Movie Optimus Prime (Leader Class)
The Allspark was forunate enough this week to obtain an advanced release of the highly anticipated Movie Optimus Prime Leader Class toy. The toy is packaged in robot mode and stands approximately 9 inches (23 cm) tall. The front package includes a "Try Me" feature to highlight the new "Automorph Technology" which, in theory is designed to assist in the ease of transformation. In practical application, though, it is a switch to activate the toy's light and sound features. When release, Prime's chest expands and opens up, revealing his robot head and activates a sound that seems to be a truck engine with laser sounds.
In vehicle mode a button on Prime's shoulder (the truck's roof) makes air horn sounds. The LED lights in his chest and eyes light up when the sounds are activated. Although the box art portrays his LED lights as being blue, the units that are being produced have amber lights. Whether this is an early production run or an absolute change is unknown.
Another interesting feature of this toy is its use of rubber tires instead of plastic. The rubber is a very sturdy mix that seems to hold up pretty well in general play. The tires are thick and solid, not unlike 25th Anniversary Optimus Prime's tires. however, there is no wording printed on them. In recent years, due to child safety laws in the United States, later versions of Optimus Prime, as well as re-issues, have had smaller smoke stacks. Many fans expressed disappointed in this trend and this toy's designers listened. Movie Prime has full length smoke stacks that extend from his back shoulder region and to address child safety concerns they too are made of rubber. Fans who believe the "long stacks" to be a distinguished and iconic trademark should be pleased. His colors compliment each other very well and the figure shows a wide variety of sculpting detail.
The robot mode looks outstanding. A very accurate representation of the images we've seen thus far of Movie Prime. The stance is very solid and thanks to the "clawed" feet and amazing articulation, Prime can be placed in variety of action poses. His gimmicks in robot mode include a flip out arm cannon that is activated by a slide switch on his lower forearm. Pushing the switch out reveals his "Ion Blaster" that fires a projectile missle. Although his physical appearance from the front and side angles is very accurate, it is hard to ignore the extra "kibble" (A fan term describing the parts of one mode visible in the other) from the truck hanging off his back. Notably, the back tires. Even though it is noticible, it is not overly intrusive to the design and he carries it well.
His hands are fully articulated with rotation at the wrist, an opposable thumb and 4 fingers that move independantly of each other. His feet also sport a spring loaded gimmick that allows his front "Claws" to pop out by moving his heel brace out.
The transformation from robot mode to truck mode is fairly intuitive, which is a good thing because the instructions are of little help. With only seemingly random and chaotic pictures to denote the order in which you are to transform him and no text, it may be just as easy to look at the picture on the box and figure out for yourself how to transform him from one mode to the next.
As beautiful as his robot mode is, Prime's truck mode is just as lovely. Very close to 1/32 scale with very accurate details, Optimus achieves his disguise flawlessly. Translucent windows, rubber tires and no evidence of any robot parts at a glance, its a hard choice to decide which mode to keep him in. As a truck he is 11 inches (28 cm) long from end to end and is 4 inches (10 cm) tall with an additional inch to include his smokestacks. The rubber tires add functional play value to the toy as he can ride smoothly and quietly on almost any kind of surface.
This is a very solid toy in both modes, and with gimmicks that are fun and an exceptional level of detail, it sets the bar for leader class figures higher than its ever been. The movie design lends itself very well to this toy and it truly lives up to the images we've seen of the big screen version. Everything from the detail to the paint scheme gives very little to complain about.
Overall Score: 8.5