Packaging - **1/2
Iím not a packaging guy. Honestly I could barely care less. The only things I like to see are a good use of space, something that keeps the toy safe, and bright colors to attract the kiddies as to ensure the continuation of lines I like. Prime is 2 out 3. The red box is eye-catching and has that curved edge to it that Hasbro has fallen in love with. Itís too big IMO, but since this is only the first Leader to be released (there are so far 3 confirmed and a rumor of a fourth) it may end up being just the right size for others. The graphics and text are the standard fair weíve come to expect from Hasbro. There is a cool write up of Optimus that explains a little about him and his motivations, which I always like getting, even on characters Iím familiar with.
Sculpting - Bot Mode **1/2, Truck Mode ***1/2
This is a tricky one with the movie toys. If youíve seen the trailers for the movie youíll notice how the bots all have extremely intricate transformations with literally thousands of moving parts that shift, fold, invert, extend, scrunch, bunchÖwellÖyou get the idea. For any
toy maker replicating that in plastic form and making it a somewhat reasonable cost would be pretty much impossible. Even more so for a mass market release that actually has to transform. So Iím basing this score on what I believe is a realistic expectation of what we should get from Hasbro.
First Up, bot Mode: The head, while it seems a little small, looks pretty close to the movie stills and trailers that Iíve seen. Itís not the standard Prime we grew up with (more panels and grooves and such has been added) but you still recognize him immediately. The chest is missing the semi doors that should swoop in front on the movie design and seems a little too blocky, but only when is standing upright. When in action poses it tends to look better. The left arm has a relatively low amount of kibble (thatís a transfan word to describe unwanted and leftover pieces of alternate modes that tend to hang badly or get in the way when transformed into bot mode. Ahh the things we learn on the bandwagon) but the right arm has the large gun that is attached and swings out over the hand. Itís supposed to look like the arm transforms and the gun becomes part of the hand. In the movie Iím sure it will look great, but here it just isnít pulled off well. The gun is not sculpted very realistically and looks a little off when compared with the rest of the figure. It also is large and extremely noticeable when not in firing mode, they did however make it removable, so if it really bugs you it can always be popped off until Prime is ready to fire. The legs are really the only major issue I have with the bot sculpt. The actual legs look great but the kibble in the back is overwhelming from whatever angle you look at him from. It causes a lot of problems for the overall look of the bot mode, but once you get him in truck mode you can forgive it.
Truck Mode: The truck mode is nearly perfect with only a few minor (and one major) nits to pick. There are some scales issues (not at all surprising in a TF toy) but nothing that glaringly stands out. The truck modeís main issue comes from the gun again. It attaches in the rear and sticks out, not looking like anything in particular. I suppose it could work as some sort of connection unit to a trailer, but thatís really pushing it. Also, as stated above itís removable, but if you take it off it leaves a large whole in the rear of the truck. Other than that, the truck looks great, and (besides the gun) doesnít have the goofy looking bulges, gaps, or seriously out of scale issues that have haunted a lot of transformers outside of the Alternators line. In fact, if this truck was larger, it would fit well into the Alternators line, itís that good. Oh, and I almost forgot the coolest partÖthe Autobot symbol hood ornament. Nifty!
Paint - **1/2
First the badÖHasbro generally runs from under whelming all the way to mediocre when it comes to paint ops. Theyíve proven time and again that this is one area in which they do as little as possible. In my eyes Prime is actually above average in regard to HasbroÖbut still missing the mark in regard to the industry as a whole. Hasbroís main problem for me is the use of cast plastic in the painting (or non-painting, depending on your POV) process. Prime is no exception. Anything that should have a metallic gray color is cast in gray plastic. The biggest offenders in this area are the smokestacks. They are made of soft rubbery plastic that has no consistency of color through it. The other cast gray areas arenít as bad, but still give him the ďIím a toyĒ feel since itís obvious itís plastic as opposed to looking like metal. But with the exception of the smokestacks they are consistent in their coloring. What is painted is actually done pretty well, with no slop or bleed to be seen. Some of the limb joints have a gold accent on them that is pretty cool looking too. They seem to have tried to get the different colors correct and in the right places looking at some movie stills Iíve seen.
The truck mode is once again the winner in this department. Some of the reds are cast plastic again but they look better than the gray does and they match the painted red portions well. The flames are crisp and without slop and look great. There is also a gold color on the front of the hood that fades to red. It looks fabulous and really pulls the truck paint scheme together perfectly.
Articulation - ***1/2
As I mentioned above, the Kibble really brings down the sculpt score of this guy, but youíll be glad to know that it doesnít affect this section at all. The knees still move to almost a full 90 degrees and the ball jointed hips have a large range of motion as well. Heís got double elbows that fold a complete 180 degrees and ball shoulders that also can swing away from his body (due to the transformation) which allows even more arm movement than expected (or possibly intended). The feet are ball joints as well which, combined with the great leg artic, means you can put this guy into all kinds of cool action poses. The neck and wrists are the only downsides. The neck is a cut and has no up or down movement. The wrist is an extension of the forearm so there is no movement there at all, but he does have articulation on all 5 fingers. Bicep and thigh cuts round this guy out as one seriously articulated TF.
Accessories - Bupkis?
Besides the gun (which I count as part of the sculpt since itís supposed to be attached) he has a missile to shoot from it. Itís transparent. Itís blue. It doesnít shoot far. That is all. But since this is a robot that is supposed to have everything it would ever need on board, this isnít going to bring down my overall score at all. At least not without having seen the movie first. Ask me again on the fourth of July and I may have seen an item or 2 in the movie that Prime canít live without. But for now, if it ainít brokeÖ
Transforming/Action Features - ****
The transformation on this guy is one of the coolest features about him. First off, it starts the same as the actual movie (as shown in the latest trailer) with parts of the front end coming apart. I really doubt itís exactly the same from there on, but it does give you the feel of being possible to do from the ground up without him having to leap/be thrusted into the air somehow like they did in the cartoon. Itís intricate without being complicated so you get your moneyís worth without wanting to throw it out the window **cough**alternators**cough**. The last portion of the transformation (from truck to bot) is accomplished through the new ďautomorphing technologyĒ which is just another way to say action feature. Itís actually pretty cool though since it accomplishes several transformation pieces all at the same time (something I always wanted to see as a kid) while adding the transformation sound to the process. Very cool. The feet also have the automorph feature (less the electronics) by sliding the bumper several panels move into place.
There is also a button on the roof/shoulder that, while in truck mode, activates a tractor trailer blow horn sound. Itís loud and sounds great, plus it makes sense. That always helps with action features.
Fun Factor - ****
For kids and adults alike, whatís not to love? This is a big sturdy toy with great artic and a nice sculpt, plus a fun transformation. Heíd hold up to serious play with no problems that I can see.
Value - ***
For the movie toys Target decided to bump the leader class prices up five bucks to 44.99, thatís what I paid. Hasbrotoyshop has him listed at 39.99 though. I tend to be pretty cheap when it comes to toys (as far as what I think they should cost). But for this the 40-45 range seems fair. If it were 35 Iíd say that would be a little more reasonable and closer to the mark. But considering the alternatives (I wonít even tell you what I paid for MP04 Convoy last year) itís still a good deal even at the higher Target price.
Things to Watch Out For -
As with all mass market stuff, just look for a good paint job and make sure you use the ďTry MeĒ feature to ensure the batteries are good.
Overall - ***
I have a confession to make...one of my pet peeves is when someone buys a toy, falls in love with it, and thus decides to write a ďreview.Ē But I have to confess thatís exactly what happened to me here. If I was basing this on my personal feelings for this figure itíd be a 3 Ĺ or 4 star score. But trying to be objective I think 3 stars is fair. This is really a good toy for the price. Yes, the sculpt on the gun is a little less than fantastic and the non paint ops will forever be an issue with Hasbro, but the overall coolness of this toy makes up for those problems. For the serious and casual Transformer fan alike, if youíre in the market for a Prime, pay this version some serious consideration. Itís a great price compared to the Masterpiece versions and would look great with other non movie toys as well. However for the cost conscience, make sure you check out the Voyager version of movie Prime (due out in a couple months) as well since it will cost about half of what this does. It wonít, however, have the electronics or the gold paint in truck mode.
Sculpt - Bot Mode **1/2, Truck Mode ***1/2
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Bupkis?
Transforming/Action Feature - ****
Fun Factor - ****