Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Friday, May 6, 2011

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime review!



iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Today I'm gonna do a review on one of the most iconic character that has ever graced our television in the 80s. I guess those who had not heard about Optimus Prime but claimed they lived their formative years through the 80s must've spent their childhood in a cave or something. I remember when kids worldwide went berserk and wrote to Hasbro to tell them off for killing ol' Optimus during the '86 movie. Hasbro eventually caved in and revived Optimus (for good) during Season 4 of the G1 series, much to the delight of every single kid who apparently still wasn't ready to let their favourite Autobot leader being taken off the air.

Anyway,  lots of versions had come along our way since then. I don't even know where to begin.....there are simply too many Optimus Primes out there. I don't really dig those obscure ones (at least to me that is...I only know ONE version of Prime....THAT one and only "flat-front" truck that we all love!).....Leo Prime, Armada Prime, Nemesis Prime, Optimus Primal (what a load of .....!) etc. just to name a few. All those different versions matter not to me coz' there is and only will ever be one Optimus Prime for me. This 3rd party manufacturer company by the name of iGear had successfully scaled down the incarnations of MP-01 (or MP-04 sans the trailer) into a size many would find ideal to be displayed amongst the Generations/Universe/Henkei/United line. Don't believe me? Read more to find out!

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Yup, although iGear is currently facing a possible lawsuit action from Tomy Takara (and possibly Hasbro too if they decide to jump in the bandwagon with their Japanese counterpart), no one can dispute that this newbie 3rd party makers of Transformers figures had brilliantly produced the much anticipated classic and DEFINITIVE voyager/deluxe sized Optimus Prime for us collectors! The only drawback is that since iGear did not receive the full (or any at all!) license from Hasbro/Takara, they weren't able to use the word 'Optimus' nor 'Prime' for their product. Instead, he's been given the moniker "Faith Leader". Works well for me....as long as he LOOKS like Optimus Prime, I don't really give a fuss on what's printed on the packaging.

Let us start by taking a look at the packaging. I love the minimalist approach of the packaging style but the packaging could have been much smaller to reduce the shipping cost from where ever the package might have come from (China/Hong Kong I bet!). Optimus is displayed in his truck mode. Oh yeah, did I mention that this is the second run of "Faith Leader" produced by iGear? The 1st run sold extremely well so much so they had to do a second batch, naturally, as many collectors were still clamoring for the figure. The 1st batch of Optimus had him displayed in his robot mode as opposed to his alternate mode.....so one can probably gauge that mine here is from the 2nd run of production. For everyone's sake, let's just call him Optimus Prime from now on shall we?

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime


At the back of the box, there's a picture depicting Optimus Prime with his iconic blaster and he's also draped with a cape....(WTH?!). Hmmm, funny that the only image I have of a Transformer character in a cape is the one when Starscream proclaimed himself as the successor of the Decepticon leadership!

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

A manual is provided for the transformation process. Extremely useful to those who had never own the Masterpiece MP-01 or MP-04 before (yours truly included!). He's supposedly have mimicked the Masterpiece versions so much that his transformation process is exactly the same. I won't be able to confirm this fact as I've never owned any of the larger Primes.

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Just a quick peek into the manual. I'm quite impressed on how this figure has a pretty intricate transformation process. Transforming him from his truck mode to his robot mode (or vice-versa) can be quite a daunting task indeed if you decide to make do without this manual!

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

In the accessories department, iGear has been pretty generous. As shown in the picture below we've got two blasters (one is purportedly for the Classics OP from the Universe/Henkei line), a laser axe, a Walther pistol (yup, ol' Megatron in his alternate mode!) and of course the cape in which he's been depicted with at the back of the outer box, complete with two gold clips. For the record, I never took any pictures of 'ol Prime wearing the cape....it just doesn't make any sense to me...*heh*!

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

iGear has been pretty busy making a bio card for Optimus too. A nice touch but a bit unnecessary in my opinion. The card's pretty thick and made out of plastic as opposed to the thin conventional paper-based card we've come to expect.

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the inclusion of two (2) heads (they can even fit the Optimus body!). As you can see from the picture below, iGear's given us heads of Orion Pax (you know who Optimus Prime WAS before right?) and Megatron himself. Oh by the way, iGear's already preparing their next offering and it's called 'Horror Monarch' to go side by side with their 'Faith Leader'. This product was supposed to be released in Q1 of 2011 but so far we've only received proto pictures of the product. I'm definitely getting that one too....no need for guesses who 'Horror Monarch' is....lol!

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Right, without much further ado let us now look into the main item itself. Here we have freshly out of the box, Prime in his alternate mode aka truck cab. He's reproduced exactly as how the MP-01 & MP-04 were albeit scaled down to fit in with the rest of the voyager/deluxe class Transformers figures.

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

As you've probably noticed by this second picture (or maybe you haven't?), dear ol' Optimus is missing his Autobot insignias on the sides of the truck cab (or his shoulders if in robot mode). Why you ask? As I've mentioned before, it's pretty obvious that iGear does not have any property rights over the characters they're producing or attempting to produce. There's also a 3rd party company that produces excellent stickers (including Autobots/Decepticons insignia stickers) if you're interested to look into that. As for me, my Prime looks just fine without his insignias for now (ain't too keen to spend 8-10 American bucks on just a pair of miniature stickers...lol!)

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

His colours are faithful to the Masterpiece version too. I love how the red seems to look maroon-ish at times! This reminds me very much of the original 80s toy (later re-released as Encore 01 aka Convoy).

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Ok, let's get to the 'not-so-good' part. I'm not sure whether this anomaly only persists in my Optimus Prime or whether other collectors who had bought Faith Leader have the same issues as I do. Take a look at the picture below and you'll clearly see that the parts do not fit each other as they should be. They look perfectly normal and very 'in place' from far but upon closer inspection I'm rather displeased that there are still visible space between the two front windscreen and how the headlight parts seems to be not properly snapped into place. 

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Well, if you can just make do with the rather minor issue of the parts not being able to fit in properly in place, then Optimus here is a gem for those who've always wanted a classic Prime but aren't interested to get the Masterpiece versions.

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

iGear's PP-01: Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

*Drumroll*......and here he is in robot mode, finally! Like I've mentioned before, the manual is extremely useful to those who had no prior experience in transforming the MP-01 or MP-04 before. Even yours truly took two rounds of converting him back and forth from truck-to-robot and vice versa before finally being well-verse with the whole transformation process! Upon seeing this Optimus for the first time over at a website some time ago, I was astonished to find how uncanny he is to his Masterpiece predecessors! Take a look yourselves dear geek readers....

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

There are air-vents over on his shins and these can be opened to add realism. Funny how I forgot to snap photos of them in their 'open' position....lol.

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

The view from the back is pretty breathtaking too. Kudos to iGear for retaining all of the intricate details just like those on the Masterpiece versions.

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

This is has got to be one of my most favourite part on Optimus. There are 'hydraulics' on his arms/elbows and they actually work as his elbows move!

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Those 'hydraulics' are also on his leg/ankles. I love to see them 'functioning' every time Prime moves his ankles! 

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

And here's Prime with his iconic blaster. Too bad that he's unable to grip his blaster tightly. Those fingers turned out to be rather flimsy...*sigh*. This had hindered me from getting Prime to do more poses with his blaster.....darn they fall off every time I tried to get him into some "Matrix" poses!

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Here's Prime holding the earlier mentioned Walther gun aka Megatron in his alternate mode. Can't really recall which episode this scene took place but I remembered how both Prime and Megatron overcame their differences and worked hand in hand to resolve a common problem....man, I gotta re-watch that particular episode again! 

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

The laser axe is fitted onto his right wrist and is a welcome addition to his list of accessories. Can't wait till Megatr...err....I mean "Horror Monarch" comes out. What a pair these two will make! Imagine them going on a hand-to-hand combat frenzy....*geek grin*

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Now, this is one cool feature that no Optimus Prime should come without....the Matrix of Leadership! Sadly, iGear's version does not light up as how the Masterpiece versions did. No matter, knowing that this Optimus Prime could open up his chest aka windshield windows to reveal the device should be enough to satisfy us geeks! I've read somewhere that the Matrix could be taken out from his chest but I didn't bother to try prying it out. It looks just fine staying where it is....lol. 

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

The communicator screen on his right arm flips out to reveal the image of Cosmos on it.

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

The communicator screen on his left arm flips out to reveal  the image of.....errr....Hoist (is this correct? can somebody confirm this?) on it.

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Prime holding his blaster while striking a classic pose for his fans!

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Notice that his 'skirts' flap whenever Prime moves his legs? They look a bit funny but hey, they allow Prime to have great leg articulations...so go figure, I ain't complaining! Skirts = freedom to move! LOL....

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Before I end my humble take on the great deluxe-class Autobot Leader, let me just say that unfortunately every good thing doesn't really come without its flaws. Perhaps some of you might have already read about the various issues concerning iGear's Prime. Well I'm not gonna bore you with that long list of whiny complaints but instead I think I'll just highlight three (3) main concerns regarding this figure. Firstly, the figure is made out of a pretty soft type of plastic...comparatively softer than your normal Transformers figures. I'm not sure whether anyone has ever broken their Optimus yet but I can tell you....this figure feels soft! Secondly, the rather 'lightweight' plastic makes the figure very light indeed! One must have expected ol' Optimus to be heavier due to his bulky appearance but he's simply lighter than he looks. I've read somewhere that some people have difficulties to get him to stand in certain action-positions because he tends to topple over in extreme poses. Lastly, I like many other collectors before me, feels that this figure has been overpriced by iGear. Heck, I've even sold off my Henkei Optimus and a couple of other stuffs to get this figure...so that's telling you something about the exorbitant price point!

iGear's PP-01 Faith Leader aka Optimus Prime

Nevertheless, I am ecstatic to have found the ideal-sized Optimus Prime to go with the rest of my Henkei/Generations/United Transformers collection. For the record, I'm willing to overlook all the 'minor' issues for a number of reasons, but mainly because Hasbro/Takara is most unlikely gonna produce a deluxe-sized version of the Masterpiece Prime. He's worth every single darn cent paid.....just look how cool it is to have him in between the rest of the Autobots!  =)


My verdict? If you're G1 Transformers fan and an ardent collector of the Classics/Universe/Generations/Henkei/United line, then iGear's Optimus Prime is THE definitive Prime you should get to head your Autobot team! He ain't gonna get any better than this.....at least for now.

'Nuff said...

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6 Comments:

Joel said...

Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back and we'll talk about it.

Thanks!

Joel Houston
JHouston791@gmail.com

HeatEnd11 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HeatEnd11 said...

The cape was from one of the classic TF comics wherein the Autobots and the Decepticons formed the Cybertron Alliance. Google it and you'll see...
And BTW Megs should have a cape too.... And the 'Bot-'Con logo's fused

The Rebel said...

>>>Joel - you can reach me at rebelwithcauses@gmail.com

>>>HeatEnd11 - thanks for the info! How ignorant of me to overlook the classic comics!

Anonymous said...

Err, the image on the communicators are Hot Rod and Wheelie, respectively.

Anonymous said...

"because Hasbro/Takara is most unlikely gonna produce a deluxe-sized version of the Masterpiece Prim"

Seems like Takara/Hasbro got the last laugh with now they've made a new masterpiece prime that's the same size as faith leader. Although good to see that the success of 3rd party companies have driven Takara/Habro to lift their game.