Year of the Horse Platinum Edition Optimus Prime

It's a new year! The Year of the Horse that is -- and with the new year comes a new Optimus Prime. Being born in the year of the Horse, as you can see, I had no choice. I had to purchase this thing.

Around this time in my life, I put out a craigslist ad looking for a roommate. I got a reply from a Minnesota guy making his way to get ready for his college career at UW-Madison. He stayed for about a week and a half, and I basically put his rent money into this guy.

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(baseball cap for comparison).

The mold is based on one of the best molds of the 21st century, the Masterpiece Optimus Prime mold. All of his previously die-cast pieces are now replaced with plastic, and some parts have been modified and the transformation was slightly tweaked.

He looks great in both modes, a thing of beauty really. His fist transforms have been modified, and he is missing a few things from the Masterpiece mold:

  1. His arms don't have the flip-up communications.
  2. The air vents on his shins no longer open with feet pressure. They're just molded on now.
  3. The Matrix of Leadership no longer expands.
  4. You can't move his mouthplate with a button on the back of his head anymore =(
  5. Because his legs are made of plastic, they've already shown stress marks, right out of the box:
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Otherwise he's everything you want in a classic Optimus Prime. He's super-articulated, super-expressive, show-accurate to a "t". He's "Year of the Horse" themed, so his paint applications are slightly darker, and he has gold chrome applications instead of silver. Most places that have an Autobot symbol, combine it with the Chinese character for horse, . Check out the back of his trailer:
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Cool thing that the Masterpiece mold doesn't have, his ion blaster folds up into his back:
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What a great figure.
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Take us away, Spotlight Prime:
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Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Sharkticon Megatron

I'm making my rampage down the Beast Hunters line! Today we're going through Voyager Class Sharkticon Megatron.
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Much like Deluxe Soundwave, I wanted a show-accurate figure, but I was too late to the bandwagon and the prices had inflated by then. It's a heavy redeco of the Robots in Disguise mold, with an homage to the Sharkticons from the 1986 movie.

His limbs are sprinkled with this coral blue paint. I want to put him in a diorama of The Little Mermaid.
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The robot mode looks great, but has a deceptive appearance that hides his flaws. The shoulder pads are in no way attached to his arms, and you need to disconnect some pegs in order to actually move his arms in a meaningful way. There are no ratchet joints on the figure, and his "sharktooth spear" fits only loosely in his hands. He transforms into a shark-faced Cybertronian jet:
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Again, it looks great, just look at that face! But it's a whole lot of, "rearrange the robot parts to look like a jet," and pins, pegs and ball joints hold it together, rather than the stronger joints I'd expect from a voyager figure. I'm not fond of the transformation.
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His head does poke out, if you open the lid, like ceiling cat but in reverse:
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In summary, a nice-looking figure. I wouldn't transform him much, but he looks great in photos.
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More photos:

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Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters Deluxe Autobot Ratchet

"Hoo-ah!" That was the catch phrase for Ratchet in the "Stronger, Faster" episode of Transformers: Animated. Ratchet, normally the grumpy homebody that stayed at Autobot HQ and manned the ground bridge, took a more proactive approach after injecting himself with a self-made synthetic form of energon. He kicked 'con in that episode.

His depiction in the cartoon and the voice acting was enough for the character to grow on me. I've never had a Ratchet figure before, but this week I got Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters Deluxe Class Autobot Ratchet.
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And you might as well call him Dinobot Ratchet. This figure is an extensive redeco of the original, more cartoon-accurate mold for Ratchet. It's just that the original mold already has an inflated price, so I went ahead with Dinobot Ratchet here. The mold is an homage to the Dinobot figures from the Beast Wars toyline in aesthetic. For example, you have the monocle from the Dinobot II mold, and the "Dragonshredder Drill" is an homage to the T-rex tail weapon from the Dinobot mold.

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It's a pretty nifty robot mode. Light piping is pretty sweet for his one eye, and he has some great articulation. His waist swivels, his neck swivels and he has standard articulation in his limbs. He's what I love about Deluxe figures; they don't have heavy pieces to lug around, and they can use simple joints to maximize their articulation.
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He can hold the Drill in a few different ways: on his arm, in his hand, in his hand while swiveling his wrist, so there's some play value in there. Click the trigger on the drill and you can spin it around. I wouldn't call his transformation the best. It's not inspiring, but it'll get you from one form to the other. I don't mind it. He transformers into a re-purposed emergency SUV, with a bunch of dino-bits on the side for optimized Beast Hunting:
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Not too bad. Once you've got it transformed, it holds together fine, and Ratchet actually rolls very nicely! You'll get a lot of mileage out of rolling him around. There's a huge split on his hood, which you just have to learn to ignore, and the undercarriage of the car does a good job of hiding the robot that's inside:
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Don't get this guy for the transformation. But if you did get him, you'd be pretty happy with the robot mode and car mode.

Bonus photo: "This won't hurt. . . much. . ."
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Transformers: The IDW Collection Vol. 5

It happens in cycles for me. I get into Transformers (again), which then leads way to reading comic books (again). This time it's the Transformers comics I've gotten myself into. I found the first free issue of All Hail Megatron on Comixology, and that was enough for me to get the hardcover for IDW Collection #5.

Transformers: The IDW Collection Volume 5
Collects All Hail Megatron #'s 1-12, All Hail Megatron: Coda #'s 13-16
By Shane McCarthy, Guido Guidi, Simon Furman et al.

This thing retails for $49.99, it was on Amazon for $35. Looks like it's temporarily out of stock right now. The hardcover contains all 16 All Hail Megatron issues, and omits a few tangential Spotlight issues that were in a prior collection.

The maxi-series serves as a jumping-on point for new readers, and I must tell you, it worked for me. If you're used to the pedigree on this blog, you'll know I'm used to angsty superheroes, Batman punching people in the face, silly sound effects. So it's a bit of a jump to read about talking, transforming robots.

I first thought this was an "Elsewords" style of story, an alternate universe where the Decepticons won the war and the Autobots had to vacate Earth. But it's actually a "soft reboot" of the universe, and merely takes place 1 year after the previous IDW stories, which happened around Maximum Dinobots. The jump makes some drastic changes to the universe, and it's exciting to unravel them across the 12 issues. For example, you see the effects of the war when Perceptor changes from a laboratory scientist to a hardened sharpshooter. Or, Megatron ripping out the Matrix of Leadership from Optimus Prime's chest.

Yes this actually happened. It definitely helps to have some familiarity with the characters. For example, there are a couple of pages for the new character Drift where, if you didn't know his backstory, you'd be out of the water for those two pages. But if you have some familiarity with the characters, even from just the movie, I could see you enjoying it.

I'm particularly fond of the inversion of the typical, "good guys win, bad guys lose" story that the Transformers tend to adhere to. You learn to fear the Decepticons and just how powerful they really are. It's a slaughter. When the Decepticons raid New York, the human beings flee underground, eg, to the Subway. A great place for the Locomotive Transformer Astrotrain to pillage!

I was thinking about the best place to categorize this story. There's intrigue, betrayal, tactics and flashbacks. I'd call it a comic book war drama, and a good one at that. It's a great introduction to Transformers comics.

Now the flipside.

I was particularly disappointed that there wasn't a cover gallery. There are 16 issues in the collection, but only 3 covers: The cover for the trade paperback All Hail Megatron vol. 1, All Hail Megatron vol. 2 and volume 3. There are no DVD-style extras, cover gallery or sketch art that you might expect from a luxurious hardback like this. As the series pushed out, there were all these Russian Propaganda-esque covers that I was fond of. It's a great visual. The only other place I can recall comics did this was in Superman: Red Son.

So I made a collage of the 12 issues, broken up by volume, myself. I got the images all from tfwiki.

Isn't that just the sickest? Here's one last screenshot, from All Hail #12. Omega Supreme the launchpad/rocket transformer, takes on Devastator, a robot built from 6 construction transformers, and shoots him through the Statue of Liberty.

Robot violence: there's nothing like it.

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Transformers Prime: Weaponizer Optimus Prime

The Weaponizer size class is apparently the new Leader class of the Prime toyline, so I ended up snagging him for $15 off retail at Amazon (eg, $25).

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He has a great-looking truck mode. It rolls nicely and stays solid. . . The back could look better. It's pretty hollow, and you can see the robot chest in the back.

The truck has another "mode." Press the trigger on top of his windvane, open up the grille and a pair of spinning gatling cannons pop up.

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It's still a gimmick in robot mode, and rests on his shoulders. It' just that the red panels are still sticking all the way out of his shoulders.

In summary, he has really great-looking modes, as a truck and a robot. His transformation design is mediocre, and he suffers from hollow legs, poor articulation and a big backpack. I don't recommend him as a transformer. Sorry Prime.

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Here's a slideshow:

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