved in getting all the parts and pieces massaged into truck mode. It's certainly not boring.
As a truck, it's pretty good - it even looks like it was made to be expanded upon, as the blue "connector" area has 3 proprietary ports that are basically 5mm holes, but not. There are grooves in the guns that fit in these ports, so other weapons like BMOG or the Robots In Disguise Bumblebee sword won't fit in here. With three slots and two accessories, it may leave you wondering just what else might go in here. I figure some fan will make a trailer down the road if Hasbro or Tomy don't. Each wheel spins a bit, but isn't exactly super-rolly. The wheels have no deco and are entirely black, leaving the cab area with all of the paint. Most of the windows are painted, as are the headlights and a nice big Autobot symbol on the roof. For a flat-nosed cab truck, it's pretty nice and you can even have Optimus' head pop out in truck mode if you like.
Optimus Prime is rarely a combiner but frequently combining. This time around he's a proper combiner torso, with deluxe toys forming his shins and feet or his entire arms. The end result is a little unsettling, mostly because there's no unified color scheme at work here just yet. The various panels and tabs hold together pretty well, but I found that keeping the upper legs together required a little patience with Optimus while on Silverbolt everything seemed much simpler. The combiner head is basically Optimus Prime with two giant metal slices of articulated pie as ears, making the 12-inch tall robot appear larger by just a tiny bit. The only really weak point on Optimus is that his combined head can sometimes be a little loose and roll back easily - but it's not a huge deal, and easily solved. The important thing is that the combiner feels pretty sturdy and nothing is loose or pops off by accident, which basically means after years and years and years Hasbro nailed the combiner conundrum.
Having a fully-assembled very large Superion on my desk makes me feel like a king. It's big and majestic, and a little more on the nose than the Optimus torso. As an armless, legless robot it looks silly but if you're buying the various limbs they all look good - even Dragstrip. I don't think I'm being too hyperbolic when I say that this may well be the high point of the entire modern "classic" Transformers brand. Metroplex was good, and the many deluxes we've bought are quite nice, but the general size and quality of robot you get for your money here feels like one of those things we'll look back on and wipe a tear, realizing just how spoiled we were that Hasbro was making combiner teams for kids ages 8 and up that just happened to fit perfectly for the needs of your average late-30s toy nut.
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