|SND-01 Primo Vitalis Optimus Prime Upgrade|
We had the chance to discuss the SND-01 with several other Transformers collectors and the consensus seems to be universal that this is without a doubt one of the best upgrade kits ever to be released in the market.
However a lot of collectors are overwhelmed by the a) Suggestion that the Primo Vitalis is less of an upgrade kit and more of a kit that creates a new toy, and; b) Idea that doing so means that you have to deal with the "exploding" joints of the Combiner Wars Optimus Prime.
Both ideas are true. Unlike car upgrades, most Transformers upgrades can be reversed or removed. While the SND-01 Primo Vitalis can be reversed, it would require a hell of a lot of work. And a quick trip to YouTube to watch some people bully through the instruction manual will show just how explosive the hip joints of the Combiner Wars Optimus Prime can be.
Hopefully this assembly guide will help.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP.
The SND-01 Primo Vitalis Optimus Prime upgrade kit is from SND - Shigeru Ningyo Do - which if we're correct means "To make into a beautiful mermaid". It comes in a very sturdy packaging and with almost everything you'll need to assemble the new Optimus Prime - including instructions, a screw-driver, extra screws a pin-remover and a pin-removing stand. Obviously you'll have to source the Combiner Wars Optimus Prime separately.
STEP 1: Step 1 is simple and should fill you with a bit of confidence that the project is going along smoothly.
- Simply open the legs of your CW Optimus Prime to remove his gray feet and replace them with the Primo Vitalis' new feet:
- The new Primo Vitalis feet might feel a bit too small to fit into the pegs of the original gray feet but if you apply a little pressure they should snap right in. Straight forward replacement here, not much difficulty:
- Screw the leg closed after
- Repeat on the opposite leg.
STEP 2: Step 2 is A CRITICAL POINT because you will now be opening the CW Prime's hip joint which includes a spring-loaded mechanism that will explode if you open the joint. This is where most Youtube videos go awry, and most people are not able to return the spring to its proper form. We've heard of at least one instance where a collector simply gave up and discarded the spring - a possible solution, but it'll become a load-bearing joint later, so don't. Here's how we went around it.
- Unscrew the joint, and DON'T LET GO!!!! Hold the side that has the spring in place with your free hand. You'll feel the pressure of the spring pushing against your hand.
- Remove the lower leg with your free hand, it should just pop out.
- Reach over and replace the joint with the leg extender
- Keep holding
- Screw it closed
- Repeat on the other leg.
Impossible you say? Actually it was quite easy, and we were able to take photos while we were at it - it helps to have a voice activated camera.
STEP 3: Step 3 - if you follow the instructions, involves putting the legs back onto Optimus Prime - which is what we did. BUT we soon realized that the next steps would be easier to do without the legs attached, so this next step could be done with or without Prime's legs on.
This next step is also something that kids might not be able to do and should be done by an adult:
- Place Optimus Prime's torso on the SND provided pin-removal stand.
- Use the pin remover provided by SND and NOT THE SCREWDRIVER (We actually watched someone remove the pin with the SND provided screwdriver, that head was not mean for that task, you'll ruin in. Don't be lazy and reach over for the pin remover). Gently give the pin a few taps.
- Check the other end and see if the pin coming out has a smooth head or a rough head.
- If it has a smooth head, you're extracting the pin in the wrong direction, tap it back in and keep going.
- If it has a rough head, you're headed in the right direction:
- A pair of pliers helps so that you don't have to hammer the removal pin all the way in.
- The CW Optimus Prime should split in half after this
STEP 4: Remove the lower-torso pin.
- It's the same process as removing the main torso pin: Place the lower torso on the pin removal stand and tap the pin out using the pin remover - note the smooth edge this time of the pin as it exits the lower torso. We did this to see what would happen if we tapped the pin out the wrong way (Rough edge inside). It proved to be quite difficult to extract using the pliers as the rough edge refused to give way. In fact we risked damaging the pin by gripping it to tightly.
- Pry open the lower torso. This can be done with your fingers but we've seen some YouTube videos that required the use of a blade to slip between the cracks to pry the torso open.
- Open the central hip and remove both legs. This should be what you see. This is the spring mechanism that gives the central hip its ratcheting action.
- The bad news is, we need to transfer that mechanism to the new central hip hub. Remove the mechanism. You should have two tiny springs and a pair of plastic friction parts.
- These parts are tiny, and the pegs in both the new central hip hub and on the friction plate will not hold the springs as you transfer them. The new central hip hub receptacle is also too small for stubby fingers. So your options are:
- Get a girl to do it
- Beat your head against the problem by trying to maneuver the parts into pace while using a screwdriver - like they do on YouTube
- Get off your lazy ass and get a pair of tweezers - which is what we did and we got it right the first time.
- Replace the legs and close the hip - you'll find out quickly that THE OLD SCREWS DO NOT WORK. Use one of the SND provided screws instead - specifically the ones with the pointed heads.
STEP 5: Reassemble the lower torso with the new torso part
- Remember that the lower torso is held in place by a pin, so snap the lower torso closed and prepare to reinsert the pin.
- Remember which way the "abs" of the CW Optimus Prime should be facing. We're telling you this because we didn't get it right the first time and had to hammer the pin out again.
- Slot the lower and upper torsos back together
- Hammer the pin back in.
STEP 7: Install the new head. Say goodbye to that tiny little head. You will never see it again.
- Disassemble the larger head of the CW Optimus Prime
- Replace it with the new Primo Vitalis head. Note that you do not have to open the head of the Primo Vitalis to install it. You just have to push it onto the ball mount. We're not sure if it's our particular CW Optimus Prime but our Primo Vitalis head turned out to be quite difficult both to mount and to move about after.
- No, the Primo Vitalis head does not light up, it just caught the light nicely.
STEP 8: Now that both pins and the head are in, and there won't be much flopping around, now is actually the correct time to reconnect the legs of the Primo Vitalis Optimus Prime. We found that the flopping of the legs while you try to tap a pin into a tiny hole that has to stay aligned quite unmanageable.
- Unscrew the lower knee joint
- Slip in the lower leg
- Close and screw closed the lower knee joint.
- Repeat on the other leg.
STEP 9: Add the shoulder blades. The shoulder blades are simple snap-on pieces of armor. Simply hook them onto the exposed tabs of the CW Optimus Prime:
STEP 10: Add the Primo Vitalis chest-piece. It's a wonderful piece of engineering. It provides a very nice looking upper torso for the CW Optimus Prime and helps lock together the upper and lower torsos. It's actually possible to close the chest-piece to cover the exposed "Matrix" but it looks better open.
- Simply hook the chestpiece over the CW Optimus Prime's smokestacks. Push them all the way down because you will need the rest of the smokestacks later.
- Bring the front of the chestpiece down and lock them with the lower torso.
STEP 11: Finish the torso of the Primo Vitalis Prime by:
- Hooking the rear torso piece to the smokestacks.
- Pushing the tabs into the former groin-piece of the CW Prime. The instructions do not specify how deep it should go in, but after allowing it to pop out several times while manipulating the back plates, we decided to push them in all the way.
- Apparently there is no one sure way to arrange the back plates. The instructions aren't clear - other than that you're supposed to "spread" the wings. We arranged them till we were happy with the appearance and that was it.
STEP 12: The final step involves adding the leg plates to the Primo Vitalis Optimus Prime figure:
- Remove the original CW Optimus Prime gray inner hips. They're easy to pop off.
- Snap on the new front chest leg armor. It's a clip on.
- Insert the rear chest leg armor into it's peg on the back
In total the assembly of the SND-01 Primo Vitalis Optimus Prime Upgrade Kit took at least an hour to build and took all the equipment you see below.