Battle Core Optimus Prime & Optimus MaximusI had said I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the Combiner Wars limb bots being repainted as 1984/5 Autobots to accompany Optimus, with Dragstrip as Mirage is an obvious one, and sure enough in December 2012 Wal*Mart's computer leaked the names of four toys that looked like they fitted this bill: Mirage, Sunstreaker, Ironhide & Prowl. At that point they were assumed to go with the existing Optimus Prime toy but in mid January this piece of toyfair promo art emerged seemingly showing a white Optimus Prime redeco. At that point rumours had been circulating for a while of a new Ultra Magnus toy for 2015 and everyone knows that a white Optimus Prime is Ultra Magnus. However at the start of March a new name appeared: Optimus Maximus and shortly after a larger version of the promo art showed up on the Entertainer's website showing the white Prime combined with the Autobot repaints.
The name Optimus Maximus isn't new: it was used before on a Transformers Prime battle mech for Optimus Prime. The Maximus suffix does have combining connotations though. During Energon three combiners bore it: Superion Maximus, Bruticus Maximus and Constructicon Maximus and it was also later used on the poorly named club exclusive Nexus Maximus.
However at Botcon 2015 it was revealed that the Voyager itself was called Battle Core Optimus Prime while the combined form was Optimus Maximus.
So why a different name for a white Prime instead of Ultra Magnus? The main reason would appear to be that there is another Ultra Magnus toy due out at the same time. Personally I think this is a big missed opportunity to do a white Prime cab that when transformed forms the core of a Combiner with Ultra Magnus' super mode head. Throw in a new shield for the Voyager robot to use that then became a new red chest plate for Magnus and you're on to a winner. 3P companies take note: I have money for you for these items to convert my Optimus Maximus into Ultra Magnus.
The Botcon pictures also revealed the toy had a new head: a traditional Optimus sculpt with a crest on it, not unlike Star Convoy, but put the crest together with the colours and I'm reminded of Brave Police J-Decker. And since I'm now thinking Police Trucks Energon Checkpoint, another robot with a crest, also pops into mind.
Pictures don't tell the whole story as I found out when I got the toy. I had a suspicion that the new head might be fix the problems moving the head on the original version of the toy. It wasn't something I had noticed at the review stage but yes it the original Optimus head is very stuck and I'm told likely to break if you turn it. The new head turns freely though. Functionally he seems identical to the earlier Voyager robot with only the guns, which now have painted handles over white plastic, catching my eye.
The combined mode is where the changes in the toy become noticeable and they're all functional ones. Firstly the ratchets in his hips have been retooled to give a better range of movement. Where before the lower legs pointed inward in their neutral position they now point nearly straight down. This makes posing the combined robot, even in neutral positions, an awful lot easier. See This thread on the 2005 boards for pictures including comparison with the original.
As can be seen by the combined mode images Optimus Maximus has his own version of Blackjack, Legends Rodimus. In an earlier version of this review I said
I await to see if the connection between the two has been improved but don't hold out much hope.Well colour me surprised but the connection is a LOT better here, to the point where I've been able to attach the Legend figure, tip the toy so the chest points down, shake it and the Legend has remained attached.
I've found myself liking Battle Core Optimus a lot more than I suspected I would, but that's mainly down to him having a load of fixes to problems the previous moulds have had. Take that away and he's a white repaint who really should have had some extra work to become Ultra Magnus.