As promotion for the Bayformers Age of Extinction movie in 2014, Takara Transformers collaborated with the popular Japanese streetwear brand, A Bathing Ape, designed by fashion / music superstar Nigo. Known for its colorful camo hoodies and pop culture influences, most notably its logo referencing Planet of the Apes, BAPE has made its imprint in the streetwear scene globally and as such makes an opportune collaboration for other collector cultures such as Transformers. Out of all of the numerous collaborations for Prime, from Pepsi to Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven, Ghostbusters and beyond, this release has been the only crossover piece that has intrigued me, both in cross-branding and in design.
I’m usually not super interested in Prime’s truck mode, but I really dig the mix of BAPE and Transformers elements here, enough to want to display it in alt mode. It’s so very streetwear influenced and yet keeps the original TF “flava”. Camo, especially Multicam, is so heavily used in streetwear, and the black and gray tones give it that extra edginess. Super flossy.
Prime’s base unit never gets any love, but with little Diaclone drivers, you get the real space base effect. Upright, you get the full sense that this is meant to be a repair dock, much like with any other towering robots, i.e. Gundam or Evangelion.
Beyond using the G1 Prime for the collaboration, there’s no direct Diaclone homage here, although it’s cool that they included the original bloated version of Prime’s gun that came with the early G1 releases, same as the Diaclone version, however the fists, gas pump and nozzle seem to be from the later standard releases.
If it weren’t for the gold chrome parts, this rendition of Prime would look like dead Prime, evoking semi-traumatic childhood memories of the 1986 animated movie, seeing our heroic leader die before our eyes and turn from the vibrant, patriotic red and blue into a ghastly grey pallor. The moment many of us learned about loss, youth no more. The end of G1.
Regardless of the endless combinations colorway out there and whatever your preference, you just can’t go wrong with a G1 Prime.