The Pretenders are one of the few "gimmicks" if you will from the original 80's Generation One toyline that hasn't been revisted in modern Transformers...that is until now. If the idea of having small Pretender armor suits for the Prime Masters wasn't cool enough, Hasbro (and Takara Tomy) decided to treat us North Americans with the first official non-Japanese release of the Pretender character, Metalhawk.
If you don't know who he is, pause your reading and open another browser window and Google Metalhawk and read up on him. It's OK, I'll wait.
Are you back? Yes? Good! Now that you know a little of the character, let's look at this highly anticipated toy from the packaging down to the figure itself...and perhaps a few photos with his G1 namesake.
The packaging for the Prime Masters basically takes the place of the Titan Master packaging from the previous Titans Return series. You've got a nice character artwork on the top of the card with the black vertical bar on the right side with the large red block letter Transformers modern logo.
The back of the card shows how the toy essentially works, that it can contain the Prime Master, Vector Prime while also being able to trasform into a weapon. Like with most modern Transformers, the cool bios aren't printed on the packaging.
Out of the package Metalhawk is awesome. He's small, only a few inches tall, but he packs a punch for such as small toy. The level of detail in the mold is truly impressive. The designers did a good job at capturing the likeness of Metalhawk's armor. From the large crest on his helmet, to the ornmate look of his chest armor.
It may be hard to see, but unlike the original Pretenders, these don't have a human(oid) face, but a hole for the Prime Master head. It's very hard to see the tiny robot head inside, but upclose you can see it. While I would have preferred an actual face (human or robot doesn't matter), I'm so tickled with this toy that I can give them a pass.
The armor only has two points of articulation. His arms can rotate a full 360 degrees. This is pretty much identical to the G1 Pretenders so that shouldn't come a surprise to long time Transformers fans and collectors.
The front half of the armor simply folds down forward, revealing the Prime Master figure inside...in this case Vector Prime. The tiny robot fits snuggly in the armor, but comes out with a little effort. I almost wish the original G1 Pretenders opened up to reveal the robot inside in this fashion.
The small Prime Master figure scales well with the "pretender" armor. The Prime Master features all the same points of articulation that the Titan Master figures had.
The Prime Master figures are essentially Titan Master figures, without a head mode. Instead they transform into a spark (or is it a vessel containing the actual spark inside?) of one of the 12 legendary Prime characters.
To be honest I'm not too sure how I feel about these at this point in time. This is my first exposure to a Prime Master figure. While I don't mind the concept, the actual toy just seems odd. I mean, all I see is a faceless Headmaster / Titan Master.
To add to the actual play value of the toy, the Pretender armor can also transform into a weapon. In this case Metalhawk converts into a gun, similiar to a Targetmaster. Sice it's just the armor laid down on his chest with a gun barrel, but I can appreciate this extra mode. There is a peg in between the feet that rotates out to let a larger Transformer wield the weapon. I believe it's a standard 5 mm peg so most modern Transformers should be able to hold these.
The original Generation One Metalhawk toy is highly sought after by many collectors, but thankfully I've had this guy in my Transformers collection for a very long time. I couldn't wait to pull him out of the glass cabinet to compare against this new, smaller version. As you can see, he's pretty spot on.
I wish his helmet crest had been painted red like the original, but dang it if they didn't nail just about every other aspect of the character. There are some small differences here and there, but overall I couldn't be happier with the final outcome.
I was really surprised to see that the peg on the Prime Master armor snuggly fit into the peg hole on G1 Metalhawk's hand. Yes, he can wield himself in battle!! I love it!
I have been super impressed thus far with the Transformers Power of the Primes line. So far many of the modern upgrades these classic characters have received are excellent. I picked up the other two Prime Masters in this wave with Metalhawk (Micronus w/ Cloudburst & Liege Maximo w/ Skullgrin) and I cannot wait to see which other classic Pretender characters get this treatment.
If you are a fan of the other original Pretenders I simply can't see how you would not enjoy this figure. From the intricate detailing, to the homage itself, Hasbro has a huge winner on their hands with Vector Prime and Metalhawk.