STC-GP GRAND PATRIOT RED
Grand Patriot is, of course, supposed to be Optimus Prime, but being a toy made by a third party manufacturer instead of Hasbro or Takara-Tomy, it canít be called that. GP is a rather broad homage to the various Transformers / GI Joe crossovers weíve seen over the years, but not to any specific one. There are two versions of this figure, one in Optimusí classic red, the other in military green.
Grand Patriot is quite clearly an Optimus Prime, there is no mistaking it. Heís a tad taller than Classics Optimus Prime
, putting him somewhere between Voyager and Ultra class size. A large part of him is that exact fire engine red that doesnít photograph well at all, but those are the classic Optimus colors, what can you do? Anyway, he looks great, though I have to say that the plastic used looks and feels a bit... simpler... than the one used for most Transformers. Itís not of bad quality as far as I can tell (at least not overall, see below for specifics), but it does look subtly different. Not a negative, just worth mentioning.
Articulation is as good as you would expect from a modern day figure, though somewhat short of spectacular. The strange rucksack with the tracked wheels on his back does hinder him in some poses, but not majorly so. Still, that rucksack thing is a big of a bother, as the normal method of putting it there leaves the tracked wheels flopping somewhat loosely. You can store them tighter against the back, but only by unclipping them, which means they are only held in place by that plate lying along his spine. Both work, but neither is particularly well-designed, I must say.
GP has the standard fists-with-holes in them for hands, which led me to realize that we havenít seen many of those in recent times. Anyway, my GP happens to have two right hands, so he was misassembled, but you donít really notice unless you look closely. A minor point against him, but not a big thing and probably not a general problem. In his fists he can either wield his two large rifles, which look really cool, or the two missiles from his trailer section. He also has holes in his forearms, where he can mount the missiles. Heís also got smaller guns in his shins and on his shoulders, plus another set of mini guns emerge from the silver fuel tanks on the trailer and can be clipped to his forearms. GP is quite well-armed.
What more to say about the robot mode? Well, heís got a Matrix (or something similar) hidden behind his chest plate. His look reminds me a bit of pre-Earth Optimus Prime from IDWís G1 comics, which is definitely a good thing. Overall the only real downside to the robot mode (quality issues aside) is that rucksack. Iím sure they could have found a smoother way to integrate those tracked wheels into the robot mode. Otherwise, though, a nice-looking, well-armed, and pretty cool Optimus Prime robot.
Grand Patriot transforms into a truck-like vehicle based on the GI Joe "Rolling Thunder" military assault transport
, a toy originally released in 1988. I never owned that particular vehicle and only know it from pictures, so all I can say here is that there is some resemblance (more so in the green version of Grand Patriot, of course, seeing as thatís the color of the original Joe vehicle, more or less). The actual GP robot becomes the red tractor of this vehicle, while a blue trailer makes up the rest.
The red tractor can detach from the trailer and drive on its own. There are two connector ports on the back which can be used to hook up the trailer or one of the turrets hidden inside the trailer (the one that detaches, the other one is screwed in place). Either the rifles or the missiles can be mounted on the turret, giving the tractor quite a bit of firepower. Sadly the swivel of the turret is somewhat loose, so it has some trouble holding up the rather heavy weapons mounted on top of it.
Alternatively you can also arm GP when the trailer is attached, though the missiles can only fire backwards. You can mount the big rifles on the rear turret, but again, it only fires backward. The rifles can also be mounted on the sides of the trailer, though. Doesnít look that great, but it gives the vehicle added firepower. All in all a good vehicle mode, though it probably looks quite a bit more military in green than in red and blue.
Grand Patriotís blue trailer can open up into a battle station. You basically just pull the two halves apart, somewhat similar to the battle station trailer of G2 Laser Optimus Prime
. You now have the fixed turret in the center, while the detachable one can remain on either side or be left out. You can mount either the missiles or the rifles on either turret, itís up to you. The inside of the station isnít terribly intricate, the only thing worth mentioning are the two fold-out translucent screens on either side of the central platform. Not much more I can write here. Itís a decent battle station, but no more than that.
I donít usually write much (if anything) about the production quality of a Transformers figure unless itís abysmal. In Grand Patriotís case itís not, but itís far from good, either. So if you do intend to buy him, here are some important safety tips: First and foremost, the head. GP comes with an alternate head, but I strongly advise against trying to exchange it. The head is mounted on a ball joint that sits on a thin white plate, which is connected to the torso via a single weak hinge. Popping off the head works more or less, but trying to put it back on almost inevitably leads to stress marks on the aforementioned plate. That is, if it doesnít snap off outright. So leave the head be. You have been warned.
Second, the fixed turret of the trailer does not bend at the base, even though it looks like it should. Trying to bend it, though, will snap it off. It barely requires any pressure. It does require quite a bit of superglue to put it back, though. Third and finally, when transforming GP the forearms are supposed to slide up over the elbows, but they donít slide up all the way, no matter how it looks in the instructions. Trying to force the issue will bend the forearm casing apart, so donít. The transformation works regardless.
There have been numerous crossovers between the two Hasbro properties GI Joe and Transformers, usually in the comic book pages (plus some subtle cameos in the TV series) and... yeah, none of them ever featured Optimus Prime transforming into a GI Joe vehicle. The closest was the Devilís Due series, where Optimus was forced to assume the guise of a Cobra HISS tank. Still, itís a nice idea and one can assume that Optimus might transform into a vehicle like the Rolling Thunder if the opportunity ever presented itself.
Worth mentioning: the figure comes with a comic book, which tells a short, strange story of GP finding the Matrix on Cybertron, then heading to Earth to find another Matrix and being shot down by bad guys. Sadly the story is very confusing and it doesnít help that the person in charge of the word balloons seems to have only a very limited knowledge of the English language, especially in terms of grammar. An American, I would assume. ;)
So how to sum this up? For XOvergenís first Transformers figure, GP isnít bad. Heís far from good, but not a failure, either. I certainly wouldnít have bought him for the original full price, because heís definitely not worth that much. On clearance, though, heís just about okay. Itís still a steep price for a figure that has quite a few problems, but just about manages to land on the good side of average for me. Though I can only recommend it to big Optimus Prime fans and GI Joe enthusiasts and only if you, too, can get your hands on it for a reduced price.