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War For Cybertron Optimus Prime

Transformers Generations
by yo go re

When we reviewed War for Cybertron Bumblebee, we said he was part of a new continuity, not a reboot of G1. It's good to see everybody finally coming around.

When he first became leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime was not certain he wanted the responsibility. The war with the Decepticons was going badly, and it looked like there was no end in sight. He vowed to himself and to the warriors under his command that he would never surrender, never retreat, and never stop fighting until the Decepticons were defeated.

Optimus Prime's origins have been told repeatedly over the years, and though the details might change, the basics remain the same: a lowly worker of no import meets with the Decepticons shortly before the war starts, is disgusted by their bloodthirsty actions, and joins up with the Autobots in response. After that he rises through the ranks - sometimes because he's driven, sometimes despite his own wishes - and is eventually named as the next Prime, leading the Autobots off-world. Anything other than that is just a cosmetic change, like the differences between the comic, Ultimate, movie and animated versions of Spider-Man's origin.

Since the new "Generations" line is restricted to Deluxe class toys, that's what size Prime is. He's packaged in robot mode, and stands 5¾" tall. Articulation is plentiful, with joints at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees, ankles and toes. There's no waist, but that's never a guarantee with a Transformer. The fact that the knees are double-hinged is very nice, and the head and ankles are balljoints.

We've already seen one pre-Earth Prime based on the War Within comics, but this is a whole new design. It still has that unmistakable "Optimus Prime" flavor, with red above blue, vents on the shins, pipes on the legs and a segmented stomach. His chest is very sharp and angular, but it still has the windows everyone expects. They even included silver stripes on the outside of his arms, which can be nothing but an Easter egg for old time fans. Compared to the in-game models, the wheels hanging off the backs of his shoulders should be 50% larger, but hey, if it didn't work for the toy, such is life; this is still an awesome-looking figure.

Optimus is listed as a Level 4 conversion, which seems appropriate: it's easier to switch him between modes than Bumblebee, but there's still quite a few bits that flop back and forth in unexpected ways and might be hard to get the hang of. Although he looks it, this isn't one of those TFs you can guess how to change just by looking at him. Oh, and hey, speaking of Easter eggs: when you're moving all the pieces around, you'll see a proto-Autobot symbol on his back. It's not visible in either robot or vehicle mode, just when you're changing him. Maybe someone saw it in the shower and that's how they knew he was destined to be a Prime?

His altmode is an "armored truck," which is far from the most inventive name ever, but is a fine, workmanlike appellation for what it is. The truck is 5⅜" long, 2¼" wide and just reaches over 2" tall. All six wheels roll individually, and again, the vehicle feels like a prototype version of the truck we know and love. The changes here are more drastic, obviously, but the hints of his future are there.

The front of the truck is rounded and sloped, perfect for deflecting enemy fire. The front grill is more of an armored ram, for breaking down defenses, and the smokestacks point backward, rather than straight up. As you'd expect, the truck is red and blue in all the right places, though there's one small panel that should be blue, but is still unpainted red plastic. Whoops! Still, Optimus Prime's truck mode is a badass-looking vehicle, no question. The instructions skip a step, of course: the robot's knees flip up to become the truck's tail lights.

He's no pacifist, so of course he comes with a gun. It's not the same model as his usual Ion Blaster, but it's still pretty cool. It mounts on the back of the truck, and can aim either forward or back. It's a blocky piece that looks like it's folded over itself. Of course, there's a reason for that: it is folded over itself! The damn gun transforms! Flick a little switch (designed to be the magazine or something) and two springs whip everything into place, turning it into a large rifle for the robot to carry. Superb! It can even store on the robot's back when he's not holding it.

Cybertronian Optimu Prime is one of only two War For Cybertron toys released so far, but there are more on the way - Megatron and Soundwave, specifically. Even if you're not interested in any of those, this is a great standalone figure, made and designed well, and will look great in your ever-growing army of Primes.

-- 07/27/10

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