You have to love the advance of technology. Back in the '80s, you could only do so much with things like the Transformers, which is why they're all so blocky and horrible. But now technology has advanced, which is why we can get things like the Alternators: you can
fit much more complex mechanisms in a smaller space. Those old toys are so primitive, you could probably get the same quality in a toy that's not much bigger than a quarter.
And, in fact, you can: that's the very idea behind the Gokushou Henkei TF (literally, "Super-Small Transforming Transformers", popularly referred to as "World's Smallest Transformers"). The WST line was started in 2003, as part of Takara's big drive to cash in on everything G1-related. The things proved ragingly popular, but so far the only way to get them in the US is to pay importer's prices. Of course, no TF line would be complete without its Optimus Prime, and WST delivers.
Optimus Prime's vehicle form is a Freightliner
(not Kenworth) COE tractor trailer cab, which helped make that particular truck the most famous of the '80s. In WST-scale, the truck is 2" long. So adorable! The cab is red, of course, and the smokestacks, grill and bumper are silver. The windows are a light blue, which marks this as the Series 2 "Anime" Optimus Prime - the colors come from the cartoon, not the toy. All six wheels roll freely, and there's even a hitch for Prime's trailer... sold separately, of course.
Amazingly, WST Prime transforms exactly the
same way as his bigger brother - maybe even a little better. The arms fold out of the cab and the back folds down to become his legs. It's exactly what you remember. Rather than his hands being separate pieces that have to be plugged into place, they're a molded part of his arms, hidden behind the sculpted headlights of the truck. In robot mode, he stands 2¼" tall and moves at the ankles, hips and elbows.
Considering that his head is only 5mm tall, it's no surprise that WST Prime loses a little bit of detail there. It's mainly the ear-antennae, which are just smooth, straight plastic clips. All things considered, though, they could have done a worse job of translating that old look. Optimus Prime even comes with a scaled-down version of his gun, though it clips onto his wrist rather than fitting into his hand, of course.
The World's Smallest Transformers were sold in randomly packed blind boxes, so you never knew which figure you were going to get. In addition to the six announced figures for each series, there were sereval random chase figures that were secret until the line shipped - it's a lot like Figure Factory that way. Since Prime was released twice, prices aren't too bad if you want to bring him home. It's cool to have a MiniCon-sized Optimus Prime, and he'll look great mixed in with all your other Primes.
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