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Hasbro: Transformers R.E.D. Optimus Prime and Megatron Review

One shall stand…and one shall fall…if you accidentally hit the table too hard when you’re taking pictures.

After opening and messing around with Soundwave I was looking forward to getting Optimus and Megatron out of their plastic and cardboard cages, hoping that they’d be as fun as Soundwave. Well, they are…with a few minor caveats.

First off, these both look great, following that streamlined animation appearance where there’s no overt transformationisms inherent in a figure that actually has to transform. There’s still truck stuff, and there’s still gun stuff, but it’s smoothed out, for lack of a better description. I do like the fact that modern transforming Transformers seem to go to great efforts to streamline the entire robot experience with sometimes miraculous engineering, but getting rid of that alt-mode takes it one step further. So if you’re into it, then you’re into it. And if you’re not, the great thing is that there are options for you as well.

And if you’re into both like I am, then you constantly wonder why you’re poor and have to beg for money on the streets. Money for toys, sir. Spare a few bob for an Optimus, guv’nah?

Not sure why I just turned into a Dickens character there, but let’s continue on.

Both Optimus and Megatron follow suit with Soundwave in the “legendizing” of the characters, presenting the character itself and just the character with as much modern articulation that the design allows. Optimus is closer to Soundwave overall, but Megatron has one major shortcoming. I’ll get to that in a second.

Optimus and Megatron mostly share the same setup:

  • Ball-jointed head with a great range
  • Double jointed elbows
  • Hinged wrists
  • Waist swivel
  • Excellent hip articulation
  • Thigh swivels
  • Double-jointed knees
  • A disc-hinge with the ML pivot ankle setup.

I was pleasantly surprised that the hips on Optimus weren’t restrictive. He still gets a good range of forward motion. He can’t bring his legs up to 90 degrees, but it’s equal to Soundwave and I was expecting far far worse, so I can’t really complain.

As far as the overall articulation on both of the figures go, the differences are minor. Where both Soundwave and Optimus have solid torso due to their respective chest-stuff, Megatron’s design allows him to have an ab-crunch that allows him to til downward very respectably. He doesn’t go back at all due to the gun barrel on his back, but the forward adds a nice amount of expression.

The counter to that is—again due to design—he doesn’t have the same type of shoulder ball setup that Optimus and Soundwave have. So instead, he has this hinge buried in his shoulder. It still allows him to bring his arms up, but he can’t get into a spread arm hugging pose. You can do a little big of workaround in order to get him to point his fusion cannon convincingly at someone, but the fact that his shoulder has to go up and over like it does make it all look a little awkward. The two blips on top of his shoulder no doubt informed the need for an altered manner of articulation, but it is a little frustrating after the ease with which both Optimus and Megatron could pull off the same general motion.

Outside of that, I did have a little looseness in Optimus Prime’s hips and his waist swivel, but nothing figure-breaking. I don’t know if looseness is a widespread issue or if I just got a troubled one but there is potential for problems there. I’ll have to try some of the random methods for tightening loose joints and see if it fixes the problem. Out of any problem an action figure can have, loose joints are no doubt the most annoying, so hopefully this isn’t a common issue moving forward.

For accessories, Optimus comes with a pair of fists, a pair of neutral hands, a pointing hand and two weapon hands. He comes with his signature laser gun and an energy-axe that plugs into either wrist socket. His chest opens up and he has a removable Matrix of Leadership that he can hand off to Ultra Magnus who will go on to lose it within a half hour, which is like giving a friend the remote control so he can see what’s on television and the tv explodes.

It’s exactly like that.

Megatron comes with a pair of fists, a pair of neutral hands a pointer and a trigger hand, in case his fusion cannon just isn’t enough. He also comes with his spiked energy flail and a hand with a sculpted in energon cube. All of the hands are swappable among each other in case you want to give Optimus gray hands like his earliest promotional art.

So basically if you’re the audience for these types of figures, they’re not perfect but they’re pretty fun, and at the very least I’m sticking with the main G1 cast for as far as they want to go. Please announce Shockwave soon.