The second known version  ditched the triplechanging gimmick on the cab and simplified things a good bit. This Powermaster Prime has several distinct characteristics only seen in the second design, such as the wider "block head" and two faux smokestacks on top of either shoulder as opposed to one. Also, in a rather odd twist, this design features a black head and fists for both super and regular modes rather than the traditional blue. It also had yellow eyes in either mode a la the original Optimus Prime.
Somewhere along the line, G.I. Joe picked up the familiar storyline that we all best associate with the toys: G.I. Joe Team vs. the Evil Cobra Organization. A classic tale of good vs. evil. Well guess what. Somewhere else along the line the franchise picked up a very different storyline and a new look to boot, highlighted by the newest figurine: The DARK NINJA MASTER.
At BotCon 2005, Hideaki Yoke revealed that Optimus Prime (or more accurately, Diaclone Battle Convoy) was not designed by a single person, but rather a team of Takara designers as the one who was originally assigned the job had fallen behind. It is said that a young Shoji Kawamori was also a member of this team at some point, who would design THS-02 Convoy over 20 years later. The patent for the toy, however, lists Hiroyuki Obara as the designer.
This TakaraTomy Asian market-exclusive Leader Class two-pack consists of a redecoed Jetfire and a slightly altered Buster Optimus Prime. Buster Optimus Prime is almost identical to the single-pack Japanese release of the toy, but unlike the standalone Buster Prime, has a head with a faceplate, itself containing more paint details than the first release of Revenge of the Fallen Leader-class Optimus Prime. The flames are outlined with light blue instead of white for accuracy to the physical truck prop (though it ends up being inaccurate in robot mode). Jetfire has a subtle, more movie-accurate colour scheme.
Prime's new trailer is essentially a heavily armed version of the original, with two double-barreled heavy laser cannons mounted on two arms with visible fists. The rear has a fold-down ramp to allow the storage of a smaller transformer, or perhaps spare accessories. The trailer can be transformed into a Powermaster battlestation that can allow other Powermaster engine figures to man the heavy laser cannons.
Smallest Transforming Prime was redecoed the following year for the second wave of the line, into a color scheme based on his Generation 1 cartoon appearance featuring brighter reds and blues, white thighs, yellow details on his bumper, and blue eyes and windows. This version of the figure was made available for a second time in the next wave ("Wave 2.5"), with a new anime-decorated version of the Combat Deck now available as a rare "chase" figure.
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
(As an odd postscript to this tale of footwear-induced madness, although the promo pictures all showed the shoeformer as a white and navy blue sneaker that transforms into a white and aqua blue robot, the product actually released sported much darker colors for all the robot-mode parts, with a deep teal instead of aqua, and almost all the white replaced by an icky tan/cream/grey color, including the head. Basically, the figure looks like the promo picture viewed through really dark sunglasses. Although this certainly doesn't make it look any more like Prime, you might argue that it looks a little less like Magnus. Sorta. Maybe. Not really.)
The Transformers Animated series was broadcast internationally in 2008 except in Japan, where it aired in 2010. This new series uses a very different art-style from the previous series. The Autobots and Decepticons, while fighting in space for possession of the Allspark, crash-landed onto a futuristic Earth and resume their battle after laying dormant for years. In addition to the Decepticons, the Autobots have to face the human villains as well. Classic characters such as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Prowl, Starscream, Megatron, Jazz and Ultra Magnus appear in this series.
The TakaraTomy version, part of the first wave of Movie Advanced Series toys, is dubbed "Classic Optimus Prime", and opts for a deco closer to Prime's previous on-screen appearances, omitting the blue paint on his feet and hands to reveal the gray plastic underneath, and adding new paint details all over. Instead of painting it in clear light blue, his light-piping eyes is neutered with opaque light blue paint. In terms of quality control, at least one sample has missing it's silver paint on the head's left cheek.
In addition to the small engine-pistol of his Alternators figure, Prime comes with the "Surfblade", a pink surfboard that can be reconfigured into either two small knives or a large double-bladed sword. As with all the Kiss Players figures, Prime also comes with a PVC figurine of a cute girl: in this case, Marissa Faireborn, who can perch upon his shoulder or sit in his driver's seat, and comes with two pairs of interchangeable arms and legs. Additionally, the set includes a CD featuring the first five episodes of the Kiss Players radio drama, as well as the exclusive bonus audio adventure, "Someday, Under the Sun."
The "Unicron Trilogy" version of Optimus Prime is a fictional character of this branch of Transformers lore. Appearing in Transformers: Armada, Transformers: Energon and Transformers: Cybertron (known as the aforementioned trilogy), Optimus is the leader of the heroic Autobots. He often converted to his super combat mode. In all three series, Optimus' English voice actor is Garry Chalk, who previously voiced Optimus Primal in Beast Wars and Beast Machines.
In time-honored tradition, Prime's instructions depict the toy with an alternate "pretooled" head – in this case, a version with the faceplate deployed, used on the Platinum Edition and "Rusty" releases of the figure (see below). Additionally, his packaging stock photography depicts him with extra white/silver paint details, especially on his chest and wheel rims, as well as having gray upper arms with red details, among other differences.
Omron's keychains were not limited to soft plastic, with die-cast versions of the same characters from the Mascot Keychain line being made available in their Transformers Strap range. This Prime is pretty much identical to the Die Cast Figure version of the character, just a little smaller—about 2.5" in height—and with the addition of a keychain with a wrist-strap.
Early in this new series of encounters with Megatron, Red Alert contacted the Autobots on Earth and asked for Optimus Prime to join then on Velocitron. Ransack and Crumplezone tricked Hot Shot and Dirt Boss into believing that a race between them would determine which of them would be allowed to race Override for the Planet Cup. During the race, Ransack and Crumplezone caused a rockslide that buried Hot Shot. Hot Shot was saved when Optimus Prime, Vector Prime, and Landmine arrived, but Optimus was upset that Hot Shot had become involved with the locals. Clocker and Brakedown were eager to help the Autobots. After being unable to obtain the Planet Cup from Override herself, Optimus Prime endorsed Hot Shot's plan to win the cup in a race with the aide of the other Autobots. Ransack and Crumplezone were contacted by Megatron and were told to keep on eye on things. They also decided to enter the race, either to win the cup and cause as much damage as they could to the other racers. Override, Dirt Boss, Ransack, Crumplezone, Optimus Prime, Hot Shot, Red Alert, Landmine, Clocker and Brakedown participated in the qualification round. In the final episode of Transformers: Cybertron, Optimus Prime proposed a new Space Bridge project using the power of the four Cyber Planet Keys and the four great Cybertronian ships. Many Autobots and former Decepticons joined in the project. Jetfire was left in charge of Cybertron as Optimus Prime led the Atlantis with the Earth Cyber Planet Key, joined by Red Alert, Safeguard, Scattorshot, Leobreaker, Menasor, and Heavy Load.
The Premium Series Optimus Prime is both a retool and a redeco of the Leader Class Optimus Prime toy. The major selling point is a more movie-accurate head sculpt with longer ears and detailing based on the final CG head design, and a flip-out energy sword to replace the ion blaster that was included with previous versions of the toy. This energy sword is detachable and attaches where the Ion Blaster did, compatible with non-premium Optimus Prime Leader-class-based releases. Because his ears are much longer, the truck roof panel that hides his head now has two holes cut into so the head can fit inside the cabin.
The mold suffers from a minor design oversight, wherein the rear Nissan badge collides with his left leg strut when the left foot is hinged over and pegged into a clear plastic socket during transformation, with the results being that the connection is slightly crooked, isn't very secure, and sometimes pops off, and that the crooked pegging often causes the socket to crack.
Exclusive to Walmart, this Deluxe Class Optimus Prime is an all-new mold, close in scale to Voyager Class Megatron. He has a high range of motion, with ball jointed shoulders and hips, swivels at the neck, knees, and feet, and double swivels in the elbows. As a result of the transformation process, he can also rotate at the waist, though this is hindered considerably by his "backpack" kibble. This can be remedied by pointing the truck nose downward, as it is in the packaging. Optimus Prime also features the spring loaded "Automorph" feature in his head, if the truck kibble pushes the small grey switch from his back before splitting the chest into half.
This occurs in a Japanese toy line, animated series, and mobile video game called Q-Transformers. Specifically, the video game is called Q-Transformers: Mystery of Convoy Returns. Both Bumblebee and Optimus Prime are able to switch between their Generation 1 and movie modes in the series and game-- specifically Q-Transformers: Mystery of Convoy Returns. Strangely, though, when he’s in Generation 1 mode, he’s not a Volkswagen but another small, quirky car: a Daihatsu Copen. The show is pretty meta, with the characters being aware that they’re toys and they even talk about the Mystery of Convoy video game that they’re in.
When Sideswipe was accused and convicted of destroying the Nova Suspension Bridge, Optimus was infuriated that one of his own Autobots could commit such a heinous act. Optimus was tasked to hunt down and deactivate Sideswipe, though the task proved to be easy as Sideswipe did not run, hide or resist. After Optimus had deactivated Sideswipe, he was approached by Prowl, who pointed out that Sideswipe's actions made little sense, as he had committed the crime in broad daylight before many witnesses. Agreeing that the Decepticons might be behind the situation, Optimus allowed Prowl to take a team of Autobots to Carob Island to clear Sideswipe's name while Optimus and Jazz stayed behind to continue working on human/Autobot relations. Prowl returned with evidence that it was indeed a Decepticon-controlled clone of Sideswipe that had committed the crime. Optimus then presumably reactivated Sideswipe when his name was cleared. Deadly Paradise
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.
Released as part of TakaraTomy's Transformers Movie The Best toyline to conclude the 10th anniversary of the live-action film series, this Optimus Prime is an extensive redeco of his Evasion mode toy. He also uses the faceplated head and the dark gray-colored Ion Cannon used for the Evolution 2-pack/Platinum Edition 5-pack release. While his deco had taken cues from both the TakaraTomy release of Evasion Mode Optimus Prime and the Platinum Edition Breakout Battle figure, the weathering pattern bears a similar resemblance to his rusty version of the figure. Unfortunately, this release suffers from heavy mold degradation, particularly in the form of ill-fitting tabs around the truck front/shoulder area.
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.
Optimus Prime is the Autobot leader on Transtech Cybertron. On Transtech Cybertron, Optimus Prime is a gifted politician who has forged an alliance with Megatron, the militaristic leader of the Decepticons. together, they helped bring forth a golden age on Cybertron. Transtech Cybertron is unique among Cybertrons of alternate universes in that war has not broken out between factions.
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.
Hot Rodimus also appeared in the Japanese exclusive Kiss Players storyline. In the alternate timeline of Kiss Players, Hot Rodimus has given up the Matrix to Ultra Magnus after his actions in hurling Galvatron out of Unicron's body resulted in the Decepticon leader crashing into and devastating Tokyo, rather than landing on Thrull, as seen in the original continuity. He subsequently came to Earth to try to repair relations with the humans, but was instead attacked and nearly killed by a Legion Creature, a hybrid created from Galvatron's Unicron-corrupted cells fusing with local creatures. He was saved by a kiss from the human Li Shao-Shao and reformatted into a body resembling a Ford GT. He went on to battle the Earth Defense Command (an anti-Transformer organization), the Legion - and Optimus Prime himself. Prime had been resurrected in a Kiss Player body, but Hot Rodimus, believing his commander to be dead, thought it was a trick.
After many battles on Earth, Optimus died by standing purposefully in the path of the Hydra-Cannon built by Megatron from the three Mini-Con weapons, the Star Saber, the Skyboom Shield, and the Requiem Blaster. He managed to partially reflect the beam, damaging the Hydra-Cannon. It was the Mini-Cons themselves, however, who resurrected him, entering the Matrix and reconstructing a new body for him. Subsequently, Unicron forced Optimus to face the dark part of his soul and that, on some level, he enjoyed the thrill of combat. Following Unicron's defeat, Optimus's denial was sorely tested as Galvatron, an upgraded Megatron, forced him into one final furious battle. The battle ended when Starscream sacrificed himself to end the circle of hate that powered Unicron. Floating through space, Optimus found the Matrix, but said he did not deserve it. Before beginning the battle with Galvatron, he was upgraded by the minicons. His red torso turned black and he was able to battle Galvatron one on one.
Alerted by Bumblebee of Megatron's latest plan, Optimus Prime led the mission on Wheeljack's ship to foil them. He sent Bumblebee on an underwater scouting mission, and took part in a pitched battle that ended in the Decepticon's being defeated. Search for Treasure Under the Sea When Rumble dropped rocks on the Autobots, Optimus used Roller to eliminate most of them. Unfortunately he was forced to surrender when he saw the other Autobots had been captured by the Decepticons, and was placed in a special Autobot prison. Luckily Bumblebee remained free, and after he'd rescued the others, Optimus wrapped Megatron up with an iron bar. Bumblebee to the Rescue!
Optimus Prime appears as leader of the Autobot forces in the Transformers: Timelines story "Shattered Glass" by Fun Publications. When Cliffjumper, the Generation 1 character from a parallel universe, is seemingly discovered alive, Optimus welcomes his old friend back to the Autobot fold. After learning that Clffjumper is not the evil Autobot he remembers, he shoots Cliffjumper and leaves him to fend for himself in the Rad Zone. Optimus plans to launch his new warship, the Ark, to conquer Earth, but Cliffjumper aids Megatron's heroic Decepticon forces in a successful attack on the Ark's launch platform.
Rodimus can be unlocked by beating "Dam 6" in Arena Mode, credited as Hot Shot. Rodimus is described as being young, impetuous, showing enthusiasm and confidence which borders on arrogance. He boldly claims that he has both skill and looks, though he is not too keen being paired with Kup on missions. Somehow, he became corrupted by Dark Energon. If the player manages to defeat him, he calms down, shrugging off the effects of the Dark Energon and returning to his regular self.
Hero Optimus Prime was the first new-mold Optimus Prime toy created for the Generation 2 line. He transforms into a Kenworth truck of unknown model which defies Optimus convention by being one continuous unit, rather than the traditional cab-and-trailer combo. Decals form the windows of a faux truck face to represent his chest, featuring both his name and what appears to be a life support readout coming alive towards the end. In addition to a small gun, he is armed with a large missile launcher, which can fire a rubber-tipped rocket by means of a bellows which you slam your fist down on to produce a puff of air. The launcher is accessible in both modes, ending up mounted on his right forearm in robot mode; the bellows is attached via a rubber hose and cannot be disconnected, but stores on the figures's back when not in use, as do the rockets. A similar air-launching system with identical missiles was used by the simultaneously-released Hero Megatron, and by Laser Optimus Prime the following year (see below).
This exclusive redeco of Optimus Prime features darker shades of red and blue than his other releases and has extensive paint applications to resemble his on-screen appearances in The Last Knight, particularly his Nemesis Prime alter ego seen in the film. To that end, he features movie-accurate flame patterns, which are larger and more elaborate then the ones on the regular release or the SDCC exclusive, on his vehicle mode exterior and robot pectoral armor. His eyes and sword are also painted metallic purple, but his shield is completely unpainted for some reason.
While stock photos and renders show the figure with a faceplate, this image posted by the Transformers Facebook page shows him with his mouth exposed. This was later found as a variant at least once. A running change was made, changing the blades to be more translucent. The semi-translucent blades release features a date code "73461", whereas the translucent orange blades version features a date code written as "80171".
"Vibrant Red" Alternity Convoy is a redeco of the "Ultimate Silver" figure in the much more traditional red and blue Prime color scheme, representing the Optimus Prime of universal stream Primax 109.0 Beta. The figure was available simultaneously with the Ultimate Silver version, sharing the same packaging and pack-in materials, save for the color of the illustration on the front of the box, and a sticker that identified the figure within.
The largest 2007 Transformers movie Optimus Prime toy, Leader Class Optimus Prime featured, at the time, the most accurate representation of the CGI designs' complex transformation sequence. He transforms into a heavily-customized Peterbilt 379 conventional extended-hood, and unusually for a mainline figure, he has rubber tires on all his wheels. His Ion blaster weapon is stored in the rear of the truck's bunk, exposed like an engine block. Though Optimus has no trailer, he has a hole where the fifth wheel hitch is sculpted in the rear of the truck, should owners find a suitable trailer to use. Due to safety reasons, the tips of his long smokestacks are made of rubber. A switch on top of the cab roof activates horn sounds and window lights.
The key sports a tampographed Autobot insignia, a red border, and the Key Code "D56B" tampographed on the back. This code, when entered on Hasbro's website, was supposed to unlock additional information on the character or the toy, but due to an error on behalf of Hasbro, it unlocked information intended for Optimus Prime's wave-mate, the aforementioned Deluxe Class Demolishor; Optimus Prime's information was instead unlocked using the code "dt67", which was tampographed on the back of the Cyber Key included with said Demolishor toy.
This redeco of the Dark of the Moon Voyager Class Optimus Prime figure features a really unusual deco pattern consisting of red transparent tires, the vehicle front grill and fuel tanks (the fenders remained opaque red due to unpaintable plastic). Some of his parts like the vehicle front hood and the truck roof features a pattern similar to the ones used for the Tech Specs in the Generation 1 toys. He features a new sword and shield accessory, which can be used to decode the patterns.
If Perceptor gave out the right amount of an antidote, the poisoned Autobots were cured. Optimus ordered his troops to ready themselves for the incoming squadron of Decepticons. Perceptor’s antidote did have a side-effect on the Autobots, however; it gave them a fierce battle-fever, making them eager to take on the Decepticons head-on. Prowl suggested to Optimus that they instead opt for a more conniving counterstrike against the Decepticons, and ambush them instead.
Q-Transformers Optimus Prime is a super deformed toy based on his Age of Extinction design, transforming into a cute little Western Star 4900 SB. It was sold as an exclusive at Transformers Expo months before the proper release of the toyline. Being only one inch and a half tall, this is actually the smallest transformable figure of movie-verse Optimus Prime, and it even gets close to being the tiniest transformable Optimus Prime ever made if it wasn't for another slightly smaller Q-Transformers release.
The Autobots gained a human ally in their quest when they befriended Doctor Osamu Kihara of the Governmental Special Diplomatic Agency, who provided more assistance than they could have imagined when his son, Akira, was discovered to be a "Booster", one of many legendary beings born with the ability to control and detect the energies of the Energon Cube. Alas, the Decepticons had followed Prime's Autobots to Earth, and Megatron sought the boy's powers for his own. To protect Optimus Prime and himself, Akira unleashed the full extent of his powers, driving Megatron back, but causing his body to burn out and disintegrate. Prime was wracked with guilt over what had occurred, and it would haunt him afterward. Time of Resurrection
Came with the Mini-Con Sparkplug. Could combine with Armada Jetfire (and its repaints) and/or Armada Overload (and its repaints). The trailer could convert into a base for Mini-Cons. In Japan a gold chrome edition of this toy was released as a Lucky Draw special. With its trailer the vehicle mode of this toy bears a great resemblance to G1 Star Convoy. According to the Armada video game Armada Optimus Prime is supposed to be 22 feet 10 inches tall (696 cm tall) and the toy is 17.5 cm tall. So that's a scale of 1:40.
This straight reissue of the original Optimus Prime figure was released in Hasbro's European markets in the early 1990s, at the same time as many other Generation 1 figures were being re-released as "Classics". Oddly, although he shares their golden packaging, Prime is not actually identified as a "Classics" figure anywhere on his box, but is generally considered to be part of the sub-line for simplicity's sake.