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Nova Prime

Transformers Legacy Evolution
by yo go re

Before Optimus came Sentinel Prime, and before Sentinel came Nova Prime. And maybe there were others in between there depending on what retcons we want to acknowledge today, but the important thing is: Nova was Prime a long time ago. In fact, he may have been the first of the line.

Nova Prime seeks to conquer the universe in the name of Cybertron.

There are the 13 Original Primes, but after they fled the planet, a little bot named Nova Major took on the title and eventually gained the Matrix of Leadership. Somehow. Unfortunately for all involved, he was a nationalist and racial supremacist, which is never a good thing to have as your leader (that one's for all the right-wingers who need that spelled out for them). He took a crew on what was ostensibly an exploration mission, but was really about violent conquest; then, before they could get anywhere or do anything, their ship fell through a dimensional rift and was lost. Bad news for them, good news for the universe at large!

When Nova Prime first appeared in the comics, Don Figuero didn't know a new character design would be needed until he got the script, so he just reused an old toy proposal that had never been made. This looks nothing like that, because that was basically just Energon Rodimus with a more Optimus-ish head, while this is chubby, white Prime.

Well, white, metallic blue, gold, and grey. He has a lot of identifiable Optimus features beyond just the head: smoketsacks on the shoulders, windows on the chest, a grilleon the stomach, and angled panels on the shins. The body is very large and blocky, making the head look comically small. (But don't worry, you probably won't be looking at it too often.) The robot moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and can be armed with either a metallic blue rifle or a pair of large grey blaster cannons.

Conversion is mostly straightforward, but there's a unique system wherein the kibble on his back slides down a ratcheted post to below his waist, then the upper body (including that post) turns around without it. Weird! Oh, pro tip: remember to flip his waist plate down and reverse it when you're turning him into a truck, or else the whole thing won't fit together properly. Blue should be showing for this robot mode, white should be showing for every other mode. Also, you'll need to swing his legs out to the sides a little when you raise them up, so they can move around the small ridge that helps hold them in place.

Nova turns into a truck cab, because of course he does. It's a very unusual design, though, with a weird, inward-angled front and bumpers sticking way out like a dekotora. There are a lot of gaps and robot kibble in the back, but that's because you're not really supposed to use this as just a cab - it also gets a trailer.

Or perhaps not a "trailer," but at least a back end. It's sort of a weapons platform, two long cannons carried on top, and the grey guns from robot mode plugged in on the sides. Parts of it do stick down pretty low to the ground, but there's still enough clearance to allow all the wheels to roll freely. This piece is why you needed to make sure the belt was facing the right direction before: if the blue side is out, you won't be able to clip the trailer onto that ratcheted post properly, and the parts won't line up correctly.

The design isn't terrific - a lot of it really does look like the exposed back side of actual pieces, which is what it is - but the level of detail is high, and even the design of the greeblies isn't as off-putting as it was during Siege and Earthrise. Which is funny, since this is a reworking of a mold that debuted in Siege!

This is technically a retooling of "Galaxy Upgrade" Optimus Prime, which was itself a reworked version of Siege Ultra Magnus; the lineage is most evident on the very back of the truck, where the sculpted panels directly copy the ramps on the back of G1 Ultra Magnus. Also there are some panels on the side that seem like they should move (they've quite blatantly got pins running down through them to create hinges), but are now held in place by inaccessible screws: on Magnus, they let you swing the panels from his legs to the side of the truck, but that's not a thing here.

Unlike many recent Ultra Magnii, the Siege version had the ability to form both an Optimus-sized inner robot and a version wearing armor, and that feature is retained here. The trailer breaks apart into a backpack, boots, shoulder pads, and gloves, to turn the normal Nova Prime into an even larger threat!

This mode gets a new head, naturally, and it carries on the "homage as many different past Convoys as possible" thing by having a pair of horns coming out the side. That was a feature on Beast Wars Neo's Big Convoy, aka "the original Nemesis Prime." And that does feel intentional, since Nova in the comics returned from the alternate universe he fell into calling himself Nemesis.

The differences between Little Nova and Big Nova... you know what, let's call them Nova Major and Nova Prime. The differences between them are fairly substantial. Since the white waist plate is meant for this mode, the only parts that are visibly shared between them are the hands, abdomen, and thighs. A new chest folds over the torso along with the new head, and there are extra piece to bulk up his shoulders hidden by the truck's ramps. In a further homage to Galaxy Force Convoy, the truck's bumpers become cannons mounted on his forearms. The larger guns from the robot mode could be used as such here, if you wanted, but they look cooler plugged into the sides of his lower legs, adding more bulk and power. There are flip-out heel struts under the feet, but the toy is stable enough that he'll stand perfectly fine without them, and since they don't at all keep the feet from being flat, you may forget they're even there.

The big cannons (also from Galaxy Force) are part of the backpack, and while they stick up behind the robot when not in use, they can also swing down and around to be underslung handheld weapons. Pretty awesome! The Optimus version of this mold had single large wings, like a plane, but Nova has wings more like a mechanical bird, with four "feathers" poking out on each side. These look like they'd be articulated, but they're not. The rest of the bot is, though: unlike the original Ultra Magnus, this Nova Prime retains all Nova Major's movement.

Nova Prime is an Amazon exclusive, and is certainly the most unique use of this mold yet. In fact, the only other Nova Prime toy there's been was a 2015 TFCC exclusive, so this is much more gettable. And has the added benefit of actually looking like he does in the comics.

-- 12/12/23

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