RA-24 Buster Optimus Prime
Some say patience is a virtue, I say, patience is an awesome repainted version of Optimus Prime. For those of you that awaited agonizingly for months for this release, congratulations the wait have finally paid off!!
Summary of the plot:
“It is revealed that thousands of years ago there was a race of ancient Transformers who scoured the universe looking for energon sources. Known as the Dynasty of Primes, they used machines called Sun Harvesters to drain stars of their energy in order to convert it to energon and power Cybertron’s AllSpark. The Primes agreed that life-bearing worlds would be spared, but in 17,000 BC, one brother, thereafter dubbed “The Fallen”, constructed a Sun Harvester on Earth. The remaining brothers thus sacrificed their bodies in order to hide the Matrix of Leadership—the key that activates the Sun Harvester—from The Fallen, who swore to seek revenge upon Earth…more”
Name: Buster Optimus Prime
Manufacturer: Takara Tomy
Line: Transformers Movie Leader Class
Material: ABS, PVC, PC
Release: Nov 2009
Original Price: ¥7,800 (approx. $91.56AUD / $85USD)
Height: 260mm / 10.24inches
Different to the 2007 release Leader Class figures, the box is now rectangular with Egyptian symbols used as graphics to reference the theme of the 2009 movie. Box material is flimsy but with so many layers it somehow holds together okay. I’ve never been a fan of the movie line packaging, for some reason I always feel the packaging is more complicated than it really needs to be. This being the Japanese version it also comes with Japanese instructions and promo material. An interesting note, there are no Hasbro markings or information printed on the packaging, the Takara Tomy logo and the Japanese Transformers label is printed on, not stickers.
Buster Optimus Prime comes with his ion blaster which is transformed from the fuel tanks and lower smoke stacks, it can be separated and clipped to the back of Prime in robot mode when not in use. The ion blaster is beautifully painted in silver with burnt effect on the end of the barrel, a very nice touch.
Robot Mode: Often in the movies, especially with CG characters, the proportions will be designed and shown in a way that makes the biggest impact on screen. But when it comes to translating this to toys, it’s a very difficult task as there are real life dimensions and physical limitations to consider. Taking this into account, Takara Tomy have done an amazing job this time round with this figure making him look very close to the onscreen version in robot mode. Although not as sleek as the onscreen counterpart, Optimus is no longer boxy looking and (like it or not) really captures the complex essence of Michael Bay’s vision of the character.
Only a couple of things I can spot that are still letting the figure down in robot mode. Although much more compact than the previous version, Optimus still carries around a fairly large “backpack”. The shoulders are much broader than the onscreen version which makes the proportions slightly odd. The ratchet joints on the hips and knees makes it difficult for Optimus to be placed in a natural looking neutral stance, he looks rigid due to the spacing of the ratchets. Last and possibly the most annoying thing for me is the use of solid hands, they’ve made away with articulated fingers which to me is a step backwards from the 2007 version.
Vehicle Mode: I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this mode, it faithfully resembles the Peterbilt Model #379 of which the alt mode is based on (albeit some minor detail changes for the sake of making it into a toy). In truck mode, everything connects and clips together firmly in the end giving you a very solid truck mode.
Individually speaking, all the limbs have a good range of articulation, all joints are ratchet type and nice and tight. Put them all together in an action figure with a complex design such as this, and you immediately start seeing problems and the biggest one is in the shoulder and forearm region. When the energy swords are retracted, they stick out the back of the forearms so much that if you try to straighten the arms, they will hit the shoulder pads. All together Optimus Prime has 21 points of articulations, but there is still no waist joint and the head only has horizontal movement.
Finally we get to the most outstanding part of this figure and the main reason why purchased this guy. All the grey bits have now been painted silver with the addition of some chrome plating to boot. Chrome plating can be found on the truck grill and bumper as well as the windscreen sunshades. Unfortunately in robot mode, you only get to see the sunshade chrome bit which resides on the chest.
The flame paint job has been replicated and receives an additional silver border adding to detail. The majority of the blue and red parts are still moulded in colour which I don’t mind so much on this figure. Overall the paint is generously and well applied, however there is much less chrome than the previous MA-21 version, even the wheels in this case only gets silver paint, and sadly no rubber tyres.
This particular version of Optimus comes with an open face sculpt head, some may not like it and prefer the traditional closed face sculpt but I for one don’t mind it at all. The energy swords flip out by sliding a button on the inside forearm.
Few other gimmicks can be found on this toy, including the new Mech Alive mechanism which can be activated by pressing on a button on the lower chest of Optimus. When pressed, the body armour moves, LEDs in the chest flashes and a voice says “I’m Optimus Prime”. In truck mode, you can also activate flashing LEDs and a truck engine sound with a button at the back of the sleeper compartment. One more sound can be activated when you transform Optimus, when the waist part is connected / disconnected the transforming effect sound will be played.
Size wise, the Leader Class Optimus is shorter that the Masterpiece version by about 4cm in robot mode, and in truck mode they look to be very similar in scale. He also looks to be perfect in size with the Human Alliance Bumblebee toy.
Although I don’t see any transformation difficulty rating for this guy, I can tell you it’s not easy at all. I’ve included photos of a few major steps of the transformation which I hope will help illustrate the complex design of this toy. Starting from a standing position, un-clip the waist, feet, thighs and place on the ground. This will form the base of the truck which will eventually take shape.
This is a really great toy, especially being an all new repaint version with a new weapon. I would recommend this highly to anyone who collects transformers, however if you’re not a fan of the open face design, a twin pack Buster Optimus Prime with the closed face sculpt head and Jetfire is also available. In the meantime check out Hobby Search or HLJ for your very own RA-24 Optimus before they become rare and hard to find!
Thanks for reading my toy review!