Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Transformers Tribute Evolution Pack Orion Pax (2017)
Oddly enough, the version of Optimus Prime featured in the 2017 "Evolution Pack," which contains just two toys, was not the earliest version of the character depicted in the set, despite already coming from a point in time before the Transformers came to Earth. That honor goes to the "Orion Pax" figure, who represents Prime from a point in his life before he even became Optimus Prime. There have been several iterations of Orion Pax over the years. The image at the top of this post represents the earliest, from the classic cartoon episode "War Dawn," a story in which the Aerialbots are taken back in time to nine millions years ago, where they befriend... and ultimately are involved in the re-creation of... their future commander. Although no toy was created for this supposedly one-off character back in the 80s, the concept has been revisited several times in more recent years, and the first Orion Pax toy was created in 2005 by repainting a Generation One Kup mold in red-and-blue to depict the now-iconic character before he became Optimus Prime. Personally, I've never felt like the Kup mold looks at all like the Orion Pax character model from the cartoon, which of course was created without any considerations to become a toy (or was it?), and in any event simply took advantage of an existing mold that was considered "close enough" to make do with a new color scheme (that toy didn't even have a remolded head!). In some ways, the Transformers Tribute release of Orion Pax pays homage to that original Orion Pax toy, in that it, too, is a redeco of a Kup figure (Titans Return Kup, in this case), but they did at least give this version of Orion Pax a new head. It doesn't particularly resemble the 1980s' animation model seen above, of course, instead being based on the 2013 toy that took inspiration from the then-recent IDW comics, which used a different design (this design, in turn, can be seen in the pre-production versions of Nova Prime and Galva Convoy featured recently on this blog). The use of the Titans Return Kup mold does mean, of course, that this version of Orion Pax has a detachable head that can turn into a robot in its own right... but don't think too hard about how that might be reconciled into continuity. No good can come of it.