Masterpieces,  Transformers

Masterpiece MP-01 Optimus Prime (U.S. Release Battle Damaged Ver.)


MP-01 Optimus Prime…regarded by many as the “perfect” Optimus figure, and as the “perfect” Transformer in its own right.

The Masterpiece line began with this big guy, and has since then grown proportionally with the series’ popularity. More collectors were looking for more high-quality Transformer figures that were more than the usual mass-produced toys found at Wal-Mart.

Unfortunately, a high price (literally) must be paid for such standards.

OP 1

This is a very old figure for me, and a staple part of my childhood. I remember it was one of my favorite toys, and ever since I got it, I could never figure out how to transform it until I was like 12 or 13. Prime hides his vehicle kibble very well.

This Masterpiece Prime is actually the Wal-Mart exclusive battle-damaged edition for Transformer’s 30th anniversary, I believe. The battle damage is really just a few scorch marks here and there; nothing too crazy.

I added my own custom battle damage to the figure from having it and playing with it for such a long time though…


I’ll say this now…my Prime has been through a lot since when I was small, but the most significant damage to him that carries on to this day is the completely shot upper knee joints. Here’s the story…


One day I was bored at home, so I started playing with Optimus in truck mode, rolling him around on the small coffee table in my room. I suddenly decided it would be cool and fun to roll him off the table at death-defying speeds and see how the leader of the Autobots would fare. The floor was carpet after all, so no damage would be done…to the house, anyway. Upon accomplishing the deed, I was kind of shocked and disappointed…

I discovered, upon transforming Prime back into biped form after that, that his left leg was limp from the knee down. It was completely shot, wouldn’t hold straight anymore. The right leg still held its ratchet joint quite fine, but the left was gone. I didn’t think this was any permanent damage at first, so I went ahead and dug out a screw driver, took apart Prime’s leg, and tried to investigate what the problem was.

Turns out, something inside was broken. I can’t remember what, but I’m fairly certain it was a plastic piece. In addition, I ended up popping out the tightly inserted spring inside the knee that held the entire thing together and allowed the ratchet joint to work. I had no idea how to put the spring back in, so I proceeded to dismantle the right leg as well in an attempt to use that still-intact limb to fix the other broken one.

I then learned that the spring was nigh-impossible to put back inside, and in my efforts I also ended up popping out the spring to the right knee, therefore rendering both legs limp for the rest of this figure’s lifetime. Upon the realization that I would never be able to re-inset the spring joint, I promptly put the legs back together and had Optimus sit on the shelf, in truck mode, for the next five or so years, neglected, until now.


The legs are double-jointed, and only the top joint on both legs are dead. The lower ratchet joint still works, though that doesn’t really account for much.

If I laid Prime on a table with his legs hanging off, they’d sag downwards immediately, lifeless. Nevertheless, with some odd balancing, he’s obviously still able to stand, and pose to an extent.


Other notable damage Prime’s taken is the hydraulic section on the back of his leg constantly breaking (the gray ball-jointed part) so it’s been re-glued many times.

Optimus himself is very well articulated, and can still do some decent poses even with the shot knees.

To be fair he’s massive in size, and made of a lot of metal, so balancing can be an issue. Not much kibble over the figure and he keeps to a nice solid, conservative design though.

The individually jointed fingers are also great fun. While they only sport articulation at the base knuckle, it’s enough to get some cool poses out of.


A cool little gimmick worth pointing out (among many) is that the vents on his shins open when the foot is pressed down.


I love the detail on this figure. The silver hydraulics on most of his joints are pretty cool.


A little button on the back of his head moves Prime’s faceplate. I used to love pressing that thing and talking in his voice…


Oh yeah, guys – I have this in me now.


Obligatory chrome and gold Matrix of Leadership. Gotta say this is the fanciest Matrix I’ve ever seen. It does open up, and when slotted in Prime’s chest, there’s a little button on his left shoulder that lights it up.

The Matrix is hidden in Prime’s chest beneath his opening windshields and chrome bumper.


When holding the thing though, it isn’t exactly in scale…Prime should be able to slot four fingers around the Matrix’s handles, but the figure can only manage two. Nevertheless it’s a very sporting and well-done accessory.


Light our darkest hour…


Prime’s forearms also sport a cool gimmick – a panel on each opens up to reveal a communications panel.

I know I’m not the only kid who’s wanted to see this feature on a figure ever since seeing everybody open them up in the show.


Left arm sports Bumblebee asking for a promotion…


…left arm has Starscream ordering for a Big Mac. (Get it? Optimus is a truck, which are Macs, and he’s a big truck! YEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHHH…)


Leave me alone it’s late at the time of this writing.

Moving on…


Prime’s iconic weapon. Ion blasts are the right of all sentient beings.

The Ion Blaster is a very simple but nicely detailed weapon. Gets the job done, down to earth and easy to wield.

Prime has some slight problems holding the blaster when gravity works against it, but generally if you just wrap the fingers around the handle and keep it in an upright position, there shouldn’t be any problems.


And then…the weapon that appeared in all of one episode in the original series, but somehow still managed to garner ever so much popularity…Prime’s Energon Axe.

The axe is a very fitting melee weapon for Optimus, and he wields it effortlessly. It’s attached to the base of the wrist by sliding the hand back into the forearm. I love the clear orange plastic used.




Autobots, Roll Out. 


Prime’s transformation is actually rather complex, a lot of it revolving around moving the torso around and flipping things like the hidden forward wheels out. Given that this is the American version, the smokestacks are naturally shorter to conform to the toy safety laws. Wouldn’t want children choking on those nasty little buggers now would we.


The entire vehicle form is very compact and solid. It’s slightly bendy around the mid-section where the legs connect to the waist, but unnoticeable normally.

Small features I’m particularly fond of with the truck mode are the rubber and chrome tires, and the fact that they actually have suspension. Yup, Prime can bounce on those rims. It may not be very apparent at first but there are indeed springs in all the wheels to allow him to roll out in any type of terrain…


Unfortunately the truck mode isn’t so detailed that the cabin doors actually open and allow access, but the windshields sure do. You get a single seat inside with no steering wheel or pedals. Optimus is driven by good-will, not mechanics.


MP-01 Optimus is an old figure at this point in time, and a new MP-10 Optimus has since been released, though unfortunately that one doesn’t sport nearly as much metal as this one does…

Prime is in itself a very hefty figure. I suppose it’s because I’ve had him for a while, but it isn’t the same type of heaviness that impressed me with Metal Build Exia. Nevertheless, if you desire a true-to-show Optimus Prime figure, and are willing to shell out big bucks for it, this is the one to go for. I can’t really knock it for much, and even my battle-damaged (literally) Prime can still pull of some nice shots.


    • James Pierce

      Ahhh good question…shoot I didn’t take a picture of it next to a coke can? I usually do that for most of my big Transformers…unfortunately I’ve already sold this guy off so I can’t get measurements anymore ^^; But in general terms…he’s big.

  • Genaro Alvarado

    I have been trying to find custom flexible hands for a MP-01 Optimus prime not MP10, Like crazy but the only thing found everywhere on the web is only forMP-10.
    Hopefully someone will be able to help me

    Thanks for the support

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