Great read. I have noticed an absolute drop in quality myself. My sets in my youth range from 83 to 90. My sons are from 2011 and there is a clear distinction. Aside from the weight of identical bricks being different, the older bricks stay together in a much more durable way than the new bricks. To test this, I created the same models using all old bricks and all new bricks and the difference was marked. I understand doing certain things to reduce costs, but not at the expense of quality…
The G.I. Joe line of toys has always been the definition of "action figures," featuring moving joints, changeable outfits and ripped man-bodies underneath. If this all sounds a bit gay on paper than it should be noted that G.I. Joe figures are all armed with a vast array of weaponry. Also, if you ever suggest that Snake Eyes might be gay, make no mistake, you will be dead before you even see the movement in the darkness.
Thanks to TFW2005 user Fc203, we have some screencaps from what appears to be a stop-motion review video featuring Studio Series Shatter, among other Transformers and non-Transformers toys. The screencaps give us a good look at her robot and alt mode as well as a few poses. Like her partner Dropkick, Shatter only comes with one alt mode. However, that alt mode is her car mode and not her aircraft mode; whereas Dropkick is the opposite. She also seems to be sporting a bit more of a generic head that isn’t quite movie-accurate, but the rest of the figure seems to pay a good deal of homage to her pre-jet mode on-screen model.
Near the end of the series, in what is generally regarded by fans to be his most impressive feat, Optimus Prime takes on Galvatron without combining with any other transformer. Traditionally, throughout the three series and RiD, Optimus Prime has been shown to be physically weaker than Galvatron. At the end of the intense fight, Galvatron proved stronger than Prime, but Prime managed to destroy Galvatron with Vector Prime's sword.
What I find more interesting is who’s in this wave. Not only is there Hot Rod and Barricade in ’80s muscle car form, but Optimus Prime in his red G1 Peterbilt truck form (just with movie Optimus’ head! Maybe Bumblebee will explain the origin of his “rip off everyone’s face” fetish). Two versions of Bumblebee round out the wave, his traditional movie-verse Camaro and G1 VW Bug.
This figure was released during the short-lived period when Hasbro was treating the Beast Wars as an extension of the Autobot/Decepticon war, and Optimus Primal was presented as being the same character as Optimus Prime. This was soon relegated to the realms of micro-continuity when the Beast Wars animated series began and clearly established that the two Optimuses were different characters, but the toy remains one that was officially branded as Prime, and is consequently listed here.
Activision and Traveller's Tales, creators of the Lego Star Wars games, released Transformers: The Game in 2007, accompanied by Transformers Autobots and Transformers Decepticons, to tie in with the live-action feature film for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PC, Sony PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 2. The player was able to play as both the Autobots and the Decepticons, pick up and throw objects, and transform at any time. The steering in vehicle mode was compared to that of the Grand Theft Auto games and had a free-roaming environment.
The all new 2006-2007 Classics line featured characters from the original series in updated forms. Hot Rod (now called Rodimus due to trademark reasons) was in the first wave of Autobots along with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. Due to most of the Classics lacking visible Autobot and Decepticon insignias, this figure lacks the distinctive Autobot symbol seen on the chest of all other versions of Hot Rod/Rodimus, to which fan companies have responded to with alternative stickers. His vehicle mode is based on an obscure Japanese Supercar, the Dome Zero, manufactured by DOME Co. Ltd in 1978.
The trailer unfolds to form a battle station bristling with many firing weapons. Primarily, it can fire an air-powered missile launcher, a ripple rocket launcher with 5 missiles that can be launched individually (this turret can also be mounted in Laser Prime's hand) and a 'disc launcher', that fired several blue plastic discs adorned with the Generation 2 Autobot sigil. This disc launcher is the only weapon that can be used in vehicle mode.
Available exclusively from Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape in 2017, MP Convoy Reissue BAPE Ver. is a trailer-less redeco of the MP-10 mold sporting a unique black color scheme matching the Convoy Reissue BAPE Ver. BLACK of the original G1 toy, with "BAPE's famous camouflage pattern" and an ape head print on the shoulder replacing the usual faction symbol.
Available exclusively at the Tokyo Toy Show 2012 (along with Prime Shining Optimus Prime), Black Optimus Prime is a very minor redeco of the previously unreleased Gentei! Gentei! black version of Henkei! Henkei! Convoy, itself a redeco of the Classics Voyager Class toy. As such, Black Optimus Prime is mostly cast in black plastic, with some gray parts, translucent red windows and teal paint operations.
In a completely different scenario, Optimus agreed to Prowl’s plan to go on the offensive and try and discover the full extent of the Decepticons’ plans. Optimus nominated Prowl, Bumblebee and Mirage to go along with him on the mission. The group refuelled with the gas that Sparkplug brought back from the Autobots’ secret storage area, and took off. The group soon happened upon the Decepticons’ lab in the middle of a barren, polluted wasteland.
The Autobots helped repair a Smitco Oil Refinery site which the Lazarus-controlled Transformers had attacked. Optimus had no answer for Spikes accusation that the Transformers' presence on Earth was responsible for the destruction. When Megatron's activities at Lazarus's base were spotted by the military, Optimus insisted on the Autobots going in without backup. They discovered Megatron in the middle of a plan to reformat Earth into a new Cybertron using a cyber-virus. Optimus rejected Megatron's suggestion he should just let it happen, but while the two factions fought, the human military unleashed Operation Clean-Up, dropping a bomb on them. Prime Directive #3
The first toy in TakaraTomy's United toyline is a redeco of the War for Cybertron Deluxe Class Optimus Prime, transforming into a Cybertronic "armored truck". As has been TakaraTomy's wont of late, he now sports a metallic red paint job, with brighter pink paint applications and cooler grey parts, and features several additional paint details to those present on the Hasbro figure in the form of black chest windows and pink lines on his face mask. His rifle transforms as well, folding and plugging into the roof of the vehicle mode. The rifle can also peg into his forearms, and, in its compact configuration, can attach to his shoulders via peg holes on the backs of his front tires or stored behind his back in robot mode.
A movie tie-in game for the sequel to the 2011 movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon was released a few weeks prior to the movie on June 14, 2011 (the movie is set to be first screened on July 1, 2011). It has similar gameplay and features as that of the War for Cybertron game as it's made by the same developers, High Moon Studios. The game takes place on Earth just two years after the events of Revenge of the Fallen and will focus on both factions in their "final battle". Adjustments to the previous concept of the game had been made, including the online multiplayer where you can customize iconic characters appearance, abilities and weapons rather than the unknown transformers that were in the game prior to this one by High Moon Studios where you could only customize the appearance, abilities and choose the weapons.
Optimus Prime is then informed that Megatron has infected the core of Cybertron with dark energon and is given the task to undo the damage done. After rescuing Omega Supreme, Optimus, Ironhide, and Prowl fight their way to the core, but it's too late. The core informs Optimus that it is far too corrupted. It can repair itself by shutting down, but it will take millions of years. By that time, Cybertron will have to become cold, barren, and uninhabitable. The core gives Optimus a small piece of itself, saying it will still survive as long as the piece does. Optimus accepts the burden and the core relinquishes the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
Oh, also, I should add that I would like to see if this trend is the same for specific themes, or just over all themes. Although I would guess that the individual themes would show the same general trend you discuss here, one reason individuals might believe in the “price increase fallacy” might be because of the individual themes they support. But again, I think that if you do this, you will find the themes fit the trend as well. If you are looking to go into the numbers more, this might be an interesting area to investigate.
In order to come to some sort of conclusion about the price of LEGO, I needed to get some data on the historic retail prices of LEGO sets. The best source of this information is brickset.com. This website has data on almost all LEGO sets ever made and the retail pricing for many of them. I wrote a web scraping program to go through the Brickset database and make a database of set information. In order to keep the results relevant, I decided to compile one set that fit two basic qualifications:
A redeco of the Wing Convoy Super Real Figure, Wing Convoy Original Figure (ウイングコンボイ オリジナルフィギュア) was available at JUSCO department stores starting on July 30th 2004. The figure was available with purchase of a Wing Saber figure, and came in a plastic baggie, rather unattractively scotch-taped inside the toy's packaging. A sticker was placed on Wing Saber's packaging to note the promotion.
Throughout the first two seasons, Optimus Prime has led the Autobots to many victories, such as stopping Megatron from controlling the crystal of power, stopping the Dinobots' rebellion by saving Grimlock, defeating Devastator with his detach arm, helping capture Nightbird, rescuing Blaster and Cosmos from the Decepticons on the Moon with the help of Omega Supreme, and helping save Perceptor and the other Transformers from the cosmic rust disease.
Hot Rod only appeared three more times: once when he gave the Matrix to a Quintesson-controlled Optimus Prime. When he lost the Matrix, Rodimus was forced to face down his fears once and for all when the Decepticons began a series of attacks on Japan. Overwhelmed by the different responsibilities and directions he was being pulled in, Rodimus went joyriding and was attacked by the Stunticons Dead End and Wildrider, losing the Matrix in the ensuing crash, which was acquired by the Scourge, one of Galvatron's minions, the Decepticons' tracker and leader of the Sweeps. While Rodimus became Hot Rod again – and was not eager to change back – Scourge was warped and enhanced by the Matrix and led another attack on Japan. Counseled by a martial arts master on giri – the burden hardest to bear – Rodimus realized that the Matrix was his burden, and that he had been chosen to bear it; battling Scourge, he recovered the Matrix and resumed his role as leader, and finally when Optimus Prime was resurrected, Rodimus Prime was able to return to being Hot Rod for good. In all three occasions, his return to Hot Rod took place because he lost or passed the Matrix to someone else.
After his attack on Optimus Prime, Megatron was thrown out of the Ark when Blackarachnia activated the ship's defense systems. However, he was not thrown far enough and the Predacon managed to reenter the Ark and blast the Autobot leader, decisively erasing the Maximals from the timeline. A Change to the Agenda This had the effect of producing a wildly different timeline.
After having spent an extended period of time lost on Quintessa, Optimus was returned to Cybertron by the Turbomasters during their efforts to retrieve the similarly lost Flash, who he had been drawn into Perceptor's Dimensional Interface Assembly. The Age of Wrath Pt.5 Though badly damaged, Optimus led an insurrection against the then Megatron-controlled Cybertron, and successfully overthrew his enemy from power, all the while thwarting a Quintesson invasion. The Age of Wrath Pt.6
A late-run extensive redeco of the Super Base Armada Optimus Prime toy, "Powerlinx" Optimus Prime sports the darker color scheme the character takes on in the Armada cartoon episode "Origin" following a Mini-Con power-up, but he is not precisely show-accurate—the deco would later be fine-tuned with more accurate details for release in Japan as the Magna Convoy DX giftset (see below). In addition to now sporting fully-mobile Super Mode arms without the movement-impeding tabs, Prime still comes with all his features and accessories, though for this release, his Mini-Con partner Sparkplug got retooled with a new rear chassis and a blinged-out golden chrome body as "Corona Sparkplug".
After passing the Matrix to Ultra Magnus and expiring in the aftermath of the battle of Autobot City, Optimus Prime found himself in Maccadam's Old Oil House. There he encountered Optimus Primal and another Optimus Prime from a different universe. Together, the four of them overcame the other Optimus Prime's doubts about his leadership, before returning to their respective time lines. Prime Spark
The Japanese release of the figure also underwent the changes in weapon shapes, but never featured a silver Roller; instead, their original release of Prime featured a Diaclone-style Roller without the two rear pegs, and the differently-shaped launcher that accommodated him, before a running change switched over to the Hasbro version of the mold. Finally, in some European countries, Prime sported red feet, as opposed to his traditional blue; this version of the figure is also known in some cases to feature a differently-painted forehead crest which leaves the three central indentations unpainted blue.