In the Perry White review, we commented that to beat his accessory - the entire Daily Planet building - you'd have to throw in an entire city. Well, how about seven cities? And not even as accessories, but as a part of the toy itself? Makes a single building look pretty small by comparison.
We've been getting all sorts of Transformers for decades now, and no matter how the story or the setting may have changed, some things are constant. The Transformers are always robots in disguise, they're always fighting over the Energon they need to stay alive, and their home planet is always Cybertron. We've seen Cybertron portrayed in all the shows and comics, but we've never had it as a toy, because, really, how do you make a toy planet interesting?
Cybertron does look pretty nice, though. The meat of the planet is about 6 1/2" in diameter, which means it's just a little smaller than Unicron's spherical form.
The surface is covered with all sorts of technological detail, and a few rows of spikes (towers?) jut off the planet's surface and high into the Cybertronian sky. Those spikes give Cybertron a big advantage over Unicron: namely, they conceal four legs that hold the planet up when you want to display it on your shelf - it's almost entirely spherical, so without those it would just be rolling all over the place.
There's a weird little divot near the equator that looks like a volcano or a mushroom cloud or something. What is it? It got a special silver paint app, so it must be something important, right? It's Kaon, the Decepticon stronghold, introduced in the flashback series The War Within. According to writer Simon Furman, all Primus' creations had the potential to be as evil as his brother Unicron; Kaon city was the first to show signs of that contamination, as the faction that would one day be known as the Decepticons congregated within its limits. The rest of the planet is painted gray and blue, like the classic depictions of the planet, and the cities are yellow or bronze.
In a few spots, you can see right through Cybertron, which fits in perfectly with what we've seen in other media. In the original cartoon, Cybertron was almost entirely metallic, but it was also honeycombed with hollow spaces - think of how big an office building is
compared to the stack of materials required to build it. There are seven spots where the tech detailing opens up, allowing us to see, as the box describes them, "famous cities of Cybertron." Cybertron has famous cities? Okay. You can see little buildings and highways in the city sections, and someone was paying attention to how gravity works, because "up" isn't the same direction for all of them. As you rotate the planet, each city pokes out of the planet at the right angle. Very nice!
Cybetron has a few planetary defenses, for those times when sending out a militia of warrior robots just isn't enough. Assuming that the four little legs stand Cybertron with its axis vertical, the northern hemisphere has a pair of missile launchers and the southern hemisphere has grabby little claws. Aww! There are also a huge pair of blasters at the equator, but they both face the same way - better hope an enemy doesn't attack at night.
So, this is a decent representation of the Transformers' home world, but is that really enough to warrant a purchase? No, it's not. But ah, this is a Transformer - there's more than meets the eye. There have long been hints, but in the latest cartoon series, the truth was revealed: Cybertron is more than a simple planet; it's the body of the Transformers' god, Primus. Oh yeah - it's on now, bitch!
Mighty creator of the Transformers race, both Autobots and Decepticons owe him their loyalty as his children. He is as old as the universe itself, and matched in power only by his twin brother, the evil Unicron. Primus is the Lord of Light - a pure, natural force of order, strength and peace, committed eternally to the struggle against chaos, destruction and the ever-advancing darkness of Unicron.
Autobots have made reference to Primus over the years, but just as some vague mythological diety; now we actually know his story. He's the Ahura Mazda to Unicron's Ahriman. The destruction of Unicron at the end of Transformers: Armada led, through a complicated series of events, to the formation of a black hole in the immediate vicinity of Cybertron. In order to save and restore their homeworld, the Autobots needed to find the four Cyber Planet Keys and the Omega Lock to relink Primus' spark to his body and release him to combat the threat to the universe.
In robot form, Primus looks pretty impressive.
He's smaller than the Unicron figure, but he's also been lying dormant while Unicron's been tooling around creation, eating moons and such. The 'bot stands more than 12" tall if you measure just to his head, but his weapons add a bit more to that. He moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, shoulders, elbows, fingers (one joint for the thumb, two for each finger) and neck.
The figure is based (loosely) on a design by Transformer-artist extraordinaire Don Figueroa,
the guy who also did the awesome redesigns for The War Within and the WWII-era Transformers vs. GIJoe. The detailing on the robot parts is just as good as it was on the planet's surface, and both forms have a lot less kibble than Unicron did - seems Hasbro's been working to improve over the past few years. In fact, the only really obvious part is the big T that hides his butt. Yes, he looks like a figure-8 when viewed from the front (the way you'll see him in the box), but once you start playing with him, everything blends in nicely. There's also a "battle station" mode, which is basically just a half-way step between the planet and robot modes, but it's really pretty crappy and not woth mentioning.
Primus was never mentioned in the original G1 cartoon because he was an invention of the Marvel comics. We saw him and his brother Unicron in their original human (or at least humanoid) forms, before their spirits were bound to planets. Unicron looked like a blue-skinned version of the robot he would become, while Primus resembled Rodimus Prime - which made sense since he was the bearer of the Matrix at the time and therefore Primus' avatar. An ambulatory planet is a much cooler idea.
As if being a giant metal behemoth wasn't enough, Primus has even more available weaponry than Cyberton did. The rocket launchers fold up over his shoulders, and the double-barreled blasters are on his forearms. But then we move down to his legs, where he's got a cluster of blasters below each knee and a missile battery on the outside of his ankles. He doesn't have any accessories he can hold, but he's still packing.
There's a gimmick to Primus' transformation.
On the show, they had to collect the Cyber Planet Keys and find the Omega Lock to wake him up. The toy includes the Omega lock, and you have to use it to transform Cybertron into Primus. Okay, it sounds stupid, but it's actually pretty cool. The lock plugs into big ports on the figure, and you slide it or turn it to bring the big guy to life. A tiny red light shines when the lock is in place, and if you put batteries in the toy, it causes transformation sounds at certain points. You can plug one key into each of the four sides of the lock, but it doesn't change anything.
Cybertron Primus has one accessory - maybe. During the long development cycle for this toy, word leaked out that there would be a difference between the US and Japanese releases, one that would make fans want both versions. Speculation ran wild, until finally the truth was revealed: the first wave release of the figure in the US would include, as an accessory, the severed head of Unicron. After the events of Transformers: The Movie, Unicron's head settled into orbit around Cybertron, taking the place of the moon he devoured.
The head is battle damaged, with big scars on the surface, a cracked horn and half his face torn away, revealing skeletal structures beneath. Why would a robot have a skull underneath metal skin? A cluster of tentacles spread out beneath the head, creating a base to keep it upright in your display. The head is about 150% the size of the one that's actually attached to Unicron's shoulders, and the paint apps are darker.
Though the head was intended to be available in the first wave, when Primus started to show up, there was no head to be seen, leading many fans to assume they'd missed it or it was hidden in the packaging. Nope, not the case: Unicron's head is clearly visible in the box, it's just that a few cases from the second wave hit before the first, confusing the issue. Now, each case only has two Primuses in it, due to his massive size, so the head isn't going to be readily available for long - Primus has a really surprising sell-through rate right now. The head doesn't add any cost to the figure, but it does add some playability, so if you want Primus, hold out for the extra accessory, but snap it up as soon as you see it.
If Unicron was the toy we've all been waiting to get, then Primus is the one we never knew we wanted. As we said, the character wasn't even mentioned in the G1 cartoons, because he was an invention of the Marvel comics - it was just picked up on when the newer iterations, like Beast Wars, began. It didn't seem like there would be much point to a toy version of Cybertron, but thanks to the Transformers' evolving mythology, this seems like a must-have toy.
Can you name any famous Cybertron cities? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.