The lamentable Transformers series Robots in Disguise does actually have a few good points that people often overlook. For one, it re-introduced the idea of robots that turned into vehicles, instead of just stupid half-assed animals. For another, it introduced the concept of the Anti-Prime, an evil version of the Autobot Leader. At that point he was known as Scourge, but these days the preferred name is Nemesis Prime.
For years, Dr. Arkeville has labored during his rare free moments in a laboratory hidden even from his Decepticon allies, as well as the prying eyes of Concurrence agents. He has painstakingly built this shell with his own hands, made out of parts pilfered from Decepticon repair lockers over a period of months. It is the most powerful of the Binaltech bodies created: a near perfect melding of robot technology,
Earthling construction and miniaturization techniques, enhanced with the improvisations of one of Earth's most brilliant technical minds.
This plan was hatched years ago when Arkeville had the opportunity to remain close to Optimus Prime long enough to acquire a near-complete scan of his programming using a subspace-impulse cloner of his own design. Years of hacking since has brought Arkeville to a level of understanding of Transformers programming decades beyond any other on Earth. Housed within this deadly shell is a near complete clone of the great Optimus Prime, reprogrammed as a tool of destruction and a scion of command. If Megatron cannot be trusted to destroy the Autobots and leave Earth in his hands, then Arkeville will provide the Decepticons with a leader more than fully capable of doing so. His Nemesis Prime is more than a weapon; he is the ultimate military commander – ruthless, efficient, calculating and above all wise. He is a consummate warrior, a perfect fighter, a victory engine.
One thing only remains: to provide a motive force, that thing the Transformers refer to as a Spark. Recent experimentation with the subspace displacement technology of the Autobot Translink Project has revealed an extra-spatial power source of unheard of proportions. Linking this power source to his creation should be a simple matter of constructing the appropriate subspace conduits. And once this is done Nemesis Prime will rise, and all who stand against him will be laid waste.
The bio wasn't written by Hirofumi Ichikawa, and it isn't a part of the official Alternators/Binaltech story. However, it's obviously based on the story and relies heavily on what's gone before. The bio wasn't released in any official capacity - it's not included with the toy - just on the Transformer World 2005 site. Weird.
This is the Transformer that almost wasn't. The point of the Alternators line is robots in disguise, and Hasbro counts on support from Takara to help offset the cost of licensing the real designs from manufacturers. And pickup trucks, although popular in the United States, are not often seen in Japan;
that meant that Japanese buyers were less likely to pick up a pickup if was just some random Autobot. So in order to get Takara to go halfsies on the mold, this 'bot had to be somebody big: it had to be Convoy. That's Optimus Prime to you, English. Prime was a truck back in the day (a 1982 Freightliner cabover), but we've already got an Alternators-worthy version of that model. In another effort to cover the licensing cost, Hasbro repainted the new toy black and took it with them to SDCC as Nemesis Prime.
Nemesis Prime is also a truck, but on a bit smaller scale. It's a Dodge Ram SRT-10, a truck designed less for its heavy-duty muscle than its use as a status symbol.
When a utility truck starts looking like a sports car, it's lost its way. The SRT-10 is the fastest truck in the world, with a recorded top speed nearing 155mph and a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. It's also technically a Viper, since this speed is powered by the Viper's 8.3L V10 engine. The toy has the standard rear spoiler (which has to make the rear gate pretty much useless for any substantial cargo) and the front-facing cowl hood, which allows a rapid exchange of air to keep that monster engine from overheating.
The interior of the car is detailed perfectly. The gauges are arranged correctly, the radio is the right layout and even the door handles are captured.
The steering wheel moves and the seats fold down - including the half-sized third seat in the middle. But really, we could use some paint in there to bring out the detail. The hood, door and tailgate open, and even the license plate is detailed. While the other Alternators have all just had shortened versions of their names, Nemesis Prime has a real California tag: perfect for a San Diego exclusive.
Since Nemesis Prime is an all-different kind of vehicle,
his transformation really doesn't really reflect the G1 Prime. Well, the legs, maybe - they're made from the truck bed. Other than that, though? The head and arms are under the hood and the windshield ends up hanging off his back. The way the front wheel wells stick up off his shoulders is somewhat reminiscent of RID Scourge, and he's got the old shin-grills, but this doesn't say "Prime" at a glance the way it should. Giving him red glass in truck form is a nice way of capturing Nemesis Prime's classic look, but the robot form is lacking. The black body is accented with metallic blue, but there's not enough. We really need a few more apps to bring out the design of the robot, but they were probably scrapped to help keep costs down.
Prime moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers - much more than the old-school Transformers, and all a result of the complex transformation. The truck's engine becomes a cool little gun, but it also looks nothing like Prime's traditional sidearm. After the stupid lump that was Skids' gun, it's nice to get a decent-looking weapon here.
Nemesis Prime is packaged in one of the new double-bubble packages, but the truck is so much bigger than the cars that he barely fits inside. It's nice that they didn't just re-use Optimus' packaging, giving us official Decepticon colors.
Hasbro really underestimated the demand for Nemesis Prime. They brought him to SDCC, where he sold out every day. On the first day of the con, NP was posted on hasbrotoyshop.com for the fans who couldn't make it to the con, but there were massive problems. To begin with, only 900 were made available - that's ridiculously low. Then, the store pages didn't update properly, so it was still displaying "coming soon" by the time the toy had sold out. Fans had to call the customer service number in order to actually order Nemesis Prime, and even then about half the "confirmed" orders were cancelled. They really screwed this one up.
Masterpiece Prime is a better, more accurate toy than the Alternators version, so there really wasn't much impetus to buy the pickup when it was painted Inferno Red. That's why Nemesis Prime was in such high demand - the chance to get a new character in a new incarnation is always welcome. Standing in a long line at Hasbro's booth has to be better than paying two or three times the price on eBay. If you want Optimus Prime, spring for the Masterpiece Edition. And if Hasbro wants to get some more mileage out of this mold, they should paint it white and call it Ultra Magnus.
Does that "extra-spatial power source of unheard of proportions" sound ominous to you? What do you think it is? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.