One of the taglines of the Transformers universe is “more than meets the eye.” It’s meant to suggest, of course, that these robots are not just robots; they can turn into vehicles and boomboxes and dinosaurs. But some of the characters themselves tend to be more than meets the eye. In fact, they can become other Transformers. Megatron becomes Galvatron, Orion Pax becomes Optimus Prime, and Bumblebee becomes Goldbug.
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.
By the ‘90s, the genre had begun to fade, and boys' minds turned to more high-impact action, often centered around mutants, monsters, and karate. Hasbro saw potential in the embers of the Transformers brand, and turned it over to newly-acquired subsidiary Kenner for a jump-start. Kenner threw out all the old rules, and invented a line of Transformers that were more poseable, more feature-packed, and more exciting. Backed by a high-tech CGI cartoon, Beast Wars turned the brand around, making Transformers a bestseller again.
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.
The brand was yet to get its biggest revitalization, though. In 2007, Paramount Pictures released a high-budget live-action movie. Though many long-time fans resented the changes in style and story that the movie brought forth, it performed incredibly well at the box office and launched the brand into the public eye all over the world. Now, everyone recognized the concept of alien robots disguised as cars, and everyone associated the concept with the name: Transformers.
Exclusive to LDH Shop, this redeco of the Music Label Convoy toy is utterly ridiculous and was created as a promotion for the Japanese pop band EXILE. While Convoy himself has EXILE written on his right forearm, his trailer sports the "Love Dream Happiness" tagline of LDH Inc., as well as the "EXILE Perfect Year 2008" logo of the "EXILE Perfect Year 2008 Ultimate Best Box" boxset, which was released some months after he was.
The San Diego Comic-Con 2017 exclusive Optimus Prime figure is another redeco of the Premier Edition figure, which aims for a more movie accurate look than the original by still sharing the same paint masks, but replacing the chest's deco with flames and adding extra paint applications on the legs, arms, chest, head, tire rims, both sides of the engine compartment, and the sword and shield... but for some reason still sports the movie-inaccurate blue 'collar', as well as the smaller, less accurate vehicle flame tampographs instead of the more movie-accurate ones used on Dark Optimus Prime. His Autobot insignia is also moved on the upper back section of the air dam. He is packaged in a stylish, display-case-like-box similar to later Transformers: Alternators releases and the Hasbro Toy Shop/SDCC 2011 exclusive figure.
The box seems to have been created rather hastily from the Japanese original. It is roughly identical to the Tomy release, but with the Japanese text edited out... mostly. Random Japanese text remains floating in space on the top of the back panel and underneath the "Jetwing Optimus Prime" name on the front. Curiously, the left flap has been rewritten to eliminate mention of NEST and the jetpack's ability to detach, while the right flap has been (badly) edited to remove all mentions of MechTech.
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Based on the Classics toy line, the Timelines 2007 story is set 15 years after the end of the Marvel Comics story (ignoring all events of the Marvel UK and Generation 2 comics). According to exclusive bio information in the Transformers Collectors' Club magazine #15, Hot Rod followed Optimus Prime back to Cybertron from the Planet Klo. Once back, Hot Rod took up racing, but after a while found it pointless. Optimus Prime assigned to help organize the millions of Cybertronian refugees who returned to their home world. Hot Rod chaired the Cybertron Grand Challenge race, a race which featyred combined Autobot/Decepticon teams. With his maturing Hot Rod changed his name to Rodimus and was chosen to return with Optimus Prime to Earth to stop Megatron. Optimus Prime returned to Earth commanding Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Grimlock, Jetfire, Mirage and Rodimus. When the Cybertronians Skyfall and Landquake arrive on Earth unexpectedly, Megatron attempts to destroy them, but Optimus Prime and his Autobots are able to drive Megatron away. Rodimus is wounded on a mission with Optimus Prime, before being brought back to the Autobot base.
A Voyager class figure that transforms from semi-trailer truck to robot. Head features retractable face plate. The figure's main gimmick is a spring-loaded mechanism that spins the lower torso during transformation to robot mode. Trailer detaches and transforms into a giant Ion Axe or jet pack. Prime's gun can be filled with a small amount of water. Some variants of the figure come with the Autobot symbol printed on his left shoulder while others do not.