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Nemesis Prime

Transformers Classics
by yo go re

You have to wonder if Hasbro planned it: both their 2008 Comic-Con Transformers exclusives (from two different lines) were black repaints.

Broken by a nightmare eternity of torture at the hands of Straxus, Nemesis Prime does not remember what he was before he was this. He is the culmination of a grand plan never realized by Straxus before his destruction; a lowly warrior reconstructed to be the very image of Optimus Prime. Imprinted with memory engrams and combat algorithms recovered from hundreds of sources, he possesses much of the knowledge of the Autobot leader, but without any framework by which to organize it. Despite his incredible power, he is deeply unstable, a threat to Decepticon and Autobot alike. He cowers in the shadows of Cybertron, living only to stalk and destroy his fellow Transformers.

Wow, obscure reference in that bio! Don't worry if you've never heard of Straxus - he's a character who only ever appeared in the Marvel Transformers comics, and even then mainly in the expanded UK books. In fact, he was only in two issues of the US comic before he died. Basically, he was one of the guys who led the Decepticons during those four million years when Megatron was missing. And apparently he spent his time making duplicate bodies of the faction leaders (in the UK comic, he had a clone body of Megatron to transfer his mind into - maybe this Prime was a dry run).

Nemesis Prime is a repaint of the Transformers Classics Voyager Class Optimus Prime, which makes sense since he's supposed to be a manufactured duplicate. The only question, then, is how Straxus was able to design a robot body that looked exactly like "Classics" Prime before Optimus ever made that upgrade. I suppose if you were writing a story, you could claim that Nemesis Prime was connected to Optimus through some sort of subspace link, and automatically underwent any trans-scanning his ersatz twin did. Now that's some Grade-A fanwank, right there!

The truck mode is a quaint, early '80s style COE cab. A classic look, but not the kind of thing you see often on the road these days. The advance of technology means that modern trucks are more aerodynamic, to improve fuel efficiency, and that's what this vehicle offers. There are very few hard lines, but plenty of angles and curves - a very sleek look. The truck is about 6¼" long and 3½" high. Nemesis Prime doesn't have a trailer to tow, but then, neither did the Optimus Prime he's repainted from. I guess Straxus died before he could build that.

Transformation (or "conversion," as Hasbro insists on calling it) is nice. Begin by removing the smokestacks and sloping air foil, and setting them aside. Fold back the side panels to cover the rear wheels, tip up the very back to form feet, lower the rear half to be legs and raise the kneepads. Pull out the sides of the cab, then the shoulders, and roll the arms and hands into place. Raise the head, spin the whole thing around mid-chest, and finish by tucking the bumper up into Prime's back.

This is a big figure, 7" tall, and he moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, waist, hips and knees. The range of motion is mostly good, but he'd bit a bit more poseable if his ankles could move, and his waist is somewhat restricted. There's quite a bit of kibble to be found, though, particularly on the forearms and the small of his back. His upper body is black and metallic teal, while his legs and head are an impressive and unusual dark blue. The "glass" in the windshield is dark blue, rather than the more typical red, but his eyes do have a paint app to make up the difference.

Nemesis Prime has two weapons: the truck's wind vane becomes a large "disruptor cannon" and the smokestacks combine to make a smaller "stellar converter cannon." Both can fit in either hand, or they can combine and attach to his back as a sort of over-shoulder missile launcher thing. The stripes painted on the wind vane don't really match up when you fold it over to form the gun, but that's a minor complaint.

Thankfully, this year's Nemesis Prime exclusive is much easier to get than 2006's Alternators version - no instant sell-outs, no online shenanigans, nothing. If you couldn't get to San Diego, you could still bring this one home directly from HasbroToyShop.com. And yeah, he's definitely worth it. I know the idea of a black repaint causes great pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth among some Transfans, but Classics Nemesis Prime is a nice-looking 'bot and a good addition to your lineup.

-- 08/19/08

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