Review: Transformers AOE Voyager Optimus Prime (Evasion Mode)

Another Transformers film brings with it another slew of Optimus Prime toys for collectors to groan about. This time around, Optimus at least has an all-new design, which means that the old Revenge of the Fallen Leader figure can’t stand in as well anymore. This new design can be found in toy form in AOE’s own Leader-class figure, but we’ll take a look at it soon enough. However, before Prime gets his makeover, he’s still in his original trilogy body, but since he’s on the run from scary government men with black SUVs and gravelly voices, he has to take on a new alternate mode. What alternate mode is that? Why, only his 1984 G1 alternate mode, of course!

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Vehicle Mode

Yes, they found a way to fit the Movie Optimus Prime design into the space of the old G1 cab-over, despite it apparently not being possible seven years ago. Either design engineering has improved a lot in that time, or they lied to us all those years ago (both seem equally likely). Evasion Mode Optimus is slavishly G1, from the silver stripe on the cab to the solid blue rear half and all the various small details. The most notable difference is that Evasion OP only has one smokestack, which I assume is accurate to the film… and one of the only things that are. In the film, Optimus’s Evasion form is an extremely rusty, bullet-ridden truck with the same flame details iconic to the movie character (though very faded and rusted). For the sake of a more attractive toy, Hasbro has opted to go straight-up G1, and I can’t fault them for that. This is a really nice truck mode. It’s not terribly large, but keeping in mind that it unfolds into a very good-sized Voyager, it can be excused. You can store his accessory on one of the pegholes on the roof or rear of the truck, but like most weapon storage in this line, it looks dumb.

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Transformation

When Hasbro announced they would focus on making toys that are easier to transform and less complex overall, they were clearly not talking about Evasion Mode Optimus Prime. As you can see from my crude gif, the cab of the truck more or less explodes, then inverts itself completely to form Prime’s torso. Getting him into vehicle mode is an absolute puzzle of the most challenging degree, but in a fun and enjoyable way, not in a way that makes the toy frustrating and tempts you to throw it against the wall like DOTM Leader Sentinel Prime. After a few transformations, you start to get a feel about how everything works and what order you have to go in to make everything work. The arms are particularly tricky to get into truck mode position, and you really do have to fiddle with it. The result, however, is well worth the effort.

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Robot Mode

Through some sort of black magic, this Optimus Prime transformers rom an incredibly faithful G1 truck mode to an incredibly faithful movie trilogy robot mode. The level of detail on this figure to make him accurate to the CGI model is astounding, and especially cool as much of it is faux-vehicle parts, such as the tanks on his shoulders and the smokestacks protruding off his back, both key elements of the movie Optimus Prime but not seen on this alternate mode. The sculpt of this figure is near-perfect, with its only flaw being the arms, plagued with being rather small due to their needing to cram into a very crammed truck cab. Despite that, they still look fairly proportionate. The head is particularly gorgeous, and is easily the best sculpt of movie Prime’s unmasked face we’ve ever seen on a toy. The only real bummer of this figure is its paint, which highlights itself in two particular areas. His feet are molded in grey plastic, which would make for a more accurate robot mode, but have been painted over blue in order for a better-looking truck mode. I honestly can’t decide if that was a good choice or not, but leaving them grey would have saved a lot of paint that could have gone to his upper-thigh plates (that should be blue, but are unpainted) or the red panels that jut out of his shoulders that should be grey. The shoulders are the other point of contention. Only the shoulder panel should be blue and the upper arm grey, but since they’re one molded piece with no paint, it’s entirely blue, which leaves the arms looking a bit odd. His fists are also the same as his feet, being molded in grey but painted blue. This is less explainable, but maybe it was done for G1 accuracy? Thankfully, the Takara release does fix all these problems, at the cost of a nearly-tripled price point. Well, you know what they say about cake.

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Colors aside, Evasion Optimus is loaded with articulation. His head is on a very expressive ball joint, and his neck is mounted on a pivoting joint to allow him to better look up and down. His shoulders are on unhindered universal joints, though his elbows are slightly odd: they utilize a transformation joint that has a very good, almost double-jointed range, but the sculpt always has his elbows bent at a slight angle. If you straighten his arms out, panels of the truck rood start to emerge from his elbows and break up the sculpt. It’s hardly a problem, but is another example of how a lot of his arms had to be sacrificed for the sake of the toy. He does, contrary to early fandom worries, have wrist swivels. He also has a waist joint, which seems to be a rarity in the line, as well as universal hip joints (the wheels can flip down to get out of the way), hinged knees with a bend slightly greater than 90 degrees, and his ankles can tilt back and forth very well and sideways a decent amount. He also has a transformation joint mid-shin that can be used for extra posing, though it does break up the sculpt and make it look like he broke his leg real bad.

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Special mention goes out to Optimus’s sole accessory… that isn’t even his. Evasion Mode Optimus Prime actually comes packed in with none other than the elephant-slaying shotgun wielded by Megatron in Dark of the Moon. Yes, Prime does appear to use this weapon in AOE (for some reason), and the figure can hold it via the oddly-placed 5mm peg halfway down the gun, but if you look at the weapon’s molded handle, you see a suspicious long, thin peg… that happens to fit perfectly in the hand of DOTM Voyager Megatron. This is an absolutely brilliant accessory and is almost reason alone for buying this figure. DOTM Megatron is easily the best Movie Megatron toy, and now it has the one thing that it was missing (other than size). Bravo.

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Overall

Just last week we learned that this toy was designed by none other than Hironori Kobayashi, the man responsible for such mind-numbingly intricate figures as Masterpiece Megatron and Rodimus Prime. While Evasion Mode Optimus Prime is thankfully nowhere near as complex, the designer’s style is still evident. This is a very impressive Transformers toy, and one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. Just the novelty of a near-flawless G1 truck mode converting into a near-flawless movie trilogy  robot mode is worth a pickup. The sculpt is amazing, and while the colors are a bit of a bummer, you have a few options. This is easily the best toy of the Age of Extinction line. Don’t let this one slip under your radar just for being another Optimus Prime. Be sure you get at least one of the many versions of this guy out there– you won’t regret it.

Where to Buy

  • Everywhere at retail.
  • Amazon
  • BBTS (Takara version)
  • BBTS (Takara Rusted version)
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