Friday 14 June 2013

Protoform Optimus Prime

Transcanning Optimus
This was one of the first Transformers released for the first Michael Bay Transformers movie, as part of the ‘preview wave, it consisted of this Protoform Optimus Prime, Protoform Starscream and a Bumblebee if my memory serves me correctly.

Being a sad man that loves hi Cybertronian mode Transformers, I naturally had to get the two Protoform toys.  I wasn’t expecting much since they jut transform into a large turd, but they are surprisingly surprising.

I wasn’t expecting much from this guy and as a result, I have grown to like him a fair bit more than I thought I would.  Wahddaya know hey?

Considering how this is Optimus, it is surprisingly lacking in many typical Optimus’ traits.

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The base body looks a lot like the body that emerges from the kid’s swimming pool (On a side note, between the first trailer and the second, they changed the colours of the robot’s eyes).  Well as far as one can tell anyway.  There is obvious kibble hanging off the back but really the rest of the robot mode is clean and sleek.

The fact that the majority of the kibble is hanging off the back works in Prime’s favour.  The joints are not obstructed and he has great articulated joints in all the areas where you want an articulated joint.  The arms are fairly standard with bicep swivels, wrist swivel and a single elbow joint, but the love for this guy is in the legs.

Each joint is free of kibble, allowing some excellent movement possibilities.  The knees can fold up really high, the hips are connected to the thighs via a ball joint and also have a swivel in the thigh as well.  His large feet with spread toes are connected by a ball joint too, grip well and are unhindered by the sculpt.

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The aforementioned feet and toes add some extra lovely dimensions to his balance making it easy to get a one legged stance.

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Body sculpting is pretty interesting, he doesn’t appear to have what long time Transformers fans would call a ‘matrix’  as such, but there is a ‘shining’ emblem thing in the middle of his chest, he does have 'wheel’ details sculpted onto his legs and chest windows, so I guess there was no chance of him becoming  a tank or  an aeroplane.  Although I would find it cool of these details were left-overs from his Cybertronian mode.  Like if he had to abandon his previous form to form the comet mode for interstellar flight.  So once again, if he left Earth like this (However he did before without a ship) he would have to lose his flaming truck, but part of it would be imprinted on his body (such as the paint work).

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I like the shoulders and the paint apps, while not too complex do the trick.  I do quite like the silver that has been brushed on in places, it’s a really nice silver paint and adds great effect to the figure.  His head is most unlike Optimus and about the only familiar part is the mask over his mouth and the crest in the fore head, which is sadly undetailed.  He does have some very nice light piping though.

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The gun folds away into the alternate mode, and is in fact an integral part of this mode.  As a result, it is pretty cool and adaptable.  The stock of the gun can flip down for a complete rifle mode, or you can leave it away for a, um, long..  barrelled pistol?  The flame of the alternate mode can be slapped onto the barrel of the gun, but it does look a bit odd and not much like a firing effect at all.

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On top of that, you can store the gun in his back kibble if you want too.  I like that, least the kibble has a use in robot mode.

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Transformation is fun and fairly intuitive.  He has a now fairly common twist the pecs around to get the arms back, and the rest is pretty much flip up the legs and cover with back kibble.  It clips together well, but the gun can be a bit of a pain sometimes and can be prone to falling out at the most inopportune times.

He does have little wheels moulded into the legs for this mode, but since it is by and large a meteor of sorts a stand is required.

Oh my!  A meteor?  Could this have been a move into Rocklord territory?

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It looks a bit like a big, blue flying bus to me for some reason.

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It has an obvious Autobot symbol on the top, as the leader of the Autobots should have but you can see that the truck influences are strong in this mode.  Oddly the ‘headlights’ aren’t used at all for the robot mode and just hang off the kibble at the back.

The flame effect works a bit better for this mode, after all it was probably designed first for this mode over the robot mode.  It plugs loosely into the bit just above the toes area and is prone to falling out.

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The paint details in this mode are nothing spectacular, but there is the nice brushed silver all over the place, which kind of adds to the travelling through space feel of this toy.

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The moulded detail is also pretty good in this mode with no boring bits to look at. 

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About the same time, TakaraTomy came up with the Transcanning series (well, a series of two toys) which consisted of a base stick-type robot (like a skeleton) and a load of parts to plug onto the aforementioned stick.  It has ‘protoform’ parts as well as an Earth mode vehicle parts.  Optimus took a large deviation from the way he looked in the movie, but I thought the robot mode was pretty cool.  Theoretically it was supposed to transform as well, but that’s another post as I am going off track.  What I mean to say is; “Here are some comparison pictures of the two protoform Optimus Prime’s that were around at the time.”


I think I prefer the Hasbro one a it looks more like anything else, whereas the Taktom one looks like a skinny robot folded up.  Same for the robot mode, Hasbro’s one looks more like a Transformer, whereas Taktoms, looks like any generic robot with armour pieces tacked on.

Protoform Optimus Prime is a pretty sexy little beast.  It lacks a lot of the usual Optimus trademarks, without being a completely different robot and I quite like that, the robot mode has some excellent articulation and makes a great action figure and a fun toy.  The alternate mode, well, it looks a bit like a blue poo, but I suppose that is acceptable all things considered, but you can’t deny that since it is designed purely as a comet mode, it gets the job done effectively enough.

I was really surprised by this figure as I wasn’t really expecting much, but it is a lot of fun.  I have Starscream somewhere as well, sadly he isn’t quite as good, so I guess I will get to him sometime.  I am not too sure I would recommend him though, as he doesn’t really fit into any ‘collection’ in a way and he doesn’t really look all the  ‘Optimus-y’( To me, his robot mode feels rather Transtech in a way).  I guess by default he is a movie figure, but his aesthetics are a fair bit different, but I am willing to look past that for the fun poses that this guy can do.

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