OK, so Lego Optimus Prime is expensive. There are no two ways about it. At $169.99 (or £149.99 if you’re based in the UK), this is one hell of a pricey Autobot. But cracking open the box will chase away any twinge of buyer’s remorse.
Simply put, fans of Transformers are in for a treat. Lego Optimus Prime is a delight for those who grew up with the classic Robots in Disguise; whether it’s a lavish instruction manual festooned with interesting trivia or its wealth of accessories, this is one of the best Lego sets we’ve made in a long while.
How easy is it to build?
At 1,508 pieces strong, Lego Optimus Prime is a little intimidating if you’re not a Lego veteran. Spread out across a dozen or so plastic bags, there are enough bricks and gribbly bits here to make good organisational skills essential (if you’re anything like me and tend to empty each pack onto the coffee table in an ungodly pile, you’ll soon be regretting your life choices).
However, that’s not surprising. This two-in-one kit can be turned from axe-wielding robot to truck with a few twists and turns, so that kind of party trick necessitates more complex pieces.
Just make sure you set aside enough time to put Lego Optimus Prime together. It took two of us around four hours to create from start to finish, so expect to put in a longer stint if you’re working solo.
Fortunately, the instructions are excellent. Besides being very clear (we never felt confused at any point), they’re thorough and easy to follow. There are some issues with coloring in that the illustration doesn’t always match reality, primarily where grays and silvers are concerned, but for the most part it’s a big thumbs-up.
Once you’ve put Lego Optimus Prime together, it’s hard not to sit back in awe. Standing at 13.5 inches tall in robot mode, this is an impressive build that’ll draw lots of attention no matter where you have it on display. Thanks to 19 points of articulation and a wealth of accessories drawn straight from the 1980s animated series (ranging from the Matrix of Leadership to a jetpack), it’s a dynamic figure that your inner child will freak the heck out about. As an example, I had far too much fun posing him on the shelf with his ion blaster and Energon axe – there’s a kinetic energy to this kit that most others lack. It makes our otherwise-awesome Lego Harry Potter Fluffy Encounter set (opens in new tab) look drab by comparison.
Especially when you convert Optimus into truck form. Although it’s not as straightforward as I’d hoped (there are more steps involved than you might think and the connections are quite fragile), it’s still a neat party trick with clever engineering at its core. Seriously, I dare you not to make that iconic sound when transforming it.
Even if you have more self-control than I do and manage to stop yourself from geeking out, you’ll be in nerd heaven upon opening the manual. This isn’t just a step-by-step guide; it’s a glossy book with an 80’s design, loads of trivia about the character and those original toys, and other cool tid-bits that break up the instructions.
Should you buy Lego Optimus Prime?
Lego Optimus Prime is a superb piece of fan-service, but it’s also a very clever bit of engineering. While its transformation isn’t as smooth as you’d expect, everything else about this kit is seriously impressive. With any luck, it’s just the start of a wider Lego Transformers series.
How we tested Lego Optimus Prime
We built this set over an afternoon and evening, totalling roughly four hours overall. I then put it through its paces by seeing how easy it was to pose, transform, and fit with different accessories.
4.5 out of 5
LEGO Optimus Prime (10302)
Lego Optimus Prime lives up to expectations, big time – it isn’t as quick to transform as we’d hoped but is still firing on all cylinders in every other regard.