A standard brick with two rows of four studs delivers a profit to LEGO that is orders of magnitude greater than any specialized element, all because the brick is what LEGO calls a “universal” or “evergreen” element that can be used in so many different sets. A one-of-a-kind, specialized piece, however, generally works in just one or a few sets. Moreover, the cost of molding a standard brick is orders of magnitude cheaper than producing a specialized piece.
This mold was redecoed in 2000 as Car Robots Black Convoy, and slightly retooled as his US incarnation "Scourge". After Scourge, the next use of this mold was planned to be Toxitron, which ended up being canceled. The slightly retooled version of this mold was released in 2006 in Japan as reissue Battle Convoy, which was the name of this toy during the Japanese Generation 2. The reissue used the Robots in Disguise modified tooling, with a slightly modified deco using silver vacuum-metalized plastic on his chest and trailer sides along with additional paint applications and G2 symbols. The mold was also redecoed to create a new Generation 2 version of Ultra Magnus as an E-Hobby exclusive (unusual in that the character was killed in the course of Japan's Generation One fiction).
The TakaraTomy "Autobot Alliance" release of this toy has some significant differences, including casting the red plastic in a darker shade, making his shin and wheel joints grey rather than Hasbro's bronze, painting the Matrix of Leadership silver, and swapping out the dual energon swords for battle hooks, similar to 2010's Leader class Optimus Prime. However, due to the Japanese release retaining the Hasbro packaging, the box still advertises the dual energon swords rather than the hooks. He retains the masked face used for the Hasbro release.
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