Robot Masters Optimus Primal - The Featured Toy of the Month's Featured Toy of the Month is Robot Masters Optimus Primal! Not quite Deluxe-sized and thus in scale with your Generations Beast Wars figures, Optimus Primal loses most of the gimmicks of the original Ultra-class toy while keeping- or gaining -articulation.

Labeled as "Beast Convoy," Optimus Primal's name in Japan was merely Convoy like Optimus Prime before him. That gets tricky to do on packaging when Optimus Prime is in the same toyline though, so Beast Convoy it is. While the original Ultra Optimus Primal is a great figure in and of itself, it presents a few problems if your main goal is a representation of the character from the animated series. Scale is the most immediate issue, but of course there's the mouth problem as well. The Robot Masters figure solves both of those with a sub-Deluxe size figure that works well with your original BW toys but perfectly with your Universe Dinobot and Generations Rhinox.

The tradeoff for that is gimmicks, though for some fans that may be seen as a positive. Gone are the mutant mask, geared arms, mace, and missiles- the latter two being replaced with more modest arm blasters closer to what was seen on the show. The shoulder cannons and the swords have been kept, and there's a connector piece to let you use the twin blade setup with the more natural-looking open hands on this figure. Another couple of minor upgrades have been made as well: the gorilla's back now folds up to look better and free up Primal's waist articulation, and the Beast Mode face auto-transforms to become the chestplate. (You may want to watch where you put your fingers- the ears are part of the gearing system.) And it's worth noting that articulation is not sacrificed at all compared to the Ultra- the waist is actually freer as I mentioned, and since arms lack the gearing of the larger figure you can pose them without being afraid you're stripping gears. The hips are particularly nice as well, sporting a great range of motion given by relatively huge ball-joints.

Takara-only releases are very frequently hit-and-miss for me, leaning towards miss, but this is a figure that is well worth importing. I just wish it could have some kind of US release (though the small, thin swords are probably choking hazards), or failing that a reissue. While there are several versions of this figure, sadly none of them are very cheap on the secondary market anymore. If you're going to spend the money, I'd recommend looking for the Beast Wars Telemocha series version, which has a more elaborate metallic paint job that favors the series even more strongly. In my opinion, it's well worth having both this and some version of the Ultra mold, but if you want to display the characters of Beast Wars with as close to a TV-accurate appearance as you can get, this is the Optimus Primal mold you need.

All photos in this article courtesy of Remy's Galleries at

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