Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Ramblings

Manic Ramblings and Delirious Ranting
re: Big Prime vs. Little Prime, + Jetfire
December 2003

I had long put off getting both Jetfire and Armada's Super Base Prime, mainly because they were both so expensive and I wasn't sure I'd like either one. I figured I'd wait for a clearance sale, which finally happened around Thanksgiving when K-Mart put out what I like to call the Prime Pack: Jetfire, Super Base Prime with a recolored cab robot, the Adventure Team Mini-Cons and, seemingly totally at random, Red Alert's Mini-Con, Longarm. Thanks to a sale, they set me back a mere $45, only a bit more than what Prime costs all by himself.

BIG PRIME
Big Prime is, well, big. That's often as not a bad thing in my book -- size rarely impresses me in a TF. The basic robot is more posable than I thought he'd be, but still doesn't match Little Prime. I always wondered why they drew Prime's face so goofy-lookin' on the cartoon... now I see they were emulating the proportions of this toy.

The trailer.... normally I can tell what mode they started with. Here I'm not too sure. The trailer doesn't look so much like a trailer as it does... um... something, I'm not sure what. It's a mishmash of stuck-together pieces, insides of the legs showing alongside outside panels of the trailer. I'm half-convinced the only reason they put treads on it was that it was the only way to redeem its appearance (and the treads *are* rather cool, even if it seems like it'd slow Prime way the heck down on the road.

The auto-transform gimmick... well, it works, mostly (when it's not making horrific gear-stripping noises, and after you've pushed the appropriate buttons four or five times), but it gets him between three modes which all leave me cold. It's innovative in concept, and it's not like I have a *better* idea about how it could work... but the execution just isn't very fun, IMO. I mean... part of the fun of a Transformer is, y'know, transforming them -- pysically having the toy in hand and playing with it. Not that I didn't enjoy Runamuck and Runabout back in the day, but they were only $7, and were quick easy little things to change and play with. They zoomed across the kitchen floor and *pop*! up they went. They were speedy and exciting even if they were terrible robots. Prime's slow and awkward.

The combined robot... Getting him there is simple enough, at least, and the auto-transform gimmick is... creative, I'll definately grant. But ye gods, it's well on the way to Hate List. It's about the least fun thing ever. He can wave his arms around, but otherwise, he's a skirt with a head. He doesn't have legs so much as he has a floppy skirt. Needless to say he's a statue below the shoulders, aside from the toy's tendency to pop apart into its two components, unprompted by the user. The face and head design actually look a lot better on the toy than the cartoon, which is fortunate 'cause I dislike the way they're animated. He's most of what I hate about G1 Magnus -- totally immobile below the waist, and constructed like a movie set with barely credible legs at all. Also, every time you twitch near him, he lights up and makes a noise suspiciously similar to "ENERGY WHORE!"

Oh! And good lord, that chest plate/front grill. It pops right off if I so much as breathe at it. It gives me FITS. HATE HATE HATE. A simple metal pin to hold it in place would be prime.

Space Pants Prime (the cab robot combined with Jetfire instead of the trailer) does look a lot better than Trailer Pants Prime, but still isn't much fun to play with (not a slight against Jetfire, though; he's a pretty spiffy toy.)

JETFIRE
Jetfire is awesome. He makes a great large-scale spaceship. At first I was wondering why they didn't play him up as a large-scale transport like Sky Lynx, but then I remembered that he's gotta combine with Prime. I like how you can arrange his arms in shuttle mode so that he's streamlined, or so that he's more boxy but has cargo space. His robot mode is massive and bulky in a swollen, body-builder kind of way. My only complaint -- but it's a really big one -- is that HE CAN'T WALK. ARRRRRG I HATE THAT.

LITTLE PRIME
For my money ($10 of it vs. $40) Little Prime's a lot more fun to play with than Big Prime. He's nicer to look at too; the proportions, *espcially* his face, just click in a way that Big Prime doesn't (the differences are physically tiny but to me they make a huge difference.)

He transforms about the same way as Big Prime; he's not all that much smaller, either. His Mini-Con, Overrun, is a spiffy little jet who turns into a decent looking gun.

I love Little Prime. He's just fun to have in hand, fun to transform, fun to pose and play with, and he comes with a cool jet that turns into a pretty good gun. I don't care if he doesn't push any envelopes, isn't new and exciting and innovative, and doesn't outsell his larger doppelganger. He's an attractive, well-made, well-designed, fun toy, and what more can we possibly ask for?

Holy crap. Okay, maybe I'm just lazy, but for some reason, I never got around to trying out Overload's combinations with Prime. And that's a crime, 'cause it turns out that 80% of the fun of Super Base Prime comes from all the different ways you can combine him with Jetfire and Overload.

Just to review, here's a list:

COMPONENTS
Prime (small robot / truck)
Container (trailer / base)
Jetfire (shuttle / robot)
Rollout (truck / robot)
Overload (transport / robot combined with Rollout)
Comettor (buggy / robot)
Sparkplug (car / robot)

ROBOT MODES
Prime/Container/(Overload) - Super Prime (optional Overload as guns, Rollout as hand gun)
Prime/Jetfire/(Overload) - Gunjob Spacepants (optional Overload as guns, Rollout as hand gun)

VEHICLE/etc.
Overload/Container - base with guns
Jetfire - shuttle w/ Comettor as landing gear
Prime/Overload - truck with transport
Prime/Container/Overload - truck with trailer and transport
Prime/Container/Overload/Jetfire - same, with shuttle
Overload/Jetfire - transport with shuttle

Super Prime still looks pretty darn ugly, but Overload looks kickass mounted behind his head -- it provides a sense of mass that for some reason the combined modes by themselves lack. Overload does even more for the Container's otherwise insubstantial base mode, turning it into a believable gun emplacement that can be crewed by Mini-Cons or by a normal 'bot.

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