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THS02 Optimus Prime
Ross Liversidge
Author: Ross Liversidge

Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995, and following Andy Hanley's retirement has returned to the post of Editor-in-Chief in 2017. What an old man!

THS02 Optimus Prime

Yet another Optimus Prime toy. You'd think we TF fans would have had enough by now - from the 12", 20th Anniversary Masterpiece model, all the way through to PVC models, Alternators, Busts and Head-Knockers - Optimus' grand old mug must surely be getting a bit old by now?

Well, TF fans never had much sense when it came to showing love for Optimus Prime, so Takara (now Tomy/Takara) has released what can best be described as a Masterpiece in Miniature - a die-cast figure standing just under 4" tall, with incredible detail and articulation. It's almost like a piece of jewellery, it's so finely crafted that even the heathen non-believers in the office stopped to admire it.

Unlike his 12" forebear, this Optimus comes with a trailer, as well as a miniature Roller, who looks stunning. But one of the crowning achievements of this toy is that, not only have the manufacturers replicated the original trailer, they've improved it.

Roller now has directional front and rear wheels (the middle set remain fixed), as well as a rotating rear-centre piece that can be positioned with a red light, or swivelled into position to carry Prime's (beefed up) blaster. And when we've finished admiring the little fella, you can spend some time admiring the trailer. And this is really cool.

When folded up, the trailer is almost an exact replica of the original, but with two major (but subtle) differences. Unlike the original toy, the rear door no longer opens at the bottom to create a ramp, instead the rear door splits in two and opens more traditionally. The ramp is a spring activated device and pops out when the release button is pressed on the right hand side of the trailer. Nice detailing and a fun feature.

Open the trailer up and there's more discoveries inside. There are two compartments for Prime's extra fists (he has 3 pairs) and his rifle and energon axe can be stored here too, thanks to some holes that accommodate the pegs on the weapons. The command module is also richly detailed, though the claw arm is les versatile than on the older toy. The fact that you can store all of Prime's accessories is a welcome bonus, and really makes excellent use of what is, after all, his storage area.

The Prime figure himself is beautifully articulated in robot mode. With most of the weight in his legs, you can create some amazing poses that would topple lesser toys. The amount of detail in this figure is amazing, and my only complaint with the overall effect is the top half of his legs, which look almost organic (and very Beast Wars) when compared to the rest of his more traditional appearance, and seems suspiciously like a case of over designing to me. That said, it doesn't mar the toy and it remains impressive.

The figure comes with two other accessories - a jet pack (as seen in the episode More than Meets the Eye part 3) and an Autobot insignia which doubles as a display stand (that attaches to a pole), suspending Prime as if in flight.

Less impressive is the truck mode, which looks bloody awful. It's the one real flaw with the toy, but it seems that to get such a great robot mode, they had to sacrifice something. Personally I think they made the right choice, and mine will stay in robot mode for the duration of his time with me.

Overall, this is a great piece. It's not one for kids (it's a little delicate around the arms, and they don't deserve something this great anyway) but for Prime fans, this is the figure to get. Forget that awful Alternators toy or cheap Robot Masters version, if you want the best Prime under 12", this is your 'bot.

More images can be found here

Fantastic detail, awesome articulation, and even slightly delicate arms and an ugly truck mode shouldn't stop you from picking up this classic.
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