This is completed my custom “Old School” Optimus Prime figure!

I must has spent over 120 hours on it, but half of that time was probably experimenting on different customization and modification techniques.

Like my illusion and magic desing philosophy, my intention is not to recreate what other people have done so well. There have been truly awesome customization jobs done on ROTF Prime by Frenzy Rumble, Sabrina and Crefigz (an incredible repaint and mod that no doubt inspired many customizers).

My goal is to create different interpretations of Primes that are cool, entertaining and different. Why reinvent the wheel when I can give an original spin to the piece?

For this custom Optimus Prime, I took a 2007 Movie Optimus Prime (Hasbro) and painted him in his Generation 1 colours. G1 refers to the original colour scheme design based on the original toy line, comics and cartoon series. I chose to use the first movie version figure as I thought it was more fitting to do a G1 scheme for a G1 movie figure, instead of the 2nd movie, Revenge of the Fallen.

While adopting the G1 colour scheme, I also wanted him to look detailed realistic at the same time. So the influence of the movie version Optimus Primes can be seen in my detailing. This is not meant to be movie or G1 accurate. It is a 2007 movie prime inspired by G1, if that make sense.

I also wanted the figure to look less bulky and blocky which the 2007 movie Prime tended to look. The great thing is that in illusion design, we often have to optically make thing look smaller or more slender than they actually are so my practical knowledge and experience was applied to this customization design.

You can see a photo of the original toy below, as sold in stores.

For reference, this is the G1 Optimus Prime. Pictured is the Masterpiece version which is the best G1 Prime produced.

My customized figure can still be transformed from robot to vehicle mode but I will be keeping it in robot mode to preserve the paintjob and showcase the detail.

For my “Old School” Prime, I made the following custom modifications:

  1. Complete repaint to G1 colours of red & blue without the flames. This meant reversing several of the colours that were changed for the movie
  2. Repainting certain parts that were made in blue and red plastic to gun metal, red, blue and chrome silver
  3. Repainting the entire exo-skeleton with 4 different silver paints
  4. Colouring and detailing all piping in copper and electrical wires in green, yellow and blue
  5. Highlighting the front grill, bumper, smokestacks, tool box, fuel tanks, steps, sun shields, rims, light covers, back panels and other parts in chrome silver
  6. Highlighting all joint/ gear covers and certain pipes in gold
  7. Repainting and detailing were also done for the inside the forearms
  8. Repainting and detailing of the hands
  9. Repainting and detailing of the head
  10. Modifying, repainting and detailing of the gun. This included fabricating a triple barrel out of brass and aluminum, adding an ammunition drum and fabricating an aluminum handle so that Prime can actually hold the gun
  11. Adding a sword to the left hand that is held in place with earth magnets
  12. Replacing the soft rubber smokestacks to slimmer angled-end metal ones. This involved cutting off the old rubber smokestacks, hollowing up the base, adding steel pegs and adding the new metal smokestacks. This also ensures the smokestacks always remain straight, unlike the original pliable ones that always slant.
  13. Adding a silver plated “Autobot” logo emblem on his left shoulder armour plate. This is a call-back to the G1 figure that has the “Autobot” emblem on his left shoulder
  14. Sealing, finishing and waxing the entire figure

Presenting, “Old School” Optimus Prime!

Old School Prime 2

Old School Prime 1

Old School Prime 7

Old School Prime 6

Old School Prime 5

Old School Prime 4

Old School Prime 3

Old School Prime 10

Old School Prime 9

Old School Prime 8


Production Notes:

This was one of my first customs and creations and the techniques I employed proved to work for me. The key to this custom job was attention to detail, right mix of colours and patience, patience, patience… and more patience.

Here are a few shots of the upper body with some of the detail during the WIP phase.

Unfortunately, I had a major set back to the model along the way. Originally, I thought I would be well on the way to completing my Optimus Prime G1 Movie #1 model but encountered a major problem with one of the painting techniques I used. I thought the figure was ruined and I had to dump it but found a way to rectify the process. But that literally took two days and I basically had to almost start from scratch.

More repainting and touch up was done along with more detailing. As I repainted the model in the classic “Old School” colour scheme, many parts had to be reversed.

To create a detailed and textured look, I’m used many tones and details. For example, for the metallic body or exo-skeleton of Prime, I used a combination of 4 different silvers, applied with different techniques, to create the metallic look. In fact, I tried another technique very late into the process with very positive results. It is highly textured and looks very realistic.

Part of the process is to disassemble and assemble the figure between paint jobs. This is crucial to see how the different colour scheme comes together. It ensures that colour tones are consistent between parts since I mix colours. I’ve read that some people do not disassemble their Transformers figures when repainting… honestly I don’t see how it is possible to do a half-decent job without taking apart the various components.

  1. […] Old-School Prime was another creative theme by repainting the 2007 movie Prime with his Generation One colour scheme. This was a popular custom too. You can see the full specs here. […]