That's right kiddies, old Figureguy here is about to create his first ever review for a TF toy. Right here, right now, please, hold your applause until after the show. To start, I wanted to do something a little different, something you couldn't just pick up at, say, Walmart, so I decided to review the Japanese Exclusive Beast Wars Reborn set. Today, I will be reviewing the package, as well as the Optimus Primal figure. Now, roll the tape.Packaging:
I have always been a sucker for nice packaging on a toy. To me, it says "hey, let's make this as special as possible." To that end, Takara hit it on the mark. The box design is nice, with rich, vibrant colors, nice photographs of the figures, with a window box. The back of the box shows the figures, and in smaller windows under the large photos are smaller photographs showing close ups of the figures, as well as the accessories. On one end of the box is the Maximal Symbol, and on the other the Predacon one. Open the Flap, which has a nice 10th Anniversary logo, some lightning graphics, and the Beast Wars Reborn Logo, and you are greeted to a plastic window, with box figures inside packed in plastic with accessories and The Golden Disc CD-Rom. When you remove the plastic, a nice touch I always say, is atop protective plastic that fits over the shell that the figures sit in. I appreciate this extra protection for the figures, and keep the window from getting scratched. The figures are held with a few plastic twisty ties, and parts of Primal are held together with those clear, rubber band type strips to keep everything in order.
The instructions for the figures are very straight forward, a large 2 sided black and white, more of a grey, really, with one side for Primal and one for Megatron. Also included is a bio card, with one side dedicated to each figure. The instructions are clear, large pictures, well done, and the bio card is nice, but I would have preferred one for each figure like most of the Takara releases.
The two problems I have with the box are problems I find with most TF Packaging. First, while the window box is nice, I wish someone at Takara/Hasbro would implement something along the lines of a velcro strip that could let you display the box, and keep the flap open. I think it would be a nice addition, and for those who keep their items MISB, a way to also display them.
Second, while nicely decorated, the cardboard box is VERY thin. Take out the figures, and it practically collapses on itself. While I can understand the effort put into the design, a thicker cardboard would have been nice. All in all though, I am happy with the packaging of this product.Toy: Beast Mode:
First off, I must say I have a very objective, naive view of this figure. Of this particular Mold, I have never owned this Optimus Primal before. Neither the original, the Universe version, the Takara version itself or any of the recolors. So, I am not jaded with having to compare this directly with any of the other versions, this will be fresh, with more on the updated features I know of. Let's start on the Beast Mode.
The transformation to beast mode is very simple, only a few steps. I know one of the remolded features that Takara was touting was the new, more organic beast head and face. The gorilla mode, is very well done and very organic. The face is like it should be, and the eyes are very human, giving it that realistic look. You really can't see that much of the robot parts, a little on the foreams and thighs. But for the most part, he is all animal. The fur is very detailed, the facial features like the mouth and nose, the ears, and the back feet all work well. The figure is very much mega sized, and bulky. Primal has a very strong, sturdy feeling, and all the joints in beast mode are very tight.
The feature I am loving to death, when you are in ape form, is the action button. On the back is a large lever, and on each shoulder a sliding switch. When you slide the switch forward, in beast mode, angle the arms toward the chest, and move the lever up and down, the arms move back and forth as if Primal was beating his chest. The first time I tried this, I cracked up laughing so hard, I couldn't stop. While it is funny to see, it is a realistic feature for the beast mode, and great to play with.
The problems I have with this mold are minor, but should be pointed out. As I said, on the forearms and back thighs, you can see part of the robot mode. While this isn't a large problem or inconvenience, the fact that the white and red of the legs and arms show do not give it a consistent beast mode, like the show version. The other complaint I have is the forearms themselves. In the instructions, it shows transforming the figure with the knuckles down, facing you, while on the package it shows the hands with knuckles at the sides as in bot form. It works better knuckles down, but I would have preferred to have the elbow joint swivel so when displayed this way, the arms didn't have to stay so straight.
Despite my minor complaints, an excellently done figure, I am impressed.Robot mode:
Man, this is where Primal shines. When I stopped collecting after G1, Beast Wars is what got me back into TFs in the first place. Primal and Megs were always two of my favorites, yet I didn't start collecting until the Transmetals started appearing, because of the lack of show accuracy on the figures. Now Takara has made up for those early mistakes, big time.
The bot mode could not be more perfect. The new head is dead on, no mutant face like on the original release, pure Optimus Primal. The head is nicely done, very well sculpted, from the forehead crest, to the eyes, the mouth and the antennae. I know the chest has been remolded as well, and the chest is as close to the show as you can get. The figure is very sturdy in this mode also, the joints are tight, articulation at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and feet. The colors in this mode are near perfect to what you would see on the cartoon, from the blue and white on the head, to the chest panel, to the white and reds on the arms. Honestly, I feel this figure is bigger than I thought he would be, a very well done representation of the original animated model.
In robot mode, Primal has many action features. The first is the shoulder guns from the television show. Pop a button on his back and the shoulder cannons spring forward. In this mode they are on his back, cover by the sking of the back. Once they swing forward, the part of the back hangs very well over the chest, separated from the cannons, with much detail inside the back pieces. Each cannon has a spring loaded missile that can be launched with the press of a button.
The second feature involves the chest beating from the ape mode. Those same switches on the shoulders, place them the other way, and the lever on the back now makes the forearms spin. While not a perfect feature, when putting Prime's swords, which I will touch on in a minute, it has a spinning effect of a rotating blade.
Before I finish action features, I want to touch on the accessories included. Primal comes with 2 Swords and 4 missiles. This is my first complaint. The missiles and swords are molded blue. While the swords do have nice detail, I would have wished for more colors used on the accessories.
Primal can hold both swords in the same hand, in pegs at the top and bottom of the fist, to get the spinning blade effect, or one in each hand. The swords can be stored in bot mode on the back under where the launchers come from. Then when the launchers are closed, the blades are out of sight. Two of the missiles can stay in the launchers, and the other two can be stored in holes behind Primal's bot head.
My last two complaints involve the last two action features. As many of you remember from the show, the original Primal had wrist mounted rocket launchers. While their is one, it is nothing like the show. I am reviewing this based on what the figures are supposed to be, show accurate. The left fist actually swings backwards, and the launchers sit at the end of the arm like G1 Shockwave. First, I would have preferred this be corrected on the figures, as Primal with a gun hand looks out of place. Second, the missiles can't be stored in these launchers, but they can be put in them and launched with a touch of a button. Without having to worry about losing missiles, the only place to put them is behine the head, where they look WAY out of place.
The last action feature, and complaint, is the right arm mace. Open up the right forearm, and inside is a spiked, skull headed mace. This was not from the show as I remember, and is not a favorite of mine. With more detail, it could have been. The handle itself is plain blue, and the skull head is grey. The mace head is held to the handle by white string. With more detail on the mace head and handle, this could have been a nice addition. But with the amount of paint apps on primal, these one color weapons just don't fit in.
Overall, final thoughts, a very well done figure. The character that got me back to TFs in the first place, redone to be as near as show accurate as possible. For the set, I paid $90 with shipping. Well worth it. This is a great Primal figure, very well done, and worth having. When I open BWR Megatron on Monday, I'll try to follow that up with a review too. As for now, I'm off to play with the Golden Disc CD-Rom.
|Reviewer||Jason J. Perrotti|
|Date||March 4th 2006|
|Score||(9 out of 10)|
|Link||BWR-01 Optimus Primal Gallery @ TFKenKon.com|
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