News Flash! I bought a figure that wasn’t from the Transformers Prime range. Here’s a little chappie you might have heard of, goes by the name Optimus Prime.
This is the new Voyager Optimus, released January 2015 as part of the Combiner Wars series. I wasn’t planning on buying him but I had wanted some sort of Voyager Optimus for a while (the Prime RID Optimus is one of my least favourite figures from the range, which is why we don’t already have him). Previously B and I only had the Deluxe Fall of Cybertron Optimus, who is a nice figure but was starting to look distinctly overshadowed with some our Voyagers (RID Prime Bulkhead, Arms Micron Ultra Magnus, FoC Grimlock) towering over him. You need a leader Bot with a commanding presence, and Combiner Wars Optimus certainly has that. The first time I saw the toy in the plastic I liked him enough to part with some hard earned cash – and to stick out my tongue at B who teases me for being evil since I more usually tend to obsess over Decepticons.
So here’s a look at him…
Standing at 18.5 cm tall and almost as wide, everything about this guy is solid, solid, solid. He certainly has that big, blocky G1 feel but with sufficient detail that he’s also clearly a modern update. I particularly the cogs and gearing detail you can see on his torso and legs. The figure uses both silver plastic and silver paint which adds a surprising amount of depth to a toy who would otherwise look pretty flat. This Optimus also has foil autobrand stickers on his shoulders. I know stickers are quite a divisive feature among TF collectors and not everyone is a fan, but personally – as the owner of a few Arms Micron figures and an enthusiastic Reprolabels fan – I really like the additional detail (and shininess) a well-placed sticker can provide. Optimus’ shoulder stickers are HUGE. No messing about there, but then this guy himself is just as iconic as the logo he sports.
This toy has two transformations: he can turn into the classic truck or into the torso of Ultra Prime with the Deluxe figures in this range forming the limbs. It’s a neat feature that he can do this but I bought this guy to be a standalone figure. So, as B and I are unlikely to be collecting the full range of these combiners (she says), I’m going to concentrate here on his classic bot and truck modes.
In robot mode, Optimus is very… *grabs a thesaurus to find a synonym for “solid”* he’s very… sturdy, stable, substantial. Sir, you are looking… robust. His massive shoulders have full 360 degree articulation and are very stiff (so stiff, in fact, that it took me a while realise that they were articulated) while his elbows are ratcheted, a combination which means he’s not only surprisingly poseable for such a chunkster, but also that he holds those poses really well. For this reason alone he’s a welcome addition to the AddAltMode collection, as we do love to play with and pose our bots. Mint in sealed box is not a thing that happens in these parts.
With this being such a solid, blocky figure, the transformation is quite simple and doesn’t involve any of those ”oh no, am I going to break this” worrisome moments, so he’d probably be a good toy for kids although everything in the Generations line is aimed squarely at adult collectors.
One thing that always amuses me with Transformers is faux-detailing, and there’s fun example here with Optimus’ windscreen. The windscreen on his chest, clearly visible on ‘bot mode is not the actual window used in truck mode. These are on the back of his arms and snap round in a “ha ha gotcha” type way during the transformation. Add to this the even bigger windscreen that forms Optimus’ backpack in ‘bot mode and is used when he forms the Ultra Prime torso and this figure is pretty much windscreen central!
Truck mode is… well I’m no expert on cars. I have to say I’ve never had much interest in vehicles that don’t turn into awesome robots so if there was some technical clanger with his vehicle composition I’m probably not the woman to point it out. However, I can say that Combiner Wars Optimus turns into a solid (that word again) and pretty classic G1 looking truck which pegs together nicely and has a good level of detail, such as rear-view mirrors and smoke-stacks that are nicely delineated but not as in your face as they are in some of the more recent incarnations of the character. He also rolls along pretty well.
One thing I often struggle with when toys are in vehicle mode is what to do with their weapons. Guns and blades can usually peg in somewhere or other on the vehicle but so many of them look pretty daft when you do this – especially on the Autobots. Decepticons tend to get away with this more, probably because they tend to be more combat-focused flavour-wise. But few things look dafter than say, RID Prime Ratchet with his knives on the front of his ambulance!
This Optimus has a fairly satisyfing solution to the conundrum, however. The two guns he comes with (which themselves combine into a bigger, rifle-looking thing to be wielded by Ultra Prime or any regular bot with a 5mm post-hole and an inferiority complex) can be pegged side by side into the back of his truck. With their grey colour and tubular details they give quite a good impression of being custom exhaust pipes or other engine components and certainly add on a lot more naturally to vehicle mode than most weapons do on on non-military vehicles, so that’s a nice touch.
Though more simply composed than many recent figures this Optimus does not lack for detail. I wasn’t crazy about him when I first saw pictures online but in the plastic he’s very nice indeed and the more I’ve been posing him, the more I like him. He certainly has the gravitas I look for in a Prime. The whole combiner mechanic is a decent enough gimmick but he can definitely be enjoyed as a toy in his own right without buying in to the whole Ultra Prime set. If you’re in the market for a new Voyager Optimus then this one is certainly worth a look.