By Mike Sangregorio
This year at SDCC Hasbro offered two exclusive Transformers figures, Retro Rock Garage Bumblebee (from Hasbro's Studio Series line) and Throne of the Primes Optimal Optimus (from the Power of the Primes line). Thanks to Hasbro for sending these, and a pack of its new Transformers playable trading card game to Bleeding Cool for review. See below for a full photo gallery and a look at the figures!
In keeping with the Studio Series, Bumblebee is based on his live-action film design and his altmode is a 1977 Camaro. He comes packaged with two dinosaur themed Mini-Cassette figures, Dairu and Uruaz, which had been Japanese-only exclusives until now. This is the first time Hasbro has released figures using the molds. The figure is a redeco of the earlier Studio Series Bumblebee offering, now gold in color. He is Number 19 in the line and has a cannon that is interchangeable with his right hand. The main focus of the overall offering is on the packaging. The entire box evokes a classic cassette tape, with the bottom half of the Side A face of the box folding down to reveal the Mini-Cassettes.
The dinos can be displayed on their own, each with a set of dual weapons, or combined together into their larger robot form (known as Legout in the original Japanese Headmasters release). As with all figures in the relatively new Studio Series line, the figure is meant to commemorate over a decade of live-action TF films.
With the Prime Wars Trilogy, the third era of the Generations line draws to a close. Optimus Primal has been made a Prime and thus turned (once again) into Optimal Optimus.
This Optimus figure is a redeco of the Evolution Optimal Optimus figure from earlier in the POTP line. His color scheme is based on the original version of Optimus Primal from Beast Wars but the figure is modeled on the Optimal Optimus figure from that same period. He does not have the wheels of the earlier Optimal figure, to make the truck altmode form, and is slightly smaller.
His Evolution Armor can be separated to form either a version of the hoverboard that Transmetal Optimus Primal had or an entirely separate Optimus Primal figure (again based on his original BW incarnation). It can also be combined with the main figure to form the jet altmode. The front 'cockpit' portion can now hold the Matrix of Leadership, similar to how the character held his Spark on the Beast Wars show. The figure came about as a result of winning the fan vote for the character who should be the next Prime. His accessories and packaging tie heavily into the ongoing story of the Prime Wars. He includes a crown and the Scepter of Sparks which is reminiscent of Optimus' mace from the character's earlier days.
Each of the included Prime Master figures can be held, together, in the Scepter or, individually, in the Matrix of Leadership accessory. They are for Nexus Prime, Amalgamous Prime, Prima Prime, and the otherwise nameless Thirteenth Prime (though this may simply be a title given to whoever is bearing the Matrix of Leadership). This is the only place to obtain the Prime Masters included if you are looking to have a complete set.
Optimus comes packaged with the Thrones of the Primes, a cardboard seat for the figure adorned with various designs, the Maximal insignia, and the faces of the other characters in the fan poll, who were not chosen. Attached to the back of the Throne is the Halo of Primus, a cardboard and plastic, rotating display case for the 12 Prime Masters, leaving the Thirteenth to be stored within Optimus' Matrix of Leadership or on the Scepter.
You can order Bumblebee here, sadly Optimus Primal is sold out from Hasbro, commanding a bigger price on the secondary market. Happy hunting!