As the final new-design Optimus Prime toy from the original Generation 1 era, the Japanese-exclusive Star Convoy was a significant departure from previous versions. This incarnation of Prime transforms into an extended-hood cab truck of made-up model pulling an implausibly large trailer, incorporating the motorized "Microcarrier". Powered by four AA batteries, the Microcarrier drives Star Convoy either forward or backward, spinning a radar dish mounted on the rear of his trailer as he rolls along. Prime's teammate in the Battlestars, Grandus, can link up to the rear of Star Convoy's vehicle mode and be pulled along behind him; Sky Garry can then land atop Grandus, forming a giant vehicle.
Hot on the heels of their licensing deals with Pepsi and Nike, TakaraTomy got themselves a slice of Apple™ pie and released Convoy —playing iPod speaker— as part of their small, musically-themed Music Label line. This version of Prime is an all-white redeco of the original Generation 1 cab robot, which (much like the "Marine Version" of Prime from the Sports Label line) makes it seem like he ought to be Ultra Magnus. The figure is actually even derived from the retool of the mold created for the original Ultra Magnus figure, as distinguished by the elongated hubcap pegs on the front wheels. Like Pepsi Prime before it, the figure's fists now store in peg holes on the under side of its trailer. The toy lacks any of the original Prime's stickers (even the silver stripe on his chest is now a paint operation) and includes the original thick-barrelled version of Prime's blaster. The toy features a brand new headsculpt based on the 20th Anniversary Prime figure, given additional poseability not previously seen on the figure by being mounted on a ball joint.
In his stronghold, Serpent O.R. questioned Prime about his own worthiness to carry the Matrix, but Optimus broke free of his chains and aggressively ordered him to surrender. The Art of War #4 A group of Decepticons broke in and nearly took Prime apart, but not before Serpent O.R. took the Matrix for himself and changed into the massive Serpentor Prime. The Matrix showed Serpentor Prime the error of his ways but as he was about to commit suicide Cobra Commander tripped a device and took over Serpentor Prime's body. Moments before he crushed Arcee, a severely damaged Optimus Prime threw Hawk toward the Matrix but warned the human not to touch the artifact. Hawk did so anyway and through a quasi-mystical transfer of power Serpentor Prime was vanquished.
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Although the animated series ended in the U.S. after The Rebirth, Optimus Prime continued to appear in animated sequences of Transformers toy commercials, progressing from Powermaster to Action Master. He even made an appearance as a computer-generated Combat Hero. Many episodes of the series were re-aired to promote Transformers: Generation 2. During these sequences, computer-generated scenes featuring key G1 characters are borrowed from Generation 2 commercials to serve as opening, closing, and commercial bumpers. Optimus Prime is shown in the opening and closing fighting Generation 2's Ramjet.
Like the original figure, Powermaster Prime is composed of two major components: his truck cab, which transforms into Prime himself, and his trailer, which is essentially a heavily-armed version of the original. The trailer has a fold-down ramp to allow the storage of a smaller Transformer, or perhaps spare accessories. The trailer transforms into a battle station armed with two long black rifles and two grey double-barreled cannons (featuring seating for Powermaster engine figures), all of which Optimus Prime can also wield in his fists.
The first Transformers toys were created from two different transforming robot toylines from Takara, the Car-Robots and Micro Change, from the Diaclone and Microman series, respectively. Hasbro acquired the rights to sell them in the United States but, instead of selling them under their original names, they were rebranded as "The Transformers". The first two years consisted primarily of reusing the Car-Robots/Micro Change molds. The earliest toys had some parts made of die-cast metal, which were eventually phased out.
The lowest priced toys in the Armada line were three-packs of Mini-Cons. Each larger price point consisted of an Autobot or Decepticon who came with a Mini-Con partner. Mini-Cons could be used to unlock a variety of features on each larger robot, such as firing weapons, electronic lights and sounds, or alternate modes. Some three-pack Mini-Cons combined into other forms or had additional features. According to the storyline, Mini-Cons also enhanced the power of other Transformers, giving incentive to collect as many of them as possible.
The toy that would ultimately end up as the original Optimus Prime toy was originally released in August 1983 as No.17 Battle Convoy from Takara's Diaclone Car Robo toyline in Japan. In 1984, Joustra released their own version (still with Diaclone sticker on the trailer) as part of their Diaclone line in Europe, either simply called Truck (according to the pack-in catalog) or Diaclone (in the pack-in comic). It's possible that GiG also released a version called Camion Convoy as part of their Trasformer line in Italy, but to this day no packaged sample has surfaced.
Additionally, Star Convoy transforms into a large battle station that interacts with the Micromasters that made up the vast majority of the Transformer toyline at the time. His chest contains a peg that allows Micromaster figures to stand inside it in either robot or base modes, and he comes with a unique Micromaster version of Hot Rod not available on its own. He features storage space in his legs for two spring-loaded figure-launching Micro Trailers, and comes with one of his own, decorated in a unique black and orange color scheme. In this mode, two ramps are connected to the Microcarrier; when the carrier's treads are set rolling, they do not move the base, but instead act as conveyor belts that carry Micromaster figures down the ramps. The Microcarrier also spins a gun turret mounted between the conveyors, on which Micromaster figures can stand. Finally, a special connector packaged with Star Convoy allows the Microcarrier to be connected up to Grandus's base mode, powering his moving elevator.
4. Collectability/Internet/Ebay: While Lego has always been a somewhat collectible product, the age of the internet has increased the collectability of Lego. Nostalgic adults came together on the internet to trackdown and re-acquire sets from their child hood. I think Lego has embraced this as evidenced by large limited edition sets aimed at the adult market. This is also evident in the increase in tempo of development of sets and themes that drive the collector to want to buy more and more; which overall is good for Lego. In the past, an individual set and theme seemed to have more life than they do now.
Aside from the Powermaster feature itself, the main gimmick of the toy is the ability of the truck cab to combine with the trailer to form the larger "Super Optimus Prime" figure. This is essentially accomplished by standing the trailer up, folding the cab in half and inserting it into the empty cavity in the trailer's torso, forming an imposing—if almost entirely unposeable—robot form armed with all four weapons. The head of this super robot form is a separate piece which can be stored in the rear of Prime's trailer when not in use. While Hi-Q was always shown plugged into Prime's chest in artwork of this mode (as seen in the picture here), this was actually entirely unnecessary as transforming into Super Optimus Prime didn't require the standard Prime toy's legs to be unlocked.
3. Licensed themes: In the 80’s the Lego sets were more generic and interchangeable among themes. There were the basic Space, Town, Castle themes. The color schemes within a theme were more homogeneous (i.e. Blacktron sets or Mtron sets all had a common color scheme). Since there was no “fictional” real life object being copied, piece selection tended to emphasize versatility over “realism”. Almost every Lego set of the past had pictures of alternate models featured on the boxes and instructions that was meant to inspire a child to not just build the model featured in the instructions, but to embark on the mental challenge of making their own creations.
INFOBAR Optimus Prime (ANNIN) is a redeco of INFOBAR Optimus Prime (NISHIKIGOI), transforming into a recreation of the ANNIN edition of the INFOBAR cellphone. All-white in cellphone mode, he sports additional blue and red detailing in robot mode. Like the other figures in this line, he is not a working cellphone but can be paired via Bluetooth with a smartphone, such as an iPhone, to act as a notification alarm in either robot or INFOBAR mode. The screen is non-functional, but pre-printed cards are included which can be slid into the screen to show an Autobot logo, Decepticon logo, a mockup of a cellphone home screen, or a technical "Transformers INFOBAR" design. The figure also includes a display stand.
In Transformers Ongoing, which takes place two years after the events of All Hail Megatron, the Autobots would remain on Earth as Prime feared the return of the Decepticons. Unfortunately, this led to the capture of a number of Autobots by Skywatch, including Windcharger, Gears and Prowl. Hot Rod was reformatted into a Pagani Zonda. Already frustrated, he lashed out at Optimus, accusing him of keeping the Autobots on the planet because he needed someone to protect and demanding he be allowed lead a team to rescue Prowl. An admonished Prime agreed to a covert operation, but with Ironhide along to watch over things. While Prowl was freed, it turned out the humans had used him as bait to draw the other Autobots in. However Wheeljack's new shielding protected Hot Rod's team from Skywatch's inhibitors and in a panic the soldiers switched to lethal measures. Hot Rod was targeted and Ironhide was killed protecting him. An enraged Hot Rod turned on the humans, damaging their equipment and machinery.