This redeco of the Ginrai tooling of the Powermaster Optimus Prime figure (released concurrently with the 2001 reissue of the Ginrai figure) was a Toys R Us Japan exclusive black repaint, made to represent the original Optimus Prime equipped for a special mission. All of his red and blue plastics were changed to black, his clear blue windows were now tinted red, making his overall colour scheme very reminiscent of the now-familiar 'Black Convoy' color schemes.
Although he was weak and low on energon, Prime made a last-ditch effort to save the day when he rammed through the wall of Megatron's energon-producing lab. G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers #5 After a quick recharge, Optimus single-handedly smashed the Decepticons, pounded Megatron to the ground, and ripped his fusion cannon off his arm. Prime then teamed up with the Joes and used Megatron's cannon to shoot down the SPS Satellite that had gone rogue and was destroying the island.
He made it out of the building and ran into the real Sunstreaker, who blasted the 2 clones following Hot Rod. Sunstreaker ignored Hot Rod's warning about Scorponok's army and stormed into the building so Hot Rod painfully wired himself to send a distress signal. When Sunstreaker's real head was later disabled by Hunter, the Headmaster clones shut down, which Hot Rod explained to Grimlock. The group was surprised by the arrival of Shockwave, but Ultra Magnus had heard Hot Rod's distress call and was on his way to Earth. After Scorponok knocked out Sludge and Grimlock tended to him, the remaining Dynobots offered Hot Rod a lift aboard the Monsterbots' ship. He refused though, and made it back into Machination HQ to take care of something "personal". He eventually found Scorponok's real head. Hunter also showed up and let Hot Rod know how to disable it, but before he could do so, Scorponok grabbed him. Before Scorponok could crush Hot Rod's head, the Dynobots showed up and began to battle Scorponok. Hot Rod told Swoop which wires to sever, and he did just that, reducing Scorponok to a catatonic state. Ultra Magnus arrived took everyone back aboard his ship, which later docked with the Ark-32. Within 3 days, Hot Rod was fully repaired, with a new body form design.

Classics Optimus Prime was initially intended to be Deluxe-sized. An alleged list of the tentative Classics line-up[20] included a Deluxe-sized Optimus Prime without a trailer and a version with a trailer at the Voyager price point; however, it appears the decision was eventually made to upscale Optimus to Voyager size instead.[21] Don Figueroa's control drawings for the Deluxe version were leaked before the Classics line was even released at retail.[22] A gray model prototype was later shown as part of an interview with TakaraTomy's staff in Transformers Generations 2009 vol. 1.[23] It's unclear whether the trailer ever made it past the early planning stage before the size of the figure was changed.

When the narrative begins, we’re taken to Cybertron, where a narrator tells us of the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, a war fueled by the Decepticons’ desire for total domination. We’re told, “The Autobots, on the verge of extinction, battled valiantly to survive.” Then, two Autobots in robot form climb out from under a grate, armed with a bunch of energy conductor sticks: Wheeljack and Bumblebee. Wheeljack transforms into a Cybertronian vehicle, then Bumblebee loads the sticks inside him. Bumblebee is so relatively small that he remains in robot form and hops inside Wheeljack for a ride, rather than transform himself.
This agenda led the Predacon Megatron to attack the comatose Optimus Prime in stasis on prehistoric Earth, forcing Primal to take Prime's Spark into his body in order to preserve his life while his body underwent repairs. Primal was subsequently mutated into the massive "Optimal Optimus" form, which shared elements of Prime's form, prior to returning the Spark to its rightful place. The Maximals were occupied throughout the remainder of the series protecting Prime and the other Transformers aboard the crashed Ark until the Predacons were defeated. Various monuments to Optimus Prime appeared on Cybertron in Beast Machines, one of them a holographic statue in Iacon that Megatron took control of in order to trick Primal.
Optimus foiled Megatron's attack on 21st century Tokyo after informing his old foe that wherever he would pop up, the Autobots would be there to thwart his evil intentions. Henkei! Henkei! volume 1 Optimus and Bumblebee later intervened when Astrotrain attacked Shinjuku Station, using their bodies to shield nearby humans from the destruction the triple-changer brought about. They were unaware that Astrotrain's rampage was really a distraction staged to keep their attention away from Megatron's gathering of energon cubes nearby. Henkei! Henkei! volume 2 Optimus continued to do battle against Astrotrain until Rodimus showed up to provide the Autobots with additional firepower. Henkei! Henkei! volume 3
Released as part of TakaraTomy's Welcome to Transformers 2010 campaign, the "Sons of Cybertron" set includes a redeco of the 2006 Classics "Ultimate Battle" pack Deluxe class Optimus Prime, cast mostly in translucent plastic (his shoulders remain opaque Polyoxymethylene (POM)). He comes packaged with a similarly translucent redeco of Classics Rodimus.
In robot mode, Voyager class Optimus Prime is proportionally more accurate to his CGI design than the leader class toy and has a more accurate headsculpt, but due to the aforementioned lessened complexity significant sacrifices had to be made, such as "cheats" to the transformation sequence, to achieve this and thus he is overall less accurate than he initially appears. In addition to previously mentioned changes, he carries much of the truck's front hood, grill and fenders on his back like a backpack. However, he maintains a superb level of articulation and posability.
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.
After many battles on Earth, Optimus died by standing purposefully in the path of the Hydra-Cannon built by Megatron from the three Mini-Con weapons, the Star Saber, the Skyboom Shield, and the Requiem Blaster. He managed to partially reflect the beam, damaging the Hydra-Cannon. It was the Mini-Cons themselves, however, who resurrected him, entering the Matrix and reconstructing a new body for him. Subsequently, Unicron forced Optimus to face the dark part of his soul and that, on some level, he enjoyed the thrill of combat. Following Unicron's defeat, Optimus's denial was sorely tested as Galvatron, an upgraded Megatron, forced him into one final furious battle. The battle ended when Starscream sacrificed himself to end the circle of hate that powered Unicron. Floating through space, Optimus found the Matrix, but said he did not deserve it. Before beginning the battle with Galvatron, he was upgraded by the minicons. His red torso turned black and he was able to battle Galvatron one on one.
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 live-action Transformers movie was slated to premiere in the U.S. on July 3, 2007, and was a joint collaboration among DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, Inc. Paramount Pictures was slated to release the film in the United States, as it had by now made DreamWorks Pictures one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, and was also to be responsible for the international release of the film through United International Pictures, its joint venture with Universal Studios. The feature was directed by Michael Bay from a screenplay written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. It was a new story, set apart from the previous incarnations of the cartoon(s) and comic(s). A new origin and characters were introduced. Steven Spielberg, who with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen had established DreamWorks SKG, was the main executive producer of the film, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy serving as co-executive producers. In practice, this meant that they were the primary financial sponsors of the film.
There is also a smaller "Legends of Cybertron" Micro sized version of this Optimus Prime, without a trailer, and a Burger King Kid's Meal toy, again without a trailer. There is also a rotating sucker holder version of Cybertron Optimus Prime. Later releases of the Leader class and Micro class Optimus Prime were repainted in darker colors, supposedly representing Optimus Prime after the television story. This toy is called Galaxy Force Optimus Prime. A special metallic painted version of this toy was included with Megalo COnvoy in Japan.
The figure features newly redesigned hip ratchets to make both robot and combiner mode stable, which were also installed in both TakaraTomy's Motormaster, Grand Scourge, and a revision wave of Hasbro's Motormaster. The pegs that Legends Class Rodimus (or Blackjack) attach to have also been slightly modified to provide a tighter fit, making the latter toy much less prone to falling out.

In the United Kingdom, this Optimus Prime was released as an Argos exclusive along with several other sets branded as part of the Reveal the Shield subline imprint. His United States release was initially claimed to be exclusive to Target by online retailers from Asia, but even though the other Reveal the Shield products eventually became available at Target, Voyager Class Optimus Prime was released as a Toys"R"Us exclusive in the United States instead, complete with a "Toys"R"Us exclusive" sticker. Also, both his United States and Asian releases lack the "Reveal the Shield" logo the United Kingdom release has (but still feature the "Reveal hidden images" call-out).
In Transformers: Alliance, Optimus Prime and the Autobots aid the human soldiers after the battle in Mission City and destroy the Allspark-powered machines that were created. A trailer is obtained for Optimus Prime to carry the remains of Jazz. The Autobots leave Mission City as the Sector 7 personnel arrive to claim the remains of the Decepticons. About a month later, Epps and Lennox contact Optimus Prime about aiding them in escorting the remains of the Decepticons to the naval yard. They are spied on by Barricade, who transmitts the information to Starscream.
Powermaster Prime's animation model as used in the commercials and as a character guide for the Marvel comics is a composite of the second and third designs. The body of the model is actually a straight tracing of the concept lineart for the third version (including its different rifles and twin faux shoulder stacks), with a slightly simplified drawing of the second version's head drawn on top.
A Voyager-class two pack of Classics Optimus Prime, representing the Generation 1 version of the character, and a redeco of Age of Extinction Evasion Optimus Prime representing the Movie character (The deco patterns is most likely to emulate the character's design in 2007, with vague results). Like Rusty Optimus Prime (seen below), he features flames on his vehicle mode doors.

Really great, well-researched article. I think you hit the nail on the head here – the fact that there are more expensive sets than ever before affects perception. Also, I’m pretty sure the presence of a baseplate (light but large) in the old sets made them seem bigger. I don’t like the lack of baseplates in new sets – it does make them seem smaller.
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.
Transformers: Tribute Optimus Prime is a redeco of the 2007 Leader Class toy, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the live-action film series. While the deco's paint mask is the same as the said figure, he features a more saturated blue and red, and chromed feet/front grills which was used for the MA-21 redeco, and he also features chrome on both sides of the stomach. While the Hasbro stock photo shows that his feet are slightly mistransformed in robot mode, the Takara stock photos shows his feet correctly flipped out.
A redeco/new-head retool of the Rescue Bots Hoist the Tow-bot figure, Optimus Prime transforms from robot into a tow truck. Pulling the tow truck's hook up converts him back into a robot. The panel on the top of the cab has been remolded with additional truck detail in place of the Rescue Bots logo on Hoist, while the Rescue Bots insignia on his torso is unpainted.
Takara's version of the figure was released in their markets slightly earlier, as the first of what would come to be several installments in their Masterpiece line. In addition to coming with a cardboard trailer that the buyer could assemble to "complete" Prime's truck mode, Takara's release differed from Hasbro's by featuring longer smokestacks (kept short on the Hasbro version for safety reasons, but incorrectly shown to be long in the stock photography shown at right), and lacking the black scorch-marked "battle damage" paint applications Hasbro included on the figure's shoulders, wrists and abdomen.
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.
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