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Series: Studio Series
Allegiance: Maximal
Categories: Leader
Year: 2023

Prelude: A few weeks ago I reviewed Takara’s Rise of the Beasts Optimus Primal and wrote that I would decide on getting him until after I got a look at the Studio Series version. Now Studio Series Optimus Primal is here and the decision on which one to get for my personal collection is made. Which Primal is the most Prime? Who is the real Boss Monkey? Read on, True Believer, and find out! Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Studio Series Optimus Primal is a Leader-Class figure, so while he is bigger than Voyager Class Primal from the RoTB Mainline, he is a good smaller than the big one from Takara. Or to put it otherwise, he is of perfect scale to go with the other Studio Series and RotB Maximals I own, so a definite win on that one. Optimus Primal is a tall and relatively slim-looking figure, but with broad shoulders and muscular-looking forearms, giving him a definite air of strength.

The robot is very nicely detailed. Arms, shoulders, and legs are adorned with various “furry” parts, there are tons of sculpted details on the chest and legs, and the head is very nicely done, too. Unlike his Takara counterpart this Optimus here does not offer a mouth-plate-changing gimmick, so you are stuck with him having a mouth, but personally I don’t mind that at all. Several of his silver parts are painted to show some wear, which is pretty nicely done. Certainly a far cry from some of the battle damage deco in War for Cybertron Siege. The only slight downside for me here is that his backpack, while rather slim, sits pretty high on his back, looming behind his head. While this does harken back to the look of classic Beast Wars Primal, I still would have preferred it to sit a bit lower.

Optimus Primal’s articulation in robot mode is fabulous, no other way to say it. He has everything from ankle tilt to ball-jointed neck and articulate hands. Okay, the head movement is a bit restricted by his collar, but not much. Primal can even move his shoulders backward (something meant more for beast mode than robot mode) for a sky-diving pose and bend his knees way beyond 90 degrees. So he is pretty much a contortionist and can assume all sorts of dynamic poses, no problem.

In terms of weapons Optimus, naturally, comes with his two swords, which he can combine into a big double-sided blade, too. He also comes with a multi-jointed connector chain, which apparently was originally scheduled to appear in the movie, too. The chain, well, it does work and you can connect his weapons, but while this might have looked cool on the screen, it doesn’t really for the toy. The chain can separate into two parts, though, and Optimus can straighten them and use them as fighting sticks, which is a much better use for them. Also, the chain is compatible with Battletrap's wrecking ball, so I think I will gift it to him instead of keeping it on Primal.

Optimus also carries a battle axe which did not not appear in the movie, apparently meant for use in his beast mode. The axe can also connect to the chain if you wish and Optimus can holster it on his hip when he doesn’t need it. Final accessory of this figure is the Matrix of Lea… no, sorry, I meant the Transwarp Key (always get those McGuffins confused). It looks just like in the movie and can even separate into two parts, if you wish.

So bottom line for the robot mode: brilliant, fabulous, glorious! Easily the best version of Rise of the Beasts Primal’s (briefly seen) robot mode I have held in hand yet and a clear winner over the Takara version. Now let’s see how he does in beast mode.

Alternate Mode: A few words in the transformation first. Studio Series Primal more or less has the same transformation scheme as basically every other Primal based on his original Beast Wars Season 1 design, but with a few twists here. We see some elements from the transformation of Transmetal Optimus Primal, such as the way his rucksack flips over his head on two hinged arms and becomes a chest plate for the ape. Also, Optimus goes through several transformation steps to exchange his robot mode hands for slightly different looking hands for his ape mode. Not sure it was worth the effort, to be honest, but this, too, harkens back to Transmetal Primal.

The finished gorilla looks very, very much like the one we saw in the movie, from a very nicely sculpted gorilla head (with opening mouth) to the various details across his body. And one of the first things I noticed about this mode: it’s the first Rise of the Beasts Primal who can stand on two legs and go down on all fours without the head being unable to look straight ahead in one of the two modes. Yes, Studio Series Primal can be a fully erect ape or not, your choice, and he will look you in the eye either way and quietly chuckle about the use of the word “erect” (I miss you, Matthew Perry).

When down on all fours, Primal can unhinge his shoulders to lengthen his arms, making various dynamic poses possible, including pounding his chest. And speaking of posing ability, Primal is also the first RotB Primal with at least a certain amount of articulation in his legs in this mode (and no butt plate that rises up in the process, either). Sure, the folded-up legs are nowhere near as nicely articulated as they were in robot mode, but still.

Gorilla Primal can use all of robot mode Primal’s weapons, too, of course. The swords can still be stored on his back, the axe can still go on his hip, and if you wish to use the chain, well, have at it. The hands are articulated in this mode, too, so gorilla Primal can also hold the Matrix of Lea… damn it, I mean the Transwarp Key, no problem.

So bottom line: easily the best gorilla mode of all the Rise of the Beasts Primals, too. The fact that he can pull off standing on two legs and and on all fours alone would probably be enough for that, but he goes the extra mile and is just an all-round great techno-organic gorilla. Two thumbs up.

Remarks: Seeing as I already reviewed two other figures portraying Rise of the Beasts Optimus Primal, I don’t think I need to write much more about the on-screen character. As for the figure, I was uncertain whether this one here or the Takara version was the better Primal, but that uncertainty faded almost as soon as I got Studio Series Primal out of the box. Takara Primal is a good toy. Studio Series Primal is a superb toy and collector’s figure.

Really the only complaint I could make about this figure is that some parts seem a bit needlessly over-designed, but then again, we are talking live-action aesthetics here and in that context, Optimus looks almost plain. So bottom line here: I adore this figure. If you plan on getting only a single figure from the entire Rise of the Beasts line, be it mainline or Studio Series, then Primal here is your ape. Go and get him now if you haven’t already!

Rating: A


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