Thursday, August 2, 2012

Optimus Prime World Tour Stop 7: Robots In Disquise Optimus Prime


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This Optimus Prime is kind of an odd one, but it has a special place in the hearts of many Transformers fans, some of which feel that it is the greatest Optimus Prime toy released so far. I'll sum up my thoughts on it at the end. Robots in Disquise was the first vehicle based Transformers cartoon since Beast Wars hit the scene, and it's also the first complete reboot of the Transformers universe. This Optimus Prime is a different character from the Optimus Prime whose toys I have covered so far. (I'm not sure of Machine Wars was part of the G1 continuity, but since there is very little fiction at all for Machine Wars, I'm just kind of ignoring it here.) I'm not going to be covering the Optimus Primal toys from the Beast Wars/Beast Machines series, primarily because I don't have as comprehensive a collection of them, and secondarily because part of what I wanted to accomplish with Prime Tour was to show the toys for the character have evolved through the years.

So, Optimus Prime is a fire truck! An odd choice, but it works out fairly well, he's loaded with gimmicks in both his vehicle and robot modes.

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Scale reference, the fire engine is a pretty decent size, and while it doesn't resemble most typical fire engines in the US, it gets the point across.

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The only weak poitn of his alt mode is that under the ladder is a giant head, and a cavity that pretty brazenly shows some robot bits.

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The ladder can move in the ways it should, it swivels 360 degrees, and it raisers and lowers.

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At the top where you might find a basket, is a block that can hinge down, and with the press of a button, it flips out some guns/nozzles.

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There are also 4 missile launchers that can be deployed by pressing a button on the base of the ladder.

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I almost forgot to mention that the ladder extends out to nearly double it's length. It makes for a pretty impressive sight. (Ignore the fact that the front of the truck is missing in this picture, I really did forget to snap a pic, so it's a little out of order.)

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The transformation is a little unusual, the first step is to pull the front of the truck off from the back. The front then becomes the Optimus Prime robot.

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Amusingly, the front cab actually rolls along pretty well, thanks to where a handgun hides under the front bumper, making the cab a kind of trike.

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Flip some panels around, and fold the front of the cab down...

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Straighten it out, and flip out some feet.

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Unfold the arms and push the torso down, and you've got your Optimus Prime. Once again we've got a fake windshield and grill on his chest. (The windshields are the sides of the thighs, and the truck barely even has a grill.)

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And here's the wheel gun.

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Scale reference. I really like this robot, it's got good proportions, lots of solid, ratcheting joints that give it a good deal of articulation.

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For gimmicks he pretty much just has a sound and light box on his back, although the light bar of the truck makes some smallish "wings" that will light up, which is pretty cool.

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My least favorite part of this toy is the rest of the truck. In order to do anything with it, you have to tear it apart, like so.

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These four pieces can then be attached to Prime to give him a kind of "weaponed out" mode
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He gets missile batteries on his shoulders, bigger hands that can fire from the finger tips, as well as double guns on the forearms.

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The hands look a little silly like this, but I really like the missile batteries.

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I hesitate to call it such, but all of the little bits can be snapped together to make a "base".

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It's really just kind of half-assed. "We've got all of these pieces that don't form the core robot, what can we do with them while he's running around?"

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The real purpose of all of these extra bits, as I'm sure you can guess from the head smack dab in the middle, is a super mode. You slide the torso back up to retract the head, and this becomes sort of a robot "core".

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The rear wheel portion which formed the shoulder batteries, fold out toes, and shin plate, and then plug right onto his feet.

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The hands pop on over the regulars, as they did int he weapon mode.

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He gets some beefy shoulder pads.

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And then the remaining piece with the ladder just clips over the top, and gives him a new head and chest.

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The hand gun mounts in a peg hole on his left shoulder.

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And he's got a representation of "the Matrix" under a hatch on his chest. (I don't know what the function of the Matrix was on the cartoon, as I've only seen bits of it.)

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There's your super mode Optimus Prime. All of his grreat articulation carries over for the most part, although the smaller robot has ball jointed ankels, which allow for more dynamic posing. The thing that I don't really like about this mode is that it really loses all resemblance to the traditional Optimus Prime. I think the main contributor to that is the loss of any blue in the whole design. The core robot really only has blue on the head, but it's enough to make it obvious that we're looking at Optimus Prime.

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As you can see, he's a much larger toy now though.

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All of the ladder gimmicks are still accessible, and it has a hinge that allows the ladder to be positioned over his right shoulder rather than straight over his head.

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But wait! That's not all! This is also the first time Transformers designers fully embraced the idea of Prime combining with another character, this time they went with Ultra Magnus. Magnus is a car carrier, as he was in the original cartoon. Although this time it's not a cab and trailer combo, but an integrated truck.

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He's got a double cannon that looks very silly regardless of whether it's mounted on the front or rear of the truck. Three of the principle characters in Robots in Disguise are three cars that are referred to as the Car Brothers, not coincidentally, Magnus can carry three cars that are the exact size of the Car Brothers.

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The tailgate folds down to form a ramp.

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And the upper deck also descends to make a ramp.

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Similar to Prime, the first step in transformation is to rip the truck into front and back pieces.

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Through some basic folding, the back half becomes legs.

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There's quite a bit to transforming the front half, but you end up with...

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An upper body!

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Snap it all together, and you get Ultra Magnus, who is roughly 75% leg by my estimate. Magnus' articulation is quite a step down from Prime's. The hips do have double ratchets, allowing the legs to move forward and back, as well as side to side, but there is no kneed or ankle articulation to speak of. The arms are better, but they use ball joints made of a soft plastic, meaning that after all this time, they just prefer to hang there.

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Again we have the double cannon, although it's a lot more versatile in robot mode. By folding the cannons around, it can be made into a couple of different rifle like weapons. Which can then be slotted into his shoulders via pegs on the stock of the gun.

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The left arm gets the multi barrelled gun.

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The left gets a larger single cannon.

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And then both can be used simultaneously. 

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As you can see Magnus is a bit bigger than Prime's super mode.

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Now to combine them, you pop off all of the super mode bits from Prime to get down to that robot core again.

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Rip off Magnus' legs again, and then turn them into some big bitchin' boots.

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You can see that this already adds quite a bit of height on.

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Amusingly, part of the transformation sequence is that Prime and Magnus hold hands, which is the first time that I've seen it so clearly illustrated how intimate the process of combining into a super robot must be!

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The panels all fold around and lock into place, revealing a larger hand.

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And now you're left with a dismembered Ultra Magnus!

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I'm not going to detail everything you have to do to this piece to get it ready for combination, but it's a lot.

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Slap it down on top, and you're almost done.

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The last thing to do is plug the cannons on top, and you've got Omega Prime. Oddly I think this looks more like an Optimus Prime than the super mode, probably because of the inclusion of lots of blue, although there's still none on the head. Most of the articulation carries through this time, even having a complicated multi jointed system in the feet, rivaling the ball joints of the base Optimus Prime's ankles.

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Scale comparison shows that we've gotten quite the stature increase. Although it's still all based on the core of that first Optimus Prime, which means that some of the proportions feel a little off. 

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Stand him up next to everyone else we've covered, and while he's not the tallest, he's definitely tied for most mass.

So, is this my favorite Optimus Prime? Not really, I'm not a big fan of Transformers that need to be completely disassembled in order to do anything with them, which this guy has in spades. However, he is the first Optimus Prime that I bought as I started collecting in my adult life, and the memory of going out to the store and buying these two huge figures that would eventually combine is a pretty good one.

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