This figure was originally conceived by Hasbro to be another character (exactly who is unknown), rather than Optimus Prime, but Takara insisted that the toy be made into Optimus to help it sell well in their markets, as the vehicle mode was no particular draw, given its scarcity in Japan. Reportedly, the figure cost twice as much as other Alternators to construct, so Hasbro had to bow to this demand so Takara would help fund it. Ironically, Takara eventually wound up soliciting the figure not as Prime, but as his Super-God Masterforce lookalike, Ginrai (perhaps connected to the Powermasteresque headsculpt), before its Japanese release was cancelled and moved over into the Kiss Players toyline (see below).
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.
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Optimus Prime was subject to several molding and color variations in his early days. The earliest release of the figure featured larger fists, a gun with a thick, round barrel, a slightly-differently shaped gas pump, grey rockets, a grey Roller, a grey launcher in his Combat Deck, and metal plates in the floor of the Combat Deck (a holdover from the Diaclone version of the toy, to which the magnetic feet of the pilots could cling). In short order, his fists were slimmed down, the gun's barrel was pared down to a more slender form, the gas pump's shape was altered, the rockets and launcher were recast in black plastic, the metal plates were removed from the Combat Deck, and Roller's color was changed to a light blue. Along with Roller's color change, however, the Combat Deck's drone pod also became light blue, and a third running change soon followed that saw it restored to its original darker blue, and Roller changed along with it. These modified components would become the default accessories used by subsequent reissues of the Prime toy would take, though Roller stills fluctuates back and forth between grey and dark blue, depending on how show-accurate each reissue wants to be.
Prime's new trailer is essentially a heavily armed version of the original, with two double-barreled heavy laser cannons mounted on two arms with visible fists. The rear has a fold-down ramp to allow the storage of a smaller transformer, or perhaps spare accessories. The trailer can be transformed into a Powermaster battlestation that can allow other Powermaster engine figures to man the heavy laser cannons.
Being a Combiner Wars Voyager, Prime is naturally capable of transforming into a torso mode to combine with any 4 Deluxe Class Combiner Wars-style toys, though his packaging call-out has him form Ultra Prime by combining him with Deluxe Class Skydive and Alpha Bravo as the arms, and with Firefly and Decepticon Drag Strip as the legs. He can combine with Sunstreaker, Mirage, Prowl, and Ironhide if one wishes to have an IDW-accurate Optimus Maximus.
In time-honored tradition, Prime's instructions depict the toy with an alternate "pretooled" head – in this case, a version with the faceplate deployed, used on the Platinum Edition and "Rusty" releases of the figure (see below). Additionally, his packaging stock photography depicts him with extra white/silver paint details, especially on his chest and wheel rims, as well as having gray upper arms with red details, among other differences.
Prime's body was entombed in a massive deep-space mausoleum with the many other fallen Autobots. In 2006, his grave was desecrated and his body reanimated by Quintessons in an attempt to destroy the Autobots by using Prime to lure their space fleet into a trap. The Matrix was able to purify Prime of the Quintesson influence, and he ordered the other Autobots to clear out while he piloted his flagship into the Quintessons' detonator, triggering the explosion of a nearby sun. Prime was supposedly destroyed in the explosion. According to "The Return of Optimus Prime", Prime's body was recovered from the craft by two human scientists, Jessica Morgan and Gregory Swofford, just minutes before the explosion. As their ship departed, it was coated with solar spores, which induce rage and madness in any sentient being they came into contact with, released by the explosion of the sun. Jessica's father, Mark Morgan, loathed all Transformers, and his hatred only grew when an attempt by the Decepticons to steal a heat-resistant alloy he had developed resulted in Jessica being paralyzed. Swofford and Morgan reconstructed Optimus Prime's body, planning to use it as a delivery system for the spores in order to destroy the Transformers.
In addition, it is very difficult, if not impossible for the vehicle mode to tab together properly. The entire cab assembly breaks apart very easily as the tabs lack sufficient friction to keep it together, resulting in either a gap forming between the front windows and the hood or part of the hood raising up. The pipes that are supposed to connect to the bottom of the smokestacks also don't swing out far enough to properly do so if the feet are tabbed together completely. When attempting to complete the cab assembly, it is advised to apply upward pressure on the front side barrels while pushing the cab downwards. A misassembly error is also present on all versions of the mold, where the roof hinges that connect the sides of the cabin are reversed.
Part of the first wave of Prime: Beast Hunters Voyager Class toys, Optimus Prime is a larger, all-new mold. He also transforms into a monstrous, flat-nosed truck, but differs from his Cyberverse toy by having a faceplate-less mouth, and by being equipped with a large four-winged backpack in robot mode. He features a 5mm port for each of his hands, one on his backpack, one near each of his front wheels, and one on each of his two upper wings.
Part of the first wave of TakaraTomy Go! toys, Hunter Optimus Prime is a redeco of the Voyager Class Beast Hunters Optimus Prime toy. His red and blue plastics are now cast in metallic shades, his translucent green plastic has been replaced with translucent blue, his yellow highlights are more orange-yellow, his yellow-painted side windows are now blue, and his gray plastic is now cast in two different, darker shades. The Matrix Saber, aside from being blue, uses a bluer shade of gunmetal paint for its hilt and handle.
A redeco of Legends Optimus Prime replacing his red plastic with more blue and silver, but sprucing things up a bit with red flame paint operations. Defender Optimus Prime (ディフェンダーオプティマスプライム) was only available in Japan as part of their Transformers Animated promotion in March 2010. It was given away for free to customers who purchased Animated merchandise at Edion, Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera stores.
When the Ark's sensors picked up two Transformer power emissions in the Brazilian rain forest of non-Decepticon origin, Optimus headed into the field to investigate, bringing along Jazz and Blaze. Though their search went poorly at first, the surrounding vegetation interfering with their energy trackers, one of the mystery Transformers soon found them! The source of the readings turned out to be two terrifying robot dinosaurs! As Optimus charged one of them, Megatron and his troops turned up, and blasted the Autobot leader unconscious. He awoke to find the Decepticons fleeing in defeat, and the creatures transformed into their Autobot forms. Grimlock introduced himself and Snarl, but told Optimus that they wouldn't be following the Autobots back to home-base, as they had two more companions to unearth first. Optimus bid him farewell with a handshake before leaving to carry on the war against Megatron. The Dinobots!
Transformers: War for Cybertron was released in June 2010 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo DS. The game takes on Cybertron during the Great War between the Autobots, led first by Zeta Prime and then Optimus Prime, and the Decepticons, led by Megatron. Transformers: Cybertron Adventures was released alongside War For Cybertron for the Wii and utilizes the same characters and setting.
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.
The lowest priced toys in the Armada line were three-packs of Mini-Cons. Each larger price point consisted of an Autobot or Decepticon who came with a Mini-Con partner. Mini-Cons could be used to unlock a variety of features on each larger robot, such as firing weapons, electronic lights and sounds, or alternate modes. Some three-pack Mini-Cons combined into other forms or had additional features. According to the storyline, Mini-Cons also enhanced the power of other Transformers, giving incentive to collect as many of them as possible.