I am a “casual collector” of toys. What I actually mean is that: I buy toy products selectively based on personal interest and product quality. For that, I garner a small collection of figures and toys from Transformers, Lego, MASK, Star Wars, and Marvel superheros.
My most recently purchase is the Transformers Age of Extinction Optimus Prime Evasion Mode by Wei Jiang (and that’s a mouthful). Let me explain the reason of my interest. This model is a crossover between the original Generation 1 (G1) cartoon Optimus Prime (truck mode) and the live-action movie design (robot mode).
Serious Toy Business
Over the years, toy design has leapfrogged to such an extent that it is possible to expect designers to model the toys with great details between the robot mode and alternate mode. It is precisely because of this re-engineering that Hasbro and Takara-Tomy have finally issued dozens of Transformers characters from the 80s which were left out when they were introduced in cartoon back then.
And if you are a fan of the old Transformers, you would have totally irked the Michael Bay’s movie version of the same characters we have grown up with. Hence, in the 4th movie “Age of Extinction”, the movie made Optimus Prime looked like the original G1 truck. This mode was called “evasion mode” because Optimus Prime was hiding away from “Transformers killers”. Hasbro and Takara-Tomy have issued this model when the movie was released in “voyager class” size. There were several versions: the Hasbro version is a full-plastic, while the Takara-Tomy version has chrome paints. There is also another “Rusty” version, though it looked more beige than red-rust. Many fans have repainted them to be more movie-accurate. All variants use the same mould and size.
Sometimes, fans have given up waiting for the official Hasbro and Takara-Tomy to issue some of their favourite characters is more accurate moulds (these versions are known as “knock-offs” or KO). Decades ago, KOs were undesirable to collectors because they were mostly replicas, hence perceived to be unoriginal. But today, many KOs are improved alternate versions and with has gained immense popularity. Some of these creations even inspired the official licensors to issue their own official versions. One example is the original VW Beetle Bumble Bee.
Upsized Means Better
In this case, Wei Jiang 威将 has taken the mould of AOE Evasion Prime and made it bigger (fans call this “oversize” version) and better with Masterpiece-grade details. What’s better:
- 29cm height
- die-cast materials used in certain parts
- rubber tires
- more details like retractable exhaust pipes, rear cover for the truck mode, accurate positioning of the wheels during robot mode, shoulder plates
- chest opens up to reveal the Autobot Matrix, a homage to the G1 version
- additional accessories like energon blades, axe, shield, faceplate
- quality of the build and the paint details are better than official licensors
I’m not going into further details on the toy. All I have to say is: if you like the official Hasbro/Takara-Tomy Evasion Mode, you will LOVE this. Google for more details online. This is where I bought mine, deposit not required for pre-orders within Singapore: http://ohmyprimus.com/wei-jiang-ko-oversize-aoe-evasion-optimus-prime.html