Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Transformers: BTS-03 G1 Prime Matrix of Leadership

Presenting BTS-03: The Matrix of Leadership custom add-on for the Gen 1 Optimus Prime! Lighting our Darkest hour - sorry, I know it's a cliche, but you can't be a Transformers fan without loving that statement.  Created by Best Toys, the BTS-03 G1 Prime Matrix of Leadership is probably the best upgrade for the G1 Optimus Prime available in the market.... well come to think of it it's probably the only upgrade for the G1 Optimus Prime in the market... well there's the trailer. 
I have to admit I've never liked the G1 Optimus Prime because of how crude it is in comparison to the many available Optimus Primes in the market today - I know, sacrilege and the G1 Optimus Prime was ahead of its time. But it always felt so incomplete. You can see the sun through a huge gaping hole in his chest and the rifle looked like it was going to expel paste. So when my favorite E-Bay supplier Victoyoyos said he had it, I had to grab it. 
BTS-03 G1 Prime Matrix of Leadership comes in an almost completely unmarked box - and there's no company marketing whatsover - well it is an unathorized product extension so you can't blame them. BTS-03 G1 Prime Matrix of Leadership comes with two new hands for the G1 Optimus Prime, the Matrix of Leadership, a chest mount, the rocket-pack that Prime borrowed from Sideswipe, the energy axe that Optimus Prime manifested in the cartoon and a cartoon accurate version of Optimus Prime's Ion Cannon.

So what's to like? 

New Hands:

G1 Optimus Primes old hands look like fists with cups in them. Practical but really unsightly. Their range of motion was limited to a simple rotation of the first at the wrist. The new hands - which are made our of a less sturdy and softer plastic than the original - are mounted on a ball joint which allow limited rotation up, down and side to side as well as rotate at the wrist.

But this particular version of Optimus Prime doesn't really need much in terms of hand articulation since the rest of his body will not follow. Weapons and accessories can be slid simply into the holes formed by Optimus Prime's fists just like the original hands. The new hands from BTS-03 also have - surprise, surprise - thumbs - but we'll talk about that - and the hinges on his hands - later. Suffice to say, he can now hold more stuff than the original one could.

Battle Axes:

Not my favorite BTS-03 add on, but I suppose there will be those who will appreciate it. The BTS-03 G1 Prime Matrix of Leadership set comes with a Yellow-Battle Axe that you can swap one of G1 Optimus Prime's hands for. But because this is not one of the most articulate of Primes, personally it looks kind of awkward.

The BTS-03 G1 Prime Matrix of Leadership set also, strangely, comes with a Blue Battle Axe wrapped in tin-foil and not a part of the plastic mold holding the other pieces. It is identical to the Yellow Battle Axe in appearance and function, just different in color.

Ion Cannon:

As earlier mentioned, I always thought that the original G1 Optimus Prime Ion cannon looked like something used to dispense toothpaste and it had very little in common with the Ion Cannon used by Optimus Prime in the original cartoon. Happily the BTS-03 Prime Matrix of Leadership set comes with a freshly molded Ion Cannon that is perfect for detail conscious collectors. It also fits onto Roller. 

The Matrix of Leadership

The BTS-03 G1 Prime Matrix of Leadership set provides a gray mount that slides perfectly into the empty chest of G1 Optimus Prime (How Wizard of Oz) and the Matrix itself. The Matrix locks onto the gray mount via the side clips. Once there, simply slide it on into G1 Optimus Prime's chest.

The fit is perfect. You won't have to whittle away any excess plastic - at least in this case - which is what I had to do for some of my Fansproject Gears of War pieces - particularly the 25th Anniversary Optimus Prime's Ion Cannon Extension (Which comes with a purchase of Battle Rollar) - and for the Fansproject TFX-ABT-01 rifle discussed when I talked about my Alternators.

Our boy G1 Optimus Prime can also hold the Matrix:

And he can "Light our Darkest Hour" Which I don't really know if Optimus Prime ever did. Rodimus did, but I don't have one yet, so bear with me.
Almost enough to move me to tears. Note that Prime can lift the Matrix over his head and you can no longer see through the chassis of G1 Optimus Prime because the Matrix of Leadership mount is now blocking the view. The thought and craftsmanship behind the Matrix of Leadership and it's mount is so good that G1 Optimus Prime can transform without having to remove either. 

Sideswipe's Jetpack
You know? I don't actually know if Sideswipe (Many thanks to Patrick Vallarta for pointing out the error) can use this. I should get one and find out. The answer is probably no. Anyway, in the cartoons, Optimus Prime in an act of desperation needed to fly so he borrowed - more like demanded - Sideswipe's Jetpack. I saved this little tidbit for last because I think - combined with the Matrix of Leadership - it's one of the best upgrade accessories for G1 Optimus Prime. The backpack is simple enough. A solid piece of plastic. No lights, no doo-dahs. Lift the hatch and you can store one - not both - of Prime's Energy Axes inside.

After sliding him onto G1 Optimus Prime's back, you can actually mount his rifles back there.
But what makes it even more exciting is that you can actually mount his weapons forward as well! Totally changing the dynamics of the figure and making him more akin to God Ginrai - without all the armor and the dynamic increase in bulk. At the very least, you do not have to throw away the paste making rifle. Just mount it.

So what's not to like?

  • The plastic is a bit inferior and I honestly wonder how long it will last in my... humid climate. 
  • The thumbs fell off almost automatically and I resolved to just packing them away rather than risk losing such small pieces. 
  • There are joints in his hands - you can see them in some of the pictures, but his hands will not open - though I've seen photos of the BTS-03 Prime Matrix of Leadership provided hands that are open, I will not risk breaking mine since the plastic is weak.
  • There's a small piece that looks like a tiny rectangular mount. I do not know what this is for.
Other than that? Nothing. I thought that this upgrade totally changed my mind about what a horrible toy G1 Optimus Prime was and how awesome he can be with a little applied imagination. Before he was just a re-issue of an 8-s classic. Now he's solid, more reminiscent of the cartoons and he has extra artillery. I paid a hefty sum for this. A sum well paid.


  1. Kuya, where can I buy the Matrix of leadership product? may I know the cost? Thank you!

  2. Hmmmm. Honestly you can contact Victoyoyos via the link up there in the 2nd paragraph, but it cost me an arm and a leg more than what it currently retails on some on-line stores - P2,000 inclusive of shipping. But I didn't have to source it and he's a trusted toyfinder so I didn't mind. You might try TFsource: http://tfsource.com/products/view/product_id/1591/ if you want a less costly alternative.

  3. sir about this:

    "There's a small piece that looks like a tiny rectangular mount. I do not know what this is for."

    i think you can place that at the button which launches roller, then after placing it you can then attach the jetpack to the mount. ^_^ saw it somewhere in you tube.

  4. Oh Cool! Thank you very much. Let me try that :)

  5. haha! no prob sir! i'm also planning on buying this upgrade..just havin a hard time looking for on..XD

  6. Oh I got it on ebay. If you're in the Philippines, then click on the Victoyoyos link on the 2nd paragraph. I can also give you his number. If you're not in the Philippines, I do believe you can still buy from him and trust him. So far he hasn't failed to deliver.

  7. yup yup im from philippines, thanks for the tip sir! XD

  8. Sir i just got one at toycon this saturday haha, it was really nice, and i also got a bonus, when i unboxed mine, an extra piece of plastic fell down, and inside was an extra Blue Gun! XD

  9. Just realized that if you were at the Toycon, then you probably saw this on display :)


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