Review by Caked-Up:
TA-38 OPTIMUS PRIME WINGBLADE
Series: Animated Japan
This review is going to focus primarily on the new armor accessories and not the figure since many of you should already how great he is (see Phil’s review here
: With the addition of the new armor, this Optimus Prime figure is just plain awesome looking. I really enjoy the extra bulk on his forearms and the wings look like they should have always been there. The only real detriment to the appearance of this set is the black tab jutting from the rear because it can be seen from many angles and doesn’t serve a purpose in robot mode. The new additions have a shiny metallic paint on them, but to compare the coloring of them with the robot is a little unfair because the figure himself has been redone in translucent plastic. But if I had the original mold I would tell you that the new parts are shiny and new and would appear to be exactly that, shiny and new on a battle weary robot. One of the great things about this set is that it does not interfere with the posability of the original figure. The launchers will block the visibility of Prime’s head from the sides, but nothing actually gets in the way. Adding to this, the backpack does not cause any stability issues either.
The jet pack is kind of simple, but looks exceptionally well. Aside from being the reason for the set, it doesn’t have any real gimmicks, but it is crucial to the figure. It attaches securely to the panel with the light bar. I don’t have any problem with the jet pack, but I think if you weren’t paying attention you could rip the light bar off. I had an issue with his wing tips’ “weight saving cutouts” being exposed, but swapping them around fixed that nicely. Added to the jet pack are his shoulder launchers. They tab into the jet pack and rest on the shoulders, but they too are also rather sturdy. Due to the missile launching gimmick they are a little larger than I care for and you can’t rotate them upwards, but I like them.
Along with the jet pack, Prime was given some armored gauntlets with small stabilizers on them. Once they are attached they definitely add some serious bulk to the forearms, but as I said earlier they don’t interfere with any of the posability. The gauntlets themselves are the weakest part of this upgrade. The first reason is that from the front and outer sides they look great, but since they simply slide over the hand, they look like empty shells from the inner sides and below. Not worst thing ever, but it can make over the head striking poses look a little silly. The second problem is that the fingers are held in position by springs and not a normal joint. Therefore, holding the hammer can be difficult if it is not tabbed in. Additionally, this issue also prevents him from holding the regular axes or gun. You do however have a limited amount of lateral wrist articulation. They don’t rotate, but you can’t have everything. Be sure to swing out the stabilizers before placing the gauntlet over his hand because not doing so could break them right off.
As for the hammer, it has been resized to better fit the figure. It no longer springs open, but it looks great in his hands. I did not purchase the original mold simply because of the junky axe and it was this hammer that motivated me to purchase this figure instead. As I stated earlier, the hammer must be tabbed into the fingers in order for it to stay in his hand. Even then it isn’t the tightest grip. To clarify, the smaller hammer tabs into the FINGERS, not the palm. The palm slot is reserved for the Leader Class Ultra Magnus
’ hammer. If you so choose, Optimus can use the larger hammer instead of or with the smaller hammer. You can fold up the hammer and peg it to the jet pack for storage. For those that are curious, he must have the gauntlets on to hold the hammer.
Here is my two cents on the figure itself. It is the same Voyager class mold we have seen before, but instead he was cast in translucent plastic. All of the strengths and weaknesses obviously carry on, but for some reason the clear plastic is weaker than the regular plastic used. The arms like to pop off at the bicep and his joints are a little loose. If you have either the regular or Takara issue Prime I would transfer the armor to them instead. For those who choose to this, the “crystal” figure comes with the Japanese feudal flag…I mean axe and water gun, both in translucent plastic as well.
Overall, this upgrade set is great because those few complaints are nothing to worry about. And for those asking about how this works with the Deluxe Earth Mode Prime
(which I don’t have and can only speculate), looking at the gauntlets on the Cybertron Mode Prime
’s arms, this set just isn’t going to look that great on the smaller figure.
For reasons I will never understand, Hasbro / Takara designed these accessories so they would combine and form…a winged jumble of parts that tabs onto the back of the truck. Okay, it is its “vehicle storage mode.” When you look at it from most angles you wouldn’t be able to tell what it is made of, but you can tell that this was kind of forced, but you do get a flying truck mode. With the exception of the hammer, all of these pieces hold on tightly to each other after you have partformed them. I like the partforming aspect better than Prowl’s side car
as you have fewer restrictions in robot mode. You then use that black tab that juts from the front and stick it into the hole in the cab. I fold up the toes just to give some better stability because otherwise it doesn’t hold on well.
I can say with confidence that the “Trailer/Vehicle mode” for the armor set appears to be an afterthought. However they made the most of what they had to work with.
As I stated earlier, this accessory kit feels like an afterthought or something that Fansproject would do, especially the odd “cram-it-on-the-vehicle-mode” design of the trailer. It is far from horrible though. The “Crystal” Prime is a nice addition to “Crystal” collectors, but if you don’t want to purchase the whole kit, toy stores like yahobby.com were noted to have the armor kit sold separately. Regardless of how you get the armor, I find it to have been worth my time. I highly recommend him to everyone especially those who hated the Voyager Prime’s axe.
Robot Grade: A-
Alt Mode Grade: B
Overall Grade: B+
PS. People have stated that this armor could be homage to God Ginrai
’s Sonic Bomber mode as well as Cybertron Optimus Prime
Super Robot Mode. I would also recommend him to those who like homages as well.