As a kid, I had a lot of Optimus Prime figures, but there was only one that I considered “my own”.
I grew up with Transformers G2, and as such, never had a shot at G1 Prime or Powermaster Prime. I actually got every Prime released during G2 at some point… except the repaint of the original toy, ironically enough. I enjoyed the Go-Bot and Combat Hero Primes sure enough, but it wasn’t until really late in the game that I got the one toy that would represent G1 Optimus for years on end: The Laser Rod version.
After years of G1 homages in the Classics-style (and a few curious Armada ones), we finally got a full-size figure of a G2 design that represents that incarnation solely. Yes, there was Skyfall/Skyjack, and Universe Inferno was technically a “G2 series” figure, but one of those was a repaint and the other largely identical to his G1 form. This is the first time we got a new mold of a design created specifically FOR G2.
“Laser Prime’s” vehicle mode is a generic long-nose truck cab. He has some influences from his movie incarnation, namely the flames on the hood (which of course, caused a LOT of fanboy whining). The paint applications on his actual cab are rather strange, with dark blue breaking up the front cab’s nice black and curious, out-of-place solid orange windows that clash with the translucent orange. I think this is an area where I like the Japanese version more, which has a completely black cab and blue windows. My favorite touch on this mode is the detail on the trailer hitch, something we almost never see on figures that actually DO come with trailers.
He’s a Reveal the Shield figure, so he comes with a rubsign that reveals his true allegiance! Because you know, it’s not like it wasn’t obvious. Shame that he doesn’t have a G2 Autobot symbol, though…
His transformation is largely what you’d expect but there are a few frustrating bits, namely the rear wheels. They need to be rotated a bit to get them in place, and I’m not sure if it’s just mine, but one of them likes to stick. I do like that they are supposed to move, however, because it gives his legs a bit more “character”.
In robot mode, the movie influence becomes a lot clearer. Unlike the original figure, this one has an actual “window chest”, unlike the original figure which faked the look. Inside the chest is a little molded-in Matrix! Though, it’s unpainted and thus kind of hard to see. He has a backpack that actually resembles a jetpack to some degree, though I don’t know if this is intentional. The heavy movie influence might turn some off, and I can see why, but personally, I like it when they go for something in-between the styles. It makes the figure and character more versatile, though I can see why that might be a problem in OP’s case.
Since lighting gimmicks are few and far between on Transformers these days outside of maybe a leader class’s electronic gimmick, Prime compensates in the most awesome way: CRAZY LIGHT-PIPING! His odd, slightly-too-“movie” head has extra details to send the light through, and he has some on his shoulders and biceps.
Prime has decent enough poseability, as much as one would expect from a design like this. He seems to have a waist joint, but for whatever reason it doesn’t really work. The only major hindrance with his poseability is in the arms: his doors make these stupid flaps that keep getting in the way! If there is ONE thing about the figure I’d change, it’s that.
His one weapon is his sword, which is much more intimidating than the original figure’s. It’s made from the trailer hitch, which is pretty ingenious in my opinion. The Japanese one has a blue sword, and I don’t find that as cool as the American version’s orange. I’ve heard about the sword putting stress marks in his hands, but I haven’t encountered that thus far. Oh, and he can hold it with both hands, which is pretty badass. He has a pair of c-clip mounts underneath his forearms, too.
And of course, there’s the elephant in the room: his height. He’s pretty small for a Prime figure. While he’s about average height for a deluxe, he just… feels small. It’s hard to explain. He looks great with Legends-class figures of larger characters, though!
He has his share of flaws, but he still manages to be a neat enough figure. There are a few things that could have easily been improved upon that prevent me from giving him my full recommendation. If you’re a fan of G2, he’s definitely worth picking up. I’d suggest getting him as soon as possible, because there’s a third-party upgrade kit on the horizon that’s going to shoot his value WAY up. Check us out at FPNYC for your own!