In just seven years, from 1997 to 2004, the number of elements in the company’s inventory exploded, ascending from slightly more than 6,000 to more than 14,200. So did its range of colors, which climbed from the original six (red, yellow, blue, green, black, and white) to more than fifty. As the number of components and colors mounted, soaring supply and production costs plundered the company’s bottom line. Here’s why.


Optimus Prime's body was hauled out of the Arctic Ocean by the US military. While a terrorist organization run by the enigmatic Lazarus was able to seize control of several of the other Transformers that fell back to Earth, the military worked unsuccessfully to reactivate Prime. They eventually called in Spike Witwicky. Prime Directive #1 Spike was forced by the project chief, General Robert Hallo, to use his piece of the Matrix to reactivate Prime. Functional again, Prime used the Matrix to reactivate more of his fallen comrades. Prime Directive #2
In the alternate universe of the 2003–2004 toyline and series, Transformers: Energon, Rodimus (lacking the "Prime" suffix in English, but still called Rodimus Convoy in Japan) was a great leader on Cybertron ages in the past and was viewed as a hero by many, including similar character Hot Shot. Desiring to escape the war that had consumed the planet, Rodimus departed Cybertron with a contingent of like-minded troops, most of whom settled on an alien planetoid and became the energon-mining Omnicons. Still, Rodimus continued on his journey with Prowl and Landmine, carrying the "flag of peace" from world to world.
For the Generation 2 toy line, the original Optimus Prime toy was altered somewhat and an electronic sound maker was added.[24] Later Generation 2 toys of Optimus were completely new designs, such as Combat Hero Optimus Prime, Laser Optimus Prime, and Gobot Optimus Prime, who could become a red Lamborghini car. In 2003, Takara introduced the Masterpiece MP-01 Convoy/Optimus Prime. While retaining the original concept of a transforming semi-trailer truck, this die-cast figure incorporated modern toy manufacturing techniques for improved detail and articulation, while, at the same time, captured the look of the cartoon character. It has since been released by both Hasbro and Takara Tomy in different variations. In 2010, a version of the Masterpiece toy, called Masterpiece Convoy Sleep Mode, was released, painted in dark colors to match the appearance of Optimus Prime after his death in the 1986 film.[25] In 2006, Hasbro introduced Alternators Optimus Prime, which turned into a licensed 1:24 scale model Dodge Ram SRT-10.[26] In 2011, Takara Tomy released MP-10 Convoy, a smaller, more show-accurate version of the Masterpiece Optimus Prime figure.[27]
The 1992 and 1993 European and Canadian releases make up what is often called "Generation 1.5", much to the annoyance of many UK fans. These toys are similar in design to the Generation 2 Transformers, having lightpipe eyes, and pastel colors. The 1993 European figures used the G2 faction symbols which Hasbro UK designed because their licence on the G1 symbols had expired. The 1993 figures were repackaged for European G2 release in 1994, and three subgroup molds got used in the US G2 line.
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.
Here is another thing, people complain about the presence of stickers in a LEGO set. I have news for them, stickers keep down the cost of a set. The latest modular building will have stickers with it, but it isn’t the last time a set geared toward adults will have stickers with it. At least LEGO listened to our wishes and got rid of STAMPS (Stickers across multiple pieces). Still that modular will be the only set that will have a red baseplate and printed golden star tiles. Translation, that set will be very hot on the secondary market when it is retired. It is going to be very hard to source out the baseplate if people try to build Palace Cinema by sourcing its parts. (Which is a project some are doing with Cafe Corner and the UCS Falcon)
In light of this news, if Optimus decided to nonetheless head back directly to Autobot headquarters, his squad returned to find their comrades nearly dead from the poison. But with Ratchet’s help, the antidote was quickly distributed, and the Autobots sprung back to life. Now cured, the Autobots discussed their next course of action; they had to prevent the Decepticons from poisoning the nearby water reservoir.
MP-10 Convoy, advertised as a "perfect new model" on its packaging, is an entirely new tooling of Generation 1 Optimus Prime. Convoy is now smaller, making him more in-scale with other recent Masterpiece toys, such as Rodimus, and comes with a trailer and various accessories. While the front of the vehicle mode's cab is an accurate depiction of a mid-to-late-1980s Freightliner FLT cabover, the back half, (which is, as usual, made out of Convoy's legs) is much larger and robot-leggier in proportion. (So much that they sculpt a ladder on each side.)

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.


For its release in Korea, Hasbro Asia provided a collector coin featuring truck-mode Optimus Prime on one side and "MP-01L" on the other. The coin came mounted on a card featuring lineart of the Autobot leader's head, the stark black design of which could be mistaken for promoting the earlier "Sleep Mode" release. The limited release (and general lack of enthusiasm for the collector coins in Korea) makes this one of the more difficult Masterpiece coins to find.
Great read. I have noticed an absolute drop in quality myself. My sets in my youth range from 83 to 90. My sons are from 2011 and there is a clear distinction. Aside from the weight of identical bricks being different, the older bricks stay together in a much more durable way than the new bricks. To test this, I created the same models using all old bricks and all new bricks and the difference was marked. I understand doing certain things to reduce costs, but not at the expense of quality…

The back story of the Transformers on ancient Cybertron is told in Transformers: Defiance. In this story, Starscream returns to Cybertron after encountering an enemy scout ship in the Eshems Nebula. After being repaired for minor damage by Ratchet, Starscream and Ironhide report to Optimus Prime and Megatron.[63] In issue #2, Optimus Prime is ordered by Megatron to counter-attack Cybertron's invaders, but instead, Optimus organizes a resistance to Megatron's decision. In issue #3, Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Prowl break into Megatron's quarters while he is away looking for clues to why he is acting so strangely. What they find is an ancient artifact that Megatron had restored.[64]

Optimus once considered having the unruly Dinobots shut down before they could accidentally cause damage, but they proved their worth during a sudden Decepticon attack. S.O.S. Dinobots When the Insecticons gained enough power that they'd be able to overrun Earth in seven days, Optimus Prime was forced to negotiate an alliance with the Decepticons in order to defeat them. Harvest of the Insecticons Following the disappearance of Grimlock and Swoop, Optimus attempted to stop the other three Dinobots from attacking the Decepticon base, and was mauled for his trouble. The distraction at least allowed Wheeljack to take a scan of the rogue Dinobots. Day of the Dinobots - Part 1

Generation 2 Optimus Prime comes with all his original accessories, as well as two major new play features. To increase his arsenal, he is armed with a pair of black missile launchers that fit in his fists and fire red spring-loaded missiles; these launchers were retooled from the G.I. Joe figure Barricade. Secondly, he comes with an electronic "sound and lights module" that can either plug into the front of the trailer (where it resembles the air conditioners used on refrigerated trailers), or hook onto Optimus's back in robot mode (via a new slot sculpted into the cab robot). Unfortunately, the soundbox is heavy enough that doing so can easily overpower Prime's hip joints, causing him to topple backward. The soundbox features a large, vacuum metalized Autobot symbol on its front, and three grey buttons which trigger two flashing red LEDs on either side of the module, and a trio of sound effects: a truck engine noise, a laser gun sound effect and a garbled voice that said "I am Optimus Prime!". The module also features ports on either side into which the missile launchers can peg.
Like the First Edition figure, Battle Command Optimus Prime's truck kibble can be detached from the robot mode figure to form his separate vehicle mode on its own, but there is one single sacrifice is needed to be made, so brace yourselves: you need to actually trim off the wires that activates it's lights & sound gimmick in order to separate the kibble from the robot, so good luck if you wanna risk your hard-earned cash for that.
The Transformers toy-line is typically divided into two main factions: the heroic Autobots and their opponents, the evil Decepticons (traditionally known in Japan as the Cybertrons and Destrons, respectively, although more recent releases often using the English terms). Transformers toys are sold at a number of price points, and various Transformers series utilize unique play features.
A fourth version is shown in the 1987-88 Transformers product catalog that has several minor differences from both Powermaster Prime and God Ginrai, such as having God Ginrai's sliding fists but in red, a completely different trailer hitch assembly partially based on the third design, an offset Autobot symbol in base mode, extended feet also based on third design, far more detailed super mode outer leg panels, completely different front bumper, and the first instance of single faux shoulder smokestacks rather than two. It is still unknown as to why Powermaster Prime has completely different arms from God Ginrai or all earlier concept versions.
Released as part of the Target-exclusive Reveal The Shield subline, this Tiny Turbo Changer 3-pack contains a redecoed Optimus Prime and Bumblebee (in their first non-blindpacked release) and a new Steelbane figure. This version of Optimus features red wheels & Tech Spec-esque patterns on his robot mode chest and... groin-flaps, though the real decoding is on his vehicle mode roof, which when seen through the attached clear-red weapons (or similar plastic device) reveals... an Autobot symbol. Surprise.

Very well written piece. It is very expensive, but as seems to be the trend on here, I would agree you are paying for the quality with LEGO. I like that they have provided the opportunity for adults to build sets with the LEGO Modular buildings range, those sets use real architectural techniques in their construction and are really quite impressive.
The second Nightwatch Optimus Prime was released as part of the "AllSpark Power" second half of the Movie line. He is similar to the UK version of Nightwatch Prime, replacing most of his red and blue with different shades of blue and black, retaining his resemblance to Diaclone Powered Convoy in most respects. However, the subdued black and copper on the first Nightwatch Prime have been replaced with gold and a very bright blue, to signify the All Spark energy affecting the Transformers. The translucent parts were also cast in purple translucent plastic instead of black translucent plastic.
Knight Armor Turbo Changer Optimus Prime is a Voyager-sized figure that transforms from truck to robot in just 2-steps: pulling his whole truck kibble to the front then fold down to complete the robot mode, although converting him back requires some few steps. His only articulation is the elbows, and he features 5mm compatible hands. He also features a "Knight Armor" gimmick, which consists of his mask popping out to his head with the press of the button on his chest. Take note that you need to flip back the mask manually before you turn him back into Truck Mode.
The Hasbro release comes with a pack-in file card. In addition to the regular version, Optimus was also released in a special "advance release" assortment alongside Bulkhead, Megatron and Starscream, with each figure including a mini-DVD that contains the Transformers: Prime episode "Masters & Students". Yes, all four of them come with the same episode.
Just like Optimus Primal's basic bat toy, this figure was released during the short-lived period when the Beast Wars was still considered to be an extension of the Autobot/Decepticon war, and Optimus Primal was the same character as Optimus Prime. This was soon relegated to the realms of micro-continuity when the Beast Wars animated series began and clearly established that the two Optimuses were different characters, but the toy remains one that was officially branded as Prime, and is consequently listed here.
The first commercialized yo-yos in America were sold in vast majority by entrepreneur Donald Duncan and children couldn't get enough of them. The design was elementary: two wooden or plastic discs, connected by an axle with a string tied to it. To keep the user from flinging the yo-yo comically through the nearest window pane, the string featured a tiny finger loop at the opposite end. A loop that, as we all remember, tightens relentlessly with each toss until the finger tip is a healthy shade of purple.

Omron's keychains were not limited to soft plastic, with die-cast versions of the same characters from the Mascot Keychain line being made available in their Transformers Strap range. This Prime is pretty much identical to the Die Cast Figure version of the character, just a little smaller—about 2.5" in height—and with the addition of a keychain with a wrist-strap.

Optimus Prime is composed of two parts, his truck cab and his trailer. His new truck cab is reminiscent of the original Optimus Prime truck cab, but is constructed entirely of plastic, lacks vacuum-metalized plastic and has no clear windows. It also transforms differently in that the front of the truck is no longer the robot mode's chest. His chest is now formed out of the truck's cabin rear, styled after his cartoon appearance. He is armed with two long black rifles, based in part upon his cartoon rifle.
The BK tie in toy of Optimus Prime is essentially two toys in one. The first part of the toy consists of two truck halves, which snap together around a sculpted robot mode Optimus Prime. The truck is squat, and primarily blue, with outbursts of chalk gray paint and red flames. Pulling back and letting go activates the gimmick: Prime "drives" forward and bursts from the truck mode, "transformed" to robot mode. This gimmick has marginal success.
Having been removed from toy store shelves after 1985, Optimus Prime was made available as a mail-away toy in the "Digital Doom on the Highway to Destruction" offer in the US in 1986 to coincide with the Transformers movie premiering that year. He cost $21.50 and 5 Robot Points. He was also offered in 'The Autobots Have A Special Mission For...' mail-away pamphlet and came with a special "Movie Edition Certificate" and a round sticker that read " Movie . Edition . Transformer" with the Autobot symbol in the middle. (This item is considered rare.)
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