So yeah, turns out it was just about the paint.
As a Guardian of Cybertron, Omega Supreme is a conduit for the very energy of the machine world. He prefers to remain quiet and still, aloof from the petty conflict of the Autobots and the Decepticons. But when the safety of his world is threatened, he awakens, and the mighty arsenal at his command shakes the foundations of the planet.
In 2004, Hasbro released an Omega Supreme in the Energon line, and we hated it. It was so bad that I boxed it up and returned it to the store after reviewing it. That's pretty damn awful. But now the mold's been repainted and re-released, and I willingly bought it again.
Rather than an ill-conceived yellow and blue,
this time Omega's in G1-inspired tannish-gray. His chest plate is two shades of red, and his feet are red (right foot) and black (left). To tie everything together, there are silver and gold accents all over the place. It's not quite the colorscheme we imagined eight and a half years ago, but it works. It works. It's not just that it's a G1 reference and that automatically makes it better than anything else - rather, it's that the robot now has a cohesive design and looks like it belongs together.
Now that we're not being distracted by the colors,
we're better able to appreciate the sculpt. This is clearly an old design - Energon toys were still fairly blocky, while today's toys have lots of small, intricate details (inspired by the live-action films). That's not to say the sculpt is bad, just that it has a definite era of origin. There's a really nice asymmetry to the robot, from the large chunks of his body all the way down to the small details on the surface. In fact, the only place where both halves of the bot match perfectly are the two pieces of his chestplate, making it look like a standalone element that goes over the robot within, and providing a perfect way to tie the robot together.
This isn't just a straight repaint of the previous Omega Supreme - in theory this is supposed to be the War for Cybertron version of the character, and while most of the design doesn't match the game renders, the head and the right arm have been redone. The hand is more of a claw now, and the end spins freely. This is a much better design than the clamp from the old toy. Sadly, the left hand has not been redone to become a giant laser cannon, but at least there are no electronics this time out.
One feature we do wish had been retained is the pseudo-Headmaster gimmick. The new head is a superior sculpt, with its flip-up faceplate and a little cannon poking out the back of his head. There's even a bar running around the chin, just like there used to be.
But the removable head that changed into a little robot was one of the few genuinely fun things about Energon Omega Supreme, and now it's gone. C'est la vie.
The articulation is large and clunky, as was the style at the time. The neck swivels, and it's also the only joint that's not ratcheted: he's got swivel shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel forearms, hinged hips, swivel thighs and hinged knees, and every one of them clicks when you move it. This figure stands more than 14" tall, so he needs sturdy joints to be able to hold his poses.
Like we said, the claw hand spins, and each of the "fingers" has two hinges, allowing them to spread wide or grasp together, depending on whether you want him to pick an enemy up, or fire a blast at them. You can also position the head's cannon barrel, but that's more a function of the conversion than a point of articulation. It's not like he's aiming with it, you know?
As before, Omega Supreme can function as a suit of armor for Optimus Prime. The last time we reviewed this mold, none of us had Prime, so you just had to take our word for it. But now we can give you a full report! You raise Omega's head to the side, open two panels on the back, and Optimus (in truck mode) sticks in the center. It's really not very impressive; they sacrificed a more complex transformation scheme for this? What a waste. Four large plugs raise up so you can attach Prime's drones, but it's still rather disappointing.
Also disappointing are the "crane" and "artillery cannon" modes. Last time we described them as looking like "half a robot copping a squat," and while that's still mostly true, the new, tamer colors have at least mitigated it somewhat. They still don't look good, but they do at least look like their own things. Their own stupid, idiotically designed things.
They're sized for the same Optimus Prime that fit into the robot's chest, but most everyone will just ignore these modes until the end of time. Not that the actual altmodes are a ton better.
Omega Supreme's right side turns into a construction vehicle. Well, it used to be a construction vehicle, back when the old toy's arm had a hinged feature that allowed it to be used as a crane; now that arm looks more like a blaster, so who knows what it's meant to be today? The red cab is matched by the wheels and the three little grabber arms on the roof, and there's a translucent yellow hatch over the golden scaffolding in the back.
The left side becomes a battleship, and it looks just as good in tan as it did in blue. In fact, all those tiny details are no easier to admire, thanks to the improved paintscheme. There's a black command tower in the center of the ship and four gold gun emplacements: one in the back, and three in the front that turn in unison, thanks to a simple system of gears. One of them even fires two missiles at the press of a button. This half is the real winner of the set.
In case you weren't content with all the modes we've had so far, you can also plug the front of the truck into the back of the boat and form a "Cybertronian Armored Supertrain. In War for Cybertron Omega Supreme's altmode was a spaceship (we think?), not a ground vehicle, but hey, what are ya gonna do? It ends up about 31" long, and would certainly look pretty fearsome if it was bearing down on you. But still not as cool as the robot.
This "Platinum Edition" "Year of the Snake" Omega Supreme is a shared Amazon/BBTS exclusive, and comes in a huge fifth panel box that allows you to view the figure inside. The front of the box has a recolored version of the original Energon art, and even that looks better. Everything that looks yellow in the image to the left is actually gold foil - so yes, every one of those snake-ified Autobot symbols is shiny gold.
The Energon release of this mold was so bad that I took it back to the store to get my $50 back, but at twice the price, I'm happy with this new version. Yes, the head is nice and the new hand is cool, but at the end of the day, yes, it really is just the paint.