Robot Mode (Orion Pax):
PP-09 EVOLUTION OPTIMUS PRIME
Series: Power of the Primes Orion Pax might be just a data clerk on Cybertron, but contained within him is the potential to become a legend. When the Matrix of Leadership chooses Orion Pax as its bearer, he becomes Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, protector of Cybertron, and the ultimate guardian of freedom and justice in the universe.
The Power of the Primes Evolution Leaders are Deluxe-sized robots that link with power-ups to become bigger, more powerful robots. In this case the smaller robot is Orion Pax, the pre-Prime incarnation of Optimus Prime. Orion Pax is basically designed the same way as the original Powermaster Optimus Prime
’s smaller robot. He’s got the front of his vehicle mode on his back, leaving the entire front portion of his body free of vehicle parts. The chest plate and head are taken almost directly from Orion Pax’s on-screen appearance in the episode “War Dawn”, a very good likeness.
Looks aside Orion Pax features excellent articulation and detailing, no complaint on either front. The robot looks pretty streamlined and well-proportioned, which is a minor miracle considering that the torso contains BOTH the Matrix of Leadership and the larger Optimus Prime head for the bigger robot mode. Kudos to the designers. The only slight downside here is that – at least on my version – the ball joints connecting the legs to the hip are not very tight, so the legs easily pop off. Not a big thing, though.
Overall a very nice robot mode. We’ve had toys called Orion Pax before, but this one here is the first one that looks pretty much exactly like he did in the original cartoon. And he’s a good robot apart from that, too. Very nicely done.
Side note: you can also transform Orion Pax into a somewhat intermediate Optimus Prime mode by turning him around and unfolding the larger Optimus head, see 11th picture). Just for the fun of it.
Orion Pax transforms into a red cab-over-engine semi-truck, the classic Optimus Prime vehicle mode. The back of the robot becomes the vehicles front. Given that the torso is already filled up to the brim, the Orion Pax head instead folds back and is tucked between the legs, serving as the trailer coupling. Unfortunately that still leaves the tractor with no idea where to put the robot arms, which are kind of just there behind the truck cabine.
In order to turn Orion Pax’ vehicle mode into Optimus Prime’s vehicle mode, you add Optimus’ classic grey trailer. Unfortunately said trailer has some problems of its own. The arms of the larger robot mode form the roof and are still clearly recognizable as arms, while the shoulder-neck area of the larger robot forms the front of the trailer. Not only is it very red, but also easily recognizable as part of the robot mode.
So overall this vehicle mode, be it with or without trailer, is sadly one of the worst Optimus Prime truck modes I can remember since Ultimate Battle Optimus Prime
. It’s not a total loss, but compared to the brilliant robot modes of this figure, it’s a disappointment.
Robot Mode (Optimus Prime):
We go from disappointment straight up to brilliant with the larger robot mode, called (who’d have guessed?) Optimus Prime. Once again the design is classic Powermaster Optimus Prime with the trailer becoming a suit of armor with an empty chest, while the smaller robot folds together into a cube and is inserted into that chest. The result is nothing short of fantastic, one of the most beautiful Optimus Prime robots I’ve ever seen.
Two minor complaints here, simply to get them out of the way. One, Optimus Prime has strange feet. They are stable, they allow for all sorts of poses, but the proportions are a bit off as it looks like Optimus has very, very long ankles. And two, on the arms and legs you see the grey panels of the trailer, which break up the red and blue color scheme somewhat. Some of those panels (not all, but some) could easily have been painted red, seeing as they are the inner side of the trailer hull, thus providing a more uniform paint job. Some people also complain that Optimus basically carries the legs of Orion Pax as a backpack, but personally that doesn’t really bother me.
Apart from that, though, this is one brilliant Optimus Prime. Articulation is top notch, the large rifle (which can be split into two smaller guns for Orion Pax) looks exactly like it should, the sculpt of the head is superb and the chest opens up (double doors, in fact) to show the Matrix of Leadership inside his chest. The Matrix can be removed and the crystal inside it replaced with a Prime Master, if you wish.
Now I’ve mentioned that this robot here is basically Powermaster Optimus Prime, but one thing is missing: PM Prime’s shoulder guns. Thankfully you can approximate that look easily, as the fist holes of Orion Pax can be used to plug weapons (such as the Prime Masters in weapon mode) into Optimus’ shoulders. Looks great. So bottom line: easily one of the best G1-based Optimus Prime robots ever. Worth getting for this mode alone.
First introduced in the second season episode „War Dawn“, Orion Pax was a lowly worker robot that aided the time-lost Aerialbots upon their arrival in the past. When Orion Pax was mortally wounded in the very first Decepticon attack of the Great War, the Aerialbots took him to Alpha Trion, who rebuilt him into – you guessed it – Optimus Prime. Ever since then Orion Pax has gone through numerous different backstories (and even different names, being called “Optronix” in the Dreamwave comics), some making him out to have been a data archiver or a cop instead of a dock worker, but he always ends up getting the Matrix of Leadership and becoming Optimus Prime.
Now I have very much toiled with figuring out what rating to give this toy. The two robot modes are brilliant, no question about it. Some minor point deduction for the larger robot’s feet and him basically carrying Orion Pax’ legs as a backpack, but otherwise: top notch. And then there is the vehicle mode, being among the worst I’ve ever seen in an Optimus Prime figure. Looking at either robot mode I want to give this figure an A, looking at the vehicle mode I would be hard-pressed to give better than a C. Plus there is the fact that there is nothing really new here except for the Orion Pax head and chest plate of the smaller robot, the rest is basically Powermaster Optimus Prime
reborn. In direct comparison with Evolution Leader Rodimus Prime
I’d have to say that Optimus, while being a better bigger robot, is trailing a bit behind the more rounded toy that is Rodimus.
So bottom line: a very nice figure with two great robot modes and a mediocre vehicle mode. Given that we aren’t exactly lacking in good Optimus Prime figures I won’t call him a must, but still well worth getting.