Picture the scene – it’s Saturday morning, there’s no school and you are just tucking into a delicious bowl of sugary cereal. You’re still in your pyjamas and you’re ready to be transported to one of many animated worlds with the must-watch block of Saturday Morning Cartoons. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Biker Mice from Mars, Gummi Bears and Captain Planet were some of my favourites but there was one classic cartoon I couldn’t miss – Transformers. Little did I know some 30 years later I would be building an official LEGO Transformers set. There have been plenty of rumours over the years but the Transformers one seemed an extremely long shot. The Transformers brand is owned by rival toy brands Hasbro and Tomy. So the possibility of these toy-making titans working together did seem impossible. Hasbro even produced a line of Transformers-branded construction sets, with a very similar name to LEGO. It seems if you can’t beat them, join them and the result is this incredible brick-built recreation of Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. I’ve had the chance to build it ahead of release but does the LEGO Group have the touch? Does it have the power to transform an iconic toy into an equally iconic LEGO set? Here’s my review of the LEGO Transformers G1 Optimus Prime (it’s still unbelievable to say that)
Optimus Prime. Leader of the heroic Autobots. And now an impressive 2-in-1 LEGO® build for Transformers fans. Awaken your passion for the Transformers universe with this rewarding building project for adults as you craft all the details of an iconic robot.
Hiding in plain sight
Just like the beloved original, this Optimus Prime model converts from a robot to a truck and back again. Admire the 19 points of articulation in robot mode and open the chest chamber to store the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Attach the jetpack in robot mode and place the ion blaster and Energon axe in the Autobot’s hands. Other authentic accessories include an Energon cube and optional waist panel. Add the plaque to display your passion for Transformers with pride.
Welcome to your zone
Spend quality time with premium LEGO buildable model sets for adults. This set makes an immersive project for you or a top gift idea for anyone who loves Transformers collectibles.
- Set Name: Optimus Prime
- Set Number: 10302
- Pieces: 1507
- RRP: £149.99/$169.99/169.99€
- Number of Bags: Bags x 10 + loose elements
- Stickers: sheet x 1
- Minifigures: N/A
- Instructions: Booklet x 1 + LEGO Building Instructions App
- Availability: LEGO Stores & LEGO Online
As mentioned above, despite being a classic cartoon series as well as a modern-day movie franchise, Transformers is a toy brand and one originally created by Japanese toymaker Tanakra Tomy. Beyond Japan, the brand is owned and released by Hasbro. So the fact this set exists is a true milestone moment. The LEGO Group may not have a direct competitor in the construction bricks space, but Hasbro is a rival toymaker. So before even opening the box, seeing the Hasbro and Tomy logos next to the iconic LEGO logo is quite special. But it’s not the box you’ll be picking this set up for, it’s what’s inside.
The build is split across 10 along with a bag of tyres. There’s also a small sticker sheet, you’ll be pleased to know that the Autobot logos featured in the set are printed. The instructions offer a bring insight into the legend of Transformers and a brief introduction from the set’s lead designer. I have always said these few pages at the beginning of an instruction booklet are always welcomed and add to the overall experience of the build.
If you aren’t clued up on Transformers, it’s a line of transforming robots created by Japanese toymaker Takara. In the mid-80s Takara joined forces with US toymaker, Hasbro and with a little help from Marvel Comics, Transformers were born. It’s a much-loved franchise and one still very much alive today. It’s inspired by a toy line, comics and questionable live-action movies but it’s the 80s Saturday morning cartoon which really helped to make Transformers what it is. There have been a few different character designs over the last 30 plus years, but Generation 1 will always be the pinnacle of Transformers. Thankfully, G1 also acts as the inspiration for this LEGO version of Optimus Prime.
The Autobot leader has two forms – his robot form and once transformed, a Freightliner FL86 cab-over truck. This classic appearance not only looked great in animated form, but it was also simple enough to allow the associated toys to easily be switched from robot to vehicle with minimal effort. That’s also the case with this LEGO version. Yes, it can transform and without the need for any rebuilding. So once the set is complete a few simple folding and twisting of parts result in the formation of Prime’s truck form.
The build is partly split into sections, with the main one being the body of the Optimus Prime, which later become the cab of the truck. This section features opening windows, to give access to the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, which clips into Prime’s chest. This has no relevance to the transforming ability, it’s just a nice little touch which ties into the lore of Cybertron and the Transformers.
The arms and legs are all built independently to the body section and connect to it via a new joint brick. Being connected this way allows them a have a fair amount of movement and of course, plays a key role in allowing the robot form to be transformed into a vehicle. With everything connected, the last things to add are Optimus Prime’s surprising accurate head. It uses a new sloped piece for Prime’s mouth plate, this is previously featured in a different colour in the recent Succulents set. I would have looked slightly better if it was slightly more sloped but apart from that the head is pretty cool and can be turned back into the body section during the transformation. Another interesting piece is a rubbery orange plug, which was used in the LEGO FORMA set to connect the ‘skin’ to the frame of the set. Here they are used on the feet to give them some grip.
Optimus has a few brick-built accessories including a jetpack section, which clips to Optimus Prime’s back and is removed when transformed. There’s also a simple Energon cube, a valuable energy source for both the Autobots and the Decepticons. Plus there are two weapons an Energon Axe and the iconic Ion Blaster. Both of these can be connected to Prime, the blaster on his arm and the axe via a Technic axle in his wrist, adding this can make it difficult to pose the arm as it makes it very heavy. Only the Ion Blaster is incorporated into Prime’s truck mode. There’s also a small UCS-style information plaque, adding to the displayable nature of the set.
As the classic opening theme declares, Transformers are more than met the eye. So this set isn’t just an amazing brick-built model of Optimus Prime, it also transforms into a truck, in a similar way to the original toys. You don’t have to take it apart to create Prime’s vehicle mode. The jetpack is removed and there is a 2×8 plate with a sticker on it, that’s switched for another piece. The rest of the transformation just involves rejigging a few pieces. So the jetpack comes off, the hands fold into the arms, the legs clip together, the body twists and then tilts back and after a few more steps Optimus Prime transforms from a robot to a truck. It was an impressive feat with the original toys but even more so with a LEGO version.
You might not be a fan of the Transformers, but the release of this set really is a special moment. The LEGO brand has become so iconic and loved by so many, even rival companies are keen to see their creation transformed into a LEGO set. As a kid of the 80s, I grew up on Transformers so being able to build the leader of the Autobots, transported me back to Saturday mornings and watching the Autobots taking on the Decepticons. The robot version alone is amazing but the fact it can become a truck, without the need to rebuild it, is outstanding.
+ A monumental moment for the LEGO Group
+ It’s a genuinely fantastic set
+ The ability to transform it is just as impressive as the robot form
– There’s a 1×4 plate on the feet which becomes loose very easily
This set was provided to BricksFanz by the LEGO Group for purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are that of BricksFanz and do not reflect those of the LEGO Group or Hasbro. Providing a set for free does not guarantee a favourable opinion of the set.