Universe Deluxe G1 Optimus Prime

Redecos and retools are the rights of all sentient beings.

This Optimus Prime is part of the Universe Deluxe 5-Pack. That said, I wasn’t keen on the other Deluxes included in the 5-Pack, so I got this guy loose. Anyway, this Prime’s mold was originally from the Armada line, under the name of Supercon Optimus Prime. Otherwise known as Bendy Prime amongst the fandom. From what I understand, the main Optimus Prime offered by Armada was rather bad. It had electronics and personally, I have a friend who loves the huge super mode of the fella, but apparently it lacked articulation and detailing.

The Supercon Prime addressed the articulation problems and for a Deluxe sized toy, it’s quite articulated. Especially given how lacking in details the Armada toys were supposed to have been. Supercon Prime was the cream of the crop, the lone candle of the pitch darkness that was Armada. Or so I heard.

Since then, this guy’s been repainted multiple times. He’s got the obligatory white Ultra Magnus redeco, as well as a black Scourge/Nemesis Prime redeco. I think there was a “final battle” version, and then there was the retooled version for the Cybertron line. Which this version is a redeco of. Meaning that unlike the Pre-Cybertron versions, the Bendy Prime we have here doesn’t come with a Minicon, though he does come with a Cyber Planet Key. I’m pretty sure there was a crystal version as well. Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another version or two I missed.

So onto this guy, this guy’s done up in the original G1 colors and as far as I’m aware, is meant to be G1 Prime himself (again). On that note, I’m not going to talk about the character of the toy because, well, G1’s got an effin’ long story and is pretty much already well known enough already. So onto the toy itself.

Vehicle Mode

It’s a truck. I mean, this is not exactly Beast Wars Primal or even some sort of Alternator/Alternity type Optimus Prime. So yeah, Prime’s a red and blue truck. I guess if there’s anything more to say it’s that he’s a Tonka truck. That’s not to say he’s very kiddy. Far from it. But compared to stuff like the Movie Voyager Prime or Classics Voyager Prime, he’s not quite as gritty.

Previously, I had thought that he looks like a really powerful vehicle, but now that I have him, I find that his tires as well as his legs/back section are far too large in proportion to the cab section. This gives him a bit of a kiddy truck sort of feel. He’s not a BAD truck mind you, and he’s even got some of that nice detailing on the underside of the truck. It’s all pretty random detailing as far as I can tell, they don’t really evoke the underside of a truck, but at the same time, I’m not complaining. Detail is detail.

There’s one other thing of note though, and that’s that he’s got identical smoke stacks. As in, they’re both made for the same side. I don’t know if this is just my copy, since it IS a loose version, but it gives him a weird-ish asymmetrical look. It’s a small thing though. I’m not really bothered by it. Another thing of note (and this of course carries into the robot mode) is that the sprues on this guy ain’t cut very well. You can pretty much know where alot of the sprues were. Again, maybe this is just my piece, but it’s something to look at carefully when you’re selecting your box of Deluxe 5-Packs.

Incidentally, the Cyber Planet Key included doesn’t seem to do anything in truck mode. It’s a nice key though, in that it’s been retooled to have a male Minicon port to activate the robot mode’s action feature. But again, doesn’t actually do much in truck mode. Finally, the paint application on his windshield is a little uneven on mine. This more than the other issues, annoy me, simply because I’m more annoyed by the little things than I am by the big things (sometimes). Anywho, this too, is a small matter.

Overall, it’s a decent truck mode, despite what I’ve mentioned. And once you start transforming him back and forth, you can appreciate how solid a truck he really is.

*** out of *****.

A really simple transformation and while it’s not dissatisfying, it’s not especially fascinating either. The legs are obviously the simplest part, just pull them out and separate them (or if you’re me, vice versa). The upper body is a little interesting, but it’s straightforward enough that it doesn’t merit special mention. It’s a decent transformation for a Deluxe, and that’s about it.

**1/2 out of *****.

Robot Mode

Yes, he does have funky shoulders. No, not in a good way.

Two things kept me from buying this mold when it came out in the Cybertron line. One, the unattractive shoulders and two, the lack of a waist/pelvic area. The biggest reason why I got him now is due to the positive feedback from the TFWIRE podcast (this was way back when AWA64 was still a host). So now that I got him, what’s my impression?

He’s cool looking, but yes, the shoulders are funky, as you can see from the pics. The waist isn’t so bad, since once you extend his knees, he’s mostly proportional. Otherwise, he looks fine. He looks as nice and stocky as he does in pics, and the G1 colors really work well for him. He doesn’t bring to mind G1 Prime, but the colors are classic. Whether it’s Superman or Spider-Man, red and blue do go well together.

Now comes the big dealie do. Articulation. And I’m sorry to say, it’s as funky as his shoulders. The good news is that he’s got an articulated waist, a balljointed neck and even a balljoint plus ratcheting joint combo for his elbows. This effectively gives him cut joints on the biceps without actually giving him any, you know, biceps. He’s even got hinged skirt flaps so as not to get in the way of his leg articulation. And speaking of leg articulation, he’s also got some feet articulation. Otherwise, it’s standard stuff, but in a line infamous for its lack of articulation (Armada), I can see why Bendy Prime’s is looked upon favorably, even up to Cybertron.

The downsides? Obviously, he looks weird when you try to lift his arms out to the sides. He can do it, no problem, but the jointing system just makes it look awkward. Like he has no armpits. Then there’s the big one. And I mean, really BIG one. He has no forward leg movement. This is due to the sculpting of his hips. There’re these raised details that prevent his hips from having any clearance at the top. At first I thought I mistransformed him, but his hips are on balljoints, and I don’t think those can be lowered any further.

So that’s a major let down. It’s such a simple little thing that I just took it for granted that it’d be there, but not being able to move your legs forward? Losing such a basic movement really detracts from the toy. He could have been a pretty decent robot with very good articulation, but instead, he’s just… funky.

Oh, and his punching action key gimmick is pretty weak/lame as well. And on my piece, his right forearm is loose, though that can probably be easily fixed with a little clear nail polish, but it’s something that might as well be noted. Finally, as per usual, there are minute paint application imperfections here and there, but that’s standard Transformers fare.

*** out of *****.

A decent toy with its share of issues. Considering the loads and loads of awesome Transformers toys these days, I’d give Bendy Prime a miss. Whether it’s the G1 deco’ed Deluxe 5-Pack version reviewed here, or if you happen to find the older versions, I wouldn’t recommend him unless you can get him on the cheap.

**1/2 out of *****.

Edit/Disclaimer: In the event that his legs CAN move forward and I just mistransformed him or something, you can add half a star to Robot Mode and Overall. But the conclusion remains the same. I can’t recommend this toy in light of newer and better stuff.

Here’s a fanmode, I personally like him like this. It makes him less Optimusy, which he wasn’t pulling off to begin with. And shows off the Matrix Chamber detailing. Though honestly, he seems closer to Blaster than Prime, since his chest detailing is similar to the old style cassettes players.

And here’s a teaser.

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5 Responses to Universe Deluxe G1 Optimus Prime

  1. Pingback: Toy review roundup : Fanmode

  2. Wes says:

    I’m late to the party on this review (just noticed it in your top posts sideblock), but I just had to comment since I’m all about this mold. The Cybertron repaint was pretty much the figure that made me a Transformers fan — I’d picked up a $1 bootleg Optimus Prime (which I rather liked) and wanted to compare it to a legitimate version of the character, and the Cybertron deluxe Prime was the only one on shelves at the time. Ever since I saw how cool and poseable he was, I’ve been a fan. :)

    Speaking of poseability, yours should have more — apparently he’s been misassembled. Those lights/ports/whatever they are at the tops of the thighs should be on the back of the legs (his butt), not the front. It’s supposedly an easy fix — I think you just unscrew the screws on the thigh pieces and swap the upper legs. Once that’s done, you should have the necessary clearance to move the legs forward. Then you’ll see why (especially in the days of Armada; a lot of those TFs are pretty brickish) people are so fond of this toy. :)

    • updatedude says:

      I see, I might have to give him another go then. I tried doing the mod just now, but looks like there’s quite a bit to unscrew, split apart and some pins to boot. All simple matters, but I’m a little hesitant. I’ll take your word for it though. Certainly, he’ll be much better should such a mod have been done.

      • Wes says:

        Hmm… you’re right. Mine came assembled with the nubs in back, but now that I’m looking at him I see that you’re right about the pins and whatnot. Maybe I’m thinking of another figure! I know some folks switched the legs around, but I don’t recall exactly how they did it.

        That said, judging from artistic/animated renderings of Armada Prime, I guess yours is assembled the “correct” way since the little light thingies appear at the tops of his thighs (and it really wouldn’t make sense to put these sculpted elements in the back, since they’d be almost completely hidden). The other way improves the articulation a bit, though, and I think that has to do with why people love the toy. :)

      • updatedude says:

        Well, anywho, I do agree that it’s a pretty darn good Prime, especially considering the origin of his mold. Just glad that it became a Gateway Plasticrack.

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