Today, we have a special review and set reveal all in one! Fans of 1980s Saturday morning cartoons will surely rejoice. On June 1, 2022, the LEGO® Group will release the Transformers Optimus Prime (10302) set. Incidentally, the kit is based on the iconic Hasbro franchise. The LEGO® Group sent True North Bricks a pre-release copy of the set for an early review. Now, you can learn all about it before it hits store shelves! You can catch the video review below, or read on for more information.
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. True North Bricks’ usual rating system applies (click here for more information).
Growing up in the ‘80s, Transformers were a huge part of my playtime. I had action figures from the original lineup, and I was also a fan of resurgence in the ‘90s through Beast Wars (or Beasties as it was known in Canada). While I did have the Beast Wars version of Optimus, I never owned the original truck version from the ‘80s. Imagine my delight when the LEGO® Group offered me a brick-built version of the iconic character. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to find out this set was coming. It involves the cooperation of two major toy companies to produce one product. I must admit, seeing the LEGO® and Hasbro logos together on the box is certainly different. But here’s the real kicker, this isn’t just a LEGO® model made to look like Optimus Prime… It actually transforms into the truck!
OPTIMUS PRIME SUMMARY
- NAME: Transformers – Optimus Prime
- SET #: 10302
- THEME: 18+ (Creator Expert)
- COST: $219.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 1508
- MINIFIGURES: None
- RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2022
OPTIMUS PRIME QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 63% (Not the best value in terms of cost-per-brick or build time.)
- BUILD: 80% (Impressive model, but it has a weak waist design.)
- MINIFIGURES: N/A
- ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (Niche interest with no play value.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 74% (Satisfactory set for most, but very likely to please Transformers fans.)
OPTIMUS PRIME REVIEW
Optimus will set you back $219.99 in Canada. At full price, the cost-per-brick works out to $0.146, which is satisfactory compared to LEGO® sets in general. However, it is quite poor for a Creator Expert/18+ set. Creator Expert sets typically offer an excellent cost-per-brick. Considering both these comparisons, I rate Optimus Prime at 60% in this category. No doubt there are licensing fees or something else at play here resulting in the high cost-per-brick.
I assembled Optimus Prime in four hours and 21 minutes. Consequently, the cost-per-minute of build time was $0.84. Once again, for a Creator Expert/18+ set, that is not a lot of build time for the price. However, compared to LEGO® sets in general, it is average. Consequently, I rate the build time value at 66%. Averaging this with the cost-per-brick score gives an overall value rating of 63%. For an 18+ set, Optimus does not offer the best value, but it is passable.
At 35 cm tall, Optimus Prime is an impressive model. Additionally, LEGO® designers did an excellent job capturing the classic look of the character. He certainly has that chunky, 1980s “futuristic” robot vibe going on. However, the most impressive feat achieved by designers is the ability of Optimus to transform into a truck. Twisting limbs and swinging panels immediately brought back childhood memories of playing with my Transformers. There was always that first time when you were not sure how the model changed. Subsequently, it became like second nature. I do wish things clicked together a little more firmly in truck form though. The cab is a bit wobbly. Additionally, little bits tend to fall off during transformation, particularly around the ankle joints.
Optimus comes with a few smaller side builds. First, he has the blaster that also came with the original ’80s toy. This is the only side-build that actually incorporates into the truck. It looks quite good, incorporating Technic driving rings, wheel rims, grooved bricks, and jumper plates to create a really neat, textured object. The other side builds are less impressive. You assemble an Energon cube and Optimus’ Energon axe. The cube is a neat nod to the source material. However, I don’t like the axe, it is ugly. According to info-bits in the instructions, it only appeared in the original show once. I don’t even remember it and could have done without it entirely.
Did you know Optimus Prime’s axe only appeared once in the original animated series?
In terms of the lead Autobot himself, you can imagine that Optimus has a lot of moving parts. Afterall, he needs to transform. However, the robot model is also very well articulated. His head has a good range of motion, as do his shoulders and hips. Optimus’ elbows and wrists are also poseable, as are his ankles. One disappointment for me was the knees though. They rotate but do not bend. That severely limits the poses you can make with this character. I can’t remember if the original Optimus toy had bending knees. Consequently, I do not know if designers intended this choice for authenticity reasons or not.
Despite looking amazing, Optimus does have a major design flaw. His waist structure is very weak. The back of the waist stabilizes using two triangular plates and a sloped roof brick. If you pose either leg too far backwards, it causes the plate stabilizing bricks to pop off. Optimus is very top heavy, so his entire midsection splits apart at that point. It would not take much of a blow for Megatron to extinguish this Prime’s spark. Optimus is a display piece only; he will not stand up to play because of that weakness. You see a demonstration of this in our YouTube review above.
With a very weak waist, Optimus Prime will no withstand much play.
Otherwise, this is a great build for Transformers fans. I would not say that it will amaze robot builders in general though. I have built better robots with more interesting techniques, like Zane’s Titan Mech Battle from Ninjago. Optimus is a clever design but does not offer any really new and amazing techniques. On the plus side, it has very few stickers. You place one on each leg, and another on a plate covering the waist. Optimus also comes with a display plaque, but I did not place the sticker on that piece. I never keep the display plaques out, so for me that would waste a perfectly good brick. All other bricks are printed, including the Autobot logos.
Ultimately, my issues with the axe and non-bending knees are small. However, the fragile waist is disappointing. Given that this is an 18+ set and not a playset, that probably will not dissuade most fans from buying the kit. Afterall, AFOLs will likely put this on a shelf for others to marvel at. The waist will hold perfectly well in most positions used for display. It bothers me though. I rate this build at 80%.
I appreciate that this model is authentic to the original cartoon and action figure. Despite not liking the actual axe build, it is a fanboy feature that others will appreciate. The Energon cube is another. Additionally, Optimus’ chest opens up to reveal the Matrix of Leadership. These in conjunction with the interesting info-bits contained in the instruction manual made for a fun and nostalgic assembly process.
Nostalgia is an important factor making this a niche interest set. Having this robot and turning it into that iconic red and blue truck certainly brought back fond memories. I am not much of a Transformers fan anymore though. Consequently, I am unlikely to keep this set built and on display. However, Transformers fans will acquire an amazing display piece. As previously mentioned, Optimus looks great. It is just a little sad that the model does not stand up to much play. I know this is meant to be an adult set, but still. If I had kids, I would like to introduce them to a franchise from my youth through building and play. With Optimus Prime, you can do the building, but not the play. I rate the entertainment score at 80%.
OVERALL SCORE: 74%
Optimus Prime (10302) is a Transformers fan’s dream come true. The set represents an authentic take on the characters that brings back memories of 1980s play and Saturday morning cartoons. As if the great looking robot was not enough, Optimus also transforms into a truck. Sadly, the model is far from perfect though. Adults will get a nice display piece for their shelf, but it is fragile. The waist falls apart easily, limiting poses and eliminating play. However, the LEGO® Group markets the set as 18+, and most adults will simply put it on their shelf anyway. What do you think of Optimus Prime (10302)? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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