Third-party group Shigeru Ningyo Do (or SND), who released upgrade kits for the Combiner Wars Optimus Prime/Menasor molds, is back after several years with a new standalone figure. Just like their upgrade kits, it’s still Optimus Prime from the IDW comic books, but it will be based on another design.
After quite a number of Google searches, I found out that this is based on a design by Andrew Griffith from around 2014 or 2015 and appeared in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise #28 as part of the Dawn of the Autobots event — and not to be confused with the two animated series of the same name. It’s the basic Optimus Prime design we are all too familiar with but has nuances unique to the IDW design like that rectangular panel on the chest where the Autobot insignia would usually be.
SND on their Weibo post also suggests that this figure will utilize the ultimate in injection molding which should allow for accurate colors right from the plastic parts and with minimal need for additional paint. And it does appear to be the case, especially when you see the torso section. It almost looks like a model kit, though I hope it won’t be as fragile.
And much like any other Optimus Prime figure, this guy also transforms into a red and blue truck. And a flat-nosed truck at that. You can also better see the parts separation they are highlighting, including the use of clear blue plastic for the front windshield. For the side windows, not so much as it looks like painted plastic. Can’t make out the front headlights if they’re painted or bare plastic pieces. Oh, they also mention that all tires are rubber.
Besides great color separation, they also mention that the figure can pose, and pose good it does as you can see above. Especially on the knees and legs that provide enough range to do kneeling poses that don’t look awkward. The torso does appear to be more limited to left and right swivels though we have butterfly shoulder joints that allow that double-hand the Ion Blaster.
Speaking of holding the Ion Blaster, it comes with multiple pairs of hands, which further reinforces those model kit parallels to me. Other accessories include a pair of Energon Swords made from clear orange plastic, and an adaptor piece you can use with your preferred display stand of choice.
For scale nuts, like me, the figure stands at 180mm, which puts in it that sweet Voyager-class size, perfect for display with your other Transformers figures, as seen with this comparison along Earthrise Ironhide.
UPDATE: A transformation instruction video has been uploaded, months ahead of release.
I really like this figure, at least from how it looks. It doesn’t say anything about joint tolerance or overall stability. But if their previous offerings five or so years ago were considered, then I am optimistic for this figure. I am prepared to pay higher prices due to the higher parts count, but we won’t know until pre-orders open for its December 2022 target release.