By Nick Saunders
Sub-Line: Prime: Beast Hunters
Figure: Ultimate Beast Hunter Optimus Prime
Size Class: Supreme
MSRP: $59.99 (U.S.)
This week for my birthday, my wife was cool enough to buy me the newly-released Transformers Prime: Ultimate Beast Hunter Optimus Prime figure. I had held off on buying the smaller Voyager Class ($22.00 pricepoint) figure back in January knowing this big dog was coming along later. Although after purchasing and evaluating the Ultimate version I may go back and pick up the Voyager up as well.
This figure is a good size at over a foot tall in robot mode, with a stocky and intimidating build. It comes with a massive cleaver-type sword that is at least 6 inches long, a shield, and the built-in dragon cannon array on its back. It has 15 points of articulation, with joints at the shoulders (2-way), biceps, elbows, wrists (you just have to force them a bit- other reviewers are being wusses about this), hips (2-way), knees, and neck. It has a light up mechanism for the eyes and chest, and the array of five dragon cannons on the back fires missiles and is operated using a rather sophisticated and ingenious gatling mechanism. The only thing I find annoyingly missing is the ankle articulation, but as others have said it has a minimal effect on poseability and balance. I still very much enjoy this mode of the figure, and that sword is a monster.
The transformation into truck mode is rather simplistic for a toy of this class; the manufacturer did not take full advantage of the size when engineering it. There are plenty of gaps in the vehicle when transformed, which only involves a twist of the waist, the arms being bent back over the legs, and the front wheels brought forward from within the lower legs of the robot. This is a toy you’re definitely going to want to display in robot form.
My primary gripe with this figure involves the build quality- Hasbro continues their dismaying pattern of using softer, less durable plastic throughout the figure. This trend is being driven by elevated petroleum prices, which cause plastics to inflate as well, forcing toy companies to degrade quality to keep costs down. That damn OPEC is ruining it for everyone. The wheels are snap-in as opposed to traditional solid pin mounted ones, and the flip-out front wheel assembly feels rather flimsy. Given how hollow this toy is in places, especially the lower legs, it ends up lacking the substantive feel that a $60 figure should have.
I may sound like I’m hating on this toy based on the above criticism, but I actually very much like it overall. I just miss the premium feel and heft that a Transformer this size would have had 5 or 10 years ago, and would have liked a better engineered transformation. Rating: B-.