Fans of the original Optimus Prime from the 1980's version of the Transformers have had a couple of good years recently
when it comes to toys. On top of the multiple releases of the original toy, there was the terrific
Masterpiece Optimus Prime which was an almost perfect version of
the iconic leader of the Autobots. It was big, bright and contained enough diecast metal to club a minicon. But what if
you don't have enough room for a foot tall Big Bot and still want a modern version of Optimus? Well Takara has you covered
with the second figure in their Hybrid Style line, Convoy a.k.a. Optimus Prime himself.
Packaging - 9/10Hybrid Style Optimus comes in a box with a front panel that flips open to reveal the mini diecast goodness waiting inside. The front and rear panels of the box are decorated with various images of Optimus in both modes and various poses. The background is black with faint images of the Autobot and Decepticon logos and a drawn image of Optimus. That image of Optimus is then reused on the top and side panels. The interior panel shows off the various features and parts that come with the figure while the real thing is neatly displayed below in the window. The figure is displayed in a plastic tray which allows you to remove the figure and return it any time you wish.
Sculpting - 8/10The sculpting for Optimus is excellent in robot mode. It's more detailed than in the original cartoon. In fact, it's more detailed than the Masterpiece version. This could be good or bad. It comes close to going overboard with so much detail on such a small figure. Personally, I like it. But I can see where some people might find it to be a bit busy visually. And unlike the Masterpiece Edition Optimus, there are quite a few gaps in the back of the figure. His forearms are also too large due to the way the front of the headlight sections simply flip down out of the way. It makes his arms look somewhat stubby too. His vehicle mode is not as great. The legs are pretty good though they don't form as straight of a platform as they should. And the waist section creates a large bulge right behind the cab which isn't disguised at all. The different portions of the cab don't quite line up either. This results in portions of the cab such as the windows and grill sticking out quite a bit from the headlights and the section between them to be recessed quite a bit. The parts don't line up to lock in place correctly either. The arms/headlights should plug into the midsection panels above the front wheels. But the holes are a bit too far back. You can force them into place. But it is difficult and you risk pieces popping off or even breaking. It's too bad that such a small problem with the midsection panels being just a fraction of an inch too far back has such a serious effect on the vehicle mode. But when the trailer is attached, it becomes less noticeable. In the end, it is the robot mode that really shines. If you want the best representation of the cartoon version of Optimus, I think the Mega SCF figure is a better choice. But if you want a more realistic version of Optimus Prime in a small scale, this is a terrific figure.
Paint - 8/10There isn't a lot of paint work on Optimus. Most of the color comes from the material. But where there is paint work, it looks great. The only place where the figure runs into problems in on a few of the visible joints such as the shoulders and panel to which the neck is connected. For some strange reason, both of these areas are cast in a brownish grey plastic instead of being matched to the rest of the figure. There is no reason for using the different color. And it makes both areas stand out in either mode.
Articulation - 10/10This bot has got some moves. Not counting the articulation used just in the transformation, Optimus still has at least twenty eight points of articulation. That includes
Accessories - 10/10While the Hybrid Style Optimus is a terrific figure in just about every regard, it's its accessories that really shine. It comes with a removable matrix of leadership, a fully transformable semi trailer, Optimus' cannon, an energy ax, six extra hands, roller, some unidentified tool (a wielding torch I think), a jet pack, a display base and a stand to support the figure in midair poses. And it isn't just the quantity of accessories either. They are all made with incredible attention to detail.
The most important accessory is of course Optimus' trailer. Its vehicle mode is the thing that saves the figure's vehicle mode. It can clip onto the back of Optimus' vehicle mode, though the connection isn't very secure. Or it has a retractable stand to allow it to sit on its own. And like the original toy, there are also two larger supports that come out to support the sides of the trailer when it is opened up. Unlike the original toy, Hybrid Style Optimus has working rear doors in addition to a retractable, spring loaded ramp that is stored in the floor. Once opened, the trailer reveals a service bay similar to the Generation 1 toy. It even includes the service drone that can be raised up and its manipulator arm and radar dish adjusted. The trailer also offers storage for the extra hands and the weapons. The only thing it is missing is a means to launch roller into action. And speaking of Roller, he is of course included as well. Plus he has had some upgrades. Roller can now transport either Optimus' cannon or the wielding torch. And if that isn't good enough, they also built working four wheel steering into the little guy. (Personally I think that was just showing off.)
While Optimus' better half is impressive, the other accessories are none too shabby either. The most impressive one to have been pulled off on such a small scale is the Matrix of Leadership. It stores neatly in Optimus' chest and can be removed by opening the two parts of the windshield and the cover panel. They then included two hands with small slits designed specifically to recreate a two handed, opening the Matrix pose. The other hands include a set of open hands, a pointing right hand, and a left hand angled in such a way to allow Optimus to hold his cannon with two hands. The cannon looks good, if a bit stubby. It has a forward grip that can be flipped to the side for two handed poses and storage. The rear grip also folds in reveal a post with which it can be attached to roller or stored in the trailer. His energy ax can also be stored the same way or attached in place of one of Optimus' hands. Then there is the accessory that really seems to have come out of left field, a jet pack. I'm sure somewhere there is a reason why the figure was given a jet pack. I just have no idea what that reason would be. What ever the reason, it is a neat extra. In robot mode it has two loops that slip over the figure's arms and then it plugs into the figure's back. It isn't a really tight connection, but the loops ensure that it can't fall off. In vehicle mode, the jet pack attaches to the front of the trailer for storage. I guess it is suppose to look like a refrigeration unit on the front, but it isn't much of a disguise. Finally there is the display base and support stand. The display base is an Autobot logo with a beautiful vac-metal finish. They even designed the stand to fit into the existing hole in the forehead rather than adding an additional hole. The stand itself plugs into Optimus' waist between his legs. It then has two joints to allow the figure to be rotated to either side and tilted either forward or back. This is a tremendous assortment of top notch accessories. About the only thing they could have added would be a mini version of Megatron in his gun form.
TransformationThe transformation seems complex at first. But after walking through it once with the instructions, I had no problem repeating the process unassisted. Fundamentally, it isn't much different than the original Optimus Prime. The head flips into the chest. The shoulders fold back behind the body and then the forearms form the wheel wells. Hybrid Optimus has the advantage of not requiring the removal of his hands. You do have to go through the extra step of flipping out the sides of his midsection and reversing them to reveal the front wheels. The arms are suppose to plug into these midsection pieces, but as I mentioned earlier, the pegs don't line up properly. The feet fold flat and then the legs retract and the wheels flip around to form the rear of the semi. The process takes a bit of fussing to get everything lined up. And even then they don't line up perfectly.
To see the transformation process, Click Here.
Value - 9/10I was fortunate enough to get Hybrid Style Optimus as a gift. And you can't beat free toys, especially when they are this cool. If you are not fortunate enough to have someone who will buy it for you, you can expect to pay around $50 to $60. Even at that price, Hybrid Style Optimus is worth every penny to Transformers fans or those just appreciate a well made toy.
Happy Hunting:My figure was ordered from Big Bad Toy Store.com. They still have some in stock too. You can also find Hybrid Prime at most sites that deal with imported Transformers.