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Series: Movie Advanced
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Leader
Year: 2014

Review by Laserwave13:

Prelude: Seeing as our big boss Phil has already done a review for Age of Extinction Leader-classOptimus Prime, I will focus on the differences of this figure here. Much like Phil I, too, was rather disappointed after seeing the first few pictures of AoE Optimus Prime. Both the First Edition and the Leader class didn’t really convince me and I wasn’t going to dish out any money for either of them. Especially as the other AoE figures weren’t exactly touched by brilliance, rather. As is often the case, though, Takara put in the extra effort and brought us Move Advanced AD-31 Armor Knight Optimus Prime. Based on those last few minutes of the movie, where Optimus rediscovers the Dinobots and his own knight-hood.

Vehicle Mode: The vehicle mode hasn’t undergone any design changes, but this mode was never really the problem, either. The truck looks good and wholesome, comes with rubber tires and chrome parts in every version. Takara still put some finishing touches on it. The chrome is now in the proper places, paired with silver and black windows. But the greatest effect is the new plastic, especially the blue parts. They now feature a very nice metallic finish, glimmering and shiny, very nice. I hope one can see it in the pictures. Of course all this makes it look a little bit less like a toy and more like a high-quality miniature. Overall a very nice vehicle mode that doesn’t have to hide from anybody. And it even got a few more flames painted on, just for kicks. A fired-up truck mode.

Robot Mode: Seeing as the transformation remains the same, of course, let’s get right to the robot. Where should I begin? Seeing as the First Edition figure firmly belongs in the little kids’ aisle, the Leader-Class figure was a bit more complex and articulated, which soothed quite a few fans, despite the figure’s smaller size and ample amount of kibble. Sounds a bit lackluster already, and then there is the paint. From lacking paint to rather random-looking chrome applications, the various versions of the figure looked rather half-assed. But Takara comes to the rescue once again, dishing out the premium paint job and removing the chrome from where chrome should not be.

To sum it up: the figure was dipped in paint. Apart from a few tiny exceptions there isn’t a spot on this figure that isn’t painted. Quite a few spots include metallic effects and the details have been brought out beautifully. But can paint alone really make that much of a difference? Maybe, but given the figure and the character it represents, a little extra effort can’t hurt. At least that seems to be what Takara thought, seeing as they made this figure more than a simple repaint. Instead it got new feet, new forearms including twisting wrists, both to improve articulation. Also included: a complete redesign for the chest, and a new head, which even offers fans the choice between open face and battle mask. Personally I like the latter best. So in closing: not just brilliantly painted, but also technically improved. Nicely done!

Conclusion: The Age of Extinction figures have been given a hard time by collectors, seeing as they, too, are included in the current trend to make Transformers more kid-friendly and simpler. But here, too, some pearls can be found, one of them being Armor Knight Optimus Prime. At the end of the day I’m very happy I got him in order to have at least one Leader-class Optimus Prime for my Autobot troops. Sure, he’ll never be ROTF Leader-class Optimus Prime, but he doesn’t have to be. He looks completely different and I imagine it was rather hard to translate the movie figure into a toy here. Also, this figure proves how much difference paint and a few tiny little extras can make. The kibble remains, of course, just like the big rucksack, but I can live with that and the paint job alone is worth the price. If you can only get one version of AoE Leader-class Optimus Prime, it should most definitely be this one here. Sure, it’s a tad more expensive, but worth every penny. A great-looking, high-quality figure, superbly done by Takara.

Rating: A-
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