The line was released as "The Transformers" in the United States, Canada and the UK in 1984 (One year after the Gobots) but Takara was still marketing Diaclone at least during 1984. Hence in Japan "The Transformers" did not debut under that brand till 1985, when the line was also rolled out to the majority of the rest of the world between Takara and Hasbro. Hasbro Europe still will not accept, however, that the range was released in the UK in 1984, not even with evidence such as Argos 1984 catalogues containing the range, the UK comic launching in September 1984 or even the 1984 Transformers product catalogue produced by "Hasbro Industries (UK) Ltd, Wokingham". It is thought that Hasbro Europe as it now stands did not come into existence till 1985, hence no records of Transformers sales in 1984. UK Transformers toys were sold in boxes identical to those of their American counterparts until around 1998/9 when the range started to have UK exclusives.
The SS-03 version of Takara's Deluxe-class Optimus figure, based on the Anniversary release, was released in Hasbro markets in a two pack with the smaller Japanese Megatron figure. There are some tiny but notable differences between this and the Anniversary figure; the Hasbro version uses a more neutral dark-gray for the main body as opposed to the Takara version's blue-tinted dark-gray, plain dark-blue plastic rather than dark-blue-with-sparkles, and plain yellow paint for the cab's lights rather than sparkly-yellow/gold.
For the 1987 and 1988 lines, Hasbro introduced even more radical ideas through new sub-groups. The Headmasters and Targetmasters came with partners who transformed into the figure's head or weapon, respectively. Powermasters, including the new version of fan favorite Optimus Prime, came with partners that transformed into engines. Each line would see various permutations over the two-year span, including smaller Headmasters, Double Targetmasters, and a Powermaster with two engines.
Reissued in 2003 as part of Takara's Transformers Collection line of reissues. This version (#13 in the Collection series) was retooled from the 2000/2002 Rodimus Major tooling in order to make the fists and engine block hole wide enough to equip Firebolt. In addition, the original 2 guns had their posts modified so that a Targetmaster Hot Rod could still use them, if the owner chose to.
A single-packed version of the battle damaged Voyager Optimus Prime toy from the Sam's Club exclusive three-pack. Although the assortment number and the general packaging style seemed to indicate that this might be a Best Buy exclusive, this has been confirmed to be an "international market" exclusive. It has been released in Asia, but will presumably not be available in the USA outside the Sam's Club three-pack.
Optimus was able to rally Autobot factions from across Cybertron to the cause and launch an all-out attack on Shockwave's fortress. He headed the assault himself, but broke rank when he saw the image of Shockwave blasting Ultra Magnus upon one of the many monitor screens planted around the Decepticon's headquarters. Optimus charged in to confront Shockwave, beating down all opposition along the way. Coming upon Shockwave's throne room, Prime was greeted by Ultra Magnus, who pointed him towards a secret passage through which Shockwave had absconded. Leaving his wounded brother to rest, Optimus barged into Shockwave's secret chambers, only to be overpowered and have the Matrix ripped from his chest. With it, Shockwave was finally able to activate Vector Sigma. Countdown to Extinction Stalling, Prime listened as Shockwave recounted the history of Cybertron, and eventually Ultra Magnus arrived, having recovered, to attack and defeat Shockwave. Prime and Grimlock helped him escape from the fortress as it crumbled to the ground. With Shockwave's defeat, the Autobots would now be able to start rebuilding Cybertron towards true peace... but Optimus remained troubled by Shockwave's motives; he recognized that Shockwave would not be urged to action by mere fancy. Optimus pondered what greater threat awaited Cybertron for Shockwave to so thoroughly plan for its arrival. Revelation The injuries Prime took in this conflict necessitated a prolonged restoration period in stasis. Both he and Ultra Magnus were tended to by Perceptor and Hoist as they recuperated. Generation 1 #0 Though Magnus recovered in due course, Optimus's systems had received a more severe shock due to the Matrix being forcefully removed from his frame. Thus, he needed additional time spent in recovery before he could reboot. Black Sunshine
The original Optimus Prime toy started life as the Diaclone toy, "Battle Convoy", created by a team of Takara designers who came on board when the original designer fell behind. This team included Hiroyuki Obara (listed as the sole creator on the toy's patent) and famed mecha designer Shōji Kawamori. The toy transforms into two major components; the first component being a red and blue White Freightliner WFT-8664T cabover semi-trailer truck partially composed of die-cast metal, and the second component being a large silver trailer of currently-undetermined model.
In yet another possible scenario, Beachcomber returned from his day off early to inform Optimus that Jessie had been taken prisoner by the Decepticons. Optimus deployed a team of Autobots to go to the girl’s rescue. Shortly before arriving at their destination, the Autobots had to choose their next course of action; they could either storm the Decepticon fortress by force, or try to sneak in through a secret passage Buster had previously discovered.
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He does not come with his Mini-Con partner Over-Run in this release; instead, Optimus Prime and his wave-mate Demolishor debuted a new brand of Cyber Key: retooled from the standard Cybertron style key, this version lacked a sculpted insignia, so that any symbol could be tampographed on to it, and featured a Mini-Con-style Powerlinx socket on the back, allowing it to operate the figure's formerly-Mini-Con-activated "punching" feature without the figure itself having to be retooled.
Hot Rod first appeared in the American animated series during the events of The Transformers: The Movie (as a main protagonist), where he was one of the many Autobots stationed at Autobot City. He was first seen fishing with Daniel Witwicky. When Daniel saw the shuttle that was going to make a supply run to Autobot City, he told Hot Rod and together they both went to an observation point, only to see a hole in the shuttle. The ship had been previously hijacked by Decepticon forces led by Megatron, with its crew killed.
When Bumblebee, Hound and Spike brought a badly-damaged Starscream back to the Ark, Optimus struggled with the ethical implications of allowing Wheeljack and Ratchet to mess with the Decepticon's logic circuits, but gave them the go ahead. Starscream proved to be amnesic, and Optimus was able to take the opportunity to help him as much as possible, even physically preventing Megatron from retrieving his former lieutenant when Starscream opted to stay with the Autobots. Though Starscream left as soon as he regained his memory, Prime reflected that they'd learned that maybe it was possible to reason with a Decepticon. Redemption Center
This Optimus Prime is a non-transforming truck that is loaded with a number of gimmicks: Pressing the back button activates his Weaponizer-sque (or Stealth Force-sque) battle mode on his truck form, with the lights being emitted in the same time. He features both spring-loaded (truck front) and pressure-firing (both sides of the launcher) discs, with a flat character art of Slipstream & Sawback being sculpted on it. Optimus Also comes with additional Slipstream and Sawback figurines, which they can be (uselessly) attached on Optimus Prime's truck top & both sides of the launchers.
This is a weird one. Back in the late-’80s, the original TV show had ended and Marvel Comics decided to take the “transform” part of the property a step further and gave a handful of Transformers an organic, human-looking shell. Bumblebee was one of the lucky Autobots to get one. According to the storyline, the Decepticons developed the technology first, but the Autobots secretly caught wind, made their own human shells, and fooled the bad guys into thinking they were fighting mere humans, until they burst out of their shells.
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.
A highly CG-accurate sculpt of Optimus Prime's head with a built in voice-changer. It also has several sound effects and quotes from the movie. The voice-changer has three settings, giving more accurate alteration of the user's voice (though this is still debatable; most voice changing technology is pretty crummy, at least in toys). Much like the Ultimate Bumblebee figure, this toy will hate your wallet too. While it only costs 30 bucks, if it's anything like another Hasbro voice changer, it will suck batteries up like they were some kind of square candy holder.
Prime comes with all the accessories of his previous release, although his ever-changing ion blaster is now somewhat confusingly cast in blue plastic. He features one major additional accessory: an electronic display base sculpted with the image of the Matrix and the Autobot insignia. Pressing the insignia's crest triggers a series of electronic soundbytes, mostly quotes from the movie recited not by original actor Peter Cullen, but by Hasbro's in-house actor, Ron Hayden: "Autobots, transform and roll out!", "I want you to make a special run to Autobot City," "Megatron must be stopped!", "All we need is a little energon, and a lot of luck," and two samples of the classic transformation sound effect, one ascending, one descending.
Arms Master Optimus's "Space Blaster Mode" is a mode designed for fighting in outer space, introduced in the Cybertron Satellite segment of "Infinite Transformation! Multiplying Enemies". He wears R.A. and Shining R.A. on his shoulders as wings, C.L. and C.L. GR on his back as thrusters, and B.H. and B.H. B on his feet as... more thrusters. His weapon of choice in this mode is the Matrix Blaster.
This new smaller mold of Optimus Prime features a similar transformation to the original toy. Unlike most transformable figures in this line, Optimus completely lacks 5mm fist holes. Compared to the finalized toy, the product photo on the back of the box has a number of deco differences, most notably silver thighs and white accents above the front windows in addition to those below. The same box photo and the more deco-accurate stock photo (right) also neglect to fold out his fists, which is the only other step in his two-step transformation.
Micromasters teams have teamwork ratings instead of ranks. Unlike the other ratings, teamwork seems to be split along faction lines, with Autobots typically holding higher teamwork ratings than Decepticons. A second unique spec value, Cooperation, replaced the Firepower rating used on individuals' cards. The traditional order (as above) was also abandoned for the Micromaster team specifications.
Henkei! Henkei! Transformers Convoy is a redeco of Classics Optimus Prime. He features a significantly altered colour scheme, generally to make the toy more closely resemble his appearance in the Generation One cartoon and the original toyline. His truck mode features less silver paint striping, but compensates by vacuum-metalizing the entire grill/fender area silver chrome. In robot mode all of his previously grey plastic has been replaced with red plastic and mostly painted silver (or in case of the grill & bumper, chromed), along with smaller decos. Since Henkei! toys do not feature a heat-sensitive rubsign, Henkei Convoy has two Autobot sigils tampographed onto his shoulders.
As he and Prowl discussed the wisdom of evacuating, a huge explosion obliterated the Forum of Enlightenment. Optimus led a team there, realising that the destruction was a message from Megatron. Leaving his team, he ventured underground, encountering Shrapnel, who blasted him into a pit. The War Within #2 Exploring the underground, Prime had a strange vision of a transparent version of himself, which warned that he had to grasp Cybertron's significance. Then he was attacked by Soundwave and the Insecticons, whom he was able to easily best by using the labyrinthine environment to his advantage. He then felt himself led to a confrontation against Megatron, and both faction leaders met atop of a bridge, overlooking a deep abyss. Starscream blasted the bridge Optimus and Megatron were standing on, plunging them into the chasm. The War Within #3 Recovering, Prime heard another disembodied voice telling him about Cybertron. Before he could look for a way out, Megatron found him, and informed him about the true nature of the Matrix, telling Optimus how it could be used to power Cybertron's planetary engines, transforming it into a space-faring war-world. This spurred Optimus to fight back, but before long, Megatron took control of the battle, smashing his fist into Prime's chest to get at the Matrix. A blaze of light enveloped the pair, who found themselves abruptly on 20th century Earth. The War Within #4
Hot on the heels of their licensing deals with Pepsi and Nike, TakaraTomy got themselves a slice of Apple™ pie and released Convoy —playing iPod speaker— as part of their small, musically-themed Music Label line. This version of Prime is an all-white redeco of the original Generation 1 cab robot, which (much like the "Marine Version" of Prime from the Sports Label line) makes it seem like he ought to be Ultra Magnus. The figure is actually even derived from the retool of the mold created for the original Ultra Magnus figure, as distinguished by the elongated hubcap pegs on the front wheels. Like Pepsi Prime before it, the figure's fists now store in peg holes on the under side of its trailer. The toy lacks any of the original Prime's stickers (even the silver stripe on his chest is now a paint operation) and includes the original thick-barrelled version of Prime's blaster. The toy features a brand new headsculpt based on the 20th Anniversary Prime figure, given additional poseability not previously seen on the figure by being mounted on a ball joint.
Part of the first wave of Prime: Robots in Disguise Weaponizer Class toys, Optimus Prime is a large toy, similar in size to Leader Class figures from previous Transformers toylines. He features a simpler transformation and design compared to previous Leader-sized figures, with him having fake chest windows (again) and a simplified, hollow truck rear where his feet, arms, and fake chest windows are plainly visible. He comes with a blaster which can mount onto his hands, shoulder-pads, and the sides of his legs/truck rear.
As the figurehead of the entire Transformers franchise, Optimus Prime has been on more pieces of merchandise than can be stated here. Several statues and busts of Optimus Prime as well as Optimus Prime themed objects have been released by various companies since the return of transformers to prominence, such as the "Optimus Prime Oral Care Station". Other figures released include various PVCs as part of Takara's "Super Collection Figure" line, which were later imported as part of Hasbro's "Heroes of Cybertron" series. Larger "Mega Collection Figure" PVCs were articulated and came with energy axe and gun figures.
Power of the Primes "Evolution Optimus Prime" transforms from a truck with a trailer into a robot and back. The individual truck transforms into his "Orion Pax" form based on his appearance in the Generation 1 episode "War Dawn", and he is able to form the core of Optimus Prime's robot mode. His trailer forms Prime's entire body, and his ion blaster can be split into two weapons. He includes the Matrix of Leadership, which can store in his chest in the 'Evolved' form. The center of his Matrix of Leadership can be replaced with any Prime Master. In an undocumented feature, his rifle can be stored on his back as Optimus Prime by pegging it into Orion Pax's hands.The Takara version of the mold lacks the production numbers located at his right shins. Depending on the individual copy, Optimus Prime is prone to having a number of quality control issues: ranging from two left/right arms and/or legs/feet on the evolution armor, to lacking stickers on the trailer pieces.