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Best of 2017: Toys Alliance MAS-01 Optimus Prime Mega Action Figure

2017 was another fantastic year for toys from a ton of companies. So fantastic I had to figure out a certain criteria for how to pick a toy. In a year of collecting toys, you can get a bit jaded. Open toy. Open toy. Open another toy. Open box full of toys. Open this one, open that one. The toys are great, they’re all cool and everything, but more often than not, it’s just another cool toy.

Until you get to a toy that makes every other toy kind of disappear for a little bit. The Toys Alliance Optimus is one of those very rare toys that kicks all the other toys out of the way and demands that you look at him.

I never needed this toy. I think that’s the biggest surprise. I was never in the market for an Optimus that could fit with any of my other figures, scale-wise. I didn’t need a massive Optimus. I didn’t need yet another version of a figure I had bought several other times. It was interesting, it looked great, but I was content to let it pass me by. I’ve been relying on the Masterpiece figures to satiate my Transformer needs.

But then the in-hand pictures started showing up, and here’s something that I’ve learned about myself over time; if I keep going back to look at pictures of something, then I’m going to end up trying to get it. If I look at something once, nod in appreciation and then move on, then it’s clearly something I can do without. But if I keep opening up a thread and looking at pictures, or if I keep going back to the bookmarked page to make sure that it’s still in stock — I might as well just go ahead and get it, because once it’s gone I’ll kick myself.

So yeah, I kept looking at him. I kept looking at all the things he could do, all the poses he could hit. I knew it was useless to resist. It didn’t hurt that a Megatron was announced. As soon as I knew Optimus wasn’t going to be all alone, I stuck him in my Pile of Loot. I had no idea what I’d do with him when I got him, but I could always make room for him somewhere.

Boy, was it worth it. Optimus practically exploded out of the package. Every other toy I had ever bought suddenly felt inadequate. Every Optimus figure that had passed through my hands suddenly didn’t feel as Prime. It’s not a toy you wonder if you have the room for. It’s the kind of toy that you damn well make room for, because anything else would be uncivilized.

This gigantic Optimus does pretty much everything that I want a toy to do. It’s extraordinarily articulated, it looks great, it lights up and it doesn’t transform. I’m in that small and possibly controversial camp that doesn’t really need his Transformers to transform. I don’t mind if they do, but it’s not something that I spend a lot of time doing anymore. Since Optimus doesn’t transform, he’s able to spend all of his energy looking great in robot mode, without any concessions needing to be made. He’s huge, he’s bulky, he’s well-balanced, and he feels like he should cost more than he actually did. With the rising cost of toys across the line, this is the only toy I bought that actually felt like a bargain. But don’t spread that around because they might start charging more.

Optimus didn’t have to work very hard to make it to the top of my list for best of 2017. The only thing that could have taken his spot would have been the Megatron figure, but it was delayed until 2018. If he’s as good as Optimus, I might have an early contender for the best of 2018.

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