As seen in the episode "War Dawn", Optimus Prime began his life as a robot named Orion Pax, a mostly defenseless dock worker during the Golden Age of Cybertron nine million years ago, with a girlfriend named Ariel and a best friend named Dion. During this time, a new breed of robot with new flight capabilities appeared on the planet that Orion idolized. When Megatron, the leader of the new group of robots, approached him with inquiries about using one of the dock warehouses, Orion was swayed by Megatron. Both Orion and Ariel were severely wounded when Megatron and his forces attacked in order to claim the energy stored there. Searching for someone to help them, the time-displaced Aerialbots took Orion and Ariel to the ancient Autobot, Alpha Trion, who used them as the first subjects for the new reconstruction process he had developed involving rebuilding the frail Autobot frames into more battle-hardy configurations. With this reconstruction, Orion Pax became Optimus Prime, the first of the Autobot warriors.
The first generation Optimus Prime transforms into a Freightliner FL86 cab over semi truck.[3] Within his chest is a mystic talisman, known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership or the "Creation Matrix", carried by all Autobot leaders.[4] When Optimus transforms, his tractor cab disconnects to become a sentient robot, and his trailer opens to reveal an ion blaster, forming a combat deck.[5] The combat deck supports a mobile battle-station and command headquarters armed with assorted artillery and beam weapons that fire automatically. The combat deck can also serve as a radio antenna for battlefield communications between the autobots. The combat deck also included "Roller", a mobile scout buggy meant to scout behind enemy lines. When Roller is deployed, Optimus can see and hear what Roller sees and hears.[6] Injury to one component is felt by each of the others. If the combat deck or Roller were to be destroyed, Prime could survive. However, despite the slight degree of autonomy they possess, the combat deck and Roller would not be able to survive without Optimus.
Optimus Prime comes with many accessories in addition to the aforementioned Matrix, including the character's traditional laser rifle, now termed (and henceforth known as) an ion blaster. The initial release of the figure cast the ion blaster in grey plastic, but later assortments recast it in its more familiar black coloration. Other accessories include a transparent orange energon-axe that plugs into either wrist when Prime's fist is retracted, and even a non-transforming gun mode Megatron weapon, with removable stock, silencer and scope accessories, in homage to several instances in the Generation 1 cartoon when Prime was forced to wield his enemy. Pack-in bonuses that came with the figure included an inner cardboard tray illustrated to resemble the interior of Prime's Combat Deck, and in later releases, a small poster drawn by Pat Lee.
As with other earlier Cyber Series figures, Optimus Prime had a rather strange release cycle. At first, he only retailed exclusively in Asia and Latin America, with the closest to a U.S. release being in limited quantities from online retailer BigBadToyStore.com. He did, however, end up being available in the Universal Studios Theme Park, and also later as a Walgreens exclusive.
Micromasters teams have teamwork ratings instead of ranks. Unlike the other ratings, teamwork seems to be split along faction lines, with Autobots typically holding higher teamwork ratings than Decepticons. A second unique spec value, Cooperation, replaced the Firepower rating used on individuals' cards. The traditional order (as above) was also abandoned for the Micromaster team specifications.
In a world where the Transformers' war settled into a series of friendly competitive races known as the Transformers GT, Optimus Prime became the GT Transformer known as GT-R Prime. As a racer he was known for his serious but sometimes hot-blooded personality and his skillful use of the Impact Wrench Gun, though he maintained an honorable policy never to fire directly at an opposing racer's body. Like other racers, GT-R Prime put a limit on his own strength by separating his Matrix into a GT Sister, creating his partner Misaki.
Aware of the changes to the timestream and the potential for the entire Autobot race to be annihilated by Unicron, Optimus put into motion Operation Distant Thunder, a plan to undo the damage to the timeline caused by Ravage, restoring the events that were seen in the movie. This would mean that saving all the Autobots from Unicron would result in Prime and others such as Prowl, Wheeljack, Ironhide, and Ratchet would die per the original events. They hoped they would be able to at least partially avoid such an outcome by sending a message to their past selves about all they had learned.
While exploring Cybertron's hemisphere of darkness, Optimus Prime became severly damaged, and unable to return to the hemisphere of light. Having been able to send out one last message before his memory was badly damaged, Optimus found himself unable to distinguish friend from foe, and would join (or rejoin) whichever faction found him first. Optimus Prime Is Back
Prime: First Edition Matrix of Leadership Optimus Prime converts from robot mode to his truck mode. He comes with a gun than he can wield with his hands, as well as peg onto his hitch in vehicle mode, with different pegs for either configuration. Similar to a previous Optimus Prime toy, he features some faux-kibble in the form of his actual windshield chest being covered by sculpted panels featuring his characteristic windshield-chest. His arms are slightly longer than his original design's arms.
Available exclusively from Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape in July 2011, concurrently with a range of exclusive Transformers t-shirts, "Convoy Reissue BAPE Ver." (コンボイ復刻版 BAPE® Ver.) is a redeco of the original Optimus Prime toy sporting a unique new green color scheme, along with a tan trailer decorated with a camouflage pattern. Both trailer and Prime himself feature the A Bathing Ape logo in place of an Autobot symbol, while the floor of the trailer's Combat Deck mode features new Bathing Ape-themed labels. The figure comes in a recolored version of the original Japanese Optimus Prime packaging.
Late in 2008, this version of Optimus prime was one of four Classics figures repainted into HasbroToyShop.com exclusives (the other three being the Megatron from this set in G1 colors, Grimlock repainted into Overkill, and Mirage repainted into Dragstrip). Unlike those three, it's debatable just how much repainting went into Optimus, but he comes in a snazzy new box.
Optimus appears again in the 2011 film Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Optimus receives his own armory consisting of weapons and flight tech that transforms into a trailer for him to carry in vehicular form. After assisting NEST operatives in fighting Shockwave at Chernobyl, Optimus learns that the humans have concealed the discovery of a Cybertronian ship on the moon. He and Ratchet go to investigate the Ark, where they recover Sentinel Prime, Optimus's predecessor and mentor. Optimus returns him to life using the Matrix of Leadership back on Earth, explaining how they lost the war and Cybertron has become a barren wasteland. Later Optimus shows Sentinel the natural beauty of Earth, and takes the opportunity to offer him the Matrix, but was allowed to keep it. Sentinel later betrayed the Autobots, having formed an alliance with the Decepticons because he wants to restore life to Cybertron. Optimus attempted to reason with Sentinel, but failed as several Decepticons came through a space bridge. After Sentinel Prime insisted that the humans expel the Autobots from Earth, the Wreckers prepare the Autobot ship Xantium for flight. Sam attempts to find out what their counter-attack plan is, but Optimus states they have none, and that Earth's fight is their own. During the departure, the Autobots escape in the first booster stage and return to Earth before Starscream destroys the ship. Arriving in Chicago, Optimus shoots down a Decepticon fighter as he tells Sam and Epps that he never expected the Decepticons to keep their word and that they are going to fight back. Optimus loses his trailer when Shockwave and his Driller arrive. He manages to retrieve it later and uses it as a flight pack, decaptitating the Driller's main head. During the battle, Optimus got caught in exposed wires and the Wreckers helped free him. Flying down onto the main battlefield, he abandoned his flight pack and used the momentum to attack and kill many Decepticons before he finally killed Shockwave. After using Shockwave's cannon to disable the control pillar for the space bridge, Optimus fights Sentinel Prime. Optimus Prime's right arm is cut off and Sentinel is about to end Optimus's life when Megatron intervenes and attacks Sentinel. After defeating Sentinel Prime, Megatron proposes a truce, but, instead, Optimus slices his head off, killing the Decepticon leader. Optimus Prime then grabs Megatron's shotgun and prepares to execute Sentinel, who pleads for his life, saying that he betrayed Optimus just because he wanted to save their race. Optimus executes him anyway, replying that Sentinel betrayed himself. With the Decepticons defeated and the war finally over, Optimus and the Autobots accept Earth as their true home.
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.
The mold suffers from a minor design oversight, wherein the rear Nissan badge collides with his left leg strut when the left foot is hinged over and pegged into a clear plastic socket during transformation, with the results being that the connection is slightly crooked, isn't very secure, and sometimes pops off, and that the crooked pegging often causes the socket to crack.
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Unfortunately for both Takara and Hasbro, the Generation Two series of Transformers sold poorly, and Hasbro abandoned it after two years. There were toys planned that never saw release. Most of these were G1 combiner team recolors or recolors of recent figures. Four unreleased molds were released in the Machine Wars line, and four more resurfaced in the Robots In Disguise series.
When animating the scene in which Primal removes Prime's spark, Mainframe's animators consulted The Transformers: The Movie for reference on the interior of Prime's chest. Not realizing the importance of the Matrix of Leadership, they rendered it as a container for Prime's spark. Beast Wars writers Larry DiTillio and Bob Forward have since claimed that in their view, Prime had not received the Matrix from Alpha Trion at this point, but a later comic produced for Botcon indicated that the Matrix was in fact stored in a secondary compartment, hidden behind Prime's spark. In this particular comic, the alien Vok used the Matrix, the Transmetal Driver, and a control suit once piloted by the Predacon Quickstrike to create Primal Prime.

Available exclusively through e-Hobby, this black and teal repaint of Hybrid Style Convoy features the traditional "Nemesis Prime" color scheme, but represents a version of Optimus Prime himself. In addition to all the original accessories, the toys also includes several more deliciously metatextual goodies, themed around the Generation 2 toy and comics: two new large guns patterned after the new weapons wielded by the Generation 2 Optimus Prime toy, and two additional (blue) Prime heads that can be swapped with the figure's regular noggin, sculpted explicitly in the style of Generation 2 comic artist Derek Yaniger. One head is pristine, the other decorated to match the battle damage seen on the cover of the first Generation 2 issue.

In robot mode, like Combat Hero Prime, the bottom of the truck became his familiar windowed chest based upon the original Optimus Prime toy. His main gimmick was light up LED headlights, and a lightpipe in the bottom of his right fist, illuminated by an LED in his right forearm, that would illuminate his clear sword or his double-barreled rifle if they were used in that hand. All three LEDs were activated simultaneously by pressing the sunroof-like depression on the roof of the truck.
This Walmart-exclusive redeco and retool of the 2010 Transformers toyline "Battle Blades" Optimus Prime toy features the Japanese release's hooks (instead of swords), plus an all-new mouthplate-less, mouthed face. As part of the set's lunar theme, reflections of stars are painted across his vehicle mode sides and on his windshield, with a sharp reflection of Earth's Moon in one of his windows. This time, his Matrix of Leadership is cast in orange plastic.
The figure seems to have some transformation scheme & design related problems in it: The front truck cab's upper two pieces are supposed to be pushed to the front in robot mode, but the piece keeps collapsing back due to looseness when the figure is standing straight (Though pressing the two halves together firmly tends to reduce this issue for a while), while the tab underneath the truck grill does not connect well with the bottom port. Additionally, his 5mm compatible hands have a slight problem with wielding weapons with short 5mm posts.
The Autobots gained a human ally in their quest when they befriended Doctor Osamu Kihara of the Governmental Special Diplomatic Agency, who provided more assistance than they could have imagined when his son, Akira, was discovered to be a "Booster", one of many legendary beings born with the ability to control and detect the energies of the Energon Cube. Alas, the Decepticons had followed Prime's Autobots to Earth, and Megatron sought the boy's powers for his own. To protect Optimus Prime and himself, Akira unleashed the full extent of his powers, driving Megatron back, but causing his body to burn out and disintegrate. Prime was wracked with guilt over what had occurred, and it would haunt him afterward. Time of Resurrection
Optimus Prime has fictionally shown a dislike of certain kinds of music and dance. For the Marvel Comics continuity, the letters page for issue 324 mentions he hates the music of Mötley Crüe. In the cartoon continuity, "Blaster Blues" and "Quest for Survival" have Optimus react noticeably more passive-aggressively to Blaster's choice of music than the other Autobots. And in the Dreamwave Generation One continuity, Hardwired features an uncalled for negative remark about Jazz's dance skills.
The instruction manual for the MP-04S Convoy Sleep Version reveals a hidden message saying that Rodimus will be the next installment in the Masterpiece series. Concept sketches of the figure were released online in July 2010. The figure is a faithful modern recreation of the original G1 toy. Gimmicks include retractable binoculars, spinning saw blade and the Matrix of Leadership, but the figure's main feature is the ability to transform into both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime. The transition between the two incarnations involves rotating the face, extending the legs and adjusting the spoiler on the back.
Arms Master Optimus's "Space Blaster Mode" is a mode designed for fighting in outer space, introduced in the Cybertron Satellite segment of "Infinite Transformation! Multiplying Enemies". He wears R.A. and Shining R.A. on his shoulders as wings, C.L. and C.L. GR on his back as thrusters, and B.H. and B.H. B on his feet as... more thrusters. His weapon of choice in this mode is the Matrix Blaster.

Naturally, Optimus Prime got the biggest of the sets in the first year of Kre-O. The set can be built into a large long-nose tractor-trailer rig with a removable "sleeper" cab that hides a computer station, and a trailer that can carry the set's two motorcycles or open up to carry larger car builds. The robot mode build includes a huge Optimus, based largely on the live-action movie Optimus, though with a head based almost directly on the Classics Voyager Optimus. He is armed with a distressingly plain brick that fires pressure-launched missiles (aka his smokestacks). Most of the leftover parts in robot mode become a "headquarters" which is mostly just a random assemblage of mismatched-color panels and a pair of barricades. Both main builds leave numerous parts unused if you go expressly by the instructions, but hey, it's a building kit, surely you can find someplace to apply most of them.


Though he was packaged on an individual box, he was initially sold as part of a set with Dark Energon Megatron. He was eventually made available on his own, and all of the Dark Energon Series toys were eventually made available in Singapore as mass-retail releases. The Voyager Class toys, in particular, also saw mass-retail release in the Philippines.
Optimus Prime is another redeco of Revenge of the Fallen Legends Class Optimus Prime, features gunmetal-stque grey plastic, and his paint operations being similar to the first Revenge of the Fallen Legends Class toy. He is also packaged with Grimlock, himself a redeco of none other than Energon Cruellock. Like other Legion-themed product, he is exclusive to Walmart in the US and Asda in the UK.
This mold was redecoed in 2000 as Car Robots Black Convoy, and slightly retooled as his US incarnation "Scourge". After Scourge, the next use of this mold was planned to be Toxitron, which ended up being canceled. The slightly retooled version of this mold was released in 2006 in Japan as reissue Battle Convoy, which was the name of this toy during the Japanese Generation 2. The reissue used the Robots in Disguise modified tooling, with a slightly modified deco using silver vacuum-metalized plastic on his chest and trailer sides along with additional paint applications and G2 symbols. The mold was also redecoed to create a new Generation 2 version of Ultra Magnus as an E-Hobby exclusive (unusual in that the character was killed in the course of Japan's Generation One fiction).

This silver-chromed redeco of the Leader-class Optimus Prime figure first saw the light of day as a prize in a TV Magazine mail-in, offered alongside a gold chrome version of the same toy (see above). Both figures were later made available again as prizes in a second contest in the September 2005 issue of TV Magazine, together with "Galaxy Convoy Custom Color Version" (see below). Despite being offered in equal quantities in these contests, this silver version is apparently much harder to come by.
Takara's iteration of Combiner Wars Optimus Maximus is sold in a gift set including all five Autobots (minus the Rodimus mold). This version of Convoy has numerous changes in deco to better match his look in the Generation 1 cartoon. Like Unite Warriors Menasor, the set also features some minor improvements to the original sculpts, such as improved hip-ratchets for Convoy for increased stability. He also had the slightly modified pegs that Legends Class Rodimus (or Blackjack, Runabout, and Runamuck) can securely attach to, which was previously used for Battle Core Optimus Prime. While he features foil insignia stickers on his robot mode shoulders, he also features tampographed Autobot symbols on his side truck panels.

Excellent article. Especially for pointing out how different we remember things from ‘when we were kids.’ (I swear Optimus Prime was two feet tall!) My only criticism is linking to those two Brickset articles about supposed “quality decline”… the headlines are sensationalist and inflammatory, and a LEGO rep eventually replied to the spurious claims with information that deflates much of the (somewhat unfounded) criticism. Also the comments give me a headache. Otherwise great stuff!

This minor redeco of the Optimus Prime Launcher features grey wheels, blue optics, and added red paint on its upper arms, while the launcher has grey plastic in place of black, smaller Autobot symbols on its sides, and gold paint on its interior instead of silver. The stock photography on the packaging depicts Optimus with a blue stripe on his built-in "trailer", which was omitted in the final product.


The figure has useful swivel joints at the shoulders and neck, and not-so-useful ones at the wrists and knees. It comes fully painted and pre-assembled, but true to his garage figure origins his Ion blaster must be cut free using a hobby knife, then assembled. His clear blue chest window piece is removable to allow the installation of his Matrix of Leadership, as is a Movie-style Matrix cover (not pictured). He also comes with an alternate hand that allow him to hold his accessories, as well as unpainted and uncut duplicates of his Matrix, hands and helmet, for some reason...

One of the Mini-Con limb-bots (Soundwave helmet) is based on the original movie version of Optimus. The main torso-bot is based on Generation 1 Optimus's original body. Two of his limbs are based on Armada Optimus Prime; one "normal" (Inferno helmet), one pre-Earth-body (Knock Out helmet). And the remaining one (Ironhide helmet)... actually looks to be based on the Optimus-like-but-not-Optimus Micromaster Overload! The heck?
Originally, Optimus Prime was created as the leader of the Autobots, though it is unknown how he was created or his origins. In a possible future, Megatron was threatened by the existence of the Aerialbots and had Shockwave build a time machine to send them back in time to get rid of them. However, he only ended up changing history for the better. In the revised timeline, Optimus Prime began his life as a robot named Orion Pax, a mostly defenseless dock worker during the Golden Age of Cybertron nine million years ago, with a girlfriend named Ariel and a best friend named Dion. During this time, a new breed of robot with new flight capabilities appeared on the planet that Orion idolized. When Megatron, the leader of the new group of robots, approached him with inquiries about using one of the dock warehouses, Orion was swayed by Megatron. Both Orion and Ariel were severely wounded when Megatron and his forces attacked in order to claim the energy stored there. Searching for someone to help them, the time-displaced Aerialbots took Orion and Ariel to the ancient Autobot, Alpha Trion, who used them as the first subjects for the new reconstruction process he had developed involving rebuilding the frail Autobot frames into more battle-hardy configurations.
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