Dave's TF Legacy Rant: Laser Optimus Prime

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Dave Van Domelen

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Jun 25, 2022, 1:06:41 AMJun 25
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Dave's Transformers Legacy Rant: Leader wave 1

Laser Optimus Prime (tanker truck)

Permalink: http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/BW/Legacy/LaserOptimus

The other toy in this wave is Kingdom Galvatron, but without the battle
damage paint. I am not going to be buying or reviewing that unless I see it
on DEEP clearance.


CAPSULE

$54 at Walmart.

Laser Optimus Prime: Well, the design is pretty good, but they cut a lot
of corners on the actual execution, cheapening some of the molding and
getting sloppy with some of the paint. Recommended, but it could have been
so much better.


RANT

The original Laser Optimus Prime in G2 was an amazing toy for its day.
Amazing articulation, and the trailer turned into a base with so many
gimmicks...disk launcher, press-missiles, pneumatic missiles, light piping
(the same as the Laser Rods had, with an LED in the fist, hence Laser Optimus
Prime). Sure, it had a little cringe in the stickers, but ToyHax has your
back if you actually want this toy to have those. There's really no way this
toy can live up to the original (if nothing else, the original would have to
be a Commander class at least to get the same features), but fortunately
there's a more recent Laser Optimus from Prime Wars that it can hope to
outdo. Will it? Let's see.... (Well, if you read the Capsule, you'll know
the answer is "no.")

Packaging: The same irregular shape as other boxed Legacy toys, but they
realized that there was no way they could have a meaningful window without
leaving room for someone to reach inside all the way. So the box has no
window at all, rather than go back on the committment to low-waste
packaging. The box is 9.25" (23cm) tall in the front and a bit over 10"
(26.5cm) tall in the back, 8.75" (22cm) wide and 4" (10cm) deep. With no
window, the front package art fills the entire front panel, and has both
robot and vehicle modes. The back has renders of the two main modes, as well
as the trailer unfolded into a service base.
The art shows the shoulderpad launchers firing tiny little missiles like
Lego studs, I am actually glad the toy does not do that. Although I'm sure
someone's already designed a 3-D printed piece to slot in that would fire
tiny missiles to get lost in the carpet.


AUTOBOT: LASER OPTIMUS PRIME
Assortment: F3061
Altmode: Semi Truck
Transformation Difficulty: 30 steps
Previous Name Use: G2, Gen:TR
Previous Mold Use: None
Function: Leader
Special Unit: None listed
Origin Universe: G2
Signature Weapon: Energon Sword - Combines with Energon Axe to form an
indestructible weapon that can slice through any material.

Optimus Prime fights bravely and selflessly for the freedom of all life
forms.

STR 9 INT 9.8 SPD 8 FRB 7.5

I have no idea where these numbers came from. G2 had straight 10's
except for SPD 9, and the Titans Return version had 10's for all but FRB 9.
Also, the bars on the website have INT with the 9 block only mostly filled,
as if it was supposed to be 8.8, and the FRB only has six full blocks and one
half block filled. Buggy all around.

Packaging: Packaged in vehicle mode, which generally makes more sense
for stability. Three rattan strings around the tractor, two around the
trailer (and a single very long rubber band wrapped around the trailer to
keep it closed), and the two weapons are just tucked through slots in the
corrugated cardboard tray. The "axe" looks more like a lollipop.
(Minor note: the tractor isn't QUITE in vehicle mode, there's panels on
the robot kneecaps that are supposed to be flipped open to cover the joints
in vehicle mode, but mine had them folded down. These aren't just aesthetic,
the forearms are designed to snap onto them to keep the hip joints from
moving. Additionally, the fuel tanks were not folded out on mine, although
they don't really lock in position and could easily have fallen back inward
during shipping.)

This mold does reuse some parts of the Earthrise Optimus Prime's legs,
which is why there's the weird knee flaps and fuel tanks in the first place,
and it also means that the Earthrise trailer and Laser Optimus trailer can be
swapped (and the Huffer mold family can pull this toy's trailer). And, as
some have found, some of the Ultra Magnus bits can be clipped on, although
the head-and-tunic just sort of loosely sits there.

Vehicle Mode: Based pretty closely on the G2 toy, if sleeker and less
gappy. They did leave off the "burn down the forest" stickers on the sides
of the trailer and the Optimus Prime name stickers on the door, plus in a nod
to modern expectations the red fade to black on the nose of the cab is now
movie-style flames. Since the arms now form the headache rack, they molded
steps under each door to make up for the larger running boards that the G2
toy had. One thing that does make it a little odd is that the tractor is
longer than the trailer, not a normal thing for tanker trucks.
The tractor is 7.25" (18.5cm) long, the trailer on it own is 6.75"
(17cm) long. The combined vehicle is 11" (28cm) long. (By comparison, the
tractor in G2 was 8"/20cm long, the trailer on its own was about a foot/30cm
long, and there was not a whole lot of overlap. I might be optimistic in
thinking it could be done as a Commander these days.)
As in G2, the tractor is mostly black and red, with the only blue this
time being the robot toes folded down at the back. Red plastic is used on
the shell of the nose, the forearms in the headache rack and the roof. The
smokestacks and the windows part of the cab is clear red plastic with a lot
of paint. The robot thighs with fuel tanks are light gray plastic, the
wheels are dark gray plastic. The front wheel wells that are painted gray
are actually clear blue plastic. Everything else is "black" (very dark gray,
darker than the wheels) plastic.
There's black paint on the hood in negative space flames, on the entire
roof, and around the non-window parts of the window chunk. Some have
reported that the strings keeping the cab in the tray can rub this paint off.
The smokestacks are painted silver, also reportedly prone to scratching if
you're not careful. The front wheel wells are painted light gray, as are the
headlights (totally defeating the point of making that chunk clear blue
plastic...okay, the clear blue piece is for the robot mode shoulder
launchers, but still!). There's yellow borders around the headlights. The
grille and bumper are silver, as are the wheel hubs. A silver Autobot symbol
(G1, not G2) is printed on the driver's side door. The robot toes in back
are painted dull blue, and the steps under each door are painted gloss red.
The sides of the trailer are metalswirled medium gray plastic, while
black plastic is used for the front cap, top, and rear. The wheels are the
same color as those on the tractor. The peg for attaching to the trailer
hitch is red plastic, and red plastic is visible on a hinge at the top of the
front cap. The wheel hubs are painted silver, and the pipe greebles along
the bottom sides of the tank are painted red as in G2. It has a little
turret piece masquerading as one of the top openings for the tank, made of
black plastic and sitting flush in this mode. It can be removed and placed
elsewhere, though.
Overall, the colors look good and coherent, other than the odd bit of
blue at the end of the tractor. It rolls okay, although the front wheels rub
a bit against the shoulderpad missile bay doors. Popping 'em out and filing
down the mushroom peg tops a little helps. There's enough clearance for the
trailer to bend about 70 degrees either way for turning corners. The trailer
peg piece can fold down to form a kickstand for it to stand alone, although
the front cap is almost definitely going to pop open in the process.
Lots of 5mm sockets on the tractor: rear center of the roof, trailer
hitch spot, one to the right of the trailer hitch (weird Earthrise/Siege
thing), front fenders ahead of the wheels, rear fenders between the wheels,
two on the back of the cab (robot forearms). The smokestacks are 3mm rods,
and there's a 3mm stud on top of either side of the hitch area (legacy from
the WfC molds). There's eight 5mm sockets on the underside, but all clumped
at either the very front or very back, so not useful for flight bases.
In addition to the 5mm peg for connecting to the tractor, the trailer
has two 5mm sockets on the front cap (facing forwards), two rear-facing 5mm
sockets on the rear cap, one socket on either side fender, and one on top for
holding the aforementioned turret piece. (I'll describe that more under
battle station mode.) The top of the turret and the top of the solid lid
piece behind it both have 3mm studs. There's two more ahead of the turret,
but they're right next to the top railings and only some Fire Blasts can fit
(they're mostly for battle station mode, IMO). Yes, a fuel tanker is exactly
where you want flame bursts attached....
The sword stores under the tractor via a pair of rectangular tabs, and
another pair of tabs on the folded up axe store it partially over the trailer
hitch. However, this gets in the way of actually attaching the trailer, you
need to store the axe inside the trailer if you want to hook it to the
tractor.

Transformation: The legs are simple, and the same as in previous uses of
their mold. The upper body...it kinda explodes and reforms, a lot of steps
seem to need to go partway, wait for something else, then finish their move.
Yes, I could look at the instructions, but since I didn't *have to* I passed
on that. :) I will say that rotating the chest and abdomen bit around is
tricky and the abdomen is REALLY apt to pop out if you're not very careful.
Unlike the G2 toy, the shoulderpads are not attached to the arms at all, and
the arms have to come out from behind the cab and the shoulders snap into
the insides of what had been the door panels (they kinda turn inside out and
upside down).
The battle station is pretty basic "pop the cap, fold down the sides"
for the most part, but then the top part folds in half to make the central
tower and the front cap needs to be rotated around on its ball joint to make
the base of the maintenance arm. I popped it off entirely the first time I
tried to get that part to work.

Robot Mode: Again, it's fairly faithful to the G2 design, but less
chunky and without the name stickers on the chest. The blue is darker, some
of the light gray is replaced by silver, the lower shoulderpads are
simplified and the kneecaps lack stickers or paint. On the plus side,
there's an Autobot Matrix visible through the chest windows. (And like in
G2, the chest windows as well as the abdomen grille are fake vehicle bits.)
6.75" (17cm) tall at the head, 7.5" (19cm) to the tops of the
shoulderpads, in the red/gray/black scheme of the G2 toy, with changes noted
above. While the vehicle mode is a lot smaller than G2, the robot is only a
little shorter, but significantly less chonky. Clear blue plastic is used
for the head, chest, fronts of the shoulder towers (front wheel wells),
Matrix, sword, and "axe" blade. Red plastic is used for the missile covers
on the shoulder towers, the flaps at the bottoms of the shoulder towers that
cover the actual shoulder joints, the bulk of each shoulder tower, the collar
area, abdomen front, chest behind the windows, the entire pelvis, and the
arms except for the fists. The only actual light gray plastic is used for
the outer shells of the hips, the thighs, and the fuel tanks (in other words,
old mold bits). Almost-black plastic is used for part of the torso core, the
abdomen sides, the shoulder bases, the hip joints, the boots, the fists, and
the axe haft.
Lots and lots of paint. There's gray paint (very good match) over most
of the blue plastic of the shoulder tower fronts, the shoulder lower flaps,
and much of the abdomen. The shoulder front flaps are entirely painted
silver, and the chest is silver except for where the window panes are. The
head is covered in blue paint except for the eyes, which leads to two
problems: they didn't leave a space in back for the lightpiping to work, and
they apparently painted the inside of the socket given how stiff that joint
is. The faceplate and forehead tablet are also silver, and the blue paint is
used on the fake grille on the abdomen (G2-accurate, if the wrong shade), the
fists, and the toes. In lieu of 90s-style stickers, the flaps in front of
the shoulders have yellow paint bits. The handles of the Matrix are painted
silver, and the housing is painted dull gold. (Note, to look a little more
G2 you'd want to paint the line between the chest panels red. The G2 toy hid
the robot head inside the abdomen, and the sternum was basically part of the
rotating panel that accomplished that.)
The head is on a very stiff ball joint, to the point that one of my
friends thought he'd gotten one with no neck joint at all. Smooth swivel
waist. The shoulderpads are on transformation hinges, and the fake-shoulder
panels in front of the actual shoulders are hinged to get out of the way at
need. The actual shoulders are universal joints, but you have to be careful
or they unpeg from the sides entirely. Upper arm swivels, hinge elbows, ball
joint wrists (the forearms can pop open if you're not careful moving them,
though). Universal joint hips where the hip joint includes a chunk of the
waist, thigh swivels just below that, hinge knees, sideways ankle hinges and
both the toes and heels bend down for transformation but not up.
While there's no LED gimmick, there's two nice robot mode tricks. The
chest panel is hinged and can be lifted up to reveal the Matrix, while the
5mm-socket-bearing panels on the shoulder fronts can be lifted up to reveal
six missile warheads molded in clear blue plastic.
As one might expect, the nozzle things on the fronts of the shoulder
towers are 5mm sockets, plus 5mm socket hands, 5mm sockets on the undersides
of the forearms, two on the backs of the boots, one under each toe and one
under each heel, plus all of the ones from vehicle mode except the trailer
hitch one (it's halved between the boots). There's two 3mm sockets on the
back of the pelvis, although one is hard to get at (they made both of the
rivet holes into hexagonal 3mm sockets). The shins retain their WfC 3mm
studs, but that's it. There's rectangular studs on the tops of the forearms
which are part of holding the truck mode together.
The sword is a single piece of clear blue plastic a little over 4"
(10cm) long, the main haft is 5mm in diameter and it ends in a 3mm stud.
There's also a 3mm stud on the inner face of the crosspiece, and a little tab
that makes sure the sword can only slide into the hand one way (although it
can be rotated after). There's non-standard rectangular tabs on the other
side of the crosspiece that are involved in storing the sword on the
underside of vehicle mode. There isn't really storage in robot mode, as the
3mm stud can't really fit onto the butt sockets, but you can slide it through
the backpack and it'll stay.
The "axe" is generally disappointing, not just because it looks more
like an oval on a stick, but because it was clearly turned into a cheap copy
of the original concept. According to design sketches posted by Hasbro's
Mark Maher, the blades were supposed to separate from the haft so they could
be used in various modular RobotMasters-style weapon creation. They don't.
There's holes through them that look like 3mm sockets at first, but they're
more like 2.5mm. There's a 5mm socket in the center of one side of the blade
piece, but there's no 5mm pegs on Prime, and there's no 5mm side peg, so the
axe can't store on the robot anywhere. It has nonstandard tabs to connect
onto the trailer hitch area when the haft is folded over, or inside the
trailer, but that covers up the 5mm socket anyway. The haft is 5mm and ends
in a 3mm stud, the total weapon length when unfolded is 2.75" (7cm) while the
blade width is 2" (5cm). It looks more like a shield or a fan than an axe,
but if you bend the haft most of the way you can sort of fake a buckler
mode.
The sword haft plugs into a socket along the centerline of the axe,
creating a rather stupid-looking weapon 6.25" (16cm) long.

It does not appear that the shoulder towers can be opened up
non-destructively in order to install a light source. The shoulder-front
flaps *might* just be snapped into place, in which case they could be removed
to uncover the other screw hole, but there might be glue involved as well,
and I'm not keen on breaking a $54 toy just to check out that possibility.

Trailer Battlestation Mode: Frankly, it would be good for Micromasters
or even better for Titan Masters, but those aren't part of the line anymore.
For even Core Class, it's more something to trip over. Maybe get some of
Octavirate Forge's Titan Master bases that plug into 5mm sockets so they can
hang out here. The trailer front cap that forms part of the manipulator claw
has spacing between structural bits that's good for Mega Construx minifigs,
so you could populate it with Halo or Call of Duty minifigs. The bits are
too thick to make a Lego straddle them without stressing the hips badly.
Anyway, it's two gray chunks flanking a central black tower with a
manipulator arm sticking out the front and a black ramp in the back. The
ramp simply narrows down to a wedge, there's no ramp connectors compatible
with any of the recent ramp stuff.
14" (36cm) wide with a central tower height of 4.75" (12cm). Other than
the tower, the highest "walls" are a little over an inch (about 3cm) tall,
making them useless for cover for anyone but Titan Masters. Granted, the G2
battlestation didn't have super high walls, but at least a Core Class figure
could reasonably duck behind that one. The central tower and its base, plus
the ramp, are black plastic. The side bits are gray plastic. The
maintenance claw and the root joint for it are red plastic. No paint here.
The tower itself rotates on the 5mm peg connection (there's a wider
collar that helps keep it stable), and the turret on top can also rotate on
its connection while also pointing up or down (depending on which way it's
rotated) on a transformation hinge. The claw arm has a ball joint at its
"shoulder" and two hinges along the way. The claw itself is not jointed.
Each side piece has four 5mm sockets pointing up for mounting weapons,
and each side also has non-standard sockets for the axe and the sword. They
can't both be stored on the same side, but you can pick which one goes on
each side. The central tower has a 3mm stud on top, one on back, two on the
front, but the gun barrels are too wide for most Fire Blasts. There's a 5mm
peg on either side of the tower (they go into some of the sockets on the gray
parts to keep the trailer together), and one on the back of the turret. So
it can be held as a weird pistol or stuck on the end of the axe or
something. The claw is not made to hold 5mm pegs, although I could get a
Halo minifig's leg into it.

Overall: It feels like this was rushed out the door with a few corners
cut. There's just a bunch of places it could have been trivially made
better, especially with NOT painting certain bits, but also making the
weapons more compatible with standard 5mm connectors and reducing the ease
with which the shoulders pop out. And, of course, it'd have been nice if we
got the original design of the weapons, not the cheap knockoff version.


Dave Van Domelen, probably needs to spend some time boxing up WfC
figures to make room for Legacy....

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