LMBeamers, transform and roll out! Optimus Prime is here, large and in charge! Just when we thought we’d seen it all from the best company in bricks, they’ve blown our minds once again with LEGO Optimus Prime 10302! The first in what we hope is a lengthy series of Transformers, and yes - Optimus actually does transform! More than meets the eye indeed!
If you’re a fan of 80’s pop culture just like the crew at Light My Bricks, LEGO have more than got you covered, especially in the last couple of years with sets inspired by Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Back To The Future and of course a near-infinite number of LEGO Star Wars sets! So many Star Wars sets in fact, that we struggle to light all of our favourites! (trust us, we’re working on it!) So to be honest, we were completely blindsided by the announcement of a LEGO Optimus Prime! A total surprise - but as die-hard fans of the original transforming robots, we’ll take it!
As soon as the set was announced, the design team all jumped online to devour the early reviews and any set information they could feast their eyes and ears on. They were pleased to uncover a few minor - but crucial details. First, the set was based on the original Gen-1 Optimus Prime toy and from the looks of the preview images, a very faithful representation in LEGO. We of course later learned that the LEGO designer who recreated Optimus in brick form, was previously a toy designer at Hasbro and, you guessed it - used to work on Transformer toys! No wonder this set is so accurate!
Second, the set features a ton of awesome looking printed bricks (long time readers will know we’re not crazy about applying stickers!) especially Optimus’ awesome Autobot shoulder pads! Then finally, and most importantly - this LEGO set actually transforms, just like the original toy as well! Incredible! We couldn’t wait to get our hands on a copy of the set to experience this brick wizardry ourselves. In the meantime our resourceful design team had seen enough to being preparing initial component lists, lighting strategies and clever solutions to anticipated design challenges.
June first couldn’t come fast enough, but finally the day arrived when one heroic Light My Bricks team member lined up early to make sure our set was secured on the day of release, bringing our precious Autobot leader to home LMBHQ. Time to build!
The build was fun, fast and relatively straightforward considering how complex the design of this set must have been! We were especially impressed with the number of classic bricks used in this set. Normally, when LEGO recreate an existing character in bricks, they are required to produce several unique pieces in order to get it to look accurate - but here, the majority of bricks used are almost as old as the original Transformers cartoon!
Once built, we were once again pleasantly surprised and impressed. We had suspected that in order to transform Optimus between truck and robot modes, the set's construction may have been a bit flimsy in order to accommodate all those complex moving joints and hinges. But in fact, Optimus is actually quite sturdy and compact allowing (with some care!) to transform between truck and robot modes! Awesome!
Now, to really bring the truck to life! It’s time to give Optimus his spark - in the form of a Light My Bricks light kit! Our designers pounced on the completed build to extend their ideas based on what they had seen online prior. Time to add some cinematic flair to this incredible display piece.
While the LMB design team are certified miracle workers when it comes to all things LEGO and lights, it was clear from the start that our kit would require the assembler to first decide to light up and display Optimus in truck from, or in robot form.
While Optimus in truck mode is iconic, robot mode is really where it’s at and that’s what our designers chose to focus their attention on overall with this light kit. It was important to make sure both modes were able to be lit up accurately and impressively, while also having the instructions easily reflect that.
The starting point our team began with was those commanding eyes. Out of all the awesomely printed bricks mentioned previously, the custom eye plate was the only one that left just a little to be desired - his eyes were just too close together! This was replaced with two Trans Blue 1x1 Round Plates that shone out a cleverly placed Blue Bit Light, positioned to face back into Optimus’ helmet. Allowing the glow amount to be ju-ust right.
Next was the obvious truck features that needed to be accounted for. Headlights - check! Taillights - check! Indicators - check!
Then came a pretty cool detail on the Autobot leader - the Matrix of Leadership! In quite an ingenious fashion, our design team captured an authentic cinematic look by using another Blue Bit Light inside the Orange Trans Round Plate that’s central to the Matrix. This created an interesting contrasting blue and orange gradient, like that seen in the Michael Bay films. To really take this feature from the silver screen and into the LEGO model, a Pule Effects Board was brought on to give the Matrix that ethereal glow - a light in the dark!
Ok, time to focus on the firepower! The set provides Optimus with both an Energon Axe and his iconic Ion Blaster. For anyone of a certain age who was able to play with a Gen-1 Optimus Prime figurine, they will remember his hands famously to be removable (watch out, easy to lose as well!) This produced yet another stroke of inspiration in our design team looking to pay homage to the classic toy using our Wireless Connectors. Placing corresponding plates on each arm and weapon, meant easy removal and reconnection without any additional power source or tethering cables! - more than meets the eye!
Speaking of firepower, the big guns were called in for special effects once more in the form of a Gun Effects Board for Optimus’ Ion Blaster and the existing Pulse Effects Board for the Energon Axe - cleverly illuminated with a Light String! This single component contains 10 individual LEDs and connects via a single expansion board port, making it the perfect solution in this instance. Decepticons we warned!
Finally, the finishing touches came in the form of some ingenious cable management inside Optimus’ Jetpack, which then had it’s boosters lit via a pair of Yellow Bit Lights and a Flicker Effects Board - a final special effect for this special display piece.
And there you have it! We’re certainly thrilled with this latest offering from LEGO and really satisfied with the kit our team produced! Fingers crossed LEGO adds to the Transformers lineup in either the form of a friend or foe, so that Optimus isn’t the lone ranger in a LEGO Transformers display! Let us know what you think and which character LEGO should release, perhaps Megatron? or Bumblebee?