In the world of Hasbro’s Transformers, there’s no Autobot more iconic than the faction’s heroic leader Optimus Prime. Fittingly, Prime has had several action figures made over the years, allowing him to transform and roll out onto toy shelves everywhere. Now, a new collector-oriented figure has updated his original toy, begging the question of which Optimus Prime toy is the best.

The new “Missing Link” Optimus Prime is one of a few different “ultimate” Optimus Prime toys. Others of this variety include the Lego Generation 1 Optimus Prime and the Transformers: Masterpiece G1 Optimus Prime. While each figure reinterprets the classic character in impressive ways, only one of them can be seen as the best representation of Prime ever made.

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Masterpiece Optimus Prime (Version 3)

Box art for Transformers: Masterpiece MP-33 Optimus Prime.

Released in 2019, MP-44 Convoy V3.0 is the latest and greatest take on the Autobot leader from the Transformers: Masterpiece toyline. This series of toys was always meant to represent classic characters from Generation 1, albeit reproduced through modern toy engineering. Many of these figures have features and accessories that homage scenes and episodes from the original cartoon The Transformers. The first version of Masterpiece Optimus Prime was his premier toy in the series, with later toys being made for his Decepticon rival Megatron, the treacherous Seeker Starscream and other iconic Autobots and Decepticons. It’s this third version of Prime that’s the best one yet, however.

Meticulously replicating the appearance of Optimus Prime/Convoy (Prime’s name in Japan) from the original series, MP-44 is packed to the brim with accessories. These include his trailer (which can transform into a med bay), jetpack diminutive vehicle Roller, Prime’s gun and ax, removal heads, and the Autobot Matrix of Leadership from The Transformers: The Movie. Perhaps the most impressive aspect, however, is the figure’s sound box, which contains voice clips from Optimus Prime’s iconic voice actor Peter Cullen.

Likewise, it also has clips from Tesshō Genda, the Japanese voice for Convoy (who also voiced Batman in the Japanese dub of Batman: The Animated Series), as well as transforming sound effects and background music from the original cartoon. Of course, all this (along with the figure’s weighty size, which towers over all beyond Titan class Transformers such as Scorponok) gives it a price tag almost as big as the Chaos Bringer Unicron, with the retail price being around $500 or more. Anything cheaper is most definitely a cheap bootleg or knockoff, with the real Autobot leader demanding a steeper price.

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Takara's Missing Link Optimus Prime/Convoy box art.

Set to release in 2024, “Missing Link” Optimus Prime represents the 40th anniversary of the Transformers franchise. To this end, the toy is extensively based upon the original Optimus Prime figure from 1984, which itself was based on the “Convoy” figure from the Diaclone toyline. While highly reminiscent of this toy, Missing Link Optimus Prime boasts modern engineering and articulation, namely an “ab crunch,” where the top half of his torso can be hunched over. Beyond that, many of his accessories are similar to the ones that came with the original toy.

Beyond the normal release, the figure will also get an “anime edition” repaint that more closely resembles the cartoon’s animation model. Sadly, this version won’t come with his trailer, ironically making it fairly inaccurate to the cartoon in that regard. Those seeking to buy both versions won’t have to break the bank too hard, however. Missing Link C-01 Optimus Prime can be pre-ordered for $119.99, whereas the C-02 Anime version costs only $69.99. Thus, buying both versions of the new toy is still cheaper than buying MP-44.

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Lego Optimus Prime

Lego Optimus Prime transforming into vehicle mode.

The 2022 Lego Optimus Prime figure was an unprecedented achievement in action figure and collectible history. It saw Lego work on a toy with Hasbro, one of the company’s main competitors. The figure isn’t a mere bust representing Optimus Prime’s head, either, but rather a Lego recreation of the original figure in its entirety. This includes the ability for Prime to transform from robot mode to truck mode, and while he doesn’t have his trailer, he otherwise perfectly recreates the original figure.

Once again, many of his most iconic weapons and accessories are present in Lego form, namely his Ion blaster, Energon ax, and Matrix of Leadership. Due to the nature of the figure, however, he lacks articulation in his legs and is somewhat top-heavy. Lego Optimus Prime is still an “action” figure, but he’s mostly meant for more stationery displaying than most Transformers. Its current price retails at $179.99, give or take.

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MP-44 Is Still the Best Optimus Prime Toy Ever

Masterpiece Optimus Prime and the G1 Autobots.

Between the three figures, the determining factors of which one is the best are the price points, features/accessories, and play value. In the case of the former, the MP-44 Masterpiece Optimus Prime definitely loses, as the other figures can all be purchased for less than the cost of it. Those simply wanting a Prime figure or two and who have money to spare would be better off purchasing Lego Optimus Prime, Missing Link Optimus Prime, and perhaps even the anime version of the latter for completion’s sake.

If money is no issue, however, things become a lot harder to decide. Lego Optimus Prime is a great piece of toy history, and this impressive nature extends to the toy itself. Still, it’s notably lacking in articulation beyond the arms, and the fact that the upper torso can sometimes be difficult to stay attached is another issue worth noting. It’s truly meant as more of a showcase piece than a truly playable toy, even more so than other collector-driven Transformers. On top of that, it has to actually be built, which adds a few hours to the wait until play time. Thus, it might be best as an alternative Optimus Prime toy for collectors or even a gateway piece for Lego fans looking to get into the Transformers franchise.

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Masterpiece MP-44 Optimus Prime in truck mode.

In the case of Missing Link, it has a lot more articulation than the Lego version. At the same time, it’s mostly based on the original toy, right down to the boxy, somewhat squat appearance in robot mode. Though the anime edition changes the color scheme, the design as a whole is still very much evocative of this classic toy. Thus, for those wanting a more slender, majestic Optimus Prime in the vein of the cartoon or later G1-styled appearances elsewhere, this figure has some notable drawbacks.

MP-44 is a master class in recreating the cartoon’s look, and the bevy of accessories helps to complete this. Featuring great articulation, gimmicks, and other extras that will instantly melt many a fan’s sparks, the toy is currently one of, if not the best, Transformers toys ever made. The price point is a bit on the steep side, but it represents the zenith of what’s already a high-end collector’s line. There’s simply no other Optimus Prime toy like it, and while other figures may fall, MP-44 is definitely the one that stands.

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