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Toy Review - Combiner Wars Optimus Prime

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Welcome to Generation 2.

Now, I don’t mean color schemes that would make even the blindest of men (or women) step back and say “Those colors are a little loud, don’t you think?” Nor do I mean Hasbro has decided to go back to using gold plastic that will disintegrate if you so much as look at it cross-eyed. I refer instead to the art style of one Derek Yaniger, main artist for the bulk of the Generation 2 Marvel comic’s short run.

That’s the first thing you notice about the new Combiner Wars Optimus Prime…he’s top-heavy, he’s built like a brick shithouse, he looks like Bruce Timm had a hand in his construction. Or, as I said above, someone at Hasbro liked the design aesthetic of the G2 comics.

And I can’t blame ‘em. It works. This is a Prime that looks like he’s not going to take shit from anyone, ‘bot or ‘con. In addition, referring back to my review for Generations Jetfire, the “hollow ‘bot” syndrome is at a minimal here. If you really look, sure, you can see signs of it, but nothing that shatters the illusion. This is one solid Autobot leader. Maybe a little too solid…because the joints on mine are tight. Damn tight. Like, “I’m gonna break this damn thing someday soon…it’s only a matter of time” tight. On mine, the shoulders (any and all ways) and the lateral hip ratchets all make me worry and hope that Optimus lives up to that “built like a brick shithouse” analogy I used earlier! The other problems I have are really only hinted at in this mode and become more apparent elsewhere. First, the all-gray feet. I suspect the “Takara = great, Hasbro = crap” crowd will be pouncing on this…and maybe rightly so…but some paint on Optimus could’ve gone a long way…and the robot mode feet is where we first see this.

Converting to semi mode is a unique spin on things…more of a nod to the cab transformation of Powermaster Optimus Prime than anything else. However, this is a case where everything must be EXACTLY right for everything to sit together well (getting the rear of the semi to hold together once attaching the forearms to the legs is the part that constantly infuriates me)…so, you know, have some relaxing music playing or something while going through this. And that’s the thing, getting the front half of the semi to fit together? Easy. Getting the rear to fit together? Easy. Getting the rear to connect with the front? HULK SMAAASH! But your mileage may vary.

Once in semi mode…well, it’s a semi…pretty well done over all, but you know, nothing earth shattering. But again the paint issue (or lack thereof) rears its ugly head. If you turn your attention to the front of the cab, up by the windshield, you’ll find a gray area that…well…could use just a dab of red. And that’s the killer thing about it…it’s just a small area, EASILY remedied by a dab of paint. Yeah, yeah, I hear you, invisible internet reader, why don’t you just paint it Mr. Whiney Reviewer Man? Because, I’m a reviewer…I’m supposed to bitch! In all seriousness, it’s not a deal breaker for me, but might be to some.

Sigh…then there’s combiner mode. Man, I gotta be honest…I’m not feelin’ it. I mean, I’ll be happy to take that back if they repaint the upcoming Stunticons as the ‘bots that posed as Stunticons in the old G1 episode “Masquerade” (Mirage = Drag Strip, Sideswipe = Breakdown, Jazz = Dead End and since they made Wildrider into an SUV…hell, I dunno…whoever…still, it’d be cool) but as things stand right now…it’s just not working. There are some nice nods in this mode, the head has a Powermaster Prime vibe to it and if you open up the chest it looks very similar to Energon Prime’s spark of combination, but the gray feet hanging off the sides and the very hollow closed chest…just…I dunno…it simply fails to pop in my mind. Maybe if I break down and paint those damn feet…maybe that’ll help. Oh, but there’s one other thing…the way the ratchets in the hips work, it looks like Ultra Prime’s combined form is always going to be standing spread eagle and that usually spells disaster on the display shelf as at some point there will come a TIM-BERRRRRRRRR!

With the current Generations figures, I keep in my mind the question a friend of mine asked me: “What Transformers nowadays DON’T suck?” Well, taken on a strictly two-mode level, I’d definitely recommend this Optimus. I love how he’s much bulkier than the previous Classics version. This is a Prime that’s lived through an escalation of the war with the Decepticons and has bulked up accordingly. Just…for the love of God…don’t put him into combiner mode…yet. If they do end up releasing “Masquerade”-bots…then maybe…MAYBE.

Head over to our Toys section to see more pics in the slideshow!

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