COUNTDOWN: 20 times Optimus Prime didn’t turn into a truck! (part 1)

There are a few certainties in life. The sky is blue, water is wet, and Optimus Prime will always be a truck. Right?

Well, no. The iconic Autobot leader is indeed well-known for his most familiar of vehicular forms, but it’s far from an exclusive thing, as evidenced by the freshly-revealed Canon x Transformers Optimus Prime Crossover figure!

Yes, you heard that right. Optimus Prime is now a camera, complete with lens cap shield, detachable lens, and even a mini Matrix of Leadership. It’s everything you never knew you wanted in one highly photogenic package.

As a lifelong Canon DSLR user, this is a must-have item (good thing it’s already available for pre-order, then!), even if yes, it pushes the boundaries for what some typically think of as a suitable Optimus Prime alternate form.

Oh, but this is by far not the only time in the character’s near-forty-year history that he’s transformed into something weird and wonderful – not at all! So today, let’s look at twenty times Optimus Prime wasn’t a truck (or, y’know, a fire truck or something similar)! There have been more, but these are some of the strangest…

#20: Generation 2 Go-Bots

Kicking us off is the very first example of the Autobot leader turning into a different alternate mode, though in this case, it’s still vehicular! The 1995 G2 Go-Bots figure converts into a miniature Lamborghini Diablo. Despite not bearing much resemblance to Optimus as we typically think of him, this is an awesome representation of the character, all the same.

#19: Q-Transformers

This 2015 Takara effort hails from the Q-Transformers line of super-deformed vehicles, with Optimus turning into a squished but licensed Nissan GT-R R35. Interestingly though, he retains his typical truck bed boots in robot form! These are far from the only examples of Prime becoming a red car of some kind, but they’re amongst the most memorable.

#18: Sony Playstation

Right, time to start mixing it up now, as this is the first of many occasions when Optimus has turned into some kind of unexpected gadget or other! In the case of this 2015 release, he becomes the iconic Sony Playstation, complete with a very realistic-looking controller as well, meaning that you can push his buttons should you wish. Oh, and yes, there was a Megatron Mega Drive alongside it!

#17: INFOBAR

If you thought a camera was unusual, here’s a toy about as bizarre as they get! This is Optimus Prime turning into a small-size replica of a 2002 INFOBAR mobile telephone… which is even more surprising when you learn it was released in 2017! It was a crowd-funded partnership project with manufacturer au to celebrate both the 15th anniversary of the phone model and also the 10th anniversary of the live-action Transformers film, in case you were wondering! It doesn’t possess any phone functionality but will pair via Bluetooth with a regular mobile phone to act as an alarm. Now that’s service.

#16: Action Master Optimus Prime

OK, I had to include this one as *technically* this is the first time an Optimus Prime toy didn’t turn into a truck… as the 1990 Action Master figure didn’t turn into anything at all! Highly controversial on release, the accompanying transformable vehicle accessory did little to sway diehard Transformers fans on the merits of this toy for years afterwards. However, attitudes toward the concept of Action Masters have mellowed considerably in recent times. 

#15: Bearbrick

Bearbrick is a famous Japanese line of collectables with a considerable range of licenses representing a range of pop culture characters, so perhaps it was inevitable that we’d see an Optimus Prime design at some point! That came to pass in 2014, alongside Megatron, Starscream and Bumblebee versions and a few repaints for good measure. Does this one count as a beast mode?

#14: Beast Wars

OK, OK, hear me out. Yes, I *know* the character is Optimus Primal and not Optimus Prime! However, I’m throwing this one in as until the Mainframe cartoon debuted in 1996 and firmed up the surrounding Beast Wars canon, there was no indication that the bat figure seen above wasn’t the same bloke that you knew from back in the early days of Transformers. In fact, the toy’s bio and pack-in comic strongly implied the Maximals and Predacons had been at war for some time, thus suggesting this toy was perhaps envisaged as a new iteration of the classic Autobot leader before the TV show went a different route. Either way, I’m counting it.

#13: Optimus Prime Pen

You read that right – Optimus Prime once turned into a pen. Released in 2014 to celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary, it’s a poseable robot that folds up to make a rather strange-looking but functional writing tool. It even makes clever use of his classic ion blaster by featuring it as the nib and cap in pen mode!

#12: G-Shock × Transformers

Not content with being a pen, perhaps it was about time (groan) that the Autobot leader became a watch, eh? That happened in 2018, this time in celebration of the brand’s 35th anniversary (as if the excuse was needed). Technically, Prime doesn’t actually turn into a watch, more than a ‘pedestal’ for it, and you can then mount either a G-Shock DW-5600 or DW-6900 on the stand or fit it inside his robot mode chest. Talk about lighting your darkest hour.

#11: Sports Label

Yep, one of the most infamous examples of all, this is indeed an Optimus Prime toy that turns into a shoe! In this case, it’s a licensed but noticeably undersized (and non-wearable) Nike Free 7.0, complete with laces. What’s kinda cute about it is that Prime is wearing a pair of the same trainers in his robot mode, bless him. But yes, a shoe. Remember this the next time someone complains about a new Optimus Prime figure not being a truck, won’t you?

Be sure to catch up with part 2!

TTFN

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About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at twitter.com/SixoTF or on YouTube at youtube.com/SixoTF

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