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Series: Platinum Edition
Allegiance: Maximal
Categories: Ultimate
Year: 2016

Those born in the year of the monkey are fast learners. Intelligent, clever, and optimistic. They can adapt to any situation. Despite their high intelligence, they don't take things too seriously, showing a flair for practical jokes and friendly mischief.

One seens these qualities in Optimus Primal, the Maximal leader whose list of accomplishments places him among the greatest heroes in the history of Cybertron. The one-time research-vessel captain was thrust into a battle he had no choice but to win in order to save the universe from a terrible fate. He quickly rose to the challenge. Despite his legendary standing, he shows his freewheeling side through his motto: Sometimes crazy works!

Prelude: Platinum Edition Year of the Monkey Optimus Primal is a repaint of Robots in Disguise Air Attack Optimus Primal, whom I have reviewed back in 2005 (really? Twelve years and more I’ve been doing this stuff by now?). Seeing as it’s been over a decade and this figure was a present from my good buddy Caked-Up, he does deserve a full review regardless. Also, I write this review with a tear in my eye, as my original RID Air Attack Primal suffered grievous wounds during the photo session for this new figure. Upon trying to transform him into ape mode for a comparison pic, the gold-brown plastic making up his midsection gave up and shattered. I have glued him back together, but he will never be able to transform again, I fear.

Robot Mode: Optimus Primal is a supreme-sized robot with a very broad chest and muscular arms and legs. He comes in the traditional Optimus Prime colors of blue and red with some grey, which… yeah, doesn’t really fit that figure all that well in my opinion, but I guess the Optimus Prime look is far more iconic than the less defined Optimus PrimAL look. Anyway, the figure is, of course, unchanged from its Air Attack RID incarnation, just the colors are new.

Primal comes with a load of gimmicks, including light-up eyes and chest, as well as numerous sound effects as well as soundbites spoken by Optimus Primal voice actor Garry Chalk. Removing the batteries was one of the first things I did, actually, as it’s almost impossible to touch Primal without setting off some sort of light and sound action, which gets annoying quickly.

Less annoying gimmicks are flip-out back rockets complete with blue flames, a disc launcher set into Primal’s belly, and a geared right arm with a spring-powered punch. The latter feature somewhat restricts the arm’s articulation a bit, but works nicely. Overall Primal is very nicely articulated, down to individual fingers, and can do all sorts of powerful-looking poses, no complaints here. The one thing I could never quite figure out is which side of Primal’s rotating chest is meant for the robot mode and which for the ape mode. I usually use the not-plain one for both modes, but take your pick.

One thing I need to mention, especially in regards to my Air Attack Optimus Primal breaking, is that for all his massive bulk and wide torso, Optimus Primal’s upper body is only connected to his hip by way of two tiny pieces of plastic. Basically it’s a big plastic fork in which the chest and heads rotate. Now this Primal here doesn’t feature plastic liable to suffer from Gold Plastic Syndrom, so he should be safe, but it’s still a good idea to handle him with some care, especially when bending the fork (so to speak) for the transformation into gorilla mode.

So overall what you have here is a huge robot that looks good (though not as good as he did in his original colors, I think) and manages to contain a large number of gimmicks without being overloaded by them. So bottom line: thumbs up for the robot mode.

Alternate Mode: This is Optimus Primal we are talking about, so naturally he transforms into a gorilla, a techno-organic one in this case. And just to be sufficiently smart-alecky here: yep, a gorilla is a primate, not a monkey. We will just have to live with this dissonance, won’t we?

Anyway, the differences between gorilla and robot are not that major. Shorter legs, a different head, the shoulder panels sliding down the arms, that’s pretty much it. Again, whether you give the gorilla the plain chest or the light-up chest is debatable and pretty much up to you. Personally I am not that big a fan of this mode, simply because you can’t really do much here that the robot mode can’t do better. So bottom line: a passable gorilla mode, but given Beast Machines’ penchant for minimalistic transformations, it’s really just a minor variation of the robot mode.

Remarks: So we are taking a 15 year old figure of Optimus Primal, repaint him in the classic Optimus Prime colors of blue and red, and reissue him as a Platinum Edition for the Year of the Monkey, despite the fact that, strictly speaking, he is a primate / ape, not a monkey. Sure, why not. Anyway, the original version of this figure was probably the best version of Beast Machines Optimus Primal to be found and while the new colors don’t really fit him all that well (in my opinion, that is), it’s still a pretty good figure. If you can get your hands on the original one, I would recommend getting that one instead, simply because I like the colors better, but either way, a good fit for all fans of Optimus Primal and beast mode Transformers.

Rating: B
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