In the Japanese exclusive Transformers: The Headmasters storyline (which replaced the "Rebirth" finale in Japanese continuity), Hot Rod appeared as part of Optimus Prime's inner circle. When Galvatron and his Headmaster warriors launched a devastating attack on Cybertron, Vector Sigma was damaged, and Hot Rod was sent to Earth to retrieve the Matrix. Recovering it, he returned it to Prime, only to be surprised when the ghost of Alpha Trion once again reformatted him into Rodimus Prime to help Optimus. After Prime's second death, Rodimus once again took command of the Autobots. However, when Scorponok destroyed Vector Sigma, Rodimus decided to leave the war, and left Fortress Maximus in command of the Autobots.
Star Convoy was reissued by Takara in 2005, with some notable alterations to his deco: his white plastic was replaced with metallic silver, and the yellow star on his chest was chromed golden. Star Convoy himself retained some of his original decals but most notably his "simulated head lights" and "wind shield panels" were stamp graphed on him, similarly, Hot Rod's were replaced with the same stamp graphing applications. Additionally, where the original toy had been packaged in robot mode in a tall box decorated with the standard Japanese package art of the time, the reissue was packaged in vehicle mode, in a long, wide box more reminiscent of the original Generation 1 toys.
Released as part of the "W Convoy" campaign ("Double" Convoy, that is!) alongside a silver chrome version of Energon Rodimus, this gold chrome "Mēki" ("plating") version of the Deluxe size Optimus Prime toy was available only as a prize in a mail-in Robot Points contest. Initially limited to 20 units in the original draw, it appears that many more were made available through toy store drawings, given how many went on to appear on online auction sites through 2005 and 2006.

Rodimus was seen in the season 3 "Transwarped" special, leading his team in defending a Space Bridge from Strika's "Team Chaar". His team was overwhelmed, and Rodimus is infected with Cosmic Rust, courtesy of Oil Slick, putting him out of commission. According to Derrick J. Wyatt, Rodimus is back on Cybertron de-rusting. He can later be seen on Cybertron cheering for Optimus Prime and his crew for defeating the Decepticons in "Endgame, Part II".
This Asian-exclusive redeco of AM-01 Optimus Prime features a sticker-less, extensive paint-job, coating his red parts and half-translucent arms in glossy metallic paint, painting his torso, shins, grille, fenders, and wheel rims silver, painting half of his feet in glossy black, having painted headlights, and featuring a unique "snake" insignia on his roof/right shoulder-pad, due to 2013 being the "Year of the Snake". O.P comes pre-assembled, lacks stickers, and features paint operations.

As Megatron explained that the Matrix was giving them a vision of the future, they witnessed themselves battling on Sherman Dam. The nature of their surroundings established, Megatron resumed the scheduled beating, but a series of setting shifts ended with Optimus reunited with Grimlock. Grimlock handed Prime a sword and suggested he finish Megatron for good. The War Within #5 Optimus found Megatron again, engaging him in combat and announcing that he was playing the game by Megatron's rules now—without mercy. Though he did not slay Megatron, he inflicted enough damage onto him to expunge from his memory the visions the Matrix had granted him. A short time later, Optimus joined the other Autobots in attacking the Decepticons who were trying to use Cybertron's planetary engines. Grimlock was finally impressed with Prime. Thanks to the combined efforts of Optimus and Grimlock's squad, the Decepticons were driven away and the engines were destroyed before they could tear the planet apart. Afterwards, Optimus's group arrived back at Iacon to find it destroyed. Optimus announced the Autobots were no longer evacuating the planet and threw away the Golden Disk full of the knowledge of his predecessors which the council had given him, saying he would choose his own course. The War Within #6

After the events of Transformers Animated the Stunticons set up a Stunt Convoy show in the city of Kaon and use it as cover to attempt to break Megatron out of his detention at Trypticon. Their attempts are thwarted thanks to the efforts of Cheetor, Optimus Prime, and Sideswipe. The Stunticons are placed in detention with Megatron and an attempt to rescue them was made by the Decepticons Blot, Mindwipe, Oil Slick, Scalpel, Sky-Byte, and Strika.[143]


I mean you could argue that they are returning to the way the original Transformer toys worked. Here is an example of the OG Optimus toy. I went to Hasbro's website to see what the most current version of Optimus is that they are selling and I found this. That actually looks surprisingly similar, though I would argue they have gone more of the direction of making the robot look more robotic and the truck a little less truck like but its still a solid middle ground.
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.
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.

This toy's design has directly and indirectly influenced numerous others over the years, including many future versions of Generation One Optimus Prime himself as well as new interpretations of the character for Armada, the live-action movie, and Transformers Animated. Redecos of those toys have in turn spread the toy's iconic look to several other characters and many of their subsequent toys: Ultra Magnus, Scourge, and the various Nemesis Primes. Additionally, a toy that was originally intended to be the original Optimus Prime was eventually retconned to be the new character Optimus Primal, bringing Prime's appearance over to that character (and eventually Primal Prime as well.) In Japan, this began a tradition of Beast Era Convoys emulating Prime's look, spawning still more toys that trace part of their lineage back to this one.
Based on his appearance in War for Cybertron, Generations Optimus Prime transforms from a red, blue, and silver robot into an "armored truck mode." He comes with a hand-held rifle that is held via either of its two 5mm posts, and can fold up to store in either mode. He features additional 5mm ports on his forearms, roof, and front-wheel panels. Optimus has a stylized sculpted Autobot insignia on his back, as seen in the game, but it is obscured by kibble.
Oh, also, I should add that I would like to see if this trend is the same for specific themes, or just over all themes. Although I would guess that the individual themes would show the same general trend you discuss here, one reason individuals might believe in the “price increase fallacy” might be because of the individual themes they support. But again, I think that if you do this, you will find the themes fit the trend as well. If you are looking to go into the numbers more, this might be an interesting area to investigate.
A mold for a standard LEGO piece costs anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000; over its lifetime, it will spit out some sixty million bricks. The cost of making the mold, spread out over all those bricks, is essentially zero. But when designers concoct a specialized piece and LEGO manufactures just fifty thousand of them, the molding cost rises to as high as $1 per piece. Including just a few of these specialized pieces, as LEGO did with unrelenting frequency during the Plougmann era, can potentially kill a LEGO set’s profit potential.
A redeco of Deluxe Earth Mode Optimus Prime with the jet pack attachments and a smaller version of Ultra Magnus' Mass Hammer, as seen in the "Endgame" series finale. The Wingblade attachments are also compatible with Voyager Optimus Prime. The figure never saw a release in the U.S. market due to Hasbro's decision to cancel the toy line, but a variation of it was made available in Japan.[155]
Released as part of the Allspark Power refresh of the movie line, First Strike Optimus Prime is a extensive redeco of Voyager class Optimus Prime in a colour scheme based upon Generation One and Classics Optimus Prime. The included toy bio describes this coloring as Prime paying tribute to the markings he wore as a young soldier when the war began. Due to the transformation scheme, this figure actually ends up being less like its G1 counterpart in robot mode, a sacrifice made for the slavish redeco of the vehicle mode. You can't have your cake and eat it too, folks.
This figure was only available in a two-pack with a Voyager Class Grimlock figure. The two-pack was exclusively available at Target stores in the United States, Canada and Australia, at Tesco stores in the United Kingdom and Hungary and at Galeria Kaufhof department stores in Germany. In Asia, most of the remaining stock are available in some hobby shops and some video stores like Speedy Video.
Available exclusively from Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape in April 2012, "Convoy Reissue BAPE Ver. BLACK" (コンボイ復刻版 BAPE® Ver. BLACK) is a redeco of the original Optimus Prime toy sporting a unique new grey color scheme, along with a grey 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.
This figure was designed by Yūki Ōshima and produced by KT Figure Collection. The figure is actually a mini bust of Optimus Prime, which includes the head and the upper body without arms. The chest design comes with translucent blue windows and a grill on the midsection. There is also a button in the back. Pushing the button will open the chest and cause the Matrix to emerge, similar to the scene in The Transformers: The Movie.
When Starscream attacked a power plant with the aid of his brainwashed ally, Skyfire, Prime carried Grimlock to the scene of the battle on the back of his truck mode. The Enemy from the Arctic During the conflict that followed, Prime's suspicions about Wataru were confirmed when the boy manifested a barrier to protect himself and Bumblebee and to help Skyfire overcome the influence of Starscream's mind-controlling helmet. Wataru was a Booster as well! Wataru's Power His past experiences naturally made Prime hesitant to put Wataru's power to use, but Osamu Kihara made the point that Wataru's power was invaluable for hunting down shards of the Energon Cube. Prime and Wataru headed out to investigate a local relic that Kihara suspected was a cube shard, and Wataru's powers soon confirmed the doctor's findings. Just as Prime was about to report back to Kihara, however, Megatron struck, demanding that Prime hand over both the shard and Wataru. Prime attempted to feign ignorance of Wataru's powers, but Megatron ignored his bluff and encouraged him to hand the boy over, lest he cost another Booster their life. Driven into a rage by the stinging barb, Prime violently attacked Megatron with his energon-axe, but as the duel raged, Megatron continued to question Prime's beliefs and his attitude. Unable to deny Megatron's accusation that he had hoped to use Wataru's power to defeat him, Prime lost his concentration and was taken down by the Decepticon leader. Despite what he had learned about a previous Booster dying, Wataru stayed true to Optimus and activated his powers, healing the Autobot's wounds and powering up his energon-axe into a huge sword. Summoning all his energy, Prime took down Megatron with one almighty slash, then collapsed into stasis lock. Optimus Prime's Secret
At some point, Rodimus learned that the world known simply as Planet Q was under threat from the world-devourer, Unicron, but arrived too late to prevent its destruction. Years later, however, he encountered the planet's surviving ruler, Alpha Q, and sided with him in his plan to use Energon to regenerate and restore all the worlds consumed by Unicron – a plan that put him in opposition with Optimus Prime when they encountered each other once again. When Megatron succeeded in reactivating Unicron, however, Rodimus relented and submitted himself and his troops to Optimus Prime's command, and they were integrated into the main Autobot force as the battles continued to defend Alpha Q's successfully-regenerated worlds against the Decepticons.
With this reconstruction, Orion Pax became Optimus Prime, the first of the Autobot warriors. Optimus took the mantle of leadership as the civil war against the Decepticons erupted, and would remain in that position for the next nine million years. Ariel was rebuilt into Elita One, the commander of the Autobot resistance on Cybertron. The fate of Dion is left unrevealed. It has been speculated by fans that Dion might have become Ironhide or Ultra Magnus just as Orion and Ariel became Optimus and Elita, but this remains fan speculation only, and, his close friendship with Optimus notwithstanding, there is no evidence to support the idea.
Hot Rod then fought in the battle of Autobot City and saved the city for if he had not attacked Megatron, he would have destroyed it. Due to his attempted intervention in the epic battle between the Autobot leader, Optimus Prime and the Decepticon leader, Megatron, Prime was lethally injured. Before he died, the Matrix got passed on to the Autobot Ultra Magnus, whom he referred to as "old friend", despite protestations.
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