Lego Optimus Prime review: "It's hard not to sit back in awe"

LEGO Optimus Prime in robot mode
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Lego Optimus Prime lives up to expectations, big time. It isn't as quick to transform as we'd hoped and the mid-section is overly fragile, but the kit is firing on all cylinders in every other regard.


  • +

    Impressive in robot mode

  • +

    Massively posable

  • +

    Lots of accessories

  • +

    Clear instructions

  • +

    Manual full of cool trivia


  • -

    Transformation could be easier

  • -

    Fragile connections

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OK, so Lego Optimus Prime is expensive. There are no two ways about it. At roughly $170 (or £150 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 a wealth of accessories, this is one of the best Lego sets we've made in a long while. 

Lego Optimus Prime: features

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Price$169.99 / £149.99
DimensionsH: 14" / W: 5" / D: 11"
Item Number10302

A big selling point of the Lego Transformers Optimus Prime kit is its ability to do what it says on the box - transform. With a few twists, folds, and swivels, the Autobot leader goes from blaster-wielding robot to souped-up truck.

However, you do pay for that functionality in a literal sense. This set is a good chunk of change more expensive than other 'character' models like Baby Yoda (which is arguably one of the best Lego Star Wars sets), and it's on par with some big-box kits such as the Lego Atari 2600. But on the plus side, it's more interactive than either of the above despite not being a 'toy' in the traditional sense. It comes with plenty of accessories too; the Matrix of Leadership, an Energon cube, axe, ion blaster, and jetpack can be found alongside the big man himself.

How easy is it to build?

LEGO Optimus Prime pieces

There are a lot of pieces to contend with when it comes to the Lego Transformers Optimus Prime kit (Image credit: Future)
  • Takes around 4 hours
  • Good, clear instructions
  • Can be quite fiddly

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.

The instructions are excellent

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.


LEGO Optimus Prime in truck mode

There's something very satisfying about transforming Lego Optimus Prime (Image credit: Future)
  • Transformation is cool but long-winded
  • Looks amazing in either form
  • Lots of articulation
  • Weak mid-section in robot mode

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 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.

You'll be in nerd heaven upon opening the manual

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.

Still, there's a downside. Be warned: the model's mid-section is prone to disconnecting under the slightest duress. As such you've got to treat Lego Optimus Prime as if he's made of glass. What's more, I find that his arms tend to sag down unless I get the angle just right - posing the figure without his hands dropping to his sides like an Autobot on shore-leave is more difficult than I'd like.

Should you buy Lego Optimus Prime?

Lego Optimus Prime model

(Image credit: LEGO)

Despite having some flaws, Lego Optimus Prime is a superb piece of fan-service. 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. Just remember, it's not a toy; it's strictly a display item.

With any luck, it's just the start of a wider Lego Transformers series. 

Buy it if...

You love classic Transformers
This is the ultimate fan-service for those who grew up on old-school Robots in Disguise. Even the instruction manual is crammed with fun references.

You want a Lego set with a difference
Transforming is an impressive party trick, and it makes Lego Optimus Prime one of the more appealing kits of recent years.

Don't buy it if...

Fiddly sets irritate you
This is a fragile kit that's prone to breaking apart under pressure, so stay away if you see red at the thought of having to put it all together again. This definitely isn't a toy, either.

You expect it to transform seamlessly
Unfortunately, Lego Optimus Prime isn't quite as elegant as his cartoon or movie counterpart; the transformation process is cool, but a bit awkward.

How we tested Lego Optimus Prime

I built Lego Transformers Optimus Prime 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.

For more information on our process, take a look at how we test products.

Want some recommendations? Don't miss these essential gifts for gamers, not to mention the top Lego Super Mario sets. Meanwhile, you can save money via our dedicated page of Lego deals.

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Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to lists of the very best Lego. I've also been writing about games in one form or another since 2012, and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.