The main selling point of the toy is the ability of the truck cab to combine with the trailer to form Super Optimus Prime. The cab portion folded in half and sat in the chest cavity of the trailer's torso, giving him the classic Optimus Prime truck-chest appearance. The two double-barreled cannons were attached to his shoulders and a large, separate head piece was mounted onto the hole on top of the truck cab.
This occurs in a Japanese toy line, animated series, and mobile video game called Q-Transformers. Specifically, the video game is called Q-Transformers: Mystery of Convoy Returns. Both Bumblebee and Optimus Prime are able to switch between their Generation 1 and movie modes in the series and game-- specifically Q-Transformers: Mystery of Convoy Returns. Strangely, though, when he’s in Generation 1 mode, he’s not a Volkswagen but another small, quirky car: a Daihatsu Copen. The show is pretty meta, with the characters being aware that they’re toys and they even talk about the Mystery of Convoy video game that they’re in.
But in between those two most well-known alternate modes, Bumblebee has had at least six others. For the Transformers: Alternity Japanese toy line, he was a yellow Suzuki Swift Sport, which at least is still a small, quirky car. Ditto the AMC Pacer, the form he took when he travelled back in time to the ‘70s in a G.I. Joe vs. The Transformers crossover comic. Somewhat similarly, he’s a Supermini police car in the Transformers Animated series. But then he’s also been a couple of other muscle cars: as the Timelines Deluxe Goldbug toy, he’s a Chrysler ME 412 concept car, and in the Transformers: Prime animated series he can take the form of the fictional Urbana 500 muscle car. Bumblebee also has a number of different Cybertronian vehicle modes.
Part of the third wave of Prime Cyberverse Commander Class toys, Nightwatch Optimus Prime is a redeco of Series 2 Cyberverse Optimus Prime, using the faceplate-less head sculpt that is gang-molded with the original head. His blue plastic is now gray, his smokestacks and thighs are left unpainted, he loses the Autobot insignia on his right forearm/door, and he gains yellow paint highlights for his eyes and lights, along with various other minor deco differences. Instead of the original release's cannons, he now comes with a pair of swords, which each have a pair of 3mm posts for wielding/mounting.
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.
Part of the first wave of Bot Shots Series 1 single-packs, Optimus Prime is a teeny little long-nosed semi truck with "trailer", with a spring-loaded automatic transformation to robot mode triggered when his front bumper is pressed. He has a "spinner" in his chest that shows his three attack types and power levels. His truck mode and robot body are influenced by the live-action Optimus Prime, while his head is taken from the original. His blue paint is light and sparkly-metallic, his red paint is dull matte, and his optics are yellow.
He comes with the Star Saber, which has a 5mm handle and a post on its hilt, as well as two spring-loaded, missile-firing "Ionic Pulse Launchers" (which are called "Eaglefire Missile Launchers" in the instructions). The launchers each feature a 5mm post, have flip open prods, and can peg onto the ports near the wheels on his robot back, giving him a pair of back-mounted rocket engines.
The Hasbro website explains it best: "The rogue DARK NINJA MASTER was exiled to a cave beneath Arashikage Mountain for betraying the ninja clans. After finding the Moon's Blood, a mystical stone of great power, he was able to channel the energy of dead ninjas, making him almost unstoppable. Seeking revenge, he has emerged from his subterranean prison to destroy all ninjas. Only two people can stop him: STORM SHADOW and SNAKE EYES. The two adversaries must join forces, for only by working together will they be strong enough to defeat this evil super-ninja."
The sequel series, Transformers: Robots in Disguise sees Optimus contacting Bumblebee to warn him of danger on Earth-a prison ship's complement of Decepticon prisoners escaping upon the ship crashing and appearing briefly in physical form to help Bumblebee's unlikely new team defeat the Decepticon Underbite. Optimus appears throughout the first season as a vision to Bumblebee, though he is only allowed to do so when the latter's need is dire. Residing in the "Realm of the Primes", Optimus Prime begins training to combat an "ultimate evil" where his first part of the training is overseen by Micronus Prime. At the conclusion of the first season, Optimus is upgraded by the Thirteen Primes when the Fallen arrives on Earth, during which he gains a body that closely resembles his Beast Hunters form. After the Fallen is seemingly destroyed, Optimus Prime remains with Bumblebee's group, though he states he would only do so as Bumblebee's "equal", rather than leader. However, the Thirteen subsequently reclaim the additional power they granted him, leaving him weakened but still determined to aid the team.
Available exclusively from Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape in March 2013, "Convoy Reissue BAPE VERSION RED CAMO" (コンボイ復刻版 BAPE® VERSION RED CAMO) is a redeco of the original Optimus Prime toy sporting a unique new red color scheme, along with a red 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 packaging.
Alternators Optimus Prime transforms into an accurate 1:24 scale Dodge Ram SRT-10. The vehicle mode features rubber tires, functional steering, opening hood, tail gate and doors with a detailed cabin interior. Several of the details of his robot mode body are based on the sculpt of the 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime figure, but the head itself shares more similarities with the Powermaster mold. He is armed with a small pistol which transforms into his vehicle mode engine.
In true Prime style, forward portion of the vehicle mode detaches to become Prime himself, while the rear "trailer" transforms into a gun emplacement. In robot mode, the barrel of the truck's left cannon detaches to become a hand-held rifle for Prime, and the figure features an opening chest compartment concealing a removable Matrix of Leadership accessory. Prime's gigantic hands mean that he can't hold it especially neatly, but he can certainly grip hold of it. Atypical of both most Unicron Trilogy figures and indeed, Optimus Primes in general, Prime's hands are not designed to accommodate weapons with 5mm posts, instead featuring a small peg-hole in his palm that allows him to tightly grip objects designed to fit there, like his own rifle, Leobreaker's whip, Cybertron Wing Saber's swords, and Cybertron Metroplex's axe. However Cybertron Wing Saber's sword hilts will also act as adaptors allowing Prime to hold and use 5mm weapons.
A second Target-exclusive redeco of the Voyager Class Optimus Prime toy, the gray molded pieces were recolored beige-grey, and multiple parts that were previously molded in blue and red (the chest, shoulder pads, and leg interiors) had their mold colors swapped, with extra paint operations to make up the difference. As such, the toy has very few visual differences from the regular release of the sculpt, in a "doing things differently to achieve a very similar end result" sense. This version was only available in a pack with an unchanged Deluxe Class Bonecrusher.
Part of the first wave of Age of Extinction: Generations Leader Class toys, this is yet another completely new "big" Optimus Prime figure. While smaller than the First Edition toy, this one features more silver and chrome paint in vehicle mode, a more poseable robot mode, and a Vector Shield accessory instead of the Sentinel Shield. Unlike the First Edition figure, Leader Class Optimus Prime's pauldrons and hip-skirts are formed from truck kibble, giving him a marginally smaller backpack. His accessories have roughly the same functionality as the First Edition toy, with his sword being hand-held and pegged onto his hands or storing underneath the truck, and his shield mounting onto his left forearm or storing on the back of the truck. Additionally, the sword sheath underneath the truck can be folded up and used in robot mode.
This figure suffers from a design flaw, in that his knee joint pegs are slightly too big for their sockets, and that the resulting connection is so tight that it makes the sockets form stress marks and eventually crack, or even cracking during assembly. The problem can be remedied by simply sanding down the pegs prior to sliding the legs onto the peg.
Hot Rod is featured again in Maximum Dinobots. Returning to Earth to continue his search, Hot Rod arrived at the gates of the Machination's complex, and Scorponok prepared himself to deal with the intruder. Unfortunately, Hot Rod found himself fighting well out of his weight class as he was man handled by Scorponok, who cheerfully bashed his face in, put out one of his optics and snapped his leg. The Headmasters dragged him into Scorponok's control room where, with absolutely no prompting, the big man explained his entire plan for the Dynobots, Skywatch and the Machination. Hot Rod seemed less than impressed with this rather mundane approach, which ticked Scorponok off enough for him to point out that it was obviously just the first stage in his master plan. He was also warned to remain awed or he'd be of no further interest. When the Dynobots and newly arrived Monsterbots seemed to turn Scorponok's plan on its head, Hot Rod burst out laughing, at which point, Scorponok ordered him taken out and shot. In the lift to the surface, Hot Rod suddenly erupted in flames, killing his captors, but draining his power supply. Weakened and with a crippled leg, he collapsed on the floor.
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.
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).
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.
Bumblebee, being the popular character he is, was one of the first five characters inducted into the Hall in 2010, during a ceremony at BotCon; the convention for all things Transformers. He was joined, not surprisingly, by other super-popular transformers: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, and the Dinobots. Humans enshrined in the Transformers Hall of Fame over the last few years include everyone from director Michael Bay to Peter Cullen (the iconic voice of Optimus).
Four million years ago, Optimus Prime ended a Decepticon attack on the Ark by directing it towards prehistoric Earth. When both factions reawakened in 1984, Optimus Prime and the Autobots fought the Decepticons on numerous occasions until 2005. During an attack on Autobot City on Earth, Prime fell in battle against Megatron and passed the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus.
In the animated series, Optimus Prime was originally in the Autobot Academy and friends with Sentinel Prime and Elita One. When Elita is lost on a planet dominated by giant spider-like aliens, he blames himself for leaving her behind, where she supposedly dies in the explosion of a wrecked Decepticon warship loaded with Energon. Sentinel doesn't forgive him for losing her and Optimus takes full responsibly for Elita's demise. Ultra Magnus, who had high hopes for him, expels him and thus bars him from any position of the Elite Guard. However, Magnus pulls some strings so that Optimus could be captain of a strange Space Bridge repair crew composed of an old grumbler of a war vet named Ratchet, a fledgling Bumblebee, and his fellow cadet, Bulkhead. Optimus is given command of the starship Omega Supreme.
In The Transformers: Devastation, Hot Rod is repaired and reformatted into a Dodge Viper. Dealer tried to convince him to pull some strings to get him to Earth, but Hot Rod and Wheeljack had the more important task of rescuing Ironhide. They ran into a bit of trouble with the Machination's Headmasters. They managed to escape temporarily, but were found and Wheeljack was incapacitated. Hot Rod easily held his own with the Headmasters, and noted that for some reason they had lost their "edge". He received a little help from Hardhead, who was mainly there to take Hot Rod and the others back to the Ark-32 for evacuation to Garrus-9. Hot Rod refused to go, wanting to see the Headmaster mystery through to the end. Hardhead reluctantly let him go.
Similar to the Activators toyline, One-Step Changer Optimus Prime features a spring-loaded transformation. He features swivel articulation in the head and both arms. He shares a similar (not identical) transformation with his fellow One-Step changer, Hound. Also, due to his transformation scheme, his shoulders can be pushed forward (the arms is pushed on the same time), which also allows him to wield a close ranged weapons with longer handles with both hands.
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.
Early versions of this storyline featured Rodimus returning as "Rodimus Primal," a techno-organic Maximal with a form similar to Optimal Optimus'. This concept was discarded in favor of Rodimus working alongside Primal Prime, but was later adapted for a storyline feature in "Ask Vector Prime." In an alternate reality where Starscream had possessed Waspinator and brought a premature end to the Beast Wars, Rodimus Primal led the Wreckers as one of several resistance group's to Megatron's rule over Cybertron. Eventually, Megatron was overthrown by his rebellious generals Obsidian and Tankor, splintering the Vehicon force prior to the pair being abducted by Unicron. Without Obsidian's leadership, the Vehicons crumbled, and Rodimus Primal became part of a new Cybertronian ruling council that also included "Waspscream," Magmatron, and Mutant leader Icebird.
This is a redeco of Ultimate Optimus Prime. While Prime himself only features a red grill, the trailer has been extensively redecoed, with an ornate golden Chinese dragon being painted on the trailer panels, and the various gray parts of the trailer panels, armor, and cannon being replaced by blue, red, gold, and burgundy. The toy was released as a "Year of the Dragon" Special Edition in 2012, since the Chinese Zodiac sign for that year is the Dragon.
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.