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On 12th May 2022, a friend of a friend (on the inside at LEGO) tweeted an image of the box for an as yet unannounced LEGO Optimus Prime. My mate sent it to me but by the time I followed the link, it’d been [quickly] removed. You see, as I mentioned earlier, the set hadn’t officially been revealed (though I believe leaked by a third party site around the same time) and given this chap worked either for LEGO or was closely affiliated on a professional level, this was a mega nish nish. However, this still didn’t stop me (and the fanbases) from losing my / our mind(s) over it and immediately messaging fellow collector buds about it. Fast forward to the official release date of 1st June and boom, I stay true to my “this is a day 1 purchase for me” statement and immediately commit. At £149.99, it’s not cheap, granted, however, with 1508 pieces, I personally felt this to be a good value set; especially given the amount of suggested playability. If you’ve got some LEGO VIP points sitting around, all the better!


Building is the Right of All Sentient Beings

This is what I and I assume many other fans are hoping will be the first in a series of LEGO Transformers toys. LEGO’s use of licensing (to originally save its own brand from demise in the 90s) is second to none.  They have collaborated with license holders of Star Wars, Back to The Future, Ghostbusters and Harry Potter to name but a few.  The latter brands of which have seen a resurgence on the big and small screens over recent years, so you could argue that it was only inevitable that LEGO would team up with [1] Hasbro to create a Transformers set.

The first thing that struck me was the incredible G1 aesthetic and packaging design. It is glorious and immediately evokes nostalgia in us middle-aged blokes who grew up with the series and this character.  For everyone else, it’s probably just a pleasant looking piece of packaging.

Once I started inspecting the details of the set, I noticed that the box states that the model transforms, which is an extremely important factor, given that the only (current) competitor to this set – the KREO Optimus Prime – needs to be dissembled and rebuilt into its cab form. Another key difference for me, which leverages the LEGO set over the KREO, is that LEGO have followed the G1 aesthetic whereas KREO seemed to follow the Michael Bayformers / modern Transformers’ aesthetics. Both have their fans of course but given I’m one of those middle-aged blokes who grew up with [2] Transformers from the beginning, in my eyes this was always going to win in the proverbial war between the old and the new.


Instructicons, ATTACK!

The single instruction booklet provided (some pages from which are pictured) is 170 pages long and begins with some beautifully reproduced (I assume) artwork, factoids – including his stats from the original 1984 figure – some new artwork, photography and a ‘foreword’ from the set’s designer (or one of I imagine), Joseph Patrick Kyde. There are also some fun factoids about Transformers dotted through the booklet; such as:

Energon is the primary commodity for Transformers Society; as it can used for food, energy and currency.

So, the more you know, as the U.S. cartoon PSA’s used to say. Aside from that, the instructions are typical LEGO fair with well thought out, easy to follow and well illustrated steps.


Transform and Roll Out!

Once built, the transformation, thankfully, is pretty simplistic and can probably be deciphered without the instructions. In fact, the transformation is almost identical to its original G1 toy counterpart. The fact it can do this goes further to justify the price tag.  This is a bona fide Transformer in that sense and from what I can tell, has been added by many to their general Optimus Prime collections.

Now for a contradiction: the transformation process, whilst relatively simple, can be a bit tricky due to some of the somewhat fragile connections. The section with the transparent red piece on the feet kept popping off for me whenever I transformed the feet or generally tried to reposition them.  The ‘love handles’ would pop off easily also.  However, this may just be in my case and being careful with it alleviated the issue.

The wheels have a lovely spin on them, which allows the cab to actually drive, for those so inclined.  But alas for the more discerning builder, some of the cracks begin to show here.  Literally. The arms don’t fit snugly into the body leaving small gaps, and the rear of the arms don’t actually close in on themselves fully, also leaving a gap. The side windows are just openings (part of the design which is unavoidable sadly, thus forgivable) and for whatever reason, it took a minute to get Prime’s blaster to sit between his legs, ahem. But when it did, it looked very neat and tidy and finished the piece off well.  The only thing we need now is a transformable trailer!

Midriff, arms and hands are put into position before swivelling the entire torso around, before flipping it down to meet the legs in an extremely similar fashion to the original 1984 toy.

Fantastic little details built into the design. Here, we see how the lower legs click into each other.

The flipped down cab, ready for the head to be rotated over and hidden and the hands to be folded in on themselves and the arms then folded into torso to form the cab.

 


Gripesimus Prime (okay okay, that title isn’t great. I’ll workshop it)! 

And now for the issues: there are some and whether they bother you or not will be fairly subjective I feel.

My first problem is with the head.  Whilst the building part is enjoyable, the end result doesn’t sit well with me. There are two main problems I have with it: The ears and the eyes. The vertical pieces that the ears are attached have an unsightly gap between them and the centre vertical thingy. Aesthetically, it looks like someone took a thick butter knife and carved vertical lines out of the head on either side. This also makes the head appear longer and, while typically an elongated face is more [1]desirable, I’ve always preferred (ironically) the blockier, chunkier look of Prime’s head.  The length is also exaggerated when looking at it in profile. It just looks a tad too thin to me.

And as for the eyes, they just seem a little too close together. The printing on the eyes (and indeed the entire figure) is great, but the lack of a printed nose across the plate under his eyes just doesn’t help the look. But, as I mentioned earlier, these are subjective issues and things that bother me personally. In no way do they really detract from the overall thing.

Onto gripe number 2 and I found that certain pieces, particularly during attempted transformation, would simply detach, with this particular brake light being a persistent nuisance. I do reckon however that this is not an attribute of the set and simply an isolated scenario. I hope!

The below image shows an example of the gaps that form once Prime has been transformed.

Some other minor issues I found were, again, with his arms, and particularly with the Energon Axe. It’s a great looking accessory, however, the click joints for the arms just aren’t strong enough to be able to hold a pose properly. The arm either at the shoulder or the elbow tends to flop down when Prime is holding either his blaster or his Energon Axe. The Axe fits using the cross stick piece [insert correct name here] and interchanging between the hand and axe was a bit of an annoyance as, if you weren’t careful enough with it, it would come apart near the point it connects into the forearm (with the base part of the axe remaining firmly in place).  Again, this may be something that’s not a universal issue but alas, it was certainly an issue for me.

And final gripe I have is the fact that the piece joining the [hollow ish] torso to the rather robust and solid legs is also too weak. The two would come apart quite easily whenever I tried to move the figure, so it’s advisable that if / when you do move him, you do so by supporting the torso with you fingers on the underside of the crotch.

Aside from those few things, he’s doesn’t have many issues at all and I can’t stress enough how clever this design is.


Accessories

The set comes with 4 buildable accessories: Prime’s blaster, his Energon Axe, an Energon Cube and an information stand. All are decent builds, with the blaster and axe the most involved and most fun. Alas there’s no way to display or store any of these on Prime, aside from the blaster being inserted between Prime’s legs in truck mode. Let’s hope WickedBrick develop a new case that can house all of these. Prime also comes with two grey midriff plates, both requiring stickers. The first, his yellow plate and the second is of his grey plate that, actually, in KREO style, you have to swap out when you transform him from one mode to the other. I’m personally not a fan of using sticker sheets so this isn’t something I’ve had to contend with, but it’s nice to have the option.


Light Our Darkest Hour… only without The Matrix

I was fortunate enough to be given a LeLightGo (use thebrickpost20 for 10%) Light kit to accompany this build. Being my first, it took me a little while to install but as you can see from the images, the final effect is worth it. There are two versions of the kits available; a standard lighting kit and a more advanced one that produces sounds and comes with an infrared remote control.

The kit was reasonably straightforward to install, much to my surprise. I have zero experience with such things and yet the instructions (provided as a PDF) were fairly easy to follow. The kit comes with certain pieces, such as the shoulder lights etc, pre-installed inside replacement studs. Items like the eyes and circuit boards come with adhesive backings which are stuck to various parts of the figure and all are concealed well bar one connector piece, which needs to be adhered to the back of Prime’s ‘crotch’. Unfortunately, very specific wire lengths won’t allow for any manoeuvrability here. Speaking of manoeuvrability, I found that Prime’s head lost some poseability after the eye lights were installed, due to the wires on the right side of his head. This is unfortunate and of the very few downsides to this kit. Another problem I found was that the cable to attach the speaker to the circuit board was much shorter than as shown in the instructions. But with a little fiddling and some forcing, the connector went into the circuit board and all worked fine.

Another downside (which is also unavoidable from what I can tell) is that the circuit board and speaker needs to be fitted into the chest cavity where the Matrix would normally sit.  Once those two parts are in, unfortunately there is zero room to house The Matrix. Finally, regarding gripes, the kit is supposedly designed in a way to have it fitted and still transform the figure.  Unfortunately, this isn’t fully the case, as the jetpack needs to be removed for transformation, so you’ll find yourself unplugging the jetpack lights every time you wanted to transform Prime. Now, if you’re like me, you’ll likely just keep this guy in robot mode so there’s no need to worry about breaking the seemingly delicate connectors by constantly un-plugging and plugging them. The same goes with the Energon Axe but again I’m not massively keen on it due to the aforementioned weight of it hindering poseability. The Axe does look great lit up though but it’s not something I’d want on show with Prime, as the blaster looks cleaner in / on his Arm.

In terms of audio, there are a number of ‘tracks’ the kit comes with. There’s a combination of music and numerous sound effects but sadly, no voice. I feel not including some of Peter Cullen’s original, iconic lines is a missed opportunity. Instead, you’ll be able to play Unicron’s Medley from the ’86 film, the original ’84 opening credits theme music, the classic transforming sound, and a series of sound effects ranging from the backpack firing up and the truck’s turrets / engine sound. There are some various sound effects too which I can’t quite discern and will likely never use.

The volume can also be adjusted as well as the brightness levels, so there’s good functionality with this kit. Overall, I’d say it’s a worthy addition to the set, providing the minor hindrances I’ve mentioned don’t bother you.

To grab a Lelightgo light kit for yourself please click here, also enter thebrickpost20 for 10% off toy order!


Over and out!

The LEGO Transformers Optimus Prime (10302) set is definitely an essential purchase for transformers fans (though you don’t need me to tell you that) and a good value kit for casual builders. At 35cm tall in robot mode, he’s impressive to look at and there’s tonnes of poseability – though worth noting there’s no posing at the knee joints other than a swivel – so he wouldn’t look out of place with say, your MP and / or third party figures like Transform Elements Prime for example.

The colours are G1 screen accurate, vibrant and just gorgeous to look at. The printed portions such as the eyes, yellow forearm triangle wotsits, and the Autobot logos look amazing.

The figure is packed with details, surprisingly built up using pieces, like the silver wedges used to build up the vents on his shins and feet.  The translucent pieces also add to the vibrancy of the overall figure and there’s decent detail in the turrets. Even the hands are built up in a way that can be posed and naturally, the wheels roll smoothly.

Is the head a bit odd looking?  Sure, to some. Are some joints a bit flimsy? Yup, they are indeed. Are there mildly unsightly gaps here and there? There are. Does any of that really matter? Not really, because the pros, such as its overall proportions, the colours, the excellent design allowing Prime to actually transform, its wealth of playability among other things, vastly outweigh the cons.

This is by far one of the best kits I’ve bought in recent months and I’d be surprised if many disagreed. And the additional LeLightGo light kit will be the icing on the cake for many I’m sure. All we need now, aside from a little Energon and a lot of luck, is a G1 Megatron to face Prime off against so that fans can recreate the classic Sherman Dam fight from the original series and their classic face-off from the 1986 animated film.

Man, I cannot wait. Get on it LEGO!


product-image

LEGO Transformers Optimus Prime (10302) and LeLightGo Light Kit

9.1

Hits
  • Playability
  • Retro Awesomeness
  • Accessories
Misses
  • Loose/Clumsy fixings
  • Truck mode could be better
  • Head proportions

Review

The Box 10
The Build 8
The Minifigures 0
The Cost (£149.99) 9
The Lights (LeLightGo) 8.5

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Rutvig Vaid
Rutvig Vaid is an actor, producer and artist, who also dabbles in retro awesomeness and LEGO!

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