First of all I’d like to thank BTS toys for giving us this opportunity to review this upcoming set. Check out the full gallery here! The BTS-03 Matrix of Leadership set was something that caught my eye right away when the first preorders went up – an accessory set for the original Optimus Prime toy, that adds many of the extras other versions of the toy have come with? Needless to say, that got my attention right away. In hand, it does not disappoint, though please note this set uses some of the slots added to the mold in the later reissues and is not completely compatible with the very first 1984 vintage set. That’s probably okay though, as I imagine that anyone getting this set who owns a 1984 Optimus probably also has a reissue “for playing with”. The set comes in a display tray that stores all the parts nicely. To take a quick tally of what you get in the set, you get: 1 x Matrix of Leadership 1 x Matrix holder 1 x set of fists with partially articulated fingers 1 x Energon Axe 1 x Ion Blaster 1 x Rocket pack 1 x Connector Plug The Matrix The Matrix is depicted here in excellent detail. All the details from the animated movie are present – from the finger-grip slots on the handles to the crystal in the middle. Much like the Matrix that comes with Masterpiece Optimus Prime, this Matrix can be opened to “light our darkest hour”. The two halves slide out about a quarter inch, but the effect is quite impressive. Unfortunately this also means that when closed the Matrix has a couple of blue nubs sticking out of the side due to the way the sliding mechanism works, although it is not too noticeable and is a worthwhile trade to have a Matrix that can be opened wide enough to be noticeably open. The Matrix can be stored in Optimus Prime’s chest using a special piece based on the Matrix Chamber compartment from the 1986 movie. It’s a nicely detailed piece that the Matrix snugly snaps into place on using clips located on either side of the chamber. The Matrix chamber itself can store inside Optimus’ chest, in the space where on the original Diaclone Battle Convoy the Diaclone Drivers would have sat. On my piece, this was a very snug fit, and if it was not fully in then I had a slight problem making the chest close all the way. Once in though, you arguably won’t need to remove that Matrix Chamber – it can stay attached quite happily as you transform Optimus Prime from truck to robot and back again. What I really, really liked about this piece is the little hole in the back which allows for light piping through the jewel at the core of the Matrix. It’s a really nice touch and shows that some serious thought went into designing this piece. I was very pleasantly surprised when I worked out that was what that hole was for. Hands In order to hold the Matrix Optimus needs some hands to hold it with, and that is where the hands that come with this set come in. They are articulated so that the fist can open and close (the fingers are articulated as a single piece), plus the thumbs are a separate piece so they can also move (this seems to be more like they have some give to allow the hands to properly grasp objects than actual articulated thumbs though). Lastly the hands attach using balljoints rather than pegs, which means that not only do they plug in and out fairly easily, but they also allow for some wrist articulation when attached. This helps a lot when you pose Optimus holding the Matrix, or just want to make a nice dynamic pose. The design of the hands is good, they are not as tall as the original hands which makes them a bit better proportioned against the arms in my opinion. They are also a good match for the colours of Optimus Prime – they are not the exact same shade of blue colour (depending on which release you go by), but they do not look out of place. The hands also have standard 5mm handholes when the fingers are closed up, so they can hold or grab on to most modern Transformers weapons. Energon Axe Another piece in this set I was very strongly attracted to was the Energon Axe. This is not the first time that an Energon Axe has been made for the Generation 1 Optimus Prime mold, but if you missed out on one of the previous releases (which all came with Japanese reissues or at Japanese hobby fairs) you’ve got another great reason to pick up this set. The axe plugs into Optimus’ arm as you might expect, and like all the other parts in the set has some extremely nice detailing. I am particularly pleased with the way the energy effects have been molded in – when you hold this piece, it feels like it is crackling with energy as well as looking like it is. An added bonus with this piece which I liked is that the base of the axe also incorporates a standard 5mm peg as well as a smaller one for fitting into Optimus’ arm, meaning that many modern Optimus Primes can use this as an extra hand held melee weapon. And if you can get an Optimus whose hands tuck in for transformation in just the right way… … well, you get the idea. Ion Blaster The set also comes with a version of Optimus Prime’s Ion Blaster. This one is based more strongly on the animation and looks nice and big when held by Optimus. The post is your standard 5mm peg, so you can also give your various other Optimus Primes a Generation 1 looking Ion Blaster if you so choose. My first instinct was to see how this looks on Classics Optimus Prime and it really works with his look. My only criticism is that the end of the barrel is just a flat surface, and I’d personally have really liked to see some kind of hole molded into the barrel, even if it were only a shallow one. But that is a minor complaint. Rocket Pack The final piece in the set is a rocket pack. Worn by Optimus Prime and the other Autobots on occasion, this pack doubles up as storage for some of the other parts of the set when they are not in use thanks to a compartment built into the back. I’m sure someone will also jump in and point out that this is another show accurate touch, that it opens up as it did in the show when Powerglide did some maintenance on Bumblebee’s pack or something after crash landing on Dinobot Island. If so, it’s both functional and accurate. The rocket pack attaches to Optimus Prime quite securely, by way of a tab on the bottom clipping into the slot that sticks out the back of Optimus, and is secured by the tab on Optimus’ head when he transforms. Once attached, the piece is solid – it won’t fall off. The detailing again is nice and show accurate. What makes this part of the set cool though is the rocket pack also includes an additional tab on the back for plugging into the top of Roller or even into the back of Transformers toys with 5mm tabs on their backs – such as for example, Classics Optimus Prime. Classics Optimus Prime kitted out with a rocket pack and a Generation 1 Ion Blaster is an awesome sight and the parts work just as well with him as they do with Generation 1 Optimus Prime. Major kudos to BTS for this extra compatibility for the set. The rocket pack also has a couple of nice additional features. First of all, there’s that connector plug I mentioned at the beginning. This is so you can attach the rocket pack to the front of Optimus’ trailer just like the way it attached to the Hybrid Style Convoy version. It’s a cool extra bit of storage, although because the only point of connection is at the bottom of the piece, it can tend to droop forward slightly. Even so, it is very nice to see this idea worked into the set. Another cool feature of the set is that the top of the rocket pack features holes that you can mount different weapons on. They can take 5mm post weapons, but the fit can be a bit tight on some of them. It does work great with Classics Optimus Prime’s windvane gun though, turning it into a shoulder cannon. It’s another nice additional feature of the set and shows that the team at BTS Toys really sat themselves down and thought about all the different ways this set could interact with the various toys that it works with. Summary Overall I’d say my gut instinct was right with this set. When I saw the first images, I knew this set would be something special. Having played around with it even with my minor reservations I can honestly say that this is a very good accessory set, and is a must for anyone who wants to take their Generation 1 Optimus Prime to the next level. It is nicely detailed and has a good selection of accessories, and the added compatibility with newer toys is a definite plus. My only major con with the set is the tightness that some of the parts connect with, particularly the Matrix chamber in the chest cavity. Now it’s possible that it fits better on the newer reissues of Optimus, as I was testing this on an older release of the toy, but it is still a small gripe I have with the set. However I’d definitely prefer things are a bit tight than the alternative. It’s a set with a huge amount of different display options and that has clearly had a lot of thought put into designing it to make it the best accessory set it could possibly be, and it shows – as I was working on this review and the gallery that goes with it, I kept discovering new features! It’s a set that keeps on giving and I’ve no doubt that anyone who picks this up will find it to be excellent value for money. Highly recommended. If you want to get your own Matrix of Leadership accessory set, our sponsors Big Bad Toy Store and TFSource each have the set up for preorder at $20, which is a bargain considering the amount of accessories and display options that the set gives you, in my own opinion. Want to check out more pics? Click here to visit our gallery!