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Series: Fans Hobby
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2022

Prelude: Energon Optimus Prime, the middle child of the Unicron Trilogy’s Primes, was a figure that offered tons of combination fun, but at the price of a rather lackluster core robot mode. Now Fans Hobby, who also gave us new, Masterpiece-sized versions of Armada Optimus and Megatron, is taking on this version of Optimus to give us Energy Commander. Can he retain Energon Op’s strengths while improving his weak spots? Let’s say go!

Many thanks to my buddy Fuchs Geronimo for loaning me Energy Commander for this review.

Robot Mode: Let’s start with what was the weakest part of the original Energon Optimus, the core robot. Cruelly nicknamed ‘Fattimus Prime’ by quite a few fans, the figure was infamous for its massive torso, combined with rather small limbs. Now Energy Commander’s core robot is still a bit on the chunky side, granted, but the proportions work a lot better than on the old Energon figure. Especially since you can choose here between having a slimmer robot with a bigger backpack (pictures 1 through 8) or a somewhat thicker robot with a slimmer backpack (pictures 9 through 12). The front wheels of the truck mode make the difference, as you can either leave them hanging off his hips or fold them onto the back, your choice. Either way, though, Energy Commander looks slimmer (and has a slimmer backpack) than Energon Optimus.

Articulation is excellent, no limitations worth mentioning here. Energy Commander even has articulated hands, though only the trigger finger can be moved independently of the other fingers. Which brings me to one of the few downsides of this figure: the core robot cannot hold the big gun properly. Never mind that it looks a bit too big for him anyway, but the grip isn’t quite made for his smaller hands. He can hold it, as you can see in the pics, but not quite straight and it’s a wobbly affair. Another downside I want to mention: the helmet that Energy Commander wears in super mode is mostly folded away here in this mode, but the sides of the helmet are lying (almost flat) on his neck. There are grooves there where they almost, but not quite fit in. This could have been improved, I believe, to make the helmet pieces lie completely flat here. A minor thing, but it did bother me a bit.

So bottom line for the robot mode: an improvement over the original, though still with some downsides.

Alternate Mode: A fairly simply transformation takes us into truck mode. Here, too, Energon Optimus came with some problems. One, the robot arms were barely hidden at all and two, the helmet of the Supermode became a sort of radar dish thing that just looked terrible. Both of these flaws were (mostly) removed for Energy Commander. No trace of the Supermode helmet anywhere to be seen and the arms are mostly hidden. You can still kind of recognize them as arms, but tons better than on the original figure. So thumbs up for that.

The futuristic looking truck pulls a grey trailer that, apart from being bigger, looks pretty much identical to the one pulled by Energon Prime and contains his four drone partners. Just like with the original, three of the four compartments of the trailer feature push-out mechanisms for the drones, while the fourth flips open on the side to allow the helicopter drone to emerge. Unlike the original, the four compartments are separate modules that can be separated and rearranged in whatever configuration you desire. If you were to buy a second Energy Commander, you could even build a larger, eight-module trailer if you want. Just be aware that pulling the modules apart requires quite a bit of force.

So bottom line for the alternate mode: very true to the original, but with more play options.

Drones: Just like Energon Prime, Energy Commander comes with four drone vehicles that become his limbs in supermode (see below). We have an orange fire truck, a yellow driller vehicle, a white helicopter, and a blue submarine (which should have been yellow in my opinion, so we could all live in it). The four vehicles are basically identical to their Energon predecessors, just a bit larger and a tiny bit more detailed. The submarine can unfold tiny fins, all four vehicles have unfolding panels on their back to cover the gaps where Commander’s arms and legs attach, and the driller even has rubber tracks. Pretty good, overall. The only slight downside is on the helicopter, where you always have to bend the rotor blades slightly to unfold them.

Supermode: The most fun part of the original figure was, of course, the various combinations. The same holds true for Energy Commander. The core robot becomes a torso and the four drone vehicles become his limbs. All four drones can function as either a leg or and arm, right or left. The transformation of the drones into limbs is a tad more complicated than it was back in Energon, but not really all that difficult. Overall that is, for me, one of the most important points about this figure: it is very playable. You can take it in hand, pose it, all without fearing that something will fall off or break. Not a given for a Masterpiece-scaled figure, be it official or third party. All joints are tight, but not too tight, and there is nothing restricting your play value.

One major improvement over the Energon figure: the driller drone comes with a hand, too. Just open up the drill and there is a hand inside. So even when using the driller drone as an arm, Energy Commander can attack with the drill and still hold something two-handed if necessary. Just a little thing, really, but it shows that a lot of thought went into it. Nicely done.

Cannot think of much more to write here, to be honest. Combined with his drones, Energy Commander is simply fun. Fun to look at, fun to play with, just fun. I probably should mention that he has light effects, too, powered by a battery in his chest, but that is something I personally care very little about. Bottom line: a very fun Supermode. Two thumbs up!

Remarks: At some point between Armada and Energon, Optimus Prime was given the Spark of Combination by Primus, enabling him to extend his previous combination ability to other Autobots. In the process he upgraded himself in order to combine with his drones, as well as Wing Saber and Omega Supreme. In the end, though, it was Optimus by himself without any combined parts or other bots, who defeated the Unicron-possessed Galvatron to save the day (until that whole Black Hole thing, anyway).

Overall Fans Hobby Energy Commander is a success in my book. He retains the combination fun of the original figure (and Fans Hobby has already teased a Wing Saber figure for this guy, too), while managing to make the core robot better, if not perfect. Also, the toy is a good deal more playable than Naval Commander, being lighter, easier to pose, and with fewer vulnerable parts.

Personally, I have decided against buying him, but more for monetary reasons than anything else (I can only imagine how much a Fans Hobby Energon Omega Supreme might cost down the road). He is a fun figure and if you are a fan of Energon Optimus Prime, the Powerlinx concept, and have deep enough pockets for this guy and the upcoming Wing Saber, then I recommend getting him.

Rating: B+

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