LEGO® sets are not cheap toys. They are made to the highest standards and have the price to go along with it. However, in the past couple decades it seems that the price of LEGO sets has become outrageous. New sets can sell for up to $500 retail and old sets can sell for twice that in a secondary market. This is a children’s toy, right? There is no way LEGO sets have always been this expensive; it is just molded plastic. Let’s take a look at the history of LEGO pricing and try to figure out what is going on.
Cloud Optimus Prime is a redeco of the Classics Voyager Class Optimus Prime mold, transforming into a modern cab-over style truck of made up model, dominated by a large "energy unit" on his roof (actually a wind vane). He features a similar Generation 1-inspired deco to the original toy, but aims for a "cleaner" appearance by omitting many paint details such as stripes on the cab, while the energy unit is colored black with a silver Autobot insignia in homage to Generation 2 Optimus Prime. In robot mode, Prime's energy unit transforms into a large blaster and his smokestacks transform into a smaller laser cannon. Additionally, both weapons can combine together to form a double-barrelled over-shoulder weapon. He was available exclusively at TakaraTomy Mall.
The toy's primary gimmick is its auto-transforming trailer, which assumes one of three configurations when triggered by an infra-red signal transmitted from the cab robot. Transforming the cab into robot mode will cause the trailer to automatically flip open into a battle station for Mini-Cons, which Prime can stand in the centre of. The base features a central tower with a pop-out artillery emplacement and a mount for Prime's large cannon; a rotating missile-firing turret; two Mini-Con storage bays, one of which featured a manually-activated tab to launch Mini-Cons out; and two live Mini-Con hardpoints, one of which pops up a non-firing turret, the other activating a laser noise.
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.
A redeco of the first Sports Label Convoy, this figure transforms into a white, navy, and grey sneaker. Promotional images for the figure depicted its robot mode as white and aqua-blue, but the finished product was visibly darker, produced in shades of off-white and dark teal. In either coloration, it sure as heck looks like it should be Ultra Magnus, but for whatever reason... it ain't.
Prime filled one of the chase figure slots for the tenth wave as well. This rare figure was the same as the regular Super Mode PVC, except instead of wielding his Convoy Gun, Prime was armed with the Star Saber sword. As with the previous chase figure, it could only be found in one out of every ten cases, and took the place of the full-colour Prime figure in that assortment.
In the 21st century reimagining of the original continuity by Dreamwave Productions, Optimus Prime started life as a data archivist known as Optronix, or Orion to his friends. After taking note of a battle where the Autobot leader Sentinel Prime had been killed by Megatron, he was summoned to the Council of Elders and informed that the Matrix had chosen him to be the next leader of the Autobots. He received the Matrix of Leadership shortly thereafter, and arranged for the Autobot evacuation of Cybertron. He intended to leave the Decepticons to their own devices, but a battle with Megatron beneath the planet's surface, accompanied by visions from the Matrix, stirred him on to fight for the safety of his homeworld.
This small version of Energon Optimus Prime was released by Kabaya as part of their DX Transformers line of candy toys. Prime transforms in the same manner as the larger Energon figures do, though his arms have to be removed at the shoulder and reinserted into his back to form truck mode. The Prime Force were sold in a separate set in the DX Transformers series, and can combine with Prime to form his Super Mode. Optimus came with a stick of gum.
Optimus Prime is also among the characters who appear in the flash game TRANSFORMERS CVBERVERSE Battle Builder Game. Optimus Prime is one of the Autobots featured in Transformers: The Ride at Universal Studios theme parks. In the ride, Optimus fends off against the invading Decepticons at N.E.S.T. headquarters while telling Evac to escape with the AllSpark shard. He battles Megatron throughout the ride until Megatron is killed by Evac. Optimus then congratulates Evac and the riders for protecting the AllSpark.
In Transformers: Alliance, Optimus Prime and the Autobots aid the human soldiers after the battle in Mission City and destroy the Allspark-powered machines that were created. A trailer is obtained for Optimus Prime to carry the remains of Jazz. The Autobots leave Mission City as the Sector 7 personnel arrive to claim the remains of the Decepticons. About a month later, Epps and Lennox contact Optimus Prime about aiding them in escorting the remains of the Decepticons to the naval yard. They are spied on by Barricade, who transmitts the information to Starscream.
Many who received their first LEGO set in the early 1990’s are now adults looking forward to buying a LEGO set for their first child or for themselves. When we are younger, we do not fully understand how money works. We do not realize that a large LEGO set can require hours of work to earn. We only know what we want. I would wager that it isn’t until our first jobs that we can fully appreciate the value of money. We all wanted the large sets as kids and we didn’t realize how hard our parents had to work for them.
The Premium Series Optimus Prime is both a retool and a redeco of the Leader Class Optimus Prime toy. The major selling point is a more movie-accurate head sculpt with longer ears and detailing based on the final CG head design, and a flip-out energy sword to replace the ion blaster that was included with previous versions of the toy. This energy sword is detachable and attaches where the Ion Blaster did, compatible with non-premium Optimus Prime Leader-class-based releases. Because his ears are much longer, the truck roof panel that hides his head now has two holes cut into so the head can fit inside the cabin.
There is another factor that comes with the sticker shock. As I showed before, LEGO has had $100+ sets for a while. However, only recently have they produced sets even more pricy than that. When we were kids, the $100 set was the pinnacle of LEGO. It was the set we all aspired to own. It was the set we all went straight to at the store. Of course we rarely ended up with that set, but that was our dream.
In the United Kingdom, this Optimus Prime was released as an Argos exclusive along with several other sets branded as part of the Reveal the Shield subline imprint. His United States release was initially claimed to be exclusive to Target by online retailers from Asia, but even though the other Reveal the Shield products eventually became available at Target, Voyager Class Optimus Prime was released as a Toys"R"Us exclusive in the United States instead, complete with a "Toys"R"Us exclusive" sticker. Also, both his United States and Asian releases lack the "Reveal the Shield" logo the United Kingdom release has (but still feature the "Reveal hidden images" call-out).
This release of Buster Optimus Prime was susceptible to a paint scraping issue on the silver painted slide-out barrel of his blaster. This problem was fixed for the DOTM Re-release by relocating the silver paint app from the barrel to the inside wall of an exposed gas tank that had been previously left as unpainted grey plastic. The black paint app on the barrel was left unchanged.
Asia Premium Series Optimus Prime Ultimate Edition is an extensive screen-accurate redeco of Jetwing Optimus Prime (with a maskless head from Buster Optimus Prime), this figure features loads of accessories from the Striker & Jetwing figures, and includes brand-new knuckle and battle hooks based on the HFTD Optimus', which can be installed in either hand. The figure lacks the chrome of previous releases, instead opting for silver paint. The pin-striping is also absent, but he does have painted pupils. The figure also features 2-2-1 articulated fingers, which the first Leader Class did not have due to budget cuts. The ion cannon included lacks the black paint application, leaving it completely silver. When purchased from select retailers, this toy will also include a shiny metal number plate and a bonus mini AllSpark cube accessory. His instructions depict a weaponised mode which has some clearance issues, as his Gatling guns are shown attached to the jetwing, which pushes against his arms. His Eliminator Gun and Assault Blaster cannot tab into the Gatling gun tightly either.
In the Autobot Campaign, Optimus Prime provides intelligence and missions to Bumblebee in his search for the Allspark. Eventually, the clues lead the Autobot to Sam Witwicky. After saving Sam from Barricade, Bumblebee finally completes preparations for the Autobots to arrive on Earth. Once on Earth and having informed the two teenagers of their mission, Prime and the Autobots are discovered by Sector 7. Optimus sends Jazz on a high-speed destruction distraction mission, then sends Ironhide to rescue Jazz from a double-threat posed by the government agents and various Decepticon scouts. When Bumblebee is captured, Prime transforms and chases the chopper which from which the small Autobot is tied. After a lengthy chase, Prime manages to catch the net, only to be thrown off by another Cybertronian meteor. As Bumblebee is carried away, Optimus promises he will not fail him again. Jazz informs him that the meteor is not an Autobot. Prime confronts the new threat, who turns out to be the Decepticon Triple Changer Shockwave. The two battle it out across Tranquility before Optimus finally destroys him. During the battle, Optimus overhears Starscream's transmission revealing the location of the Allspark. Optimus then returns to an intel role as he guides Bumblebee in his mission to retrieve the Allspark from Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, the Decepticons manage to free Megatron, leading to the final battle in Mission City. As the Autobots battle it out with the Decepticons to protect Sam and the Allspark, things seem to take a turn for the worse as Megatron finally arrives. Before he can claim the Allspark, Optimus attacks him. Optimus defeats Megatron and leaves him on the ground, seemingly devoid of life. However, just as Sam is giving the Allspark to Optimus, Megatron awakens, leaping at Optimus with his chain-flail out, making one last attempt at defeating his adversary. Optimus grabs the chain, pulling Megatron in closer, and, with the Allspark clutched in his fist, delivers a punch through Megatron's spark, killing him. Optimus reflects on the losses and rewards of this battle, as the Autobots have a new home, but many were killed in the battle. The story ends with Optimus and the Autobots choosing to remain in Earth, proclaiming it as their new home.
When you’re a Cybertronian robot-alien who could easily blow any human to bits if you wanted, having a license plate can’t be that important. Really, if you’re in car mode and a cop pulls you over for not having plates, and sees that you also don’t have a driver, and then perhaps sees you turn into a giant robot, what exactly is that cop going to do?
The two sides found themselves equally matched until the Constructicons merged into The Devastator. The tables were turned once more when the Dinobots appeared, and mercilessly slaughtered the Constructicons. The Decepticons' plan foiled, Optimus decided that the Autobot-Decepticon war had come to an end, despite Megatron's protests to the contrary. He and his Autobots then drove away victorious. Battle for Earth
Part of the new Adventure Shokugan series, this Optimus Prime is a transformable snap-fit kit molded in red, blue, and yellow plastic with detailing from stickers. The kit's transformation engineering is borrowed from the Warrior class figure. But unlike the said toy, the Axe must be pegged onto Prime's legs before transforming, and his shoulders are molded on his front truck halves/shoulders not being flipped down. Also, the stickers are used to cover the molded cavity on the front shoulders. As with Fixit & Underbite, Optimus Prime is fully transformable.
Transported to a parallel Universe, as the walls of reality began to crumble, foretelling the coming of Unicron to the Armada universe, Optimus Prime and Jetfire were reformatted by their Mini-Con companions using the Mini-Con Matrix into new "Powerlinx" forms. Optimus Prime and Jetfire combined to hold the chaos-bringer at bay. Unicron was eventually defeated by the united power of the Mini-Cons.
For all the positive aspects, these changes are not without their drawbacks. The LEGO community has been crying foul over the perceived decline in quality of the bricks5. While nowhere as bad as their competitor, any decline in quality reflects poorly on a company known for quality control. The LEGO group has been expanding its manufacturing base to places outside of Denmark, into Mexico, the Czech Republic, and China (although so far it seems only their “signature brand” non-set items are made in China). LEGO claims that this has not changed their dedication to the quality of standards by which they abide. However, it seems that the molds have changed to reduce plastic6. Whether or not this affects the durability of the bricks is yet to be seen.
Part of the first wave of Age of Extinction Custom Kreons, this Optimus comes with a buildable parts rack on which to hang/store his many many extra pieces. His "normal" helmet and blaster are chromed, plus he comes with an extra clear-plastic helmet, torso and legs. He also has a pair of extra arms (originally from the Kre-O Battleship aliens) plus a spare hand, as well as a buildable battle-axe, a buildable smokestack-pack, and an extra Wheeljack-style wing-pack.
It was expected that the release of a new movie would involve the production and release of associated toys from Takara and Hasbro. Images surfaced, on-line, of some toy prototypes, notably Starscream and a new Decepticon who was to be named Blackout, along with packaged samples of movie preview "Protoform" Optimus Prime and Starscream toys. Similarly, fans found preliminary artwork of multiple characters, although it was not known at the time how close these were to the final designs. The designs were significantly different from those of the Generation 1 characters with the same names. Reactions varied widely: some fans objected strongly to the designs, occasionally going so far as to threaten a boycott if the designs were not changed to be more traditional, while others liked them. The issue became a divisive one, as detractors accused supporters of lacking respect for the franchise's history, while supporters accused detractors of being "stuck in the past", and not accepting change.
In the Autobot Campaign, Optimus Prime provides intelligence and missions to Bumblebee in his search for the Allspark. Eventually, the clues lead the Autobot to Sam Witwicky. After saving Sam from Barricade, Bumblebee finally completes preparations for the Autobots to arrive on Earth. Once on Earth and having informed the two teenagers of their mission, Prime and the Autobots are discovered by Sector 7. Optimus sends Jazz on a high-speed destruction distraction mission, then sends Ironhide to rescue Jazz from a double-threat posed by the government agents and various Decepticon scouts. When Bumblebee is captured, Prime transforms and chases the chopper which from which the small Autobot is tied. After a lengthy chase, Prime manages to catch the net, only to be thrown off by another Cybertronian meteor. As Bumblebee is carried away, Optimus promises he will not fail him again. Jazz informs him that the meteor is not an Autobot. Prime confronts the new threat, who turns out to be the Decepticon triplechanger Shockwave. The two battle it out across Tranquility before Optimus finally destroys him. During the battle, Optimus overhears Starscream's transmission revealing the location of the Allspark. Optimus then returns to an intel role as he guides Bumblebee in his mission to retrieve the Allspark from Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, the Decepticons manage to free Megatron, leading to the final battle in Mission City. As the Autobots battle it out with the Decepticons to protect Sam and the Allspark, things seem to take a turn for the worse as Megatron finally arrives. Before he can claim the Allspark, Optimus attacks him. Optimus defeats Megatron and leaves him on the ground, seemingly devoid of life. However, just as Sam is giving the Allspark to Optimus, Megatron awakens, leaping at Optimus with his chain-flail out, making one last attempt at defeating his adversary. Optimus grabs the chain, pulling Megatron in closer, and, with the Allspark clutched in his fist, delivers a punch through Megatron's spark, killing him. Optimus reflects on the losses and rewards of this battle, as the Autobots have a new home, but many were killed in the battle. The story ends with Optimus and the Autobots choosing to remain in Earth, proclaiming it as their new home.
Part of the first wave of TakaraTomy Lost Age: Movie Advanced toys, this Japanese-exclusive redeco of 2007 Transformers Protoform Optimus Prime is given a Generation 1-styled color scheme (which is also based on his appearances in IDW's Transformers: Foundation comic-book mini-series). Protoform Optimus Prime transforms into his "entry" mode. This mode somewhat resembles a cybertronic truck, with false wheels sculpted onto the sides, and Optimus Prime's trademark windows in front. His now-blue flame decoration piece fits to the back of the "vehicle", creating the illusion of a flaming comet's tail (Not sure if this was mean to represent his jetpack blast effect or his atmospheric entry heat effect, which is for no reason: entirely blue instead of hot red). The bottom of the vehicle has small wheels to roll the toy across smooth surfaces.
A black and red version of the First Edition deluxe Optimus Prime could be seen in the San Diego Comic-Con 2011 Transformers slide show, inside a mock-up of the wearable Matrix of Leadership package done for the convention that year. This figure was presumably a test-shot, as it seems to share plastic colors with Generations Sky Shadow (who was, coincidentally, first revealed at that same Comic-Con).
Inspired by the 1985 promotional version of Optimus Prime that featured Pepsi stickers on his trailer, this outlandish incarnation of Prime is a slightly altered version of Takara's 2005 Pepsi Convoy figure (which represented a different character to Prime). The figure was only sold by Hasbro Toy Shop at various conventions, and given away as a promotional prize by Pepsi, via their Mountain Dew brand.
Optimus was checking up on the Autobots' ongoing energy collecting campaign when Wheeljack informed him that a disturbance in Sector 33HM of space-time would eventually cause major problems in its time-stream. Optimus assigned the investigation of this disturbance to Bumblebee, then noted that Hot Rodimus had not completed his latest report, communications with the young Autobo having been lost while he was on his own mission. With a brief inspirational speech, he urged his subordinates to redouble their efforts in maintaining harmony throughout reality. Little did Optimus suspect that in his own universe, Megatron was planning a coup against the Autobots... Uprising
A standard brick with two rows of four studs delivers a profit to LEGO that is orders of magnitude greater than any specialized element, all because the brick is what LEGO calls a “universal” or “evergreen” element that can be used in so many different sets. A one-of-a-kind, specialized piece, however, generally works in just one or a few sets. Moreover, the cost of molding a standard brick is orders of magnitude cheaper than producing a specialized piece.
In his first appearance in the series, Optimus looks similar to the original G1 Optimus Prime until he copies himself with a semi-truck and his design in robot mode changes to the image shown here. Soon after, he retrieves his Mini-Con partner, Sparkplug. The cab of his truck mode detaches to form Optimus himself, while the trailer transforms into a battle station mode operable by Optimus and several Mini-Cons. Optimus can also combine with his base to form a "Super Mode" robot that, when combined with Sparkplug, can fire a series of powerful lasers. Additionally, Optimus can combine with Jetfire and/or Overload in his Super Mode for additional power.
Available in a two pack set with Battle Changer Megatron, this Optimus is largely the same as as the single release, with some minor differences. He uses a new "double harness" piece on his torso instead of using two harnesses, leaving more space for his head to grip the neck-post. He also has different windshield decals, and his reds and blues are slightly darker. And, most obviously, he has an additional buildable trailer, though it doesn't really attach to the truck mode in any meaningful way.
In 2003, Transformers: Armada launched a pivotal new era in the toy line. After several lines of toys produced by one company or the other, Hasbro and Takara united to produce what was purported to be a single, identical line of Transformers for release worldwide. In tandem with this new endeavor, Armada signaled a new continuity in its accompanying animated series and a new focus in both the show and the toys on Mini-Cons, a new faction of Transformers. The Mini-Cons were much smaller robots (not much larger than humans) who were neutral in the Autobot/Decepticon fight, but due to their incredible power and abilities, were sought by both factions.
At this point in the future, the Autobots had become something of a group of peacekeepers among the many races in the galaxy, and Rodimus would attend many meetings, parties and conferences to this end, most notably chairing the peace conference between the planets of Xetaxxis and Lanarq. Despite the brave public face he wore at these events, his own doubts continued to plague him, and he was particularly fazed by Galvatron's threat of an "ultimate weapon", though the revelation that this was a bluff stirred him to action. Later still, Rodimus was among the Autobots who had their minds transferred into synthetic human forms by crime lord Victor Drath, who used their Transformer bodies to commit crimes. While Ultra Magnus, Arcee and Springer tackled this problem, Rodimus returned to Drath's compound where he was aided by Drath's mole, Michelle, between whom a spark of romance seemed to bloom, until she betrayed him to Drath. Through a combined effort, however, Drath was brought to justice and the Autobots regained their bodies.
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.