Between the Michael Bey-bot designs and Hasbro's heavy focus on simply transformations, the Age of Extinction toy line hasn't done much for me. But there is one toy I could not pass up. It's not what Evasion Mode Optimus Prime is, but what he becomes.
By day he's a mind-mannered leader of the Autobots, determined to make his way out of his cardboard and plastic prison to protect humanity from the evil Decepticons.
By night, he's the closest thing the movie line is ever going to give us to the original Freightliner FLA86 alt-mode from the original series.
Now there's a grill you can see your reflection in as Optimus mows you down on his way to the ultimate confrontation with Megatron.
This new/old form of Optimus Prime is inspired by early scenes in the the upcoming movie (as seen in the trailers), in which Optimus Prime assumes the form of a blown-out Marmon 97 in order to hide from the government in Marky Mark's funky garage.
Evasion Mode Optimus Prime is decidedly un-rusty. In fact, he's quite lovely.
This is a very tight Transformer. When he's in vehicle mode, he's going to stay in vehicle mode until you say it's okay to come out of hiding. The first time I attempted to change him back into robot form, I was almost certain I was going to break some pegs. But no, he withstood my fumbling fingers, single smokestack standing tall and proud.
It's not a perfect toy — movie line releases rarely are. The transformation is a bit tricky, and the rear of the cab is a mess.
But as long as you keep him facing front in vehicle mode, Evasion Mode Optimus Prime is a worthy addition to any shelf.
Plus, I've found the nod to G1 Optimus Prime leaves me in a generous mood as far as the toy's robot mode is concerned. He transforms into a rather economical living machine, with barely any kibble hanging off, He's unexpectedly sleek. If he were black instead of red and blue, he could pass for Ninja Optimus Prime.
If the mouthy-face bothers still bothers, there's a Platinum Edition two-pack coming to Toys'R'Us that features a poorly chromed-out version of this figure with a faceplate sporting head.
Available from the Hasbro Toy Shop for $24.99, Evasion Mode Optimus Prime is all the Transformers: Age of Extinction I'll need until the movie comes out on video.