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with Amalgamous Prime, Nexus Prime, Prima & The Arisen

Series: Power of the Primes
Allegiance: Maximal
Categories: Leader Convention Exclusive
Year: 2018

Prelude: The Throne of the Primes set was available exclusively at San Diego Comic Con 2018. It consists of a repaint of the Evolution Leader Optimus Primal from Power of the Primes, as well as four Prime Masters (three of whom are so far exclusive to this set) and a ton of accessories. I bought this set at CONS 2018, the greatest European Transformers Fan Convention, from, many thanks to Bernd.

Small Robot Mode: Like the other Evolution Leaders from Power of the Primes, Optimal Optimus consists of a smaller robot who bonds with a suit of armor to become a larger robot. In this case the smaller robot is Optimus Primal, closely resembling the Season 1 incarnation of the character from Beast Wars. Unlike the BW figure he looks completely robotic with no signs of fur or other organic components, but is still clearly recognizable as the character.

Looks and detailing are quite good, but unsurprisingly the figure lacks all of the original figure’s gimmicks. It’s sole armaments consist of two guns, which he can either hold in hand or clip to his forearms. Also, the figure carries a huge backpack, which is basically the chest and head of the larger robot (see below). Looking at it from the back, you see little but the huge backpack and the hollow legs. So bottom line: a nice robot that looks like he’s supposed to, but offers little in terms of play value. Not the reason to buy this figure.

Small Alternate Mode: Optimus Prime’s become trucks, Optimus Primal’s become monkeys (or apes, to be more precise). Not in this case, though. The smaller Optimus Primal figure here does not become a primate of any kind, but rather a surfboard. Yes, you heard that right. In order to homage the season 2 appearance of Optimus Primal, whose figure could unfold a hoverboard from his legs, the smaller Optimus Primal figure here becomes a surfboard. The actual robot becomes a square, more or less, forming the rear half of the board, while the rucksack flips forward to form the forward parts. So... yeah, Optimus Primal becomes a surfboard here. I think we should just move on, for this is CERTAINLY not the reason to buy this figure.

Big Alternate Modes: The other Evolution Leaders from PotP came with a trailer that could attach to the smaller vehicle or form a suit of armor. Unsurprisingly Optimus Primal does not come with a trailer, his power-up comes in the form of a big black and grey gorilla. The ape actually looks pretty good and makes for a nicely poseable figure. It’s still more technological than organic in look, but the gorilla mode of the original Optimal Optimus figure wasn’t exactly fooling any zoologist, either.

The big ape can either use the smaller robot as a surfboard, thereby completing the season 2 homage (more or less), or plug him into his back to use as a rucksack. This has the advantage of the gorilla no longer having a hollow back and you can plug in his two guns on top, which is a nice look. Alternatively the guns can be stored on the sides of the legs. The gorilla can unfold the wings on the arms or not, your choice. Overall the gorilla mode is pretty well done. Wouldn’t really have needed the surfboard, mind you, but otherwise I like this mode. A small part of the reason to buy this figure.

The original Optimal Optimus figure from Beast Wars was a quad-changer and while this figure here foregoes his ground transport mode, it does retain his big jet mode. The bigger figure lays down on the ground, stretches out the arms to the side and front, and unfolds the wings. The surfboard-rucksack becomes the cockpit and the guns go on top. The result is... well, it looks like a robot lying on his stomach, to be honest, doing a not so good job of pretending to be some kind of flying vehicle. It is rather true to the original figure, though, whose jet mode didn’t really look any better than this. To be honest I almost forgot to include this mode in the review, which should tell you all you need to know. Moving on now, as this mode is neither a reason for nor against buying this figure, seeing as you can safely ignore it.

Big Robot Mode: Now we finally come to the actual reason to buy this figure, the larger robot mode. The gorilla extends the legs, flips around the torso, and uses the front half of the surfboard (aka the big rucksack of the smaller figure) as a chest. The larger head unfolds on top and you have Optimal Optimus, though unlike his BW predecessor (and the retail version of this figure here) he does not come in orange and blue, but rather in the same black, white, and grey as the original season 1 Optimus Primal. Which, in my opinion, looks much better.

To make it short, this figure looks fabulous. Big, powerful, nicely articulated, nicely detailed. Much like with the original figure you have the option of moving the armor plates on the arms either to the forearms or to the top of the shoulders for multiple different looks. You can fold or unfold the wings, too, giving Optimus many different silhouettes to choose from. The two guns, too, can be used in multiple ways, either attaching to the legs, on top of the shoulders, or plugged into the chest (for which you need to fold down the cockpit a bit). No particular preference here for me.

Optimus comes with multiple accessories here: a crown to wear on his head, a big scepter to hold in his hands, and finally a removable Matrix of Leadership in his chest. More on those accessories below, just saying that they all look great. Optimus can even hold the Matrix in his hands over his head for the iconic pose of a new Prime lighting our darkest hours. Very nicely done.

The one downside of this figure is that it basically carries the smaller robot mode as a backpack. The square that the smaller figure folds into just hangs off the back and you can unfold it back into robot mode without any impediment to the larger figure. So small Optimus just hangs off the back of big Optimus. This is where I think that the Evolution leader concept hasn’t been implemented really well here. You can literally remove the smaller robot (just remove the pin connecting him to his backpack) and the larger figure isn’t impacted in the slightest. So as much as I adore this larger robot, I will henceforth ignore the fact that he even has a smaller robot mode, I think.

Bottom line: this is the main reason to buy this figure. A superb robot mode, offering tons of play value. Now let’s take a closer look at its many, many accessories.

Partner / Accessories: As befits a convention exclusive, Optimal Optimus comes with a load of extras. First among those are no less than four Prime Master figures. These are Prima (silver and blue), Nexus Prime (brown), Amalgamous Prime (yellow and grey), and The Arisen (yellow and blue). Of these four, only Prima has so far been available outside this convention exclusive, the other three are, at this point in time, truly exclusive. So if you want to complete the thirteen Primes, you need this set.

As I already mentioned above Optimus also comes with a Matrix of Leadership, pretty much identical except in color to the ones coming with Optimus and Rodimus Prime. Any of the four Prime Masters can take the place of the Matrix crystal if you wish. Another place to put your Prime Masters is the scepter, called the Scepter of Sparks. Up to four Prime Masters can be plugged into the big weapon, though personally I think it looks better with none attached. Then there is the crown Optimus wears, which has a removable front part, interestingly. Removing it strips the Maximal symbol from the crown, so I think it was sculpted to be in some way interchangeable with other faction symbols? Just speculating.

And finally there is the Throne of the Primes itself, which gives the entire set its name. It’s the inlay of the box the figure comes in and made from cardboard (which was apparently one heck of a surprise to many people who expected it to be made from... die cast metal? No idea!). Removing it from the box without wrecking it isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but with a little patience and dexterity it can be done. The throne looks awesome in my opinion and has the Halo of Primus behind it, a spinning wheel with room for twelve Prime Masters. The backdrop shows a jungle with some half-overgrown buildings sporting the Maximal symbol. Despite only being a few pieces of cardboard and plastic, I really like this throne. Not the primary reason to buy this figure, but certainly A reason.

Remarks: Optimus Primal was the leader of the Maximals during three seasons of Beast Wars and two seasons of Beast Machines. Despite his similarity to Optimus Prime, he was a different character in his own right and has gathered a big fan following. A big enough following, in fact, to have him win the vote for next Prime. Despite all this, though, you get the feeling that Hasbro wasn’t really expecting Primal to win this thing and wasn’t really happy with it, either. Primal’s role in the Power of the Primes Machinima series was very small (despite the fact that he was chosen as the new Matrix bearer) and the Evolution Leader gimmick clearly doesn’t work as well for him as it would have for many of the other candidates (Ultra Magnus, Thunderwing, Shockwave, etc.)

Still, he won the vote, he got the figure, and now he’s got the big San Diego Comic Con exclusive, too. In total I have to say that I really like this set, though it certainly isn’t perfect. The smaller robot mode is redundant and the jet mode is forgettable. What makes this set a winner is the big robot mode, the gorilla mode, and the accessories. Also, if you want all 13 Prime Masters, you kind of have to buy it. So bottom line: recommended to fans of Optimus Primal, collectors of Prime Masters, and lovers of exclusives with flashy accessories. I tick two out of those three boxes (and might become a Prime Master collector yet), so I’m happy with it.

Rating: B+

Update 2019-10-16: Not only has Optimal Optimus now been upgraded with the DNA-Kit to add his missing ground transport mode (see the separate review for that) and the smaller robot separated from the bigger one, he has also now been outfitted with Toyhax stickers. Updated pictures of the Boss Monkey have been added to the gallery!
Toy DB Link

Picture Gallery:

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