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Series: Wei Jiang
Allegiance: Autobot
Year: 2016

Prelude: Wei Jiang is a third party company, not affiliated in any way with Hasbro or Takara-Tomy, and thus this figure that kind of look like an oversized version of certain copyrighted Transformers character is certainly not a Transformer, no sir. Not in any way, shape, or form. Do not allow yourself to be confused by this particular figure’s extreme likeness to a certain Optimus Prime figure from a certain toy line called Age of Extinction. This figure is Commander, a wise and powerful Autobo… eh, autonomous robot from a faction whose name is certainly not copyrighted, right? Anyway, this is Commander, the first figure released by Wei Jiang and a gift from my good friend Caked-Up. Let’s have at it!

Robot Mode: I never quite realized this with Evasion Mode Prime, but it’s very much apparent here. In robot mode this figure looks almost exactly like Optimus Prime did during the first three movies, when he was still a long-nosed Peterbuild truck. Commander adds the flame paintjob that Evasion Prime lacked, thereby pretty much nailing the likeness. Put side by side with ROTF Prime, you’d be hard-pressed to say which of them becomes which model of truck. Great engineering here.

Commander is about the size of a Masterpiece figure and the level of detailing is nothing short of spectacular. The figure can also bend with the best of them, showing no restrictions in terms of articulation, and unlike other 3rd Party figures I could mention you never get the feeling that he might break apart on you while posing. Very nicely done. One feature that this figure has that Evasion Prime lacked is the presence of a Matrix of Leadership. Fold open the silver-chromed portion of his chest and you see a non-removable Matrix. Okay, it’s more the G1-styled Matrix rather than the weirdly shaped Movie-Matrix, but it’s still a nice detail.

In terms of weapons Commander comes with quite an arsenal, but I’m missing most of those (more on that below). What my Commander has is a gun made from the two gas tanks of the truck mode. Now normally that gun is grey, here it is a transparent red. It could be a tad bigger in my opinion, but it still works nicely and somewhat emulates the shotgun Evasion Prime had in the beginning of the Age of Extinction movie. The other weapons the figure normally comes with (axe, shield, arm blades) didn’t feature in the movie anway.

So bottom line, a beautiful robot mode with great articulation and detailing. No flaws worth mentioning. Two thumbs up, even from this non-Bayformer fan.

Alternate Mode: Using pretty much the exact same transformation scheme as Evasion Mode Optimus Prime (a coincidence, I’m sure), Commander turns himself inside out, folds together, and becomes a surprisingly compact Freightliner cab-over-engine semi-truck. Unlike Evasion Mode Prime, this one comes with the classic two smoke stacks, so it looks even more like G1 Optimus Prime in this mode. Anyway, the engineering of this transformation is nothing short of astounding.

Nothing much more I can write here that the pictures don’t tell better. The truck has extending smoke stacks, unfolding side mirrors, and the general level of detail looks fantastic. Sure, you kind of see the robot mode feet on the back of it, but it’s not that noticeable. The gas tank gun splits to become the gas tanks and you’re done. A beautiful and (I have to say that again for emphasis) surprisingly small truck mode, given the size of the robot.

Missing Parts: Now Commander usually comes with a ton of accessories: an axe, a shield, two arm blades, and a gun made from his gas tanks, plus an alternate head without the mouth guard. Given that this figure here is a replacement (see below), it comes without most of these parts.

Remarks: It was a grey and rainy day in Kansas. Nothing at all like the sunny beaches of San Diego. But hey, if you’re a German guy visiting the US, then making the short hop from California to Kansas to visit a buddy is pretty much a must. So I entered Caked-Up’s humble abode, loaded down with a ton of German candy as a present, and received a present in turn: the Wei Jiang Commander. Wow, what a beautiful figure, even for someone like me who isn’t necessarily a Bayformers fan. Caked-Up got this one as a spare without accessories, but got me a replacement gun in transparent red so Commander wouldn’t go completely unarmed.

Now granted, this figure is basically an oversized knock-off of Evasion Mode Optimus Prime, there is no denying that. The term knock-off implies something of cheap quality, though, which this figure certainly isn’t. Wei Jiang took an already very good figure, scaled it up, made it more detailed, and gave us a Masterpiece-sized beauty. Recommended to Movie-fans and all those who loved Evasion Mode Optimus Prime.

Rating: A-
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