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Series: Fans Hobby
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Laserrod
Year: 2017

Prelude: I am a huge fan of G2 Laser Optimus Prime, which I consider the finest Optimus Prime figure of the 20th century (and one of the top Transformers figures of the 20th century period). Sadly Generation 2 is a mostly neglected period of Transformer history, so any mention of it immediately piques my interest. Case in point, Gunfighter II from third party company Fans Hobby, which is of course meant to represent Laser Optimus Prime in Masterpiece size, but can’t be called by that name for legal reasons. So let’s see how Fans Hobby did in recreating the best Optimus Prime figure from the first 15 years of Transformers toys.

Robot Mode: Looked at side by side with G2 Laser Prime, it’s easy to see where Gunfighter II took his inspiration from. Apart from the size, there are almost no differences between the two figures. Gunfighter is a bit more detailed in some places, but that’s pretty much it. He lacks the stickers of Laser Prime, including having his name written across his chest (does that make him Sureshot?), but I’m sure Toyhax will give us some soon, if they haven’t already. So look-wise, absolutely no doubt, this is Laser Optimus Prime.

Now Laser Prime was possibly the best-articulated Transformers figure of his time, but unsurprisingly Gunfighter tops him easily. Despite being pretty bulky, Gunfighter can pose with the best of them, no restrictions worth mentioning. He also features some gimmicks the original figure didn’t have, chief among them his Matrix chamber. Like pretty much every Optimus-Prime-based of the last decade or more, he can open up his chest, unveiling a Matrix of Leadership inside it. The Matrix can be removed and Gunfighter can hold it in hand. Even the “Light our Darkest Hour!” pose is possible, though he needs to hook his index fingers into the Matrix in order to hold it.

Gunfighter comes with three different weapons, two of them based upon the weapons of Laser Prime (the sword and the double-barreled rifle), while the third is a dead ringer for Optimus Prime’s original G1 rifle. All three weapons look very nice and can be stored (two at a time) on the back of his shoulders. Turning two tiny plastic squares around unveils holes to plug in the weapons. The only thing I’m a tiny bit worried about here is the way the weapons slide into his hands, those slots seem earmarked to wear out sooner or later. For now they hold very solid, though, so no complaints.

What else can I say? The robot mode is simply excellent. This is Optimus Prime in his, to me, most bad-ass form ever. Big, bulky, armed to the teeth, and looking like a 1990s robot should: EXTREEEEEEME!!!!

Alternate Mode: Just like in days of yore, Gunfighter transforms into a truck, closely resembling a mid-1990s Western Star 4964EX. The figure does not include a trailer for the truck, mind you, but I’m sure that Fans Hobby or some other third company will bring that one out sooner or later, too. Personally I don’t need one, never having been that big a fan of trailers-turned-battle-stations. The truck looks very similar to G2 Laser Prime’s truck mode, except for the sleeper compartment on top.

Not really much I can write here. The truck looks great and you can open up the canopy to see the sculpted seats inside. You can plug one of his fire arms onto the back of the truck if you want, but there is no place to store his sword and the other gun in vehicle mode. So bottom line here: nice truck. Nothing more and nothing less than a bigger version of G2 Laser Prime’s alternate mode.

Remarks: Optimus Prime went through several different forms in the course of G2, though his Laser Prime incarnation was not seen in any media except some obscure Japanese pack-in manga. According to his bio this was the form he was rebuilt into after a battle with Megatron left his previous body with critical damage. Of course Laser Prime’s greatest claim to fame is that the figure was recycled for Robots in Disguise and ended up as Scourge / Black Convoy, the first time an evil Optimus clone played a role in a cartoon series. Unsurprisingly Fans Hobby also has a Scourge-colored version of this figure available.

I am not really a collector of Masterpiece scale figures, but during a brief visit to Kansas I saw this beauty here as part of the collection of my buddy Caked-Up and I was hooked. Just a few short months later I happened upon someone selling him for a bargain and I couldn’t resist.

The bottom line for this figure: Gunfighter II is nothing more and nothing less than G2 Laser Optimus Prime blown up to Masterpiece size. A few extra gimmicks, excellent articulation, and cool weapons round out the picture, ending up with an excellent figure. So unless you are absolutely not a fan of G2 Laser Prime or Masterpiece-sized figures, this one is a clear and unreserved recommendation.

Rating: A

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