|It's Prime Time! Oh, uh, wait - nope, not yet...|
OK, full disclosure - I don't think I've been very good at reviewing Transformers toys. Not only because I've very rarely done it, but also because when I do, I'm probably not the best person to make a judgement call - look at this glowing review of Transformers Prime Bumblebee to see what I mean... Anyway, from here on in I intend to make ammends - and who better to start with than Mr. Pre-Prime himself, Orion Pax!
|I guess 'Thrilling 29' doesn't have quite the same ring to it...|
Firstly, I'm a big fan of the cardback. Whilst the pack-in IDW Spotlight comic would've been a welcome addition, I'm not going to complain - I have stacks of comics sitting in boxes not being read as it is, and tfwiki tells me everything I need to know about the story. The red grid design is reminiscent of the original G1 packaging, and I love me some big portrait artwork showing the character off. You can see both his weapons and both his modes - this is a card that does everything you need it to do, and looks snazzy doing it.
|Freedom is the right of whoever has the biggest gun!|
In robot mode, Pax looks great. At first I thought the legs looked a little long, but as soon as I got him into a pose that doubt disappeared. With 16 points of articulation (outside of transforming) he can be put into a wide variety of fighting positions, and with both a solid centre of gravity and ball jointed feet he can hold those poses too.
It's not just the posability though, as the sculpt and paint apps help sell this figure for me. As strange as it is to write this about a completely fictional character, this Orion Pax really captures the essence of a youthful Optimus Prime. A big part of that is IDW's character design for sure, but then you get little details - the yellow on Pax's forearms and pelvis for example, which Hasbro didn't have to include. Orion Pax succeeds as both a homage to the G1 character and as an entity in his own right, which I would imagine is a difficult thing to pull off. Of course, the weapons help a lot in this respect - his gun is like a slightly smaller version of Prime's famous mega firearm, and he also comes with a translucent orange axe. I do like a Transformer with a good melee weapon - very War for Cybertron, and a very cool look when standing on the toy shelf.
|Orion Pax and his Backpack Axe!|
My favourite feature of Orion's robot mode is this nifty weapons storage, however - his battle axe slots firmly between his alt-mode's wheels, meaning he can keep a hand free rather than looking permanantly tooled up. The protruding axe head also helps him look a little taller as well, which really isn't a bad thing, as we'll find out. My final 'Prime' point is the Autobot faction symbol on the plastic behind the translucent windshield - it looks great, and shows that Pax is Autobot to the core. Was there ever any doubt?
From getting him out of the packaging I realised that Orion Pax is small, and much smaller than the Deluxe class figures of the past. Since he's not Optimus Prime (and I'm assuming that OP went through the same Matrix-acquiring growth spurt Hot Rod does in the movie) I don't really mind the smaller size; however for people with large CHUG (Classics/Henkei/United/Generations) collections already I can understand the frustration that this shortening might bring.
|Actually, Cyclonus is used to short faction Commanders...|
The paint apps on mine aren't perfect, but they do a more than good enough job of conveying all the detailing that's required. It's mainly some of the yellow highlights that are a bit sloppy, but they're barely noticable in robot form anyway. It's when we get to Pax's alt-mode that things take a slight downturn...
|The World's Fightingest Pickup Truck|
Firstly, I love that there's weapon storage/armament points on Pax's vehicle mode. It would've been undoubtedly easier for Hasbro to leave Pax's car a car, and I appreciate the ingenuity used to keep the firepower present. It looks a bit goofy for me but that's OK, because I can take them off. That is, if I even displayed these guys in their alt-modes anyway...
|Definitely not hands.|
As I've been writing this review I've realised the similarity between Pax's transformation and that of G1 Kup, which may be more than coincidental considering that Orion Pax's first figure was a repaint of the 1986 Autobot. Whether it's an intentional homage or just the nature of his physical appearance, I have no idea. Anyway, it's the vehicle mode that lets Pax down. It's not bad but it feels very small and lightweight. From the front it still looks great (although the paint does look a bit plain), but from the back it loses its form a bit. It's not terrible in any way at all though, and you'd have to be an idiot to display him with the rear of the alt-mode sticking out anyway - it's just it does feel a bit less substantial than you'd expect. Still, this is nitpicking - it does the job of being a vaugely-relateable-whilst-still-Cybertronian vehicle and does it well.
|So... Prime time yet?|
As I only have a fledgling Transformer collection the size isn't a dealbreaker for me, and as I said above, I think that because it's Orion Pax and not Optimus Prime it doesn't matter so much that he's a little bit smaller. The thing is, other than the diminutive size and slight alt-mode, it's actually an excellent figure. If you're so inclined, buy this, get it into some kickass robot poses, and put it with the rest of your WFC/FOC 'bots. I honestly think you'll be glad you did.
Thanks for reading!