Like Garfield’s inability to resist lasagna, or ALF’s obsessive craving for cats, LEGO has joined forces with Hasbro to create a new set that will be completely irresistible to children of the ‘80s who can now budget sizeable chunks of their incomes to scratch nostalgic itches: behold Lego Optimus Prime.
Even though children’s cartoon programming in the ‘80s was really nothing more than half-hour animated commercials created to sell toys, Optimus Prime almost immediately became an icon of leadership, bravery, and not just a symbol of aspiration for trucks, but an entire generation of kids. That generation is now grown up and undoubtedly eager to drop $259.99 on what may be one of the best ‘80s toy mashups to date. Is it expensive? Yes. Do you think you can resist it? Good luck, because LEGO’s done an impressive job at recreating everyone’s favourite intergalactic truckbot.
1,508 pieces deliver a solid amount of articulation
Standing over 13.5 inches tall, the 1,508-piece LEGO Optimus isn’t quite as tall as the 2,321-piece Lego Voltron was, but it’s a towering model nevertheless, with a surprising amount of articulation and lots of movement in Optimus’ arms and hips. And unlike the original G1 Optimus Prime Transformers toy, this version features better body proportions, based on the character’s appearance in the animated Transformers cartoon.
Optimus Transforms just like the original ‘80s-era toy did
Can you really have a Transformer made out of LEGO that doesn’t transform? Of course not, that’s sacrilege. LEGO’s designers not only managed to design a model of Optimus that transforms from robot to truck mode and back without requiring any disassembly (LEGO Voltron needed a bit of this), they also recreated the same transformation steps the original ‘80s toy used. You simply swing Optimus’ legs back (with an added 180-degree hip twist), flip back his head, push his shoulders back, tuck his forearms in, and you’re in truck mode. LEGO even managed to improve the original with hands that fold away and hide behind the truck’s grill, instead of needing to be completely removed.
One detail you may have missed, but LEGO didn’t
LEGO’s version of Optimus Prime is mostly based on the character as it appeared in the original ‘80s animated series, and sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed that when in robot form, Optimus had orange accents on his waist, but in truck mode, they became a grey bumper. For those demanding extreme accuracy and authenticity, LEGO has included a pair of 2×6 tiles with different stickers — one with orange graphics and one with grey — that can be swapped whenever Optimus is transformed.
The set includes the Matrix of Leadership…
No one knows exactly what the Matrix of Leadership is, but it’s an important part of being an Autobot, and it’s what makes a Prime a Prime. Just like the animated version, LEGO’s Optimus keeps the Matrix of Leadership safely tucked away inside his chest, but it can be removed by swinging open the truck’s windshield windows like a pair of doors.
…and Optimus Prime’s energon-axe
We’re not entirely sure why this weapon never made an appearance after the first season of the original Transformers animated series: maybe animating a glowing axe made of pure energy turned out to be a budget buster? Whatever the reason, we’re glad LEGO has included it here, built from transparent parts that replace Optimus’ right or left hand when he’s ready for some hand-to-hand combat.
…and Optimus Prime’s iconic ion blaster
We might be just as excited at the level of detail Lego put into Optimus’ trusty ion blaster as it did for the rest of the model. Optimus’ articulated fingers aren’t strong enough to hold it, so LEGO cleverly made it securely attach to either arm using a pair of exposed studs instead, with the blaster’s grip perfectly lining up with his fingers which can be closed around it.
…and an Energon Cube
Even intelligent sentient robots need a steady source of power. For the Transformers that was Energon Cubes, not Duracells, which also served as everything from food to currency. Optimus Prime includes one built from a mix of transparent and opaque parts, which isn’t entirely screen accurate, but a welcome addition.
…and a jetpack
Besides not being evil, the other thing that set most of the Autobots apart from the Decepticons was they lacked the ability to fly. The solution to that problem was to give Optimus Prime a jetpack in the cartoon (borrowed from Sideswipe) which temporarily let him take to the skies. The Lego version includes no flying capabilities, but it does help cover up some of the exposed hinges and other components on the back of Optimus that let him transform.
Officially available June 1
The Autobots and Decepticons lay dormant for 50 years after crashing to Earth, but you only have to wait three weeks to grab this set. It’s officially available starting on June 1 for $259.99 from LEGO’s website and its brick and mortar stores.
This article has been updated since it was first published.
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