I can't believe how long it has been since I bought a regular Transformers toy (i.e. not an Alternator) It's been almost ten months since
I bought Snowcat. But most of the Energon figures just haven't sparked any interest in me. Fortunately it looks as though the drought is
over as I have suddenly found myself picking up a few Transformer figures. And the first one to go before the firing squad as it were is
Nemesis Prime from the Transformer Universe line. For those who are unfamiliar, the Transformer Universe line is a series of older
Transformer toys that have been repainted and released under a new name. Nemesis Prime is no different. It is a repaint of a toy from
the Beast Wars line in Japan. This is the first time he has been available in the USA.
Packaging - 8/10Nemesis Prime comes in a fairly attractive window box. The front of the box consists almost entirely of the window which affords a wonderful view of Nemesis Prime in his robot mode. The back of the box has images of both of NP's modes: robot and mammoth. Several of the figure's features are also illustrated. The back of the box does seem a bit empty in some areas. A little back story about the character would have been nice. But since the packaging is trilingual, if they had tried to add a character bio the box probably would have been too cramped or it would have had to be so short that it would have been pointless any way. Fair warning, plan on spending some time dealing with all of the twist ties. There were easily over a dozen of them holding the figure in place. A small wire cutter will probably prove to be worth its weight in gold.
Sculpting - 4/10Nemesis Prime's beast mode is a bit lackluster. The beast mode is more of a shell around the figure. While the individual parts of the shell are nicely sculpted, they don't fit together as well as I would like. They also leave quite a bit of the robot exposed around the rear legs. The trunk and head suffer due to one of the action features. The upper section of the trunk has a series of nine slits cut in the top to allow the trunk to bend. The lever to activate the feature is on the top of the head and leaves a large gap in the back of the head. It is unfortunate since the triggers for the other action features are actually quite well integrated, at least as far as the sculpt is concerned. The robot mode is pretty good as well except for the huge amount of mammoth kibble hanging off of it. I think that the shoulders are not quite broad enough. They are almost completely overwhelmed by the massive chest.
Paint - 5/10The paint for the Beast mode is done quite well except for one problem; they didn't paint the trigger for the side projectile launchers. As a result, there is a plain black stripe on each side in the middle of the silver wash. The paint for his robot mode is equally well done. But while there are a lot of painted details, areas such as the lower legs, shoulders and waist still have a slightly bland look to them.
Articulation - 5/10In beast mode, Nemesis Prime only has two points of articulation, the hinged ears. The tusks and trunk do move, but only as part of their action features. In robot mode the articulation is greatly improved. Discounting the articulation used just for the transformation, Prime's still got articulated toes, knees (double jointed), thighs, hips, waist, shoulders, biceps, elbows (double jointed), wrists and neck. The arm articulation is a bit unusual. The shoulder joints allow the arms to move to the side but not forward or back. That movement is provided by the biceps joints which are the usual Beast Wars style ball and socket joints. That does give Nemesis Prime very good mobility, but the amount, weight and position of the mammoth parts does result in significant limitations in how the figure can be positioned without sacrificing stability. (He can stand on his own easily though.)
Accessories - 7/10Nemesis Prime comes with four projectiles, two small ones for the large cannon and two with crescent shaped tips for the side panel launchers. He also comes with a removable matrix. Unfortunately the plain black paint job it has gives it a rather bland appearance. Finally there is his weapon, a huge cannon formed from the back of the mammoth. The cannon itself runs along the back of the mammoth. It also has four sections of the mammoth shell attached to it: the rear (with the tail) the top of the back (split into a left and right half) and the top of the head and trunk. The entire assembly is mounted to the figure right behind the neck. While it doesn't need to be removed, even for the transformation process, but it can be removed and replaced easily. There is little point in doing so beyond streamlining the figure though, as there is no means for the figure to actually hold the cannon in its hands.
Special NotesTransforming Nemesis Prime is a fairly simple process though it takes some practice to get all of the panels to line up properly. The basic transformation is to extend the torso up over the head. The arms are turned 180 degrees at the biceps and then folded back with the fist hooking onto a peg behind the shoulders. The waist is turned 180 degrees and then the legs are folded under the chest. After that it is just a matter of arranging all of the panels to form the mammoth shell and then dropping the cannon/trunk assembly into place. You can also flip open the panels on the back of the forearms to reveal a couple of small red clubs/guns that can be flipped out and attached to the fists. Once in beast mode, the instructions include directions to change Prime into Devastation Mode. Devastation Mode basically just involves rotating the cannon assembly 180 degrees so that the cannon aims forward and the trunk/head faces his rear end and then extending the side projectile launchers out.
Value - 8/10The retail price for Nemesis Prime was $19.99. That is a very fair price for the size and complexity of the figure you are getting. And it is certainly a lot cheaper than you are likely to find the Japanese release of the figure. However, the figure was released quite some time ago, around late summer/fall of 2004 and clearanced out after Christmas, so finding it for the regular retail price will likely be a challenge at this point.
Happy Hunting:You are probably going to have to search the secondary market for this one. When it was released to retail, it was a Target exclusive. They are not a chain known for letting old toys sit around. A quick search of Ebay for "nemesis Prime" turned up several up for auction with starting bids under $25 though, so finding one should not be an extremely difficult task for anyone with web access.