Sunday, January 15, 2012

Optimus Prime World Tour Stop 4: Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime

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Picture shamelessly stolen from Seibertron.com

Generation 2 was a relaunching of the Transformers brand. In the US the toyline had been completely retired for about three years when Generation 2 launched in 1993 (it had been going strong the whole time in Japan). The cartoon for Generation 2 was just the Generation1 cartoon, with redone splash pages. The comic was a direct continuation of the Generation 1 comic. As such, the majority of the toyline was reused molds from Generation 1, sometimes with a few tweaks or color changes. The original Optimus Prime toy was re-released, this time with a black trailer, and the addition of a sound box and spring loaded missile launchers. Sometime later they released Laser Optimus Prime, a completely new mold (in between there was another new told mold, Hero Optimus Prime, that I sadly don't have to review).

I don't have an actual Laser Prime either, the first use of the mold that I was exposed to was when they repainted it for an evil Optimus Prime clone named Scourge in the Robots In Disguise cartoon. I never bothered to track down the original because I already had Scourge, and it seemed like a waste to spend more money on a version that I liked less (He's got a mural of himself on his trailer with his name spelled out!)

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Scourge, being an evil Optimus Prime, eschews the red and blue color scheme for black with teal highlights. and the tranker trailer is a chromed paint job instead of the flat grey of the original. Generation 2 is also the first time that Prime was depicted as being a long-nosed cab, rather than the traditional cab-over design (Hero Optimus Prime was also a long-nose truck)

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The whole figure is about the same size as the previous versions of Prime. There's not much else to say about the truck mode, it pretty much does everything you want it to do. The cab can be disconnected from the trailer, and the trailer articulates on a hitch point. The only real gimmick available in the vehicle mode is that there is a disc launcher weapon integrated into the top of the trailer. If you rotate the rear-most cap, it will fire discs from a reservoir of five discs out the front. It can be articulated, but you'll see a better picture of it later.

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The transformation from tuck cab to robot is pretty simple, but it still manages to do the job, and feel right. As a figure it's very solid. I'll point your attention to his chest, again you see the classic double windshield and grill design, when the actual truck windshield and grill are located on the tops of his back and shoulders.

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He does have an extensive arsenal of weapons available in the trailer, but the only weapon available just in the cab is a translucent sword, stored under the chassis. While he's displaying the sword, we're also going to take a look at his articulation, at the time his level of articulation was pretty unprecedented. he has elbows, bicep swivels, his shoulders extend to the sides, as well as rotate forward and back, his head turns, his waist swivels, his hips are two way ratchets, and you can round it off with knees. 

Back to the sword, though. Why is it translucent? It's not just to make you think that it's an energy sword/lightsaber type thing. The "Laser" in his name is to indicate that he's part of a subset of gimmick figures called the laser rods. The actual Laser Optimus Prime had a light in his fist, that could be activated by pushing a button on the top of the cab, when the sword, or another weapon in his trailer were placed in the hand, they would be illuminated by the light. Sadly this gimmick has been removed from Scourge.

Another similar gimmick is what became known as light piping, in this instance the head has a piece of translucent plastic that takes up most of the back of the head, and goes all the way through to make the eyes. This makes it so that if you view the figure with a light source behind it, it glows, you can even shine a flashlight directly through it to enhance the effect.

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On to the trailer. The trailer doesn't integrate into the cab at all. And it's a little aggrandizing to call it a base, it's more of a weapons emplacement. It features the disc launcher I mentioned before, as well as an air pump powered missile, a laser cannon, and a five missile missile battery.

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The laser cannon (which is the other weapon that could take advantage of the light up gimmick) and the missile battery can both be removed from the base and held by the robot.

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As you can see, he's significantly taller than the original.

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And here's the ongoing group lineup.

There's really not a lot to say about this mold, it's really shockingly simple, but it's just good. And especially in the evil color scheme, it's close to perfect.

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