Revoltech Optimus Prime and Megatron


"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jin Saotome checks in tonight with a Transformers review, but not just any Transformers.  Tell us all about it, Jin!

It’s that time again, to transform and roll out with another Transformers review. This time I’m revisiting the Revoltech line by Kaiyodo. They’ve been really busy lately with thirty plus figures out and more on the way. But ah, doesn’t Hasbro make Transformers figures? Apparently Kaiyodo does too now and they have Optimus Prime and Megatron available with Hot Rod and Starscream coming out in 08. These don’t transform however. I know what you’re thinking, then what’s the point of being called a ‘Transformer’, right? As a diehard Transformers fan I’m going to review these objectively as I can. Earlier I had done a review on Revoltech Dante (add that in a link if you can to the review, thanks Mike!) and wasn’t too impressed with the hype associated with the figure or the new ‘revolver tech’ joints. So how do two of the Transformers most popular characters stack up when given the Revoltech treatment? Let’s find out…

Packaging: ***1/2
Collector friendly packaging is always cool and this is a good example of it. No twisties, all you have to do is slit the circular tape on either end and slide the plastic tray out. Take off the top part of the tray and your figure is ready to be removed. The accessories are always taped to the back of the tray and are separated in individual baggie pockets. Make sure you don’t throw away the package without checking it for them. I’m not too thrilled with the fact it looks like I’m buying a baseball from the graphics sported on the front of the package but the sides and back are fairly informative, providing you can read Japanese. But ah, there’s pictures. On the left side you can see how those revolver-tech joints work with examples of one taken apart and the range of motion your figure (most of them) will have. On the back is the character in different stylish poses and pictures of the accessories you’re getting. The figure can be seen easily from the window on the front and you can check your paint ops. So not bad packaging at all, just a little plain when you first see it on the shelf.

Sculpt: Prime ****; Megatron ****
Well color me purple and slap a Decepticon symbol on me, these are some pretty nice sculpts! They are a change from the Hasbro-type sculpts because they aren’t made to transform and therefore reflect a more proportionate, humanoid look instead of a big, clunky robot. Optimus Prime has an anime-look to him that’s slightly exaggerated like the smaller head, wide angled chest, and blocky legs. This really works well with how fans remember him in the Dreamwave comics and the cartoon as well. Panel lines are done neatly, the head is crisp and clean, each finger is done with sharp detail. It’s like looking at a tiny statue instead of a pvc figure like those Gashapon capsule toys. I’m not a big fan of the chest windows done smaller and rounded as they remind me of Pat Lee’s work (shudder) and prefer the full-size truck windows. They are however done nicely and at least the figure isn’t covered in cracks or random tech-block-designs that serve no purpose.

Megatron fares of the same quality and detail Prime has. His upper body is very reminiscent of the cartoon Megatron and the whole figure has a very classic look to it. I especially like the larger shoulders that house the Revoltech joints there. Megatron’s head(s) are sculpted very well and are in the same smaller scale to promote that dynamic anime theme. The inside of his lower legs sport some nice open panel sections with robotic detail in there that looks just like if his legs had split apart from the gun handle form. His closed fists appear to be the same sculpt as Prime’s and look very cleanly done. Turn Megatron around and he has… back kibble! Sorry, let me explain. ‘Kibble’ is a term used by the Transformers community to refer to parts that don’t entirely transform or disappear when the characters changes to robot mode. In this case it’s the barrel of Megaton’s gun mode that’s glued on his back sticking up over his right shoulder. This however pays homage to the way the original toy looked and how Megatron appeared in the show. It has no other purpose and can’t be removed. I don’t mind it and actually like the fact they added that on. Some people might be bugged by it though. 

One oddity exists about the sculpts. Megatron (and Prime before I clipped them off) have little posts coming out of the bottom of their forearms. After looking inside the elbow I realized they’re actually the posts from the smaller Revoltech joints poking through the arm. This was done because of the permanent panel on the inside the elbow, hiding the point of articulation when the arm is straight. If they had angled the post inside the forearm the panel would have to be removed and you’d end up with a large gap. So I had to weigh the facts. Post sticking out of the back of the arm… or large gap in the front of the arm. Eh, it cancels each other out in my opinion. You can just clip them off and no one will be the wiser.

Paint: Prime ***1/2; Megatron ***1/2
The paint is clean and sharp with absolutely no bleed or slop anywhere, not even on tiny sections like Megatron’s torso buttons. So why not four stars? Because as clean as the paint ops are, they’re just solid colors. I was hoping they had some shading or highlights like Dante and some of the other Revoltech figures I’ve seen but apparently giant robots are clean and new. There are lots of panel lines that could have been inked in for more detail as well but were passed over. But what’s on there is done very nicely. Prime has nice metallic blue sections and a slightly pearlescent look to the red. Any silver is consistent which is always a tough thing to do with that color and nothing aside from the Revoltech joints was left unpainted. Speaking of that, they’re not molded in different colors rather than just black. That’s a definite improvement because they blend in well to the figures now.

Prime’s Autobot symbols are sharp and the same with Megatron’s Deception symbol on his chest. The gunmetal color they used for Megatron was a much better choice than just regular black, which they easily could of done, but only used on his waist. His eyes are very clean and have deep circles around them for that perfect manic look every tyrant should have. Megs has nice metallic reds to his upper arms and inside of his legs too.

So yes the paint ops are perfect but they leave the figures looking just a tad under painted for the detail used, take that as you will.

Articulation - Prime ***1/2; Megatron ****
This is where the Revoltech figures are designed to excel at, the articulation department. The Revoltech joints provide tight, clicky motion for all the major points of articulation. I count 10 in Prime and 12 in Megatron. Kaiyodo has created new, smaller Revoltech joints for the elbows and neck finally! In some of the earlier figures like Dante they were just cut-joints or regular pin-joints. Now with the inclusion of different-sized Revoltech joints you have a much better range of articulation. This eliminated the need for cut joints except where they would look good like at the bicep. 

There are no more odd-angle slants to deal with when posing the figure except in Prime’s case. His shoulders are cut-joints unlike Megatron’s and the biceps swivel up and out at an angle. This still allows for a good range of motion and looks good from the front but you can see where little triangle pieces on the sides of the shoulder slide about. You’re also forced to have Prime’s arms come together over his head when you raise them. Everything else about Prime’s articulation is golden however, the Revoltech joints doing their job perfectly. Both characters have double-jointed necks and can look in practically any direction, even leaning their necks forward/backwards while doing so. It’s probably the best neck articulation I’ve ever seen and makes for the perfect hunch-over-ready-to-lunge poses.

Megatron takes the four stars because his shoulders are Revoltech joints and have full range of motion. He can reach over his head, raise his arms, and almost cross them if it wasn’t for that square chest of his. Everything that is a Revoltech joint is basically a universal-joint which allows for ball joint like motion and then some. You can angle the feet out and to the side, lean the chest back, push the shoulders forward, and replicate some very realistic (or unrealistic) poses. Combined with a sturdy feel this makes for some of the best-articulated figures out there. So aside from Prime’s slightly different shoulders both figures are top notch in the articulation department and I’m pleased to see Kaiyodo trying smaller Revoltech joints in different areas now.

Accessories: Prime ****; Megatron ***1/2
Both figures include additional hands and one or two accessories depending on the character. Prime has the most with three additional hands (pointing, open, weapon-holding) a small Matrix of Leadership, and his classic rifle. The Matrix of Leadership is detailed enough for being so small and has clean paint ops. Prime’s gun is nicely sculpted and has a swivel grip so you can position the gun different ways in his hand. This also means the grip comes off and is really small, don’t lose it. The alternate hands are sculpted with the same detail as the closed fists.

Megatron comes with three hands as well (two open, one weapon-holding) and an extra head. The open hands look larger and more dynamic than Prime’s single open hand. It’s almost as if Megatron is yelling, “BOOM! Hahah!” and watching something explode in front of him with the open hands on and his arms raised. He doesn’t come with a weapon other than his arm-cannon which is permanently attached so I’m not sure why he has a weapon-holding hand. So he can steal Prime’s gun I guess? Megatron does come with an alternate ‘smirking’ head and that practically sold me on the figure when I first saw it. Swap heads from his normal stoic look and Megatron now has a face that screams, “I have just blown up your city, enslaved your people, and run over your dog. Twice.” It’s a malevolent look that suits him perfectly. 

I wondered why Prime didn’t come with his energy axe or Megatron with his energy mace however. In most figural incarnations of these characters like the Masterpiece, pvc Gashapon, and some regular versions, they were always included. But no matter as the accessories work well with the figures and I’m not missing the others because I’ve seen them so much in the past. 

Transformation- Prime n/a; Megatron n/a

Hah! They don’t transform remember? Gotcha!

Fun Factor: ****
These two could do battle on your desk all day and you’d never get tired of them. The articulation is the key to fun and the Revoltech line is really ramping up on it. Aside from small parts your kids could play with both Prime and Megatron and they’d have a blast pitting good vs evil in an epic countertop battle. Strike an anime pose, have them sitting around drinking tea, the sky is the limit! I really hope Revoltech continues with a variety of characters both robot and human alike. You already have a really nice collection with the ones available and they’re all around fun to play with or pose on your desk.

Value: *1/2
Hrmmm.. ah… twenty bucks? Yep, the figures take a hard hit solely because of the price. When I plop down a $20 I usually get an 8-10” voyager-class Transformer, a 7” imported Final Fantasy Play Arts figure, or a 12” Marvel Icons. Here it stings quite a bit because these figures are only 4, ½ inches tall, a little taller than your Star Wars figures. On the flipside they’re designed and painted well with lots of moving parts. There’s no scale with Revoltech figures except of the line itself. Everything is about 5”, be it a towering robot like the Neon Genesis mecha or a human-sized figure such as Dante. In a market where size vs cost matters this can really be a huge turn off for collectors. So your mileage will very here depending on your interest of the character, your pocketbook, and the current scale of your collection. 

You can sometimes find them on sale for under $20 at shops trying to get rid of older models but buying them from online stores usually means shipping fees and importing them from Japan directly will cost you. Hunt around the web, I picked these up on EBay but there’s lots of different places to pick them up and I’m sure some of Crawford’s sponsors carry the Revoltech figures.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Hmmm… Don’t loose the accessories. Prime’s gun-handle comes off really easy and Megatron’s head can be sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. The Revoltech joints are supe-strong and I doubt you’ll be able to break them, even if you try and force them. Check your paint ops as with every figure you can see from the packaging but you shouldn’t have any trouble with quality from Kaiyodo.

Overall: ***
I give the figures a solid three stars for Transformers fans out there. Prime and Megatron are classic versions of your favorite leaders and great figures overall, they’re just a bit small and pricey. If you’re not a huge Transformers fan or like the actual ‘transforming’ part of the characters you may want to stick to the regular Hasbro figures. 

On a separate note speaking of Hasbro, I realized something today. The joints in the Robot Replicas figures out now are almost exactly the same as the Revoltech joints in the Kaiyodo figures. Same inner construction, same shape, the only thing that’s different is the peg. The Hasbro peg has a little ring around it and an octagonal shape while the Revoltech joint has a smooth shaft with little indentions. If you shave off the ring around the Hasbro joint they fit right in to your Revoltech figures. Odd but cool, now you can replace the joints if you ever lose one without buying another import Revoltech figure. I wonder why they were allowed to copy the joints so closely?

This is Jin Saotome saying thanks for checking out the review and look forward to more!  

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Prime ****; Megatron ****
Paint - Prime ***1/2; Megatron ***1/2
Articulation - Prime ***1/2; Megatron ****
Accessories - Prime ****; Megatron ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - *1/2
Overall - ***

Figure from the collection of Jin Saotome.

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