The price per minifigure has definitely gone up in the past 5 years. You used to be able to get 4 minifigs (along with some other stuff) at the $9.99 price point, now these are $12.99. And there are fewer minifigs in most $19.99, $29.99, etc. sets now. Lego Minifigures Series 1 was $1.99 each, subsequent series $2.99 each – I know it’s supply and demand, but it still feels kind of exploitative. I admit the cleverness of the builds keeps improving though.
The Japanese release of Powermaster Optimus Prime actually represented a new character named Ginrai, and featured several retools: the cab featured die-cast metal, shortened smokestacks, vacuum-metalized plastic and clear blue windows, while the trailer was given retractable super robot fists. This Japanese version was eventually issued by Hasbro in 2003 as part of the Commemorative Series collection (see below).
A younger version of Prime Optimus Prime is one of the playable Autobot characters in the 2010 video game Transformers: War for Cybertron. In the Autobot campaign, he starts off as Optimus, a warrior who rallies his fellow autobots against the Decepticons following the reported death of their leader Zeta Prime. He succeeds in defending the Autobots' home city of Iacon from Starscream and his forces. Optimus then receives a distress call from Zeta Prime. Knowing that this is most likely a trap set by Megatron, he proceeds anyway with a rescue mission. He lets himself, Bumblebee, and Sideswipe be captured by the Decepticons and is sent to a prison in Kaon, the decepticon capital, in an elaborate scheme to free Zeta Prime and all imprisoned Autobots. He frees all the other prisoners, and defeats Soundwave and his minions Frenzy, Rumble, and Laserbeak, but he is too late to save Zeta Prime. After taking Zeta Prime's body back to the Autobot high council, he is bestowed upon the well earned title of Prime.
Featuring a complex transformation, essentially the front and back ends of the truck fold and converge to become Optimus Prime's legs, as much of the truck rear is connected to the robot thighs via a series of folding panels. The rear wheel cowlings feature a hinge joint in the middle of them so they do not impede his knee articulation. The rear cabin of the cab, directly connected to the smokestacks, rotate and connect to his torso and unfold into his arms. As with most mainline Movie toys, Optimus Prime features Automorph gimmicks, and due to his pricepoint has three of them. Firstly, during initial transformation, rotating his front fenders to become his heels flips the top parts of the grill to become his toes. Secondly, sliding out the double-barrel cannon in his right forearm flips out his spring-loaded Ion Blaster, which lands into place for his right hand. (The Ion Blaster can actually be popped off his forearm fairly easily, held in place by a simple clip.) Optimus' final Automorph, located in his torso, is activated by flipping the silver lever on his stomach activating a series of spring-loaded actions where the truck windows are pushed apart, and the lever between them is raised, enabling the head to spring up from the chest cavity. At this point yellow LEDs light up the chest windows and Optimus Prime's eyes, accompanied by a "powering up" sound effect.
As part of the merchandising wave for the first Transformers film in 2007, Hasbro's Playskool line released a Transformers-themed version of Mr. Potato Head based on Optimus Prime. To keep with the potato theme, the toy was labeled "Optimash Prime" and the packaging included the slogan "More than meets the fry", a potato-oriented version of the Transformers slogan "More than meets the eye".
In Super Mode, Optimus Prime can combine with Leobreaker to form "Savage Claw Mode", which sees the feline Autobot become a gigantic clawed arm for his leader. Alternately, if Prime's backpack is removed, he can merge with Wing Saber into "Sonic Wing Mode", with the aerial ace forming a new winged backpack and chestplate for Optimus, and providing him with new hand-held sword weapons and firing missile launchers that connect to his Super Mode boots. The nature of the combination means that the two partners cannot combine with Prime at once—at least, not without physically removing one of Prime's own arms.
At some point, Optimus Prime disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and Ultra Magnus arrived from Cybertron to take his place as Autobot commander. Galvatron's Air Attack Prime eventually returned many centuries later, now sporting a Powermaster body, and rejoined the Transformers' war after it had moved from Earth to the alien planet of Nebulos.
In the Autobot Campaign, Optimus Prime provides intelligence and missions to Bumblebee in his search for the Allspark. Eventually, the clues lead the Autobot to Sam Witwicky. After saving Sam from Barricade, Bumblebee finally completes preparations for the Autobots to arrive on Earth. Once on Earth and having informed the two teenagers of their mission, Prime and the Autobots are discovered by Sector 7. Optimus sends Jazz on a high-speed destruction distraction mission, then sends Ironhide to rescue Jazz from a double-threat posed by the government agents and various Decepticon scouts. When Bumblebee is captured, Prime transforms and chases the chopper which from which the small Autobot is tied. After a lengthy chase, Prime manages to catch the net, only to be thrown off by another Cybertronian meteor. As Bumblebee is carried away, Optimus promises he will not fail him again. Jazz informs him that the meteor is not an Autobot. Prime confronts the new threat, who turns out to be the Decepticon triplechanger Shockwave. The two battle it out across Tranquility before Optimus finally destroys him. During the battle, Optimus overhears Starscream's transmission revealing the location of the Allspark. Optimus then returns to an intel role as he guides Bumblebee in his mission to retrieve the Allspark from Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, the Decepticons manage to free Megatron, leading to the final battle in Mission City. As the Autobots battle it out with the Decepticons to protect Sam and the Allspark, things seem to take a turn for the worse as Megatron finally arrives. Before he can claim the Allspark, Optimus attacks him. Optimus defeats Megatron and leaves him on the ground, seemingly devoid of life. However, just as Sam is giving the Allspark to Optimus, Megatron awakens, leaping at Optimus with his chain-flail out, making one last attempt at defeating his adversary. Optimus grabs the chain, pulling Megatron in closer, and, with the Allspark clutched in his fist, delivers a punch through Megatron's spark, killing him. Optimus reflects on the losses and rewards of this battle, as the Autobots have a new home, but many were killed in the battle. The story ends with Optimus and the Autobots choosing to remain in Earth, proclaiming it as their new home.
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.
In late 1993, Hasbro relaunched the Transformers franchise with the Generation 2 line, with production again largely being done by Takara. The subgroups concept was done away with for the first year, but there were no new molds or characters. Generation 2 re-used the molds for many of the characters from the 1984 and 1985 line, but with mostly different color schemes and finishes, as well as different weapons and accessories. Megatron's figure was released later on. As noted previously, Megatron's original alternate mode, or "transformation identity", was a handgun with attachments, but in Generation Two, this was changed to a tank due to safety and security concerns. Most of the 1994 figures were re-releases or recolors of European G1 releases.
A larger version of Prime, with Advanced Automorph technology and a more complex transformation procedure. Has two sets of electronic sounds and lights that activate when the head pops up or when you press a button on the roof (in truck mode), and a single projectile weapon that can swing over the toy's right hand. Unlike Megatron (whose head is fixed) and Brawl (whose head is connected with a ball joint), Prime's head is limited to side movement due to the circuitry on his LED eyes. This figure has a folding cannon and a firing missile. With this figure standing nine inches tall and Optimus being 28 feet (336 inches) tall, the toy is about 1/37 scale.
Sure enough, in 2009, when the Hytherion's colossal claw-marks appeared on planets throughout the solar system, Prime's other-dimensional incarnation returned, bringing with him a "Vibrant Red" Vector 109 auto-avatar with which Prime fused. In that instant, he was reborn as part of the Alternity, a manifold being who encompassed all the different incarnations of Optimus Prime through the multiverse at once. Prime reached his hands heavenward and peeled back the layers of reality, exposing the gargantuan fanged maw of the Hytherion looming above the Autobots. From Here to Alternity
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.
In "Endgame" 2-parter, Ratchet builds Optimus a jetpack attachment to help in the coming battle against the Decepticons. After some initial difficulty, Optimus is able to get the hang of the device, only to be shot down by Starscream's female clone, Slipstream. Though Ratchet urges Optimus to use the Magnus Hammer, he is reluctant to do so, given his past with Ultra Magnus. In the end, he wields the weapon as the Lugnut-controlled Omega Supreme clones land on Earth. During the fight, Optimus manages to master the Magus Hammer's power in order t overwhelms Megatron to the point of being acknowledged by name. After a devastating battle, the last remaining Omega clones self-destruct due to Starscream's intervention. With Prowl's sacrifice, the Allspark is rebuilt into one as it forms a barrier around the Omega clone, along with Optimus and Megatron. Prowl's spirit pulls Optimus from the bubble just as the clone self-destructs with Megatron still trapped inside. Prime laments Prowl's passing before defeating a heavily damaged Megatron and sparing him the deathblow, saying that Megatron does not deserve the "easy way out". He and his team return to Cybertron with Omega Supreme, the captured Decepticons, and Prowl's body and are greeted as the hero he had wished to be so long ago. The reconstructed Allspark, having a structure similar to the G1 incarnation of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, is hung around his neck.
In "Human Error" Parts 1 and 2, Soundwave captures the Autobots with the help of his minions, Laserbeak and Ratbat, in order to brainwash them. Part of Soundwave's elaborate scheme consists of tricking the Autobots into thinking they have turned human. Optimus Prime's human form is a male caucasian in his early 20s wearing a red jacket. Sari forms a group of "Substitute Autobots" which consists of Scrapper, Wreck-Gar, and Snarl, to rescue them. They free the Autobots from Soundwave's control and Optimus grabbes Laserbeak to engage in a guitar vs. keytar battle with Soundwave, who used Ratbat. Optimus smashes Soundwave and Ratbat into pieces using Laserbeak in guitar mode, but Laserbeak grabs Soundwave's surviving components and flees.
Unlike the stock photography, the actual toy doesn't feature a mouthplate. In October, : The two-pack was one of the three Evolution 2-packs available as a Toys"R"Us exclusive in Japan, with no changes on the figures with an exception of the packaging, which the front box features Japanese translated versions of the English text, and a sticker on the back confirming that this was a Japanese release. The robot mode stock photo lacks the gun nozzle/missile.
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.
Q-Transformers Optimus Prime is a tiny super deformed toy based on the Alternity Convoy design, transforming into a Nissan GT-R R35, though his legs retain the traditional blue truck bed motif. The English name on the packaging refers to him as just "Optimus". He comes with a code for unlocking "GTR Optimus Prime" as a playable character in the Q-Transformers: Mystery of Convoy Returns game. Standing at only slightly less than one inch and a half, this is actually the smallest transforming Optimus Prime ever made, which is a fairly impressive feat considering the surprising amount of detail in sculpt and paint apps.
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.
This highly accurate model kit of Optimus Prime is a Japanese exclusive. It is extremely possible, and comes with his two swords that can be mounted either on his fore-arm, or the hand can be removed and it placed in the wrist via ball joint. His appearance is based on his Dark of the Moon look, as it his "Abbs". The head can be made either with the face-plate on or the face-plate of which reveals a detailed face. Interestingly though, he doesn't come with any of the guns he uses in the films, though it is thought he can hold Buster Prime's gun.
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).
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.
Nonetheless, I remain a big fan of Lego and although I think they have somewhat moved away from their roots with the excess of licensed products (and the earlier licensed products were, in my opinion, not very good because they contained too many specialized non-generic pieces that weren’t useful for generic building. But that situation is improved and in particular we have found the Star Wars sets to be of most value for generic building, because they generally have very few really specialized pieces (although to be fair the sets are most useful for building other spaceships, etc).