The Age of Extinction is upon… somebody, I’m sure, but not us.

On Cybertron Monday, I managed to get my hands on all the ‘bots but one in the first wave that I wanted. I was holding off on Grimlock until I could compare the Voyager and Leader class in person. My natural inclination is:

robot dinosaur = largest one I can get my hands on

However, when I see the images online of the Leader class toy, there’s just something about it that looks off to me. Conversely, I really like the look of the Voyager toy, but that also has only been in pictures online. My grand plan was to head to my regular Transformer hunting ground, the Target around the corner from my house, to compare the toys to each other. On Saturday, the official retail release date of the Age of Extinction line, I had an epic day planned of going to see Godzilla and then swinging by Target on the way home to bask in the glorious shelves and pegs full of Transformers merchandise. Luckily Godzilla was epic enough for the whole day because rounding the corner into the appropriate aisle I came face-to-face with this,

Age of Exctinction Target

You can just imagine a tumbleweed blown by a dusty wind, no sound, no life for miles. Thus is the Transformers desert that inhabits my soul– oooo, look! It’s Swerve and behind him is Cosmos. Ok, fine, I am not exactly hurting for new additions to my collection, but with a gigantic movie about to land in a little over a month and a huge promotional campaign currently underway, you’d think that’s the product Target would want to have available on the shelves.

So, with the Transformers portion of my epic day having been decimated by Target’s lack of inventory prowess, I skulked home and grilled some food while playing with my previously purchased Age of Extinction toys. Had it not been for the brilliant move that was Cybertron Monday, I most likely would have been furious rather than just ever so slightly annoyed by Target’s intense retail failure. Instead, I have this guy to console me,

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Alt

Leader class Optimus Prime is one of the toys that I have been eagerly anticipating since last year when I spent a good portion of August and September stalking the filming going on in my home town of Chicago. Watching Mr. Bay blow things up around our McCormick Place was awesome.

Age of Extinction Filming Explosion

Even with chest thumping explosions, this still paled in comparison to the weekend that I was able to actually go up and touch the Autobot vehicles.

Optimus Prime Age of Extinction Filming

That’s a shot of us checking out the semi-truck-on-steroids that is Optimus Prime’s new alt mode. Loosely based on the 2015 Western Star 5700, it is the 5700 “OP” Concept Truck. I’d say it is a one-of-a-kind, but that same day we saw this,

Optimus Prime Age of Extinction Filming Double

I was deeply disappointed with the first images I saw of Leader class Optimus. He had this gigantic, top heavy backpack and too much chrome on his robot mode. Turns out that what I saw was the First Edition Optimus Prime, an Amazon exclusive. I had stayed so spoiler-free, I didn’t even realize that the retail release was actually a different mold altogether until I had it in my hands.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Alt Front

There are some nice details in alt mode, like the Autobot symbols on his wheels and the Western Star badging.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Badging

Also, the bottoms of his feet form seats inside his cab.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Cab

This one still has a bit too much chrome for my tastes, but a majority of it is at least put in appropriate places, like chroming the radiator grill, bumper, fuel tanks, steps, windshield visor, and exhaust stacks.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Chrome

Really, the only chrome I don’t like is the unnecessary chrome chest plate on his robot mode.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Robot

Somehow, despite having the large frame backpack (or “kibble” as the fandom calls it) he is still amazing. The sword storage under the alt mode shifting to form a sword holster in robot mode is a nice touch.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Back

What this version does to make the backpack much more acceptable is not to bunch the entire thing at the top of his back. Though it seems counter-intuitive, by spreading it out further it doesn’t restrict movement and uses the truck cab sides as tassets for his knightly armor. Also, by moving those pieces and bits to the backpack, it frees up his arms and legs for some serious articulation.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Posed

Add in his “Sword of Judgement” and shield and the suit of armor look is complete.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Sword and Shield

I prefer this “Vector Shield” to the “Sentinel Shield” included in the First Edition, primarily because the Vector Shield doubles as a very serious cannon.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Gun

Added articulation in his hands — articulated thumbs to be precise — allows him to hold his sword with both hands.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Two Hand Sword

Overall, just a fun toy and a good looking one at that.

Optimus Prime AoE Leader Stance

And here’s the part I didn’t expect from this “simpler transformations” direction: he’s a lot of fun to transform. I mean, a lot of fun. As awesome a figure as Revenge of the Fallen Leader class Optimus Prime is, one thing he will never be accused of being is fun to transform.

Case in point, I used this version of the Revenge of the Fallen mold because the rest are all in assorted levels of combination and transformation, and it's just too painful to get them back to regular robot mode.

Case in point, I used this version of the Revenge of the Fallen mold because the rest are all in assorted levels of combination and transformation, and it’s just too painful to get them back to regular robot mode.

If their on-screen counterparts are anything like their toys at all, between him and the “Evasion Mode” Voyager class Optimus, I am expecting good things from Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Optimus Prime AoE Robots

'Til All Are Mine.

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One thought on “The Age of Extinction is upon… somebody, I’m sure, but not us.

  1. Good point on the ROTF Optimus Prime mold. I have several versions of the mold and once I put them in the display I never touch them again because they are such a pain to transform and/or reconfigure. In fact there are several that I have never transformed or combined with various jetpacks/wings in truck mode because it is just too painful to endure to put it back into robot mode for display. So we have seen entirely to complex transformations and now it looks like HasTak is going in the other direction to overly simplify the transformations. If we want something about just right with collectors in mind it looks like all that is left from HasTak are the MP’s. I will be leaving the Age of Extinction line alone entirely.

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