Optimus Prime (formerly Orion Pax) is constantly, if not always depicted as having strong moral character, excellent leadership, and sound decision-making skills, and possesses brilliant military tactics, powerful martial arts, and advanced extraterrestrial weaponry. Optimus Prime has a strong sense of honor and justice, being dedicated to building peaceful and mutually beneficial co-existence with humans, the protection of life and liberty of all sentient species. As the current Matrix of Leadership bearer, Optimus Prime is the de facto leader of the Autobots, a faction of a transforming species of synthetic intelligence from the planet Cybertron. The Autobots are constantly waging civil war against a rival faction of transforming robots called Decepticons. According to Bob Budiansky, co-writer of the Transformers series, Dennis O'Neil was responsible for his name.
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The third version  would quite possibly have been the most gimmick loaded Transformer in the history of the line, simultaneously being a Powermaster, Headmaster, and Triple Changer. The Headmaster also would have been a Triple Changer, turning into a sort of armored four-wheeled rover (Roller II?) and robot as well as a rather silly looking Optimus Prime head with four vertically aligned wheels jutting off the sides. It seems that when the extra Headmaster gimmick was scrapped, the super mode head remained separate rather than being reintegrated into the trailer hitch such as on the earliest design. Notably, the body of this design is extremely close to the final design.
In Another Light, Rodimus finally assumes total control over the Autobots upon Optimus Prime and several of his closest loyalists being jettisoned into space and left near death following the Battle of Decepticon City. However, his reign came to a swift end when the group returned, having been reformatted into the Knights of Unicron. The heroically reborn Optimus, now known as Nova Prime, engaged his usurper in battle and defeated Rodimus, sending him plummeting into Cybertron's depths. However, Rodimus then encountered the malevolent Primus, who enlisted his aid and that of other "true Autobots" in ridding his surface of those he considered vermin-namely, all Decepticons and Autobots not loyal to the same cause. This would lead to an epic battle between Primus' minions and the heroic Transformers of their universe: Galvatron's Decepticons, Nova Prime's Autobots, and a group of Maximals created from Classics Autobots.
A five-inch tall, non-transforming highly-articulated PVC figure of Optimus Prime in his Super Mode was the eighth entry in Takara's Mega Super Collection Figure series. In addition to a non-transforming figurine of Sparkplug, Optimus comes with two sets of alternate hands—one set with spread palms, one curled into fists—and is armed with his Convoy Gun, which can either peg into his right fist (and only his right fist) or onto his back.
Refractor and Laser Prime were only available in a box set named "Chaos on Velocitron" that includes Dynamus and Quickswitch, Parsec and Autobot Nautica, Fastclash, and a Rodimus Prime Titan Master head. The set was officially announced by Hasbro to be a Toys"R"Us exclusive, and was sold at stores in the United States, Canada, and Hasbro's Asian markets (such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong). Despite this, it later became available via Amazon in the United States (but not in Canada) as well, actually sold by Amazon directly (as compared to a third-party seller).
The values started becoming inconsistent and skewed in Generation 2 and Beast Wars, when Hasbro apparently thought no child will ever want a toy that is described as anything less than perfect. Thus it became rarer and rarer to see any low numbers. Most characters' numbers hardly ever dipped below 8, the Go-Bot version of Optimus Prime was the first character to have all values at 10, a trend that would repeat for most "leader" characters. When even more powerful versions of the Optimus Primal toy (such as Optimal Optimus) were introduced, Hasbro even invented a "10+" rating in an attempt to keep increasing the power levels. With the Transformers: Cybertron line a few characters even got "Unknown" and "Infinity" ratings.
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 headsculpt 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. A smaller laser is seen when it flips out with the sword. 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.
When Starscream attacked a power plant with the aid of his brainwashed ally, Skyfire, Prime carried Grimlock to the scene of the battle on the back of his truck mode. The Enemy from the Arctic During the conflict that followed, Prime's suspicions about Wataru were confirmed when the boy manifested a barrier to protect himself and Bumblebee and to help Skyfire overcome the influence of Starscream's mind-controlling helmet. Wataru was a Booster as well! Wataru's Power His past experiences naturally made Prime hesitant to put Wataru's power to use, but Osamu Kihara made the point that Wataru's power was invaluable for hunting down shards of the Energon Cube. Prime and Wataru headed out to investigate a local relic that Kihara suspected was a cube shard, and Wataru's powers soon confirmed the doctor's findings. Just as Prime was about to report back to Kihara, however, Megatron struck, demanding that Prime hand over both the shard and Wataru. Prime attempted to feign ignorance of Wataru's powers, but Megatron ignored his bluff and encouraged him to hand the boy over, lest he cost another Booster their life. Driven into a rage by the stinging barb, Prime violently attacked Megatron with his energon-axe, but as the duel raged, Megatron continued to question Prime's beliefs and his attitude. Unable to deny Megatron's accusation that he had hoped to use Wataru's power to defeat him, Prime lost his concentration and was taken down by the Decepticon leader. Despite what he had learned about a previous Booster dying, Wataru stayed true to Optimus and activated his powers, healing the Autobot's wounds and powering up his energon-axe into a huge sword. Summoning all his energy, Prime took down Megatron with one almighty slash, then collapsed into stasis lock. Optimus Prime's Secret
Hot Rod's tech specs list him as an Autobot Cavalier, while as Rodimus Prime, he is listed as an "Autobot Protector" - unlike Optimus Prime's, which directly states "Autobot Commander". A commercial for the toy hinted at his ascension, but pitted him against Cyclonus and Scourge instead of Galvatron, who was his chief adversary in the animated series.
As the two Titans battled, Optimus found Megatron watching the fight and demanded he assist them, but Megatron refused. When Trypticon swallowed the Enigma of Combination and took control of the Combiners, Optimus attempted to attack them as a distraction, but he was caught and the Combiners attempted to pull him apart. Optimus managed to break free of his captors and was further saved by the timely arrival of Megatron. Against Optimus's wishes, Perceptor returned and tricked Trypticon into swallowing the Matrix. Consumed However, this ultimately proved successful, and Trypticon released all that he had swallowed during the conflict before falling inert once again. The relief was short-lived, though, as Megatronus suddenly appeared before them, proving Optimus's fears. Optimus and Maximus attempted to surprise attack Megatronus, but he brushed off their blows and fired a beam through Optimus's chest, killing the Autobot once more. All Things Must Pass
This Japanese-exclusive black-and-gold redeco of First Edition Voyager Class Optimus Prime was available exclusively at the fourteen stores taking part in the Cybertron Satellite promotion. It depicts Prime coated in an alloy reverse-engineered by Ratchet from MECH equipment that protects Optimus against Dark Energon and other techno-biological hazards.
The figure also comes with two gun accessories, the "Eliminator Gun" and "Assault Blaster", which combine into the "Mega Striker", a rifle that closely resembles the one used in Dark of the Moon. The separate guns also have a MechTech-style transformation, and pulling a lever transforms them into alternate crossbow-like shapes. In "battle vehicle mode", the sides of the truck are rotated up, and the guns can be attached by small pegs to holes in the modified smokestacks, or they can plugged into any of the standard connection points with their 5mm posts... except the ones on the hinge behind the cab, since those are supposed to be for his Energon battle blades.
Optimus and Wheeljack returned to Autobot HQ after an absence to find Grimlock had taken leadership. Though they failed to resist him, he soon bored with leading the Autobots and let Optimus take command again. Me, Grimlock, King Impressed with Bumblebee's success as team leader, Optimus assigned Pipes to lead a team. The B-Team Part Deux With Optimus badly damaged and without the Matrix, the Autobots were driven off Earth and sought refuge on Cybertron. Once Optimus had recovered, he put together a team which returned to Earth and retook it from the Decepticons, with Optimus badly damaging Megatron in combat. All Hail Megatron
Optimus Prime was one of three Transformers characters immortalized in Gummy Candy form by the Frankford Candy & Chocolate Company. Released during the time when Classics had just replaced Cybertron on the toy shelves, Prime's candy depicts him in his Cybertron body, alongside Generation 1 Bumblebee and a kooky Cybertron/Classics Megatron cross-breed. The candies were all sold individually in blister bubbles.
As one of the first Transform Jr toys, this version of Optimus Prime was released under the early name for the series, Transform Gōkin. As a smaller, simplified version of the original Generation 1 Prime figure intended as a low-cost alternative for younger children, Prime features a similar transformation, with a removable head in addition to fists, but lacks rubber tires and translucent windows. As with most other Transform Jr figures, he lacked any of his major accessories, coming only with his rifle and a cardboard replacement for his trailer that had to be assembled by the buyer.
A retool of Lockdown with a new head. He is a simplified toy that can auto-transforms from an unlicensed approximation of a Lamborghini Aventador rather than a Lamborghini Centenario LP770-4 into a Voyager-sized robot by pulling out the arms first, and then flip the figure over itself. He features articulation on his arms, and features 5mm compatible hands.
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.
There is some difference of opinion on how the super mode of Leader Class Optimus Prime is supposed to assembled. Takara toys and the television series portrayed with the wings up and his two large guns underslung, however Hasbro later sold the toy with pictures and instructions having the wings down and the guns over the shoulders. Commercials and repainted models by Hasbro went back to the way Takara assembled the super mode. In 2006 a Costco exclusive of Optimus Prime packaged with Wingsaber and a DVD (with Armada Supercon Optimus Prime printed on it!) of the episode United was sold, again with the wings-under gun-over super mode. In Japan a gold chrome edition of this toy was released as a Lucky Draw special.
Surely one of the strangest examples of licensed Transformers products, Sports Label Convoy transforms into a shoe. Something of a shellformer, this baffling incarnation of Prime is colored primarily white and red in his alt mode of a realistic-looking (if notably undersized) Nike Free 7.0 sneaker, complete with gratuitously long real fabric shoelaces. In robot mode, he is made instantly recognizable by his incorporation of some additional blue and silver in predictable areas, and a traditionally Prime-styled head. Less traditionally, and somewhat perversely, Prime's feet are sculpted in the likeness of his own sneaker mode, making it seem like he's wearing himself!
Outstanding work here. After reading a number of complaints about how the price has ‘increased’ over the years, it’s great to see this analytical approach. One additional hypothesis I have is related to the increase in the number of sets released each year, which would appear to be supported by your data. More sets to buy to be ‘complete’ makes for more money out of pocket.
Both Jet Power Optimus Prime and the accompanying redeco of Voyager-Class Revenge of the Fallen Megatron would have come with an issue of the Unite for the Universe comic book, but due to the cancellation of both figures, the comics were eventually included with the Movie Masterpiece releases of Leader-Class Starscream and Bumblebee. Of amusement is the fact the comics are essentially showcasing toys that have been canceled.