Since the 2007 Movie, Hasbro have been in the habit of releasing the same character in multiple incarnations. This is especially true of Optimus and Bumblebee, who show up at multiple size classes and levels of availability. Great for kids and their mums who want to be able to buy favourite characters at whichever price point works best; annoying for adult fans who’d like to see a greater variety of characters.
This year, Target are pulling an especially strange decision with regards to their exclusives. The theme is “Silver Knight Optimus Prime”, a series of repaints of various Optimus Prime, current and past. One particular use of this Silver Knight appellation is a two pack of past figures. The Silver Knight Optimus in this pack uses the Deluxe Class Optimus mold that was first released in the Dark Of The Moon toyline while the other figure is a repaint of Grimlock from the Generations line.
The Generations version of Grimlock, representing the version appearing in the Fall Of Cybertron video game, is unfortunately something of a crap-pile. I was one of the few lucky enough to find it for less than $10 at TJ Maxx and I was still disappointed. His fist broke off within minutes of first opening him and his robot mode generally felt hollow and cheap. His chest and shoulders were empty shells with other parts stuffed in. His dino mode was even worse, with a huge, empty hollow torso and an over-sized, swollen tail.
You can’t polish a turd, but at least the Target repaint is a very nicely-polished poo. Though this is seemingly meant to represent the Movie version of Grimlock (somehow), this incarnation draws from the various versions of Grimlock, far better than Generations Grimlock did.
The faintly metallic grey has been replaced with a far more cartoony matte grey. The gold, which on Generations Grimlock was a caramelish matte has been replaced with chromed gold. While the cheap-ish plastic of Generations Grimlock allowed the red light of his light-up feature to bleed through the chromed plastic on the newer version is totally opaque, meaning that the light only shows through the intentionally opaque parts. Speaking of which, the opaque faction symbol panel now shows the regular Autobot logo rather than the modified Lightning Strike Coalition logo invented for Dreamwave comics. The newer figure’s waist and upper thighs have been repainted red to reflect his G1 incarnation and, most notably, his lower legs have been repainted with distinct bands of colour that reflect similar details that appeared on the cartoon model of Grimlock (though not on the comic version of toy); to be more accurate he has bright blue kneepads, red and green bands below those, and then yellow tops to his feet. These bright, contrasting colours down his legs look very odd and stand out from what is otherwise a fairly detailed and simply-coloured figure.
The newer figure loses a few paint apps from the Generations version to make up for the new thigh and leg paint, mostly red and gold details that appeared throughout. The sword and shield that come with the figure were orange on the Generations version with dark grey paint marking the centre of the shield and the hilt of the sword. On the newer figure they’ve been cast in an almost-pink cherry red and though the shield is paintless the sword has more paint detail, in black.
Overall the newer version is a far more lively-looking and more cartoony figure, and if you want a figure that well represents a G1 Grimlock to go with the Classics/Generations/Universe/Henkei/United line (though Classics Grimlock and Masterpiece Grimlock are both far superior toys) this would work. It’s still not a great figure on its own merits.
Unlike the confusion surrounding Grimlock, Silver Knight Optimus Prime is a movie figure, representing the same version of the same character. This concept of a Silver Knight seems to have been inspired by both an increased amount of chrome being used across the Age Of Extinction toyline, as well as by the Autobots this year seemingly being inspired by warrior archetypes (Optimus and the Dinobots being made to look like knights while Drift appears to be a Samurai).
While this figure is a repaint of an existing mold it has been given a new paint-job and accessory to reflect the knightly image. He is EXTENSIVELY chromed. In robot mode his chest, shoulders, back and calves are all chromed, while his arms, thighs, head and waist are all matte. In truck mode he is almost entirely coated in chrome from front to back. Only the very rear of the cab and the rear end of the bed are not chromed. It’s a very striking appearance. The silver chrome is styled with the distinctive red flames of Movie Optimus.
Broadly, the mold is fairly average, with decent enough articulation and nice styling, with the only real weakness being an oversized backpack piece. The chrome though makes it stand out a mile.
The accessory that comes with this figure is bafflingly, a repaint of a sword that came with G1 Rampage with a 5mm handle. Due to Optimus’ fist holes being fairly shallow he can only hold it at the bottom of the handle, which looks odd. In addition there is nowhere for the sword to really stow on his truck mode that doesn’t look strange. I can understand that the decision to give him a sword was likely made to fit the knight archetype but given the scape of weapons, Minicons and so on available it seems strange that a weapon that works poorly with him was chosen. Oddly it works better if you switch his weapons with Grimlock, since Grimlock’s sword and shield fit nicely onto the pegholes on the side of Optimus Prime’s forearms.
Overall it’s a curiously flawed but very pretty set. $30 is something of a bargain for a deluxe and voyager together at today’s prices. That said there are a lot of new molds coming out around the same time that are more interesting. If it’s still around, as many store exclusives are, when the new figures start to dry out it might be worth picking up, but for now it’s skippable.