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,
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,
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.
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.
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,
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.
There are some nice details in alt mode, like the Autobot symbols on his wheels and the Western Star badging.
Also, the bottoms of his feet form seats inside his 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.
Really, the only chrome I don’t like is the unnecessary chrome chest plate on his robot mode.
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.
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.
Add in his “Sword of Judgement” and shield and the suit of armor look is complete.
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.
Added articulation in his hands — articulated thumbs to be precise — allows him to hold his sword with both hands.
Overall, just a fun toy and a good looking one at that.
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.
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.