Siege Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime Gallery and Review!

Desperately racing against time in unknown parts of the Allspark Studio is Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime!  Will he serve as a role model for his fellow Autobots on your shelves, or will he spend his days looking for that Cyber key you lost back in 2005?  Tune in after the break to find out!

I did not know how much I would come to love the Armada/Energon/Cybetron trilogy figures until well long after the series was done.  During the time those figures were on shelves we got a mix of a little of everything.  AEC gave us Micromaster/Targetmaster styled Mini-Cons, G1 inspired/re-envisioned legacy characters, Beasts, and brand-new characters, some of whom would become legacy characters in their own right.  I really did not appreciate all that we were given during that period, and it was in that trilogy that we first received Cybertron Optimus Prime/Galaxy Convoy.  That mold was an amalgamation of Transformers concepts, taking Prime back to a fire truck alt. mode, adding in a “trailer” pieces that could detach from the main vehicle, and also included the AEC gimmick of the Cyber Key.  It was big, versatile, poseable, and impressive, and not a figure I would have pegged for a remake.  Then came WFC Siege Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime.

Vehicle Mode
Just like the vehicle mode for Ultra Magnus, Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime’s vehicle mode is a composition of puzzle parts made from his robot mode armor.  While both armor/trailer sets share a few parts, they come together in different ways, and the parts are not compatible with each other.   Though you can take the complete armor set from Prime and Magnus and swap them in robot mode, you cannot do the same in vehicle mode.  While this figure does a good job approximating the original Cybertron Optimus’ vehicle mode, there are additional differences apart from the size differential.  The blasters on the roof of the vehicle have swapped sides, though they do maintain their correct orientation in robot mode.  The tubes that formed the sides of the bumper in the 2005 figure have moved to the front of the number on this update.  The blasters which sat further inside the original Cybertron Prime can be connected to the sides in a close approximation of their previous ubication.  Additionally, there are minor color differences due to plastic and paint and overall mold layout.

This mold uses the C.O.M.B.A.T. System attributes that allow weapons and effects from the Siege line to be used in various spots along the vehicle mode.  This may be one area where the new figure does outshine the original, as creative fans can show him super powered up with weapons, or under attack from enemy fire.  It’s a cool gimmick, since it tends to not interfere with articulation, something fans complained about during the days of the AEC trilogy.

Overall, I really like this updated vehicle mode, even if it is smaller than the original.  I feel like I can get this one out and fidget with it and leave my original Cybetron Prime on the top shelf, safely guarding his fellow Autobots.  The modular components and the new C.O.M.B.A.T. System gimmickry make the vehicle mode on par with the original, in my opinion.  Different, but similarly great.

Inner Robot Mode
The “unarmored” Optimus Prime is a cool cross between G1 and Cybetron Prime.  He shares numerous parts with Siege Ultra Magnus’ inner robot mode, and thus is able to fully swap armors with his mold brother in powered up mode.  Significant differences in molded parts are the cab and lower vehicle mode kibble, as well one side of the pelvis cover.  Due to the base mold, this Prime is a bit stockier than his original Siege body.  This nicely accommodates the widened chest on this mold, which is formed by the cab of the truck mode.

This mode balances well for posing and looks great in action shots.  If not for the cost, I think I would like to have an extra of him and Magnus to display as the inner robots.  Maybe I will luck out and score an extra loose on eBay in a couple of years.

Galaxy Upgrade Mode
Fully powered up, this mode is where the figure takes on a whole new personality.  The “trailer” end of the vehicle mode breaks down into upgrade armor parts to form a reasonable facsimile of Cybertron Optimus Prime/Galaxy Convoy.  Additional parts in the form of shoulder pads that resemble the tops of the cab and vehicle mode front wheels and grill that attach to the side of the arms complete the look.

While this mode as stated is very similar to the original Leader Class figure, it’s not nearly as close as the relationship between Energon Leader Class Megatron and the smaller “downsized” Superlink version.  Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime.  Beyond the Siege style sculpt, the biggest differences lie in the legs, which are thicker and shorter due to the armor design of the base mold, the weapons, which are much more simplified, the forearms, which really don’t look like the original figure at all, and the head, which works better on this toy due to the lack of a faceplate feature and a ball joint that actually works (take note Hasbro design team…THIS is how you make a ball-jointed head for a Transformer).

Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime has impressive poseability, as long as you don’t mind the need for him to hold the blasters from his backpack, which look a little strange just hanging to the side.  If you include them in his poses, he will look powerful and “cartoon accurate”.  If you want them out of the way and do not mind the hollow spaces under the barrels, you can rotate them behind the backpack.  This frees up his arms and honestly looks pretty cool, since now he effectively has a “jet fighter” looking mode.  I think I prefer this look for the Siege figure, since it allows me to take full advantage of his poseability and gives him a different look from the figure he is meant to homage.  Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime has articulation in all the necessary points, including some nice extras, such as rotating wrists, jointed ankles, and a rotating waist.  The added support of the stabilizers on the back of his feet to keep him from falling backward is seriously appreciated.

Cycling back to the nice range of movement in the head’s ball joint is important at this moment.  This is a serious point of articulation that Hasbro’s current design team does not implement with consistency.  Frequently there are ball jointed heads, but they have little to no range that could not be achieved with a mushroom/t-joint, making the inclusion of a ball joint a mystery.  I realize I harp on this a lot, but I do so in the hopes that somehow someone on the current design team or the future design team reads this and realizes that head/neck articulation in the mainline or fan-oriented line is important.  Again, big thanks to the designer that got it right on Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime.

Overall Thoughts
Compared with the original figure, Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime has some nice updates/upgrades, but the original figure gets the better of him in terms of size and active action features, netting him a 7/10.  In terms of balance, poseability, and compatibly with Siege figures, I would score him closer to a 9/10.  Therefore, I give Siege Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime an amalgamated score of 8 Cyber Keys out of 10!

Honestly, the smaller size, new proportions, and better poseability in the head give this mold some serious advantages over the original…but not enough for me to ever consider it a full-on replacement for Cybertron Prime, who has neat action features and a shelf presence that Siege Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime cannot replace. I am fortunate to have enough space for both versions on my shelf, so Cybertron Prime will lord over my collection on the top shelf while Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime pulls active duty with his fellow Autobots on my current CW/TR/PotP/PW shelf.

Should you not like smaller “Leader Class” figures, or if the hollow spaces I see many fans complaining about also bother you, I would skip this figure, especially if you own the original mold.  If you are a fan of remakes of older figures, don’t want to spend money buying the older mold or cannot find one, love the play value of the C.O.M.B.A.T. System (how could you not) or simply do not have the shelf space to display many of the larger leader class figures of the past, this figure is for you!

Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime has been popping up all over the country, though as of this post I still hear reports of people being told he cannot be sold due to the street date.  Do not worry.  That street date will eventually pass, and he will eventually make it to online retailers.  Once that happens, I recommend him, and think you should buy him too!