FEATURE: OMNI CLASS Optimus Prime [Age of Extinction]
In the recent years, Hasbro has been more aggressive promoting the Transformers brand and as such, has been issuing licenses to more official third party figure manufacturers. All they require is that these releases don’t have any transformation gimmick as it will intervene with Hasbro’s Transformers business. This gave rise to figures being released by the likes of Hot Toys and threeA, each providing their own take on these very iconic characters. It’s no surprise that Comicave Studios, a relative newcomer in the high-end collectible market, would also want to expand their market base outside their Iron Man-based figures by also acquiring the Transformers license. And as result, here is their first foray into the Transformers brand. Released as part of their Omni Class line, but at 1/22 scale instead of the more common 1/12, is Optimus Prime from TRANSFORMERS Age of Extinction.
First and foremost, Comicave Studios made an excellent decision in choosing to do Optimus Prime as he appeared in Age of Extinction. It is a design that’s impossible to perfectly execute in a transformable figure without any kibble that it would be more practical as a non-transformer. Furthermore, it allowed Comicave Studios to really deck out on their attention to detail as this design is very intricate thanks to the whole Michael Bay aesthetic. For basics, the figure towers at 15 inches tall and weighs 1.6 kg so it’s a pretty substantial collectible piece. Instead of the usual Omni Class staple of 75% die cast content, Optimus Prime clocks in at 50% to compensate for the larger size. That said, would this translate to figure stability? But more on that later.
||Comicave Studios has introduced a new style of packaging with the Omni Class line so the same applies to Optimus Prime, except that it’s in all black and is much, much larger. It’s still a four-panel box held together by strong magnets and opens to reveal the contents and instructions, containing everything in a single package. On the left-most panel is a simple diagram of the accessories the figure comes with, which is conveniently housed at the next panel. Both the figure itself and its multiple accessories are held in by thick foam and covered by a clear plastic sheet for protection when handling. Neatly laid out and presented are the included sword, shield, replacement manipulators, face plate, and a couple of clips. Using very intuitive illustrations, the third panel contains the basic instructions for handling the figure, attaching the replacement parts, and mounting the accessories. Finally, the fourth panel contains the figure itself with an additional foam piece to hold it in. By default, Optimus Prime comes with the unmasked face.
And so Comicave Studios gets major props in the packaging department, simple yet very practical and elegant.
DETAIL & DESIGN
The live action Transformers movies have been around for almost 10 years so everyone should be used to the design choices they made for these characters. Because boxy robots don’t look real at all and those made from seemingly random shards of metal do. Love them or hate them, they also translate well to large-scaled figures so it’s not surprising that Comicave Studios chose Optimus Prime from Age of Extinction as their initial release. Taking the armored knight aesthetic to the core, Comicave Studios did a great job in making this figure look like it has multiple layers or armor. Well technically some parts do have multiple layers of armor, especially in the chest and leg areas where panels move and shift to reveal more underneath. The use of other materials, like the red cords on its thighs also adds more to the realism.
Speaking of details, notice the Cybertronnian scribbles on Optimus Prime’s legs? They’re not just painted there, they’re actually sculpted and filled with a wash to be seen better. On that note, the paint applications on this figure are also amazing. Focusing on a weathered look, the colors are slightly muted but not to the point that they look dull. Grime and paint chipping are also present and placed on spots where they’ll likely be. There are also a couple of places where there’s too much weathering, but these don’t distract from an otherwise great looking figure.
WEAPONS & ACCESSORIES
||Optimus Prime doesn’t have the most number of accessories and option parts but he comes with what he was mostly seen from the movie. He of course has his trusty sword and shield, a couple of attachment pieces, 3 pairs of hands and a face plate. He comes with fixed posed fists in-package, then weapon-holding hands for the sword & shield, and hands with fully poseable fingers for all those finger-pointing Optimus Prime speeches. Speaking of speeches, he comes with his full-featured face by default but can be replaced by a face plate that’s attached via magnets. Again not much in terms of accessories but gets the job done.|
||As advertised, Optimus Prime has over 60 points of articulation. More of how those translate to poseability later but yes, he has that many points of articulation. Save for the obvious elbows and knees, both of which are double-jointed, most are primarily ball joints. The head can tilt side-to-side and rotate but not a full 180° because of the armor pieces. The shoulders are on a forward butterfly joint and are attached to the arms via a combination of a ball and hinge joints allowing for full forward rotation and outward movement. Elbows and knees are double jointed (?) while the wrists are on ball joints. Torso articulation is mostly a forward crunch while the waist is on a limited swivel. Both the hips and ankles are also on ball joints, and finally is a dedicated hinge for the toes. How all these affect the play pattern of the figure will be on the next part but more or less, that’s the articulation layout.|
POSEABILITY & EXECUTION
When everything’s all together, did Comicave Studios do well in their first outing of a large-scale figure? Yes and No. Starting with the looks alone, this collectible piece looks superb. From the proportions to the paint applications and weathering, they’ve almost reached a threeA-esque level of work. Can’t really do a comparison to a Hot Toys piece since this collector doesn’t have those but it is safe to say that the impressions are up there. Oh and he also has light up LED eyes. Part of allowing an action figure of such scale to make a great visual impact is via how it’s being posed and displayed. Unfortunately the manufacturers can’t do anything if the collector doesn’t know how to pose their figures well. What they could definitely do is give the collectors the liberties via the poseability of the figure. Did Comicave Studios do the same here as well?
As mentioned earlier, majority of the 60 articulation points this figure has is done via ball joints. While ball joints provide wider ranges of movement, they’re not exactly the most stable especially if the plastic tolerances don’t match well. For something of this scale, they could’ve placed a couple of ratchet joints in load-bearing points like the hips or knees. Optimus Prime may be a dynamic fighter on screen, but don’t expect to do high flying kicks on a figure of this scale. That said, he can do grounded stances very well. The plastic tolerances on this guy aren’t the best but they are better especially in those key areas. Unfortunately the same can’t be said on some armor panels that are also attached via ball joints. Chief of these are the skirt armor pieces that pop out every now and then. A couple of them are already loose right after taking the figure out of its foam enclosure. On that note, there will be times when the armor pieces hit each other upon posing and could make the process more cumbersome than it should.
For weapons and accessories, they did an excellent job by including fixed weapon-holding hands instead of using the fully articulated ones. This has been a problem of threeA figures and props to Comicave Studios for not doing the same. Now there are issues that might be limited just to this copy of the figure. Aside from the loose connections mentioned above, this copy has its right arm popping out every now and then from its shoulder ball socket. The rear armor panel on its left arm has also lost its adhesion to the rest of the arm. Mileage may vary from copy to copy but having better tolerances on these ball joints, or less usage of them, may alleviate these issues.
Overall, Comicave Studios’ Omni Class 1/22 Optimus Prime [Age of Extinction] is really less of an action figure and more of a poseable statue, if that makes complete sense. Well most collectibles of this scale are pretty much the same and you have to give Comicave Studios props for trying something like this, which is outside from what they’re more known — 1/12 scale Iron Man figures. As their first large scale collectible piece, it’s far from perfect but it does make a visual impact wherever you choose to display it. Heck when doing the photo shoot for this figure, children around were curious and wanted to take pictures themselves. And while this piece is definitely targeted to a niche part of the fan base, Comicave Studios did a great job in choosing this design. As of this review, there hasn’t been that many figures of this version of Optimus Prime in this scale and this is definitely a great option for those who wanted one. He is currently priced at $400 and personally won’t be buying this as part of the CATALOGUE mainly due to its size, and of course the price tag. But as a fellow Optimus Prime collector, those who could afford should definitely take a look and consider.