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Optimus Prime & Roller

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

Hey, fanboy! Can you resist buying an Optimus Prime? Hasbro is betting you can't!

Autobot Roller has been the constant companion of Optimus Prime for all the countless years of the war. Silently, patiently, he has stood by the Autobot commander, supporting him as a leader, and serving him as a warrior. For all intents and purposes, Autobot Roller is a part of Optimus Prime, and just as great a hero.

The notion that Roller (aka, the buggy that hung out in the trailer) is a part of Optimus Prime comes from the original show's bible: OP was a gestalt entity, with "Optimus" being the robot and "Prime" being the car. In practice, no such distinction was ever made, and Roller was never anything other than a drone - like a pet, but not even as sentient as a bird, cat dog.

This Optimus Prime is based on his current appearances in the IDW comics. Granted, that just means it's a "busy" version of the G1 design, with a few cues from the Classics mold, but there are enough differences to set it apart and make it recognizable on this toy. But thanks to the window-boobs and the blue head, there's no question who this is.

The IDW-influenced elements include the panel in the center of the chest, the circles on the knees, and the angled panels on the shoulders. The figure is only about as big as a Cyberverse "Commander Class" toy, meaning he doesn't even break the 4" mark, but he has a swivel neck and torso, and balljoints at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. There are a few annoying things about the design, though: the head doesn't lock in its "up" position in any way, and though the chest panels are meant to be swung outward, there's nothing to keep them from folding back in when you move the arms. Frustrating, but not terrible.

Optimus Prime converts exactly the way you think he would; the only trick to the process is that you have to turn the torso around to face the back, but that's becoming more common. The truck mode is pure IDW, with a slightly rounded cab and the big airfoil on the roof. The robot's feet are a pretty major piece of kibble in this mode, but it's such a small toy, what else could they really have done with it? All six of the wheels roll, and you can plug the gun into the roof if you want.

The bio paragraph mentioned Roller because this set includes Roller. Amazing coincidence! This time, Roller isn't a six-wheeled buggy, he's a six-wheeled SUV of some sort. Hasbro designer Joe Kyde revealed that the vehicle is based on a similar accessory that was meant to come with Optimus Maximus but was cancelled. Four of the wheels roll, and there's a hole on the roof so he can carry Prime's gun for him, just like back in G1. There are two large prongs sticking out from the front bumper that can plug into corresponding slots on the back of the truck mode, I guess so Optimus can tow him around?

For the first time, Roller isn't just a mindless drone - he has a robot mode of his own! Yes, there was a repainted Targetmaster included with a Japanese e-Hobby exclusive Orion Pax that was named Barrelroller, but that doesn't count. He has the complicated conversion scheme of "stand the truck up," but we're talking about a robot that's only 1¾" tall. Granted, they probably could have made him a little more complex, but they were saving it for something else.

The gimmick of these particular Legends Class releases is that you've got one famous Transformer, then a sidekick TF who changes into a weapon. Converting to Roller's gun mode is only slightly more complex than turning him into a robot - fold the upper chassis forward - but that's why the robot mode is so gimped.

The gun is decent, and you can plug Optimus' regular weapon in either on top or in the front. There's a handle so Optimus can wield the weapon, but it's so big and heavy that you have to lean him backwards or lean him against something.

If I had any kind of self-control, I probably wouldn't have bought this set, but the pairing of Optimus Prime and Roller was too good to pass up. Prime isn't an earth-shatteringly good TF, but if you find this set cheap, it's not disappointing.

-- 12/10/13

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