After multiple Argos "customer views" and the promise of finding the last currently available RID 2015 Warrior Class figure in the UK - Optimus Prime - a random trip to a local Sainsbury's resulted in a lucky find. Apparently Sainsbury's now have the wave 2 Warrior Class Drift and Optimus in stock, making it the best store to start a RID collection from. I've now got every Legion and Warrior Class figure from RID 2015 (Grimlock and Sideswipe Legion en route), all Legions were great and the Warriors on the whole have been really good fun, if not the best feeling figures in Hasbro's illustrious history and requiring some adjustment time to appreciate. So how does Prime compare?
First things first, proof, see above. Second things second, that price, simplified toys with shameless levels of kibble or exposed vehicle/alt mode parts and cheaper feeling plastic with less paperwork at £15.99. Even the cashier felt the need to say "It's £15, you know that, right?". That was hilarious and tragic at the same time. I really have no idea why this line appeals to me as much as it does with all of the above taken into consideration. The fact that in the last 12 months I have been harping on about discovering deluxe class masterpieces like Animated Blurr, Prime Wheeljack, Animated Swindle and ROTF Lockdown just puts this obsession into even sharper contrast.
Speaking of obsession, I can't help it, I spotted a variation. The axes have a number stamped on them and mine is a "2" but next to it on the shelf were two more Primes with "1". Now, running changes can usually denote an improvement to a figure in terms of quality or tolerance, maybe even extra (or less?) paint apps. The "1" stamped Primes had some easy to spot paint defects and the "2" seemed the nicest, so I grabbed it. I know, I'm sick.
Let's put its initial good looks and proportion into some kind of perspective. Compare this toy with Animated deluxe Cybertronian or Earth Mode Optimus Prime and they are not that close in terms of posability, sculpting and complexity. The packaging advertises Prime as having a 9-step transformation, but each arm fold is considered a step, so left arm fold and right arm fold are 2 steps in that total. Maybe I'm underselling it, because actually this RID Warrior Class Optimus is a very fun Transformer. The feel is much much more solid and chunky than say Steeljaw or Bumblebee. He can pull off the odd mega-heroic classical Optimus pose too, even if his axe does resemble a fan. There is also a distinct lack of detail across the figure, there are paint application sections (and even paint rubbing under the belly where the rotating crotch swivel rubs). That's RID 2015 for you, though. Like it or lump it.
The transformation in both directions is addictive. It's a chunky bugger and everything is very easy to manipulate. What I am finding is that RID Warrior Class figures seem to leave obvious body or vehicle parts on display in either mode with no attempts made to hide them in order to reduce the complexity of design, engineering and ultimately transformation. You can see the robot feet in truck mode and in robot mode the hands - like Strongarm - are housed inside the front of the truck cab so from some angles you can't see Prime's hands at all. There are massive pegs on show on his shoulders too in robot mode, it's just the philosophy of this size class in RID currently.
Geisha Prime's "axe" storage in truck mode is neat and quite fun, just remember not to try and yank it off when separating, rotate the axe down between the trailer halves and it will pop off. The truck has a delightfully solid feel to it and my daughter has simply not been able to resist driving him up the wall, along the floor, my legs, tables, carpet etc. It's a really good simple Optimus Prime toy, but collectors will have to work a bit harder to extract the satisfaction from a figure at this price beyond show accuracy (if indeed there is enough of it) or completism. You've got to be able to appreciate the simple toys for what they are, and I think I can because Prime was an instant hit with me.
He's clearly incredibly Optimus Prime, and in the trailers he looks to be a character with as much gravitas as usual although it's Bumblebee who is front and centre in RID. When you lump all characters into the same size class and you exclude the outliers like Lockdown in Animated and ROTF who grow to voyager proportions, things will not scale in a satisfying manner. Case in point, see Grimlock and Optimus above. They do make for a beautiful selection of Transforming toys, though. Posing them alongside their corresponding Legion Class figures is also something I plan to do upon wave 1, 2 and 3 completion.
RID 2015 Prime's vehicle mode proportions at Warrior Class don't really tally up either in terms of scale, quite how a truck cab could be smaller than the Bumblebee muscle car's front end escapes me, but again that is the nature of the offer-every-character-at-every-scale beast. It's true of the Legion Class too.
As for future releases representing the character better, Mega Optimus Prime was revealed at Toyfair 2015 and it wasn't something I think a traditional Transformers collector would jump at, a gimmicky large figure aimed at kids with its one-step conversion. I saw images of the Takara Tomy Warrior Class version of Strongarm today, and yes it has more paint application. I do wonder if I have it in me to repeat buy all of these toys for the better show-accurate representation. I think Takara Warrior Bumblebee will swing that decision for me, aided by the quality of the cartoon.
For now, Optimus is really good and a must-buy for anyone currently enjoying the RID aesthetic and philosophy. Out of the Wave 1 and 2 Warrior Class figures, I'd rank Optimus second behind Strongarm and just ahead of Drift.
"It's £15, you know that, right?"
All the best