Altered States Magazine - July 2002

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    Toy Review
    Air Attack Optimus Primal

    By Daniel "Suspsy" Suh, Guest Reviewer

    ASM Quick Facts

    Name: Air Attack Optimus Primal
    Toyline: Transformers: Robots in Disguise
    Class: Supreme
    Availability: Toys R Us Exclusive
    Price: $29.99 (US)
    Grade: 10 out of 10

    A curse on Supreme Cheetor. Bad enough that he was a sub-par toy, but his poor sales nearly quashed any chances of Air Attack Optimus Primal being released. Fortunately, the runaway success of "Transformers: Robots In Disguise", along with fan demand, convinced Hasbro that it would be safe to ship the toy as a Toys R Us exclusive.

    Robot Mode: At 12" (31 cm) tall and 8.6" (22 cm) wide at the shoulders, very few Transformers come bigger than Air Attack Optimus Primal, or "Suprimal" as some fans call him. He's mostly metallic gray-brown with translucent forearms, gold shoulder pads, beige for his upper torso and shin guards, a brilliant gold chest plate, flesh tone fingers, and various red, blue, gold, and flesh tone highlights. The sculpting on this toy is nothing short of excellent. From his shaggy gorilla fur to the white markings on his forearms, from the creases on his fingernails to the translucent blue "flames" on his back, and from his patterned chest plate with a Maximal symbol etched into it to his dead-on accurate head, this is truly the most impressive-looking Optimus Primal toy ever, quite unmistakable as the character from the "Beast Machines" ("BM") TV series. His face is moulded in an open mouth expression, as though he were talking or roaring or singing. (Hey, he did sing once in "Beast Wars" ["BW"].)

    Despite having a huge upper body and relatively small feet, Primal stands tall and firm. He has all the standard BW/BM joints: ratchet-jointed shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, head, wrists, waist, and ankles. His left elbow has swivel and ratchet joints, but the right elbow only has a ratchet joint, probably due to its power punching action. And what's really neat is that, aside from his thumbs, each of Primal's fingers has two joints! He can pompously wag his index finger. He can give the "devil's horns" while grinding to some heavy metal. The only annoying thing is that due to the positioning of his thumbs, Primal can't make a proper closed fist.

    Now for his gimmicks. Pushing on his chest plate activates a red light in its center and a high-pitched jet engine sound, followed by a weird thrumming that lasts for about 15 seconds. During this time, you can do one of several things:

    • Push down on Primal's head to see it light up green and to hear three lines from voice actor and all-around cool guy Garry Chalk: a battle cry, "Maximized!" and "The seeds of the future lie buried in the past." This last line is delivered in a somewhat exasperated tone, as though Garry was trying to explain Primal's philosophy to someone who just wasn't getting it.
    • Pulling back the spring-loaded right arm and releasing it causes Primal to grunt as he knocks your block off.
    • Pushing in the white tab in the middle of Primal's back launches a translucent blue disc from his chest accompanied by a firing sound. The disc travels about a meter or so. Once it's launched, you can still make firing sounds by pushing the tab repeatedly.
    • Pressing a small gray button on his back deploys his jet pack, complete with engine sounds, light-up red thrusters, and translucent blue exhaust flames. In addition, the pitch of the engine sound changes depending on how you're holding Primal. Holding him vertical gives off the highest pitch, horizontal is medium, and upside down gives off the lowest.

    All in all, this is one totally awesome robot mode. Although, he does look weird with a set of gorilla buttocks behind his head.

    Transformation: Fairly easy to figure out. The shoulder pads rotate and fold down, the waist and legs rotate around, the legs fold up, robot feet fold in and gorilla feet fold out, the upper body section swings down 180 degrees, and the chest plates slides out and flips over. (The left arm fell off while I was transforming him back to robot mode, but it snaps right back into place, thankfully.)

    Gorilla Mode: Move over, Donkey Kong. In this mode, Primal stands 9" (23 cm) tall when fully upright. He retains the same color scheme of his robot mode, along with a white mane, metallic beige face and teeth, translucent blue eyes, and a mysterious translucent blue sphere inside his mouth. The gorilla face is moulded into a threatening snarl, and while it looks good, it doesn't really resemble the one on the show. The robot mode shoulder pads have become arm guards, and are jointed to move with the form of the arms. The translucent chest plate features a half sphere with a Maximal symbol carved into it. Visible beneath the chest plate is a translucent blue orb, which could be conceived as a Spark crystal.

    Pushing on the chest plate in this mode again activates the thrumming sound and causes the entire Spark to light up red. The gorilla head also lights up red when pushed and utters new two phrases: "Optimus, Maximize!" and "ARRRGH!!" The launcher with firing sound still works in the mode, although it's a bit unnerving to see the disc shooting out of Primal's neck. The power punch also still works, but the accompanying grunt sound does not, at least not on mine.

    Overall, Susp Sez: Well, it took more than a year for this toy to be released, but I'd say it was well worth the wait. Between his impressive size, superb detail, landmark gimmicks (he's the first Transformer to have sounds taken directly from the show), and articulated fingers, I can objectively say that Air Attack Optimus Primal is one of the best and most fun Transformer toys ever. It'll be hard for Hasbro to top this chimp.

    Final Grade: 10/10

    Daniel would like to thank go out to Superspy for sending him this toy.


      Copyright © 2002 Altered States Magazine
    A SkyJammer Enterprises Publication