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…
Although Cybertron's Energon stocks were destroyed, the Autobots discovered a recording pointing to the Logicon planet Metascan Alpha, which had Energon in abundance. Optimus ordered Hot Rod and Ultra Magnus to take a team each to find the planet. The Autobots discovered they were being spied on by the Decepticon Clones, and Optimus swore that Galvatron could pay. He led a team to the derelict space destroyer which the Decepticons were using for a base and fought their leader one-on-one. As he was about to destroy the Nullification Cannon, Scorponok took a swing at him which connected instead with the Cannon, obliterating it. Optimus was helped away from the destruction by Blurr and Sureshot. The War Against the Destructons, Chapter 1 of 3

Legion Class Optimus Prime is a redeco/retool of the first Revenge of the Fallen Legends Class figure, with the deco resembling the paint job from Optimus Prime's Western Star "5700 OP" concept truck. While the main body is identical to the figure, the arms and legs are newly tooled, with simple assemblies for the wheels. The retooled legs now features a more solid stopping point, which prevents the center front grill/legs to swing back further. It should be noted that his flame decals are painted over the side windows.
Available only via mail-order through Dengeki Hobby magazine, this black and gray redeco of Optimus is one of four "Black Body" promotional Robot Masters toys made available through different outlets simultaneously. He came with his normal accessories (it is worth noting his axe was solid silver), plus a chromed-gold clear-red-plastic version of Psycho-Orb's "Calamity Defenser" solitarium shield.
Released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Revenge of the Fallen, this Studio Series Optimus Prime is a retool of the figure above, featuring many new parts, namely a new backpack, chest piece, and a pair of non-transforming fenders/legs, to better resemble his appearance in the first two movies. These new parts allow him to combine with Studio Series Jetfire to form "Jetwing Optimus Prime." His color scheme features a much higher contrast than the previous release. Instead of Energon Swords, he now comes with an ion blaster like that used in the battle of Mission City. He also comes with a cardboard backdrop display depicting the highway fight with Bonecrusher from the first Transformers film.
With the data from the piece price evaluations I was able to also evaluate the average size of LEGO sets each year. As you can see on the chart below, the average size of sets released each year stayed somewhat constant from 1980-1990 until around 2000 which set sizes started to increase. The average set size seems to have peaked in 2008 (which saw the release of the Taj Mahal), but since then it hasn’t fallen to its pre-2000 levels. It seems to have found a new normal around 300 pieces.
The Power Plus series are similar to the Power series, except these come with the core that unlocks extra features. The Bumblebee figures in this series are nearly the same as the Power series versions (Camaro ‘Bee’s Power Plus figure has his unmasked head), so if you’re going to get them, and you want the cores, go with these versions. If you want Optimus Prime at this size, though, you’ll have to go with this version.
The original Optimus Prime toy started life as the Diaclone toy, "Battle Convoy", created by a team of Takara designers who came on board when the original designer fell behind. This team included Hiroyuki Obara (listed as the sole creator on the toy's patent) and famed mecha designer Shōji Kawamori. The toy transforms into two major components; the first component being a red and blue White Freightliner WFT-8664T cabover semi-trailer truck partially composed of die-cast metal, and the second component being a large silver trailer of currently-undetermined model.
Starscream was my first transformer. I got it because my parents bribed me to climb to the top of the pole in the gym class. Shit was scary. Do they even make kids do that anymore? Anyway, I protected that with my life. Sorry to hear about yours. I didn't have siblings at the time but within a few years I did have some who pretty much did destroy everything they touched. Luckily by then I was a teenager and figured out good hiding places for important stuff.
Platinum Optimus is a redeco of the Leader Class Optimus Prime. Optimus' color palette is now darkened with some additional paint details. His "Sword of Judgment" is now a light blue. Optimus features more chrome on his "Vector Shield", chest, and on his head. The set was a shared exclusive, available from BigBadToyStore and Toys"R"Us, and was also sold during a Taiwanese event celebrating the launch of Transformers Rising.
Optimus Prime (Clear Ver.) is a redeco of Revenge of the Fallen Legends Class Optimus Prime in black and clear blue plastic, available only in the August 2014 issue of TV-Kun magazine. His only paint operations are on his abdomen and face, but stickers for additional detail are included on the issue's sticker sheet. Optimus Prime has been slightly retooled to include a magnet in his right foot, allowing him to interact with Lost Age Battle Command Optimus Prime and Age of Extinction Stomp & Chomp Grimlock.

Some time later, as the war raged between Autobots and Decepticons on Earth, Optimus had requested the Aerialbots as reinforcements from Cybertron. Though they nearly defected to the Decepticons, Optimus was able to secure the Aerialbots as allies. Later, when a power plant had to be evacuated of its human workers due to the fear of landslides, Optimus posted Denfensor at the location to secure its protection. Optimus then drove off to check up on the rest of his troops who were aiding in the area’s evacuation. Though he passed a military convoy heading towards a plant, he thought nothing of it, unaware that they were the newly created Combaticons in disguise. Optimus then reached the Ark, and from there opened communications with the Aerialbots. Optimus had someone come into the know that the Decepticons were moving in towards the plant. He watched from afar as Defensor and Superion fought Menasor and Bruticus, wary to send more Autobots into the fray while these titans wreaked havoc onto the battlefield. Optimus allowed himself a smile when the Aerialbots and the Protectobots proved themselves superior teams to the Decepticons’, though at the back of his mind, he was wary. After all, Megatron himself had chosen not to add his considerably weight to the battle... The Special Teams
Hasbro executives, high off the revival of G.I. Joe through the same marketing concept, decided to acquire rights to toys from a variety of Japanese “Super Robot” series. Transformers didn't introduce the concept of super robots to the United States, but for the first time, the genre became widely recognized and popular outside of Japan. As the Transformers brand grew throughout G1, it began to define the genre, and all other super robots were measured competitively to Transformers' standard.

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Optimus awakened to the sound of Ratchet's voice. Taking in his surroundings, he noted that he was now in an organic forest, surrounded by unfamiliar Cybertronians. It soon dawned on him that he had been transported to the dimension where Megatron had intended to begin his conquest: the OG World. The 'bots surrounding him were the local counterparts to his own Autobots, including his own doppelgänger! The locals informed him that they had found him thanks to the help of his "companion," a small robotic girl. Before Optimus could puzzle out who this humanoid was, the group came under attack by the local Megatron. Though badly injured, "Cloud Optimus Prime" had the strength to fight alongside "G1 Optimus Prime" against the Decepticons, and protect the girl that had brought the Autobots to him. During the fight, blasts from both Primes' rifles collided with a blast from Megatron's fusion cannon, knocking all of the combatants down. Cloud Optimus Prime ensured that the girl was safe before before his attention was drawn to the horizon by a familiar voice. It was "Cloud Megatron," who had also survived his inter-dimensional trip, and had come to continue his fight against his nemesis. Leap
The "Unicron Trilogy" version of Optimus Prime is a fictional character of this branch of Transformers lore. Appearing in Transformers: Armada, Transformers: Energon and Transformers: Cybertron (known as the aforementioned trilogy), Optimus is the leader of the heroic Autobots. He often converted to his super combat mode. In all three series, Optimus' English voice actor is Gary Chalk, who previously voiced Optimus Primal in Beast Wars and Beast Machines.

The TakaraTomy version of Premium Series Optimus Prime has a considerably different deco to Hasbro's release. Similar to the unique chrome Optimus Prime, Optimus Prime Battle Mode features vacuum-metallized parts for nearly all of the silver truck parts, for a greater resemblance to the polished chrome on the real prop trucks. Unfortunately, as his feet are the front fenders and grill, this will likely lead to chipping. In robot mode he retains several decos that were removed from Hasbro's Premium Optimus Prime for cost reasons, such as the blue and gold decos on his thighs. Finally, the flip-out energy sword is coloured gold to reflect its "powered up" appearance.
In the first nexus, when Swoop reported back to Autobot HQ that the other Dinobots were being controlled by Bombshell's cerebro-shells, Optimus had to decide whether to stop them with an immediate full-scale assault, or consult the Ark's computer. If he led an immediate attack, the cerebro-shells were jolted loose when his troops carried out his order to, "Bring them down fast and hard". If he consulted the computer, he then had to choose between its plan to have Windcharger remove the shells from a distance with his magnetic powers, or go with Mirage's idea to lure the Dinobots over Bandit's Bluff with an Optimus Prime hologram. If he chose Mirage's plan, the Dinobots charged over the cliff and into the ocean, where they were salvaged for repairs back at base. If he let Windcharger lead operations at the bluff so he could confer with Skids about some strange activity near Dolphin's Bay, it was out of his hands whether Windcharger accidentally tore the Dinobots to bits, or harmlessly removed the cerebro-shells. The latter outcome led to Grimlock telling Optimus that Bombshell said controlling them was just part of a larger plan, and the Autobot leader realized that it might tie in to Skids's report. Skids and Bumblebee could investigate in Wheeljack's new mini-sub, but should he send Sludge along with them?

Generations Selects Ricochet and Red Swoop - Following our last news post regarding this new "Generations Selects" toyline (previously called "Select Series"), we finally have new images of the first two releases, Deluxe Class Red Swoop and Ricochet! These two figures are redecos of Power of the Primes Swoop and Jazz respectively. Red Swoop is based of the original G1 toy's colors (which can be found on the stock renders for the Power of the Primes toy), while Ricochet is meant to evoke the Headmasters character Stepper.
Although no scannable badge is located at his robot mode, the badge was located at his combined mode's left shoulder. The badge was impossible to be scanned while in-package due to the obstruction of the spring-loaded combiner chest kibble. Speaking of impossible, the badges on the re-releases of the toy can't be scanned by the game. The instruction sheet amusingly replaces Optimus's last picture in the transformation process with Sideswipe.
Oddly, he had a different plate in those films when in car mode: 900 STRA. In Dark of the Moon, they finally decided to keep his robot and car mode plates consistent. In robot mode in the Dark of the Moon and Revenge of the Fallen video games, he wears 5BBM2. 5LKZ213 was seen in some set photos of robot mode for the first film. Various models for promotional exhibits have featured KDM 0814, FXPERTS, and, of course, BUMBLBE.
A golden-chrome redeco of Cybertron Metroplex was offered as a contest prize in the December 2005 issue of TV Magazine, and came with an equally blinged-out Legends/EZ Collection Optimus Prime figure. Fifteen of this set were available as prizes in the initial contest; a single Metroplex was later offered as one of many prizes in a Takara website contest, but this version came only with the standard metallic paint version of Prime.
This release is a redeco of the Cyberverse Commander Optimus Prime figure, with a lighter gradient paint job that lacks the flames, and with Optimus sporting a G1 insignia. Instead of his jetpack and guns, he comes with his trailer/Armored Weapons Platform, which can transform into a base and exo-suit. The trailer itself features movie-style insignias.
At about 2/3 the size of the Smallest Transforming Transformers, this diminutive version of the original Generation 1 Optimus Prime toy is the smallest figure of the Autobot leader made to date. It was sold as part of Takara's blindpacked Mini Toy Shop Collection line, a series of miniaturized figures from numerous classic Takara toylines, including Transformers, Microman, Licca-chan, Choro-Q and others. Both of Prime's modes are represented by non-transforming individual figures, which come together in a two-pack. In-box, his truck form is even packed in a miniature recreation of his original Japanese packaging, which also includes a shrunken version of his sticker sheet. A tiny version of the original Takara Transformers catalog completes the set.
This Japanese e-Hobby exclusive is a redeco of Targetmaster Kup, made to represent the character [[Optimus Prime#The Transformers cartoon|Orion Pax]] from the cartoon episode War Dawn. He transforms into a Cybertronic pickup-truck thing. His truck bed has a peg-hole to mount his partner Barrelroller, who also serves as a hand-held weapon. The set also came with a re-deco of Wheelie as Dion.
The Diaclone Powered Convoy figure had several additional features and modes which were mostly excised or left unmentioned for the Transformers release of Ultra Magnus. Principally, Powered Convoy came packaged with "Powered Buggy", who was left out of Magnus's release (see notes below for further details). Omitted from Magnus's instructions is the ability of his chestplate and super robot head to combine to form a small vehicle; the Powered Convoy version of the figure included small rolling wheels on the underside of the chestplate which were removed for Ultra Magnus. Additionally, three additional modes were included in the Diaclone instructions that Hasbro left out: a "preparation base" mode and an "Autobot base" mode were excluded entirely, while the third, a "catapult launcher" mode originally intended and proportioned to accommodate the Diaclone Jet Robo figure that became Starscream, was shown only on the front of his packaging, interacting with Silverbolt. The Japanese release of Ultra Magnus—released as part of the Scramble City sub-line—did include instructions for the preparation base and catapult launcher modes, but replaced the original Autobot base mode with a new configuration.

The figure has diecast in its feet, shins, and abdomen. It features pinstriped flames, articulated fingers, a headsculpt with a face that can rotate between masked and unmasked modes in a method identical to Armor Knight Optimus Prime's, and an abdomen that opens to reveal a chamber housing a diecast Matrix of Leadership. He comes with said Matrix, his Ion Cannon, and a pair of Energy Swords that tab in behind his wrists (the hands unfortunately have to be bent forward to accommodate these). All three weapons can combine and store on the fifth wheel in vehicle mode.
The line was released as "The Transformers" in the United States, Canada and the UK in 1984 (One year after the Gobots) but Takara was still marketing Diaclone at least during 1984. Hence in Japan "The Transformers" did not debut under that brand till 1985, when the line was also rolled out to the majority of the rest of the world between Takara and Hasbro. Hasbro Europe still will not accept, however, that the range was released in the UK in 1984[citation needed], not even with evidence such as Argos 1984 catalogues containing the range, the UK comic launching in September 1984 or even the 1984 Transformers product catalogue produced by "Hasbro Industries (UK) Ltd, Wokingham". It is thought that Hasbro Europe as it now stands did not come into existence till 1985, hence no records of Transformers sales in 1984.[citation needed] UK Transformers toys were sold in boxes identical to those of their American counterparts until around 1998/9 when the range started to have UK exclusives.
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.
Transformers: Energon introduced several new concepts to the toy line. Two new sub-groups, the Omnicons and Terrorcons, joined the fray, representing smaller factions of the Autobots and Decepticons respectively. The smaller toys in these sub-groups came with Energon weapons that could be used by the larger Autobots and Decepticons, along with Energon chips that could be fastened to the larger figures to enhance their power. Energon weapons and chips came in a variety of colors of translucent plastic. Many Autobot figures in the line were able to combine with a partner to form a larger robot through the "Powerlinx" process. The Decepticons were designed instead with alternative "attack modes". While no longer the focus of the line, there were several Mini-Con releases in Energon as well.
Optimus and Prowl received message from Skyfire of a coal transport in Africa, and discovered Megatron was using human slaves. Megatron detonated his coal mines with the world's largest explosion, killing the humans and forging the world's largest diamond — that he would use to as a lens for a satellite to focus the Sun's beams, melting the Rocky Mountains! Prime ordered Skyfire to attack the satellite, and Ratchet to build a square mile panel of metal to deflect the beam, blowing the satellite up. Satellite of Doom The Decepticons attempted to drain the Prudhoe Bay oil reservoir, causing volcanic eruptions and Russia to approach America, accelerating tensions between the countries. Optimus ordered razon gas to be pumped into the reservoir, returning the oil below and raising the Decepticons' aquatic drill. When Continents Collide
In search of new energy sources, Optimus led a team to central South America. When they spotted Mount Sheelah, their two human friends John and Tim Gordon explained volcanoes, and, believing it to be of possible use, the Autobots went to examine it. During a battle with the Decepticons over the volcano, Optimus was convinced by the two humans to retreat, ultimately saving them when Mount Sheelah erupted. Terror of Mount Sheelah After discovering that the Decepticons were kidnapping humans, Optimus sent Bumblebee to scout the Decepticon base. When Bumblebee returned with the Decepticons' global crystal, Optimus was able to use it to blackmail the Decepticons into letting the humans go. Bumblebee to the Rescue
In late 1993, Hasbro relaunched the Transformers franchise with the Generation 2 line, with production again largely being done by Takara. The subgroups concept was done away with for the first year, but there were no new molds or characters. Generation 2 re-used the molds for many of the characters from the 1984 and 1985 line, but with mostly different color schemes and finishes, as well as different weapons and accessories. Megatron's figure was released later on. As noted previously, Megatron's original alternate mode, or "transformation identity", was a handgun with attachments, but in Generation Two, this was changed to a tank due to safety and security concerns. Most of the 1994 figures were re-releases or recolors of European G1 releases.
A redeco of the original Generation 1 Optimus Prime cab robot sporting an egregious number of Pepsi-themed paint masks and details, Pepsi Prime's differences from Pepsi Convoy are minimal: he features the shortened smokestacks previously seen on the Commemorative Series release of the mold, the blue pattern on his decals are different (matching the American Pepsi can/bottle look at the time rather than the one used in Japan), and also has a different layout for the Pepsi logo on his right shoulder. Like Pepsi Convoy, he comes with an entirely new trailer unit, specially designed to carry either a single 500ml (16.9 oz) size soft drink bottle, three 350ml cans, or 12 bottle caps (bottle cap figurines being a common and popular collectible item in Japan). In a first for the Prime mold, the figure's fists store in holes on the underside of the trailer while he is in vehicle mode. His ion blaster (which also stores under the trailer) is the first Hasbro reissue to feature the original, thick-barrel sculpt, which was reinstated to the mold by the Transformers Collection release of Prime a few years prior.
The internet can be blamed for the size and scope of the secondary LEGO market. On the website, BrickLink, you can find almost any set that LEGO has ever produced. In addition, the site keeps records of trends in the market and value of individual pieces. This site is invaluable to a LEGO collector and has given many the ability to grow their collections. Before the advent of this site and sites like eBay, collecting LEGO required going to garage sales. There are now whole sites dedicated to buying LEGO as an investment, but that is a topic for another article.
Optimus became the leader of the Autobots for a time, then disappeared, leaving his people to be ruled tyrannically by Megatron.Targetmasters Megatron never stopped seeking out his old foe, rewarding any of his troops that provided him with information that could lead to Optimus's whereabouts. The Golden Boys As for the Autobots, they were uncertain exactly as to why Optimus had disappeared; some believed Optimus had simply abandoned his troops, while other believed he was fulfilling some greater purpose and would return to them in their hour of need. Ultimately, it was Snake-Eyes and Duke who found the Autobot leader, lost in the void between dimensions. Form Follows Function There, the three of them became ensnared by the Quintessons. They escaped the extra-dimensional entities' mind-probe and made their way back to normal space. En route, Optimus learned from Duke that Bumblebee had traveled to Earth and met his demise there. His human companions went off to help their friends on Cybertron, while Optimus headed for T.H.E. P.I.T. on Earth, eviscerating numerous Coltonbolt satellites as he entered the atmosphere. Everybody Hates Metroplex
The original Optimus Prime toy, as well as the Diaclone Battle Convoy toy that it was based based upon, transforms into a late 1970s red Freightliner FL86 Cab-over-Engine triple-axle semi trailer truck. The truck mode features rubber tires, and the cab is partially constructed of die cast metal. The windscreen section can open to reveal ultimately-unused seats that were originally designed for Diaclone's driver figures.
In the interim year, with the Decepticons defeated, the Autobots entered into an even closer relationship with Earth. The Autobots also began the colonization of other worlds, the first of which was the planet Athenia, where Optimus Prime was stationed. It soon became apparent, however, that the consequences of releasing the energy of the Matrix to cure the Hate Plague were more far-reaching than Optimus had anticipated. Without the energy of the Matrix to act as a balancing factor, Vector Sigma had become destabilized. The Decepticons suddenly returned to exploit this, assaulting Cybertron in order to seize control of the mega-computer. Prime took a squad of troops to aid in the battle on the planet. When the arrival of the Autobot Headmasters tipped the battle in their favor, Prime broke off from the main attack and headed down into the depths of the planet, planning on stabilizing Vector Sigma at any cost.
Epic Optimus Prime is a 22 inches tall, non-transforming Optimus Prime figure, featuring limited articulation in the waist, shoulders and wrists. His chest can be opened to reveal a command center with a seat and room to display at least three figures. His arms also feature one seat each to accommodate more figurines. The back of his arms and legs are hollow with "shelves" that allow even more figurines to be displayed.

Optimus Prime was subject to several molding and color variations in his early days. The earliest release of the figure featured larger fists, a gun with a thick, round barrel, a slightly-differently shaped gas pump, grey rockets, a grey Roller, a grey launcher in his Combat Deck, and metal plates in the floor of the Combat Deck (a holdover from the Diaclone version of the toy, to which the magnetic feet of the pilots could cling). In short order, his fists were slimmed down, the gun's barrel was pared down to a more slender form, the gas pump's shape was altered, the rockets and launcher were recast in black plastic, the metal plates were removed from the Combat Deck, and Roller's color was changed to a light blue. Along with Roller's color change, however, the Combat Deck's drone pod also became light blue, and a third running change soon followed that saw it restored to its original darker blue, and Roller changed along with it. These modified components would become the default accessories used by subsequent reissues of the Prime toy would take, though Roller stills fluctuates back and forth between grey and dark blue, depending on how show-accurate each reissue wants to be.

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