This is the Timehouse Japanese mail-order exclusive (limited to 2000, if I recall correctly) Metal Force Optimus Prime or Convoy if you prefer. He's just a dash shorter than one foot tall, made of vinyl and is the nicest representation of the beloved Autobot Leader I've ever seen. And if I may quote Dan Khanna, "it's probably the best 15th Anniversary present this G1/BW fan will see [in 1999]." It truly was.
What you see:
The lightweight (almost flimsy - mine has a number of dings from shipping) box is 13 1/4" by 8 3/4" by 4". The box has a glossy finish to it and the background grid reminiscent of the first two years of G1 Autobot toys. The next on the smaller side panels read "THE TRANSFORMERS" at the top with "TAKARA 1998" right below. The Timehouse logo is at the bottom along with the words "METALFORCE COLLECTION." The front, back and longer side panels have the same information, only all in one line. Sealing the box is a sticker with the Autobot insignia surrounded by the words "Metal" and "Force." On the front, long side panel where the sticker must be (unfortunately) cut to open the box, the sticker reads:
G-1 Optimus Prime"
And below the flap line, it reads:
'G1 Optimus Prime' Figure,
'Matrix of Leadership',
3 compatible hands,
And Instruction Booklet."
There is also a very nice illustration of Prime's head in the background on this section of the sticker. Personally, it was difficult to deface the art to open the box, but it was worth it. :) The bottom section of the sticker references the Timehouse Staff.
After opening the box and pulling open the flap, you'll once again find the Timehouse logo and "METALFORCE COLLECTION." But, there is a folded part of the box that reads in "very large letters": "MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE! IT IS A WORLD TRANSFORMED, WHERE THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM. IT IS THE WORLD OF THE TRANSFORMERS...A WORLD OF HEROIC AUTOBOTS AND EVIL DECEPTICONS!" I don't remember the last time I read that. It sure brought back the memories. Farther Underneath that is another nice touch. There is a Metal Force Robot point coupon done in the same style as the classic robot points and reads "SAVE FOR SPECIAL METALFORCE PREMIUMS" next to a "5 METAL FORCE PTS." Of course, the Autobot insignia adorns the robot points.
The box can be refolded into a display stand. I found this out by accident. You take the two whit inside panels and fold them down along the insides of the box. Then bring the large, top panel folded down on the second crease and tuck in the flap at the bottom. This allows Prime to stand behind the grid pattern and on top of the "MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE" panel of the inside.
What you get:
Prime comes wrapped in bubble paper (that's always fun). Thankfully, Optimus Prime comes fully assembled and stands 11 3/4" tall and is ready to be displayed (played with) right out of the box. The Autobot insignia, outlined in white, adorns his left shoulder and it would appear that the Marvel Comics Model sheets were used as he is a dead ringer for the cartoon version especially. I'll have to agree with Dan in that the faceplate does look a bit off, but it doesn't detract from the overall joy of the model. Now, the really neat part is the fact that his chest panel opens up to reveal the Matrix of Leadership. Made of molded blue vinyl, the Matrix' handles are painted gray (and have four finger slots on either side) and the casing a bronzish color. This leave a very nice sparkle in the middle. Truly the nicest touch, IMHO.
Prime can be posed, but is limited. He has 9 points of articulation: shoulders, rotating elbows, wrists, neck, and rotating knees.
In addition to Prime, there are two bags of extra accessories inside the box. One holds the two sections of his laser rifle (5 1/4" long) and an open right hand in which he can hold it. The second bag contains a number of goodies, some which left me a little confused. An open left hand for those who wish Prime to hold his rifle in the other hand. He is ambidextrous after all. Also included is the inside cover for the Matrix as seen in the movie. The next three are here, I'm guessing, in case I'd want to redo these pieces already included with Prime: another Matrix, helmet and faceplate. Yep, you can have two heads and a second Matrix of Leadership.
The instruction booklet that comes with Prime reads:
Followed by a black and white copy of the Prime artwork from the sticker then:
"MFC01 (then come Japanese characters which was also on the sticker)
(C) Takara 1999"
The interior reads: "METALFORCE BIOGRAPHY featuring CONVOY / OPTIMUS PRIME" at the top of the two-page spread. Sadly, for me anyway, the remainder of the text is in Japanese. If anyone would be willing to translate, I'll scan them in and email them your way. The back page does have illustrations on assembling the rifle and how to place the Matrix inside Prime along with staff credits again.
Aside from having to assemble the Laser rifle (I really would've preferred it come assembled) and the slightly off faceplate, Metalforce Optimus Prime is a wonderful addition to any collection. It's perfect for fans of the classic Optimus Prime. On a scale from 1 to 10, he rates a 9.95 in my book.
|Date||June 19th 2002|
|Score||(9 out of 10)|