This is an arbitrary line but it is a line that needed to be drawn. There have been many promotional sets over the years which have very few pieces but carry a higher price because of their promotional status. These can range from keychains to individual minifigs to seasonal items. They are not representative of the typical price of a LEGO brick and therefore should not be included in the evaluation.
In the third nexus, Optimus oversaw Ironhide testing Sparkplug's latest invention, the Sun-Pak, a miraculous device capable of fuelling a Transformer for an entire Earth day after being charged for only an hour in sunlight. As the trial-run wound down to an end, the Decepticons suddenly burst into the Autobots' secret underground testing facility, forcing Optimus to decide whether to order a tactical retreat, or have his Autobots fight the intruders despite his troops' low energy reserves. If he chose to stand and fight, he had the additional choice to either make the Autobots concentrate on Starscream, who is leading the charge against the Autobots, or divide his troops' attention onto all of the Decepticon assailants. If Optimus chose to attempt to eliminate Starscream once and for all, the Decepticon Seeker would beg for mercy, forcing Optimus into a choice yet again: accept the snivelling Decepticon's surrender, or continue his attempt to end Starscream's evil once and for all. Accepting Starscream's surrender spells victory for the Autobots, whereas ignoring Starscream pleas ultimately leads to Sparkplug being kidnapped by the Decepticons, necessitating Optimus to send Buster, Blaster and Bumblebee on a perilous retrieval mission while the other Autobots recharge at the Autobots' home base.
The paint deco is... unfocused, to say the least. In vehicle mode, the grill, headlights, bumps (thus his feet) are painted silver, yet the red in the small Autobot insignia has been removed. There is silver paint on the fuel tanks (toy battery cover), but not on the other tool boxes and equipment in the same location. There is also silver paint on all 6 wheel rims, the air cleaners and the windscreen visor. In robot mode the silver paint is mainly located on his thighs and crotch, though in order to save on costs, the dark blue and gold paint on his thighs and knee joints have been sacrificed.
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.

This mold was redecoed by Takara in 2000 as Car Robots Black Convoy. The following year, it was released by Hasbro as Black Convoy's 2001 Robots in Disguise franchise counterpart, Scourge, with retooled discs that lacked the Autobot insignia. Following this, the next use of the mold was planned to be Universe Toxitron, which ended up being canceled. The modified tooling was also used when Laser Prime was reissued by Takara in 2006 with a modified deco (see below), and for the e-Hobby exclusive Laser Ultra Magnus that accompanied the reissue's release. In 2015, Platinum Edition Year of the Goat Optimus Prime, another repaint version, comes with partially transparent plastic torso.
Now I'm 30, so I don't know exactly what transformer toys you grew up with, but I had a bunch of the "Beast Wars" toys. Which with my nostalgia glasses on seemed much more detailed in my memory than what these new Transformers toys look like they are advertising on their website. However searching for a picture of my Optimus Primal toy... it isn't quite as detailed as I remembered. So my point is that it is probably a bit of nostalgia making you think yours were so much better than what they have now.
The instructions neglect to mention that the entire roof of the cab is on a concealed hinge which greatly eases the difficulty of Prime's transformation. For whatever reason, the instructions treat the toy as if the hinge does not exist, going so far as to show Prime's head magically clipping through his chest to transform. The instructions also neglect to mention that his heel/bumper pieces must be slid out until they click, making the figure just that bit more stable, and that the rotating truck door panels on his upper arms can be pulled further out (but not off) from their sockets, allowing more space for the panels to swing around his hood-arms during transformation.
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.
For many, it may seems that the advent of licensed sets3 correlates with the perceived increase in prices. The 1990s and before were a nostalgic heyday of affordable LEGO sets. This is not quite true. Below is a chart that compares the price per piece of licensed sets and unlicensed sets starting in 1999. 1999 is the first year that LEGO had major licensed themes.
Hot Rod's tech specs list him as an Autobot Cavalier, while as Rodimus Prime, he is listed as an "Autobot Protector" - unlike Optimus Prime's, which directly states "Autobot Commander". A commercial for the toy hinted at his ascension, but pitted him against Cyclonus and Scourge instead of Galvatron, who was his chief adversary in the animated series.
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 1986 line featured another significant change in that many, if not the majority, of the toys were conceived as futuristic vehicles and bore little resemblance to present-day machinery. This was due to changes in the movie and television series, which leaped ahead twenty years to the year 2005. Many have speculated that this change might have been what signaled the beginning of the end for the Transformers, as part of the novelty of the first lines was the realistic vehicles that turned into robots.
A Walmart exclusive set featuring a redeco of the first Cyberverse Commander Optimus Prime figure, featuring moderately brighter colors and paint, while his jetpack and rifles are now black, with the jetpack's wings having silver flames. He also lacks the flame pattern on top of his hood, and features different flame patterns on the sides of the hood.
Optimus Prime was blasted into pieces by Dragon Megatron. Beast Wars Metals #5 Fortunately, his spark remained perfectly intact—in the remains of his Matrix-shaped spark chamber. Megatron was going to destroy Prime's spark, but Cheetor (now in his Transmetal body) saved it. Prime's spark was eventually swallowed by Optimus Primal, who was upgraded into Optimal Optimus by doing so.
For Universe, a redeco of the Armada Super-Con Optimus Prime in more Generation 1-inspired colors was released in a Sam's Club exclusive five-pack alongside Runamuck, Longrack, Buzzsaw, and Blurr. Optimus was the only toy in the set different from the original releases. He came with a translucent red version of the remolded style of Cyber Key previously included with this mold's release during the Cybertron line, featuring a Powerlinx port to activate his punching gimmick.
Mission Racer Optimus Prime features a pull-back gimmick by using a rubber band: insert the rubber band onto the front and rear post, then place Optimus Prime onto the ramp and pull his trailer backwards, and release the trailer for allowing the truck to zoom forward. The rubber band also has Optimus Prime's name and the Autobot insignia tampographed oh it.
Like the original figure, Powermaster Prime is composed of two major components: his truck cab, which transforms into Prime himself, and his trailer, which is essentially a heavily-armed version of the original. The trailer has a fold-down ramp to allow the storage of a smaller Transformer, or perhaps spare accessories. The trailer transforms into a battle station armed with two long black rifles and two grey double-barreled cannons (featuring seating for Powermaster engine figures), all of which Optimus Prime can also wield in his fists.
He comes with a fully transforming and highly detailed trailer that opens up into his Combat Deck/repair bay, with a functioning repair drone and Roller, who features four-wheel steering. His other accessories include a teeeny Matrix inside his chest compartment, his ion blaster (with adjustable grip), his energy axe, Sideswipe's jet pack, and several different hands, all of which can be stored in individual compartments within the trailer.
A Bic Camera and Joshin Kids' Land exclusive, this redeco is the first release of the Prime: First Edition Deluxe class Optimus Prime figure in Japan, featuring a slightly lighter hue of red (the stock photography provided by TakaraTomy, showed Orion Pax's red plastic features more pink than its original toy, this seems to have been a trick of the lighting or a photoshop), and greyish blue plastic. He features several customer-applied foil stickers, including Decepticon insignias of varying sizes. He comes with a gold vac-metal version of the Arms Micron, R.A., as well as the normal blaster-cannon.

On another plane of existence, Optimus travelled the path to the Matrix, guided by the voice of his old mentor Alpha Trion. The path led him to Grimlock, who had also been killed by Megatron; Prime rescued Grimlock from Kremzeek, the demonic eater of souls. At the gateway to the great beyond, they encountered Bludgeon, who announced that only those who bore the "key to Vector Stigmata" may pass through. Prime realized that the wounds on his body form the key, but the angel insisted that these would grant Prime access. Prime took Grimlock's sword and bestowed the key on Grimlock, allowing the former Autobot King to ascend into the Matrix while Prime stayed behind. Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #12
In Transformers vs. G.I. Joe comics, Bumblebee is offed as well. His ship is damaged during a space chase with Starscream, so he lands on Earth where G.I. Joe and Cobra are going at each other (as per usual). But his fatal mistake was helping G.I. Joe favorite Snake Eyes, who was trying to take on Starscream. In the process, Bumblebee got in the Joe-Cobra crossfire and was ripped apart by missiles. This wasn’t a true death, however. First, Starscream took Bee’s head to Megatron, who wore it on a necklace (yes, really), but eventually the head got back to the Autobots, who planted it back on his repaired body and he came back to life.
Following the awakening of the Transformers on Earth, the Autobots protected the planet from the Decepticons. Over the next fifteen years, the Autobots befriended the humans, particularly the Witwicky family. The Autobots finally allied with humankind and eventually defeated the Decepticons at the turn of the century. They planned to return to Cybertron aboard the newly constructed Ark II, along with seven humans, including Witwicky patriarch Sparkplug. Prime Directive #1 Before the ship departed, Prime gave a piece of the Matrix to Spike Witwicky, Sparkplug's son and Bumblebee's closest human friend. Prime Directive #2 But the ship was destroyed as part of a military conspiracy to take control of the Transformers.
Universe Optimus Prime is a redeco of the Robots in Disguise Scourge Spy Changer toy. He replaces most of the black plastic with predominantly red and blue, with silver for detailing, with an overall deco making him resemble the original Optimus Prime. Like most Spychangers, he features high speed axles and can roll very well across smooth surfaces, but lacks the weight to propel him quickly.

Optimus was checking up on the Autobots' ongoing energy collecting campaign when Wheeljack informed him that a disturbance in Sector 33HM of space-time would eventually cause major problems in its time-stream. Optimus assigned the investigation of this disturbance to Bumblebee, then noted that Hot Rodimus had not completed his latest report, communications with the young Autobo having been lost while he was on his own mission. With a brief inspirational speech, he urged his subordinates to redouble their efforts in maintaining harmony throughout reality. Little did Optimus suspect that in his own universe, Megatron was planning a coup against the Autobots... Uprising


Released in the first wave of the Authentics toyline, "Autobot Optimus Prime" is a new mold the size of a 2015 Robots in Disguise Battle Pack toy. He changes from an evergreen-inspired robot into a more G1-based truck in just four steps. His instructions are incorrect; for truck mode, his legs must be folded in before the arms, otherwise the locking tabs on the arms will get in the way. Due to his transformation, he ends up with no elbows and a fake chest. He also has problems standing up due to hollow legs.
The second Nightwatch Optimus Prime was released as part of the "AllSpark Power" second half of the Movie line. He is similar to the UK version of Nightwatch Prime, replacing most of his red and blue with different shades of blue and black, retaining his resemblance to Diaclone Powered Convoy in most respects. However, the subdued black and copper on the first Nightwatch Prime have been replaced with gold and a very bright blue, to signify the All Spark energy affecting the Transformers.

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If Optimus ordered his troops to come to the humans’ aid, they found themselves taking part in a struggle in futility, as the entire town was near-weightless, meaning they couldn’t put the humans anywhere where they wouldn’t float away once more. Then, the Autobots heard Decepticons approaching. Helpless in their current position, the Autobots were quickly eradicated by the Decepticons.
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