Energon Optimus Prime…out of the Unicron trilogy Primes, (of which I’ve proudly owned all three simultaneously now thanks to this) this guy’s the most underwhelming of the lot.
I’ve owned this toy before as a child, and other than being a design wreck, it’s also considerably smaller than its brother Primes, most notably in Super Mode.
The leader of the Autobots, as depicted in Transformers: Energon in all his fat uncle glory.
Seriously, this is what I meant by design wreck. Just look at him, with his giant box of a torso and tiny head. All four limbs are generally small and dinky compared to the torso, giving Prime a very unbalanced, lumbering lug feel.
They stopped trying to hide the vehicle kibble at this point. Oh, the entire rear truck bed? Just fold it onto the ass, Jim.
I can’t really stress it enough, but it really bothers me that the head is so freakishly small. Of course Prime is an old toy, I understand that, but Armada Prime did a far better job than this.
I never liked Transformers that had extremely conspicuous heels, but I’ll forgive Optimus for this one, simply because I can understand the practicality over style in this one.
It looks like there really isn’t a front or back to his feet, but many Transformers of the time (and still today) do this, so it could be considered the norm.
As far as articulation goes, given that this iteration of Optimus is from the early 2000’s, I can forgive it for only being able to do so much.
You get a basic range of movement in the arms, head, and legs. He can sure as heck stand there and not look half bad (as most Transformers tend to do anyways; only towards the end of the Cybertron era did TF’s start pulling off some decent articulation, with several exceptions here and there).
We get knee articulation though. Prime can look decent.
He gets a fitting all-white blaster-gun-thingy that shoots the one missile. Like most Transformers, one shot and he’s out of ammo. It’s a surprisingly pleasing weapon; despite the simplicity and lack of filled-in detail (it’s there, though all in white plastic) Optimus can wield it well.
Well, in his normal form, anyway.
Slap it on his overgrown Super Mode and that’s a different story. It’s suddenly the least intimidating blaster out there. Like giving a water gun to a military officer.
This is what Prime looks like correctly proportioned. He no longer looks out of place with a stupidly overgrown torso. The color palette is adventurous though.
Conversion to Super Mode basically involves adding on four random mini-vehicles that convert to new limbs for Optimus, flip up a tacky helmet over his head, and opening up his cabin windows on the chest.
Said mini-vehicles are about the size of a scout-class Transformer, probably smaller, but bigger than a Mini-Con.
This is the most random combination (and also the most color-clashing) of vehicles ever. A firetruck [OP1], a helicopter [OP2], a mobile drill [OP3], and a submarine [OP4]. I thought I’d only ever see the likes of this in Power Rangers or GaoGaiGar…I mean at least the Contructicons and Rescue Bots had a shared theme. This is just…what.
They’re all relatively unimpressive as stand-alone toys and don’t actually convert to anything but Prime’s limbs. A few have small gimmicks, like OP3 having a gear system that allows the drill to spin when rolling it on the ground.
You’d think Hasbro would throw in some Super weapon to compliment the Super Mode, but no. Four new limbs are enough.
I suppose it’s enough to explain why they were so skinny originally though. Had to fit ’em in the bearings.
The opening of the chest compartment reveals this Prime’s Matrix of Leadership…which isn’t actually removable and only vaguely resembles its traditional shape.
The cool factor with this Prime’s Matrix is supposed to come from its lights and sounds feature though. The semi-clear red gem in the middle lights up and I’m fairly certain it can flash and whatnot.
Optimus has a pretty large soundboard, in that on his back there’s a panel where you can switch between what sound effect you want him to make, the 1-4 labeling representing his attack drones.
The sounds don’t actually work on this particular figure that I bought at the Swap Meet; I can only vaguely recall what my original Energon Optimus toy did when I had it as a child…
An interesting touch is that the limbs are all interchangeable in where they’re placed on Prime. Not that the above mode is impractical for the sake of having usable hands or anything, but it adds a little variety.
The first few shots were of Prime in his usual configuration; somehow he prefers drill-kick to drill-punch, but you can definitely swap them around however you’d like, no articulation lost in any form.
Truck mode. Autobots, roll out.
Energon Prime clearly takes a few more cues from his original G1 design than his other incarnations from the Unicron Trilogy.
They got really lazy with making it look practical though. The arms are more conspicuous than they were on the G1 toy. The giant helmet on the top of the cabin is also a given.
Again, with the trailer, a very unorthodox and strange design. I’ll try to avoid being an extreme conservative and avert knocking it for being different and not adhering to the usual formula though. Unique isn’t always bad.
You don’t get much of a turn for the trailer when hooked onto Prime, though I admit I like the flushed-out and completed feel it adds to Optimus’ vehicle mode.
I’ll also point out right now that the gun is really tacked onto Prime’s trailer bed. It’s sideways and just so…off.
For those drive-by shootings, I suppose.
The trailer really only acts as a troop transport for the support vehicles. Not gonna lie, I always thought this was a cool feature as a kid. It’s like having your personal garage and rolling the most random things out of it.
OP2 doesn’t roll out, obviously. Specialized helipad flips down on the side to deploy it.
I shudder to think how OP1 gets out and down. Even if OP3’s door is closed, that’s a steep incline to roll down.
The entire thing can stand up and have this completely pointless ramp-thing come down. I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume it’s actually meant as a support leg, to hold the trailer up in that position.
But it doesn’t actually hold the trailer up in that position. Physics dictates that the trailer holds itself on its own, and that leg doesn’t really have much going for it other than some random cosmetic merit.
Giant Autobot insignia on the rear of the trailer, coupled with a random satellite dish…why, Hasbro?
Just because, naturally. I always found this and the support ramp to be extremely random and pointless. I can’t even remember either parts having any significance in the show, though I could be wrong…don’t quote me on that.
Watch out, kids. Don’t believe him about the free Energon.
My biggest gripe with the vehicle form is also ironically kind of one of the most amazing parts of this figure. Countless Primes can do this, among them the original G1 and Masterpiece Optimus’, but with Energon his default truck mode kinda just demands this be done.
All in all, yeah this is a dated figure, and as such I can honestly only recommend it to collectors. It’d be a great centerpiece to build the entire Energon cast around, and in Super Mode, can actually hold some nice display value.