Hasbro Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Kingdom Voyager Optimus Primal Action Figure Hasbro, 2020
Day #2,291: April 6, 2021
Optimus Primal WFC-K8
Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Kingdom Voyager
Item No.: Asst. F0365 No. F0691 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Swords Action Feature:Transforms from robot to ape Retail:$29.99 Availability: December 2020 Other: Go Ape
The li'lest voyager! There are some toys that are going to get revised every few years due to the fame of the character, like Optimus Primal. We used to get a ton of reissue toys, but we also saw a smattering of reimaginings, retools, and recreations. People wanting the very best Optimus Primal should get the 10th Anniversary remold of the original Ultra toy, which was sold in America as a Toys R Us exclusive - it had fantastic coloring and a great retooled head, plus all of the original gimmicks. Swinging arms! Flip-out rockets! Sword storage! A skull mace! Every feature worked pretty well, and everything could be stored inside the toy. This is the leader of the pack, the toy to which all others will always be compared. Sure, the Cybertron era one was pretty neat with the surfboard, but it's some other thing. The Masterpiece is a great recreation of the TV show model. Takara's mini Robot Masters Optimus Primal also managed to replicate many of the original toy's features, while doing a good job with some others - and dropping some. It's difficult to make something as big, as feature-laden, and as impressive as that original toy. The Kingdom toy is no exception. It's neat, but Kenner was on fire with the original Beast Wars toys. Adjusted for inflation, the then-$20 Ultra-class toy would be $32.99 today. It would also tower over every Leader-class toy you were likely to see on 2021 store shelves.
The piece count of the 2021 Optimus Primal seems to be much higher. There are no firing rockets, there's no mace in the box - you have to steal Paleotrex' skull head. The arms don't swing, there's no mask head. The flip-out blaster in the arm was replaced by wrist launchers, and I would argue those are an improvement. For a Voyager-class toy, he's 6-inches tall - that's shorter than the likes of Optimus Prime, who was 7-inches tall in his Siege and Kingdom incarnations. I don't doubt that robot scale is important, especially when you have to deal with the giant Megatron, but this one doesn't seem to be a toy to make your jaw drop.
Next to the likes of new Rattrap and Cheetor, Primal feels right at home. There's a decent fur texture, and the sculpted plastic light grey skin is really something. The texture is fantastic and a huge improvement over the smoothness of previous incarnations. There are more colors of paint on the robot mode chest than on most of his previous toys' entire bodies - and it's intricate. There are also niceties like opening fingers, rocking ankles, articulated toes, a joint on the wrist blasters, and depending on how you want to count, about 30 points of articulation. There's a lot going on in the legs, which are designed remarkably well. There's a swivel shin for no good reason other than to do it. You get double knees. The figure is remarkably sturdy with stiff joints, and is one of few War for Cybertron figures to completely lack 5mm holes for Fossilizers/Weaponizers/etc. Even Cheetor had 5mm holes in his soles, but not Primal.
The flip-out shoulder guns are a bit more annoying than other toys - you have to partially transform him to open the torso to fold them in and out. It's a hassle. You cam put C.O.M.B.A.T. blasts on them, and also on the wrist blasters - but those have the furry bits on them which may get in the way of actually connecting them so they stay put. It's a feature that should work and requires a certain amount of clearance to function, yet they opted to phone it in for the wrists. The toy has a lot of good elements, but this one requires a lot of pinching of your blast pieces. I doubt it's good for their longevity.
This is by no means a terrible robot action figure, but it is a little complex and the fists are surprisingly tight for his swords. They work, it just requires some effort.
The transformation will make you glad you have the instructions. Opening the body is a hassle, and needs to be done to flip the chest, to flip and rotate the heads, and to stow the shoulder guns. Mine had enough resistance that I wondered if I was going to break something. The legs and arms are easy to figure out, as they're quite similar to previous Optimus Primal gorilla toys.
The gorilla has slightly different configurations for standing on all fours or on two legs - he looks better on all fours. The neck can look up and down a bit, plus it swivels nicely. It doesn't really look like the old toy, the newer toys, or the TV show - it's its own thing. Much of the robot kibble is hidden depending on how you look at it, much like Cheetor. It's all about perspective. The toy is largely black with some grey bits exposed, and much like the robot's chest, the beast face is pretty good - lots of color and expressive. I wouldn't say it's realistic, but it's certainly nicely done.
If you want an Optimus Primal, this is likely your cheapest option. I love the Robot Masters ones, but they're small. The original toy is gorgeous, but expensive and out of scale. The Masterpiece is very good, but expensive and the marketplace is full of fakes. If you're in a store and are lucky enough to have $30 to blow, you could do a lot worse - if this were $20 or less, I'd say get it with a smile. $30 feels about $5 too much given most of the fun is posing it and a stiff transformation - but having him fight the Predacons should prove to be a good time. Since this isn't the Primal to end all Primals, I would anticipate some sort of 30th or 40th anniversary "Mainframe Edition" toys for mass fan retail down the road. And oh, those anniversaries are approaching - this is the 25th anniversary of Beast Wars, in case you weren't feeling old.
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