Sunday 28 March 2021

Optimus Prime (Armada, 2002)

Profile (Translated from Takara's Version)
 MC-06 STD Convoy General Commander
“All sentient beings should enjoy freedom!”
The commander of the Cybertron forces possesses courage, wisdom and a heart of justice. Stands read to protect the freedom of others. Dislikes fighting, but when necessary enemies fall before his incredible power.
PWR...9.0; INT...10.0; SPD...10.0; END...10.0; RNK...10.0; CRG...10.0; FPR...8.0; TECH...10.0

Transformers Armada marked a new beginning for the Transformers toy line with both Hasbro and Takara working together on the same series. This certainly raised the hopes of many and following on from the amazing Car Robots / Robots in Disguise (RiD) line I couldn't wait to see what was coming up.

In 2002 there were reissues for collectors being released with Hasbro's Commemorative Series and Takara's Transformers Collection Series and with the new series Hasbro and Takara needed to concentrate on younger audiences. The earlier Car Robots / RiD figures had been criticised for being too complicated which is what Transformers Armada addressed. The main focus of the line were small Transformers called Mini-Con's (or Microns in Japan) which could attach to larger transformer figures via ports which could activate gimmicks. Each Transformer came packaged with a Mini-Con partner and the Mini-Cons were also sold in sets of three.

The new size classes were Mini-Con (Basic), Super-Con (Deluxe), Max-Con (Ultra) and Giga-Con. The "Super Base" Optimus Prime and "Supreme" Unicron were alone in their size classes. The Super Base Optimus Prime was touted as the must have figure of the series and on paper it looked great but in hand compared to the previous years RiD Optimus Prime (Super Fire Convoy) it was certainly lacking. Because of the gimmicks the figure suffered with poor articulation and an odd looking super robot mode. Luckily however Optimus Prime was also released in the Super-Con price point and this is a much better figure and still looks great to this day.

The initial releases of Super-Con Optimus Prime did not have the Autobot emblem but this was corrected with later releases. I own both versions but the figure pictured is the earlier release without the Autobot logo. Although the Super-Con Optimus Prime was without the trailer, it came with a new Mini-Con figure named Over-Run which was a grey jet that could also turn into a hand held weapon as well as a robot.

Optimus Prime does look sleek in the semi-cab mode and also has the advantage over the more expensive version by not having robot mode hands peeking out of the back of vehicle mode.

If you owned both the Super Base and Super-Con Optimus Prime, you can attach the trailer to the Super-Con version which is a nice touch, and overall they are reasonably well proportioned. The Super-Con Optimus Prime also has a port on the trailer hitch where you can attach Over-Run in his gun mode.

Transformation to robot mode is identical to the Super Base version, however the robot mode is far superior. It not only looks much better, even by today's standards, but it is one of the most articulated figures from the Armada series. Optimus Prime has a waist swivel and even a slight ankle tilt. Unlike the Super Base version when you fold down the front grille in robot mode there is no moulded in Matrix of Leadership. The head sculpt is fantastic and is far superior to the Super Base version.

The forearm smokestacks do detach but unlike the Super Base version they don't combine into a hand held gun. Over-Run or any other Mini-Con can attach to the port on Optimus' back to activate the "punching" gimmick by moving the peg up and down. Optimus can also hold Over-Run in his gun mode.

Overall this is a great figure and well worth hunting down; in my opinion next to Unicron, this is the best figure from the Armada series. There are various repaints of this mould to track down as well:-

MC-06 STD Convoy (Takara, 2002)

Source: eBay

MD-EX Scourge (Takara, 2003, TV Magazine Mail Order Limited to 5,000 pieces)

Source: eBay

MC-EX Crystal Convoy (Takara, 2003, TV Magazine Mail Order Limited to 5,000 pieces)

Source: eBay

Nemesis Prime (Hasbro, 2003)

Ultra Magnus (Hasbro, 2004)

Optimus Prime (Hasbro, 2006)

Source: eBay

Battle for the Cyber Planet Keys (Hasbro, 2008)

Source: eBay

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