While stock photos and renders show the figure with a faceplate, this image posted by the Transformers Facebook page shows him with his mouth exposed. This was later found as a variant at least once. A running change was made, changing the blades to be more translucent. The semi-translucent blades release features a date code "73461", whereas the translucent orange blades version features a date code written as "80171".
It should also be mentioned that a few years back, I think around 2009 roughly, TLG started using smaller boxes for the same size sets. It was part of a move to not only save money, but also become greener as a company. Because the sets now take up less physical space on the shelf, and boxes with the same number of pieces appear smaller than sets from previous years, it could also contribute to the perception that you are getting less for your money today. In reality they are one and the same product.
A Japan-exclusive release of the Voyager Class figure with a trailer and a different Mech Tech weapon. The trailer opens like the original G1 toy and fits up to two Deluxe Class vehicles of the same toy line. In addition, the trailer can hold over 20 Mech Tech weapons. The supplied Mech Tech weapon is a blaster with a retractable blade designed similarly to Optimus' forearm swords.
The second known version  ditched the triplechanging gimmick on the cab and simplified things a good bit. This Powermaster Prime has several distinct characteristics only seen in the second design, such as the wider "block head" and two faux smokestacks on top of either shoulder as opposed to one. Also, in a rather odd twist, this design features a black head and fists for both super and regular modes rather than the traditional blue. It also had yellow eyes in either mode a la the original Optimus Prime.
When a two-part race was being held with a massive supply of oil and gasoline as the prize, both the Decepticons and the Autobots badly wanted to win it. Megatron entered the race by hiding himself inside a hollowed-out car and harassed Cliffjumper all throughout the contest. When Prime discovered the car was being driven by his arch foe, he swiftly pulled a telephone pole out from the ground and used it to bash the mortal hell out of the cheating Decepticon. Thanks to Prime's violent intervention, Cliffjumper was able to win the race. Afterward, Optimus Prime celebrated the Minibot's victory with a gargantuan smile as all the Decepticons starved to death. The Great Car Rally
Metalforce Prime was available in both a matte-paint "anime" version that more precisely echoed the colours of the actual series, and a metallic-paint version (pictured), which is less show-accurate but more shiny. The plain-colours version was the first release and has an Autobot symbol tampograph on his shoulder as per the cartoon, while the later metallic-finish version instead came with a decal sheet.
A redeco (or should that be de-deco?) of the Grand Convoy Super Mode Pla-Kit, Grand Convoy Super Mode White Version was available exclusively on July 17th and 18th at the Japanese convention, Kodansha Super Chara Festival 2004 ("K-Fest"). It is a solid white version of the normal model kit, possessing all the features of the normal figure, which was intended to be used in a customization/painting contest held at the convention. It lacks the comic of the normal release.
The first Cybertron Optimus Prime toy transforms into a heavily-armed fire truck of made up origin, topped with two large cannons. The left fires a spring-loaded translucent blue missile, while the right features electronic sound effects and a flashing red LED. The cannons and the sides of the truck fold down to create an unlikely flight mode for the vehicle.
Shortly after reaching the other shore and taking out Skywarp, Prime witnessed the gigantic Bruticus bust out of the Terrordrome and attack everything around him. With Superion gone, Prime knew that there was only one way to stop this rampaging monster, and ordered his Autobots to evacuate the humans while he went looking for the Matrix of Leadership. He soon found that Snake-Eyes was in possession of the artifact, but was under attack from Megatron. Prime attacked Megatron, keeping him at bay while telling Snake-Eyes that destroying the Matrix would kill Bruticus. The ninja complied, only to learn that Optimus had left something out of the story: smashing the Matrix would kill all the Transformers, including Prime himself. Looking at the Autobot leader's body, the Joes knew that Prime had been aware of this, and had deemed it a necessary sacrifice to save the humans. The Iron Fist
Punch reported back to Optimus on what he had learned about the Decepticons as Counterpunch. Mainly, that they were planning on attending BotCon 2010. Optimus then turned to Teletraan I for more information about BotCon. Upon learning that special honors would be held for him at the convention, Optimus led his troops to BotCon once more. BotCon 2010 Promo
Four million years ago, Cybertron, shaken from its orbit and drifting through space, became threatened when it floated into the path of an asteroid field. Prime led a group of elite Autobot warriors on the Ark, the Autobot starship, on a mission to destroy the asteroids. Although the mission was successful, during the aftermath of this mission, the Ark was attacked by Decepticons hoping to overpower their weakened foes. Intent on keeping the secrets of the Ark from the Decepticons, Prime set the craft on a suicide course, crashing it into the then prehistoric planet Earth.
When the warlord Shokaract, powered by Unicron's Dark Essence, traveled into the past to secure his own future, the occupants of J'nwan decided to act. Optimus Prime, Megatron, Soundwave, and Grimlock joined Sandstorm on prehistoric Earth during the time of the Beast Wars where the battle with Shokaract had already begun. When the Covenant arrived to vanquish the Dark Essence and defeat Shokaract, Optimus Prime and the others escaped through portals as that timeline was erased from existence. Terminus Departure
This miniature model kit of Energon Optimus Prime comes unassembled and unpainted, moulded mainly from white, red and black plastic and featuring some stickers for essential detail. Standing at around 4.5 inches tall, he comes with his Prime Force drones and can combine with them in the usual ways; while Fire-1, Gyro-2 and Digger-3 are moulded in their normal colours, Submarine-4 is stuck being black, and like every other non-color-molded, non-stickered detail on the kit, must be painted by the buyer. Prime's transformation involves removing his feet and head (an alternate Super Mode head is included, as his antenna does not transform into a helmet), and he does not come with a trailer for the Prime Force, but his gun can shoot small orange plastic BBs via a pressure-launching mechanism, and he comes with a small gold-chromed Energon star that fits onto his left shoulder. The kit also comes with "Episode 1" of the "Optimus Prime VS Scourge" mini-comic, printed on the back of the instructions.
Hot Rod first appeared in the Headmasters limited series as one of the Autobot crew led by Fortress Maximus. He became a Targetmaster in the fourth and final issue of the series. However, his Targetmaster partner is called Sparks, instead of Firebolt (though the UK comic would occasionally call him Firebolt). Hot Rod made sporadic appearances, with a few UK stories starring him as the lead, but most of those were set in the past or future. Kup's Story revealed the first meeting between Kup and Hot Rod, and how Hot Rod's influence shook Kup out of depression; and Ark Duty starred Hot Rod and set up the creation of Autobot City. Hot Rod debuted in the main continuity after the loss of many wars to the Underbase powered Starscream, as part of Fortress Maximus' group. He served as an eager soldier who idolized Optimus. However, he was killed during the Decepticon ambush on Klo in the last issue of the Marvel G1 comic, only to be resurrected by Prime and the Last Autobot.
The cab transforms into the robot mode of Optimus Prime himself, with the addition of a pair of removable blue fists that plug into his headlights. The fists themselves do not store anywhere in vehicle mode, but can fit easily in Prime's opening chest compartment (originally designed to accommodate two Diaclone driver figures). Prime is armed with a black laser rifle that, due to design, he cannot hold straight.
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.
Only available at ToysЯUs, this Optimus Prime is a redeco of the Classics figure. He features a cartoon/toy accurate deco on his truck/robot parts, and vacuum-metallized upper legs & front grille to evoke his original Generation 1 toy. Like every Classics Optimus Prime mold, he still features all of his accessories. This Optimus was packaged along with the redecoed Age of Extinction Optimus Prime.
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The other new additions were two black spring-loaded missile launchers that fire red projectiles. In vehicle mode, these attached to the soundbox (an echo of Powermaster Optimus Prime's cannons, perhaps), and could be held in Optimus Prime's fists in robot mode. These launchers were not created for Prime; they were retooled versions of the launcher from Barricade of the G.I. Joe line.
In one reality, while the Autobots were boarding the Ark, Optimus voiced his lack of confidence in his leadership, before welcoming aboard Geosensus, who was incapable of transforming to robot mode. Four million years later, Prime and Prowl found the Ark was under attack and defended it with deadly force. In examining the wreckage of the attackers, they realised that the robot Optimus had destroyed was not a Decepticon but Geosensus, who had forced himself to transform in an attempt to fight off the Decepticons. Though Prime was willing to take the rap, Prowl insisted on covering up the mistake to protect Optimus's image as a leader. Parts
The TakaraTomy version of Premium Series Optimus Prime has a considerably different deco from 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.
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?
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.
These include two large guns, patterned after the new weapons included with the G2 version of the classic Optimus Prime toy, which can be attached to the trailer in a similar fashion to those of Powermaster Prime. Also included are two additional (blue) Prime heads, sculpted explicitly in the style of Generation 2 comic artist Derek Yaniger's interpretation of Prime, especially as seen on the cover of the first issue, one pristine and the other battle-damaged.
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.