Posts tagged with "optimus primal" - 1
Posted December 28, 2020 at 4:03 pm

Kingdom Optimus Primal is a lot like Studio Series 86 Hot Rod in that they're large deluxes done at Voyager Class pricepoint to do the designs justice.  The original 1996 Ultra Optimus Primal is known for packing like sixteen billion gimmicks into a pretty simple transformation.  That at the time was the trade-off for Gorilla Mode Stands Up Into A Robot, the packing his arms and torso with Shit To Do.  He had that geared lever in his back that made his forearms rotate, which was only accentuated by the various different weapons he came with that you could place in his hand to have his forearms manipulate -- He came with two swords which stored inside his torso, and a skull-faced flail was stored in his forearm.  His other forearm could open to reveal two missile launchers.  Two more missile launchers spring-launched out of his back flesh.  

The counterpart, Ultra Class Megatron, transformed much more intricately but contained a smaller number of gimmicks.  Water squirter!  Hip-launchers!  The end.  

Optimus Primal actually got most of his toy's gimmickry enshrined forever on the television show, so he's always gonna feel like he needs that stuff to be complete.  And so Kingdom Optimus Primal retains the over-the-shoulder launchers, the forearm cannons (on both forearms, like in the show), and two swords.  The skull-faced thingy is actually the head of Paleotrex, but it's available, which is honestly surprising.  (The skull mace didn't come with the first Masterpiece Optimus Primal, since that wasn't a weapon used on the show, but did come with the anime-colored redeco.)  

Unlike Kingdom Blackarachnia, Kingdom Optimus Primal doesn't take many cues from his respective Masterpiece toy.  It transforms closer to the original, as there's no flipping the chest piece out of the stomach or any of the creative mass-adjustment with the legs.  And like the other Beast Wars characters in Kingdom, Primal's beast mode attempts to achieve a look closer to animal realism rather than recreate the CGI animal models, and so he's all fluffed and hairied up.  One advantage to being able to Do Things Differently is that Optimus Primal's white/red robot biceps can actually be covered up by his gorilla shoulder pads!  Usually there's a tiny bit peeking out, even on the Masterpiece.  (The Masterpiece's shoulderpads have to be a Certain Shape in order to achieve robot show accuracy, and it's not very optimal for covering up robot parts when folded down.)  

As a result, Kingdom Optimus Primal has a better-than-usual gorilla mode.  Except for a stripe of white robot thigh unhidden along the torso, you've only got the robot feet (behind the gorilla legs) and the hinges of the shoulder launchers left peeking out.  The gorilla mode has two official stances -- An all-fours mode in which the toy folds together to create a gorilla with a more naturalistic sagging curve to the torso, and a standing mode which you can achieve by untransforming the legs a little and folding the knees differently.  

I did have one annoying problem when transforming him.  Primal's thighs are painted white over black, and painting white over black requires... a thicker strata of paint than usual?  And so while trying to wiggle his legs into position under the slab of gorilla back, I apparently tore a bit of the white paint off.  I was a bit cheesed!  I'd had the toy for like three seconds.  I was able to grab my own white paint and fix what I'd wrought, but still, be careful.  Make sure you aren't dragging any sharp surfaces over those thighs when you transform him. 

I am pretty damn impressed with the amount of paint they have on his chest.  The paint operations there are very intricate and replicate the complicated CGI cartoon patterns perfectly.  There's even the tiiiiiiny red details surrounding the circle in the middle of his chest.  That's three paint operations right there!  And for something you have to squint to see.  

I also genuinely love that the pin through his chest that his robot chestplate rotates on pokes out through his pecs just at the right spots to look like nipples.  Lol.

I do wish his pecs weren't sculpted to look so tendony, like they're skinless Rob Liefeld thighs or something.  I would have preferred something sloppy and fatty like on a real gorilla.

As far as 25th Anniversary Beast Wars toys go, Kingdom Optimus Primal feels like a great celebration.  He's essentially everything you'd want or need at the scale.  And he looks impressive and expressive.  Grab some of those effects parts you gathered up in Siege and Earthrise, you're gonna need them for all his 3mm ports.  

Posted October 14, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Man, remember when these Transformers Fan Vote things resulted in new characters? I guess that was just the first two years, but since, like, Windblade is in EVERYTHING now, you'd think Hasbro'd be all... hey, that worked out for us pretty well, why don't we do that, like, a second time. But, naw, these days we just get to choose which pre-existing old guy to remake.

And for this year's, we weren't even originally sure what the end result of the vote would have been. Hasbro said simply "CHOOSE THE NEXT PRIME" and gave us a smattering of pre-existing characters and told us to vote for our favorite. (Sure, one of those was "UNKNOWN EVIL," but unknown evil was technically just Deathsaurus.) It wasn't until later we learned that, oh, we're taking the winning character and giving him a Leader Class toy where they have a smaller-scale figure that folds up into a portion of a larger-scale figure. Really makes you wonder how that would have worked out if, say, Arcee had won. Maybe one of her halves would have been a giant techno-organic spider, I dunno.

Anyway, who won was Optimus Primal. Because, as Hasbro should really have figured out by now, if you have a list of guys and only one of them isn't G1, folks vote for the not-G1 guy. Any more than one not-G1 guys, you're gonna split the not-G1 vote and end up with, say, Wheeljack or whoever, but otherwise you're gonna have a Beast Wars character every time one's on the list. So Optimus Primal won! And Hasbro had to make him a toy! Had to! We made them do it! There's always some crank somewhere who claims that these votes are always rigged (because he didn't get what he wanted and/or thinks girls are stupid), but the fact that we got Optimus Primal and not Star Saber definitely puts lie to that conspiracy. I feel like this team really wanted to do Star Saber, and they only do Beast Wars literally when we force them to.

Since the theme was "early form merging with later, larger form," seen elsewhere in the Power of the Primes toyline as "Hot Rod becoming Rodimus Prime's chest" and "Orion Pax becoming Optimus Prime's chest," this new Optimus Primal toy has a mechanical-looking Optimus Primal becoming the torso of his later, larger, Optimal Optimus form. And if you're worried they forgot about that intermediate Transmetal form, it's given a tip of the hat through the Optimal Optimus gorilla mode being able to ride on Optimus Primal's spaceship mode like a surfboard.

It's nice that they found extra things for this Optimal Optimus re-do to do, because they cut out the fourth mode, the wheeled armored transport. He's just the big robot, the big gorilla, and the big jet. The smaller robot doesn't turn into a gorilla, just a spaceship that looks an awful lot like Optimal Optimus's torso flattened out with a rolling pin. The Matrix fits into the cockpit of the spaceship, which helps you play out your favorite "Optimal Situation" moments.

Some other changes are attempts to make the appearance more cartoon-accurate. In the cartoon, Optimal Optimus could retract his shoulder guns. The toy couldn't, because they were, y'know, electronic. But in cartoons, you probably don't want giant missiles constantly blocking the face of your super tall character, so they tucked away. So on this toy, you can yank those off and plug them elsewhere if you want. The bigger robot's face is also just the show's version of his head, instead of having the more stylized, angular mouth of the toy.

Also there's no chrome. Which is probably better in the longer run. Or it would be, the toy didn't have stickers. And as you have probably heard me grumble about more than once on this blog, Hasbro's current factory-applied stickers are garbage. They start peeling and shredding under all possible atmospheric conditions. And on this new OpOp, those stickers are right on the torso part that you shove in between the parts of the rest of his torso. Woo! So, you know, one step forward and all that.

oh and the original optimal optimus's backpack is made out of sparkly brown plastic that is kind of brittle so, uh, yeah, this may be a welcome update for some people

It's an okay toy. It's got a lot of different configurations, a good combined robot, an okay gorilla, and a jet because we say so. And that gorilla can ride himself as a surfboard.

This toy hasn't shown up at regular North American retail as of this writing, and so mine is the Japanese release, which is absolutely identical to ours but with a sticker on the packaging. And we're running out of time for this guy to come out over here before the next line (Stege) starts hitting stores this winter, so it's entirely possible Hasbro's "fan vote winner" will end up getting shat out into places like TJ Maxx and Marshall's. Who even knows.

Posted November 9, 2016 at 11:01 pm

When your stomach is in knots and you find yourself just dreading the very act of passively existing, I find it beneficial to find small things to force myself to do, just to keep momentum going.  Momentum is king.   You might not do those small things well, 'cuz your brain isn't quite working at capacity, but you kinda just have to make yourself do things anyway, pushing up and through your emotional numbness.  "Fake it until you make it?" maybe?  Not quite, I dunno.  Too platitude-sounding for what shitshow's going on in your mind.  But it's close enough.

With that in mind, let me talk for a bit about Transformers Masterpiece Beast Wars Optimus Primal.

It's Beast Wars' 20th anniversary, and while Hasbro's been all "beast wars, what is that, optimus isn't no dumb monkey, have g1 recycled forever," TakaraTomy has stepped up and given us this amazing thing.  (I've been singing TakaraTomy's praises in contrast to Hasbro a lot more these days, I feel.  Am I weeabooing up or something?)

Let's consider the Generation 1 Masterpiece toys.  Generally, they try to replicate a look from the cartoon, and the cartoon they're sourcing from was cell-animated.  And so the toy, despite all its attempts to look like the cartoon as much as possible, must always fall short, because.... hey.  Three-dee object existing in front of you.  Flat cell-animated image.  And you get into these debates like with the upcoming new Masterpiece Generation 1 Megatron: should he have a silver/chrome finish like a gun or his original toy, or should he have a flat matte light gray like the cell animation?  There's always this dissonance between the source and the product, no matter how hard one tries.  Masterpiece Shockwave might be the closest to achieving a seamless transition.

But Beast Wars' source material is a whole other animal.  (so to speak)  It was CGI, albeit mid-Nineties television CGI, and so the characters from the cartoon are "real."  They don't look different when you look at them from the side versus the front or back, they have texture, they have alternating gloss and matte... and, frankly, they're more visually interesting.  Ironhide and Ratchet are just cardboard box towers.  A CGI model like Optimus Primal has curves and contours and nuance.  Relatively speaking.  This was 1996, again.

And that's where Masterpiece Optimus Primal really succeeds.  He's glossy where he needs to be, he's matte where he needs to be, and, god of gods, his terrible texture-map-in-lieu-of-actual-modeled-fur-because-this-is-1996 is honest to god printed all over him.  It doesn't come out well in my photography, but it looks like someone lightly hand-painted fur pattern everywhere on him that needs to be so.  These interplays of various glossies and faux texture map honestly make the toy come alive.  It's like the CGI model is standing on your shelf.

The painted-on-texture also has me a little on edge.  Does this stuff scratch off easily?  I dunno!  I don't wanna test its endurance so much!  And so I'm extremely careful with this guy.  There is a small bit on his forearm, right over a seam between two adjacent plastic pieces, where you can see the texture painting wasn't successfully applied.  And so I'm always eyeing that.  During transformation, you have to rotate his robot head out at the same time as rotating in his gorilla head, and you have to get the rotation just right through this very tight space so there's no scraping the top of the gorilla head.  I worry that I'll untransform him some day and find a scrape.  And I have no idea how baseless this fear is, as this is a new painting technology to me.  

The transformation is similar to the original, mostly because it kind of has to still be "arms become arms, legs become legs," but the differences are interesting to me.  In the original toy, the ape head folded down and flipped over to become the robot chest; on this new toy, the robot chest is formed from the gorilla's stomach, while the gorilla head hides inside the torso.  The gorilla back rotates upside-down for robot mode.  The gorilla legs are a huge mess of parts on its way to becoming robot legs, rather than the original "just unfold them at the knees, switch the feet, the end" deal.  Lots of flipping and turning there.  I do recommend having fingernails.  There's parts that require a very thin edge with leverage to unsecure them from their location.  Usually on Transformer toys, there's little helpful edges or nobs that give you leverage, but that would mess with the contours and accuracy of each mode.  

He's electronic.  Push down his robot head, and his robot eyes glow.  He comes with a number of alternate faces.  Four for robot mode (neutral, screaming, Dreamwave smirk, and mouthplate deployed) and three for gorilla mode (neutral, growling, smiling).  

He comes with his swords, which he can hold or store on his back, and he has both his flip-out shoulder missile launchers, and his forearm-deployed cannons.  You definitely need your fingernails for the latter.  You can do some folding on his backside to reveal his flight jets.  

Other than my apprehension regarding the texture painting, there's not a lot for me to complain about.  It's about as perfect as a Season 1 Optimus Primal toy as can be possible.   In robot mode, he might as well be a fancy maquette reproduction of the CGI model.  In ape mode... there are seams, but they're all understandable.  And the choice of different faces brings whatever character is otherwise missing.

I think I'll like him if my emotions come back.

Posted July 12, 2010 at 12:50 am
Here's the Primal I promised you yesterday. Someone asked me for a first-season Primal art today, and I had one ready-made! So he's gone.

The girl who asked for Cheetor on Friday came back to buy him, so I replaced him with Blackarachnia.

Optimus Primal got bought, so he got replaced by Megatron.

I bought a $5 blindpacked Mini-Con. (Ironlunge!) He's a Predacon like Dinobot, so they got to hang out.

Maggie bought some blindpacked Full Metal Panic figures. Dinobot met them.

Her name is Teresa Testarosa. Her character is Italian. Everything insists on romanizing her name as "Teletha." It's retarded.
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