Optimus Prime was one of only two Armada-theme figures in the otherwise Generation 1-centric Q-Robo Collection line of super deformed PVC figurines, the other being Armada Megatron. Like all the figures in the series, Prime featured articulation in the neck and shoulders, and was also available in a translucent colored plastic: as an Autobot, Optimus came in translucent red, but was also uniquely available in a golden metallic "pewter" variant as the wave's solitary rare chase figure. All Q-Robo figures were sold in sets of two, one full-color figure and one translucent one, blindpacked in a plastic capsule.
Standing only two-and-a-quarter inches tall, Smallest Transforming Transformers Optimus Prime was the smallest fully transforming G1 Optimus toy for a while, at least until the release of his chubby super-deformed Q-Transformers versions. He features an accurate transformation sequence based on the original full-sized toy, replacing the detachable hands with actual sculpted fists, and even including a tiny version of his laser rifle. Unsurprisingly, he also has little articulation and is only capable of moving his arms and legs.
After the Combiner Wars, Optimus watched the reconstruction efforts. Not wanting to overstay his welcome and preferring to leave Cybertron's leadership in its existing hands, he bid farewell to the Mistress of Flame and Windblade and departed for parts unknown. Aftermath and Rebirth On the way, he received a vision of future events from the Matrix and headed back towards Metroplex City. There, he met up with Megatron and told him of his vision, believing that the Combiner Wars and Trypticon's attack were signs of a greater threat, one that would lead to their ultimate destruction. Megatron laughed off his concerns, and the two parted ways. The Fight Begins
Released as part of the Allspark Power refresh of the movie line, First Strike Optimus Prime is an extensive redeco of Voyager class Optimus Prime in a colour scheme based upon Generation 1 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.
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.
The figure also features a hollow trailer (which also serves as his legs), fit for the Warrior Class-sized toys. The trailer can also be converted into a battle station. Because of the toy's design & transformation, he is kinda show-accurate. Optimus also features 5mm-compatible ports on his trailer, arms, shoulders, legs, knees, waist armor, and the pop-out Decepticon Hunters. He also includes many weapons, including his axe with a short handle. The included weapons can also be combined with the Decepticon Hunters into a dual-bladed weapon. All of his included weapons can be wield by any Warrior Class figures, although the accessories are associated with Bumblebee, Grimlock, Sideswipe, Strongarm, Jazz, & Drift.
The Transformers Energon figure pen is based on Optimus Prime in his standard Energon body. About the size of a scout class toy, he transforms from truck mode to robot mode almost identically to his mainline toys, apart from the fact that his feet contain the pen and cannot bend. It's really hard to write with, and almost impossible to pose, even though it has full arm articulation. Amusingly, this figure can position itself to transform into his super robot mode (by flipping his helmet on, opening his chest and flipping his hands in), but because there are no versions of the Prime Force drones in this scale, it's impossible to complete him.
Calibur Optimus Prime is a retool of the Armor Knight Optimus Prime figure, who is a retool of the original Age of Extinction Leader Class figure, with the fifth wheel hitch now forming his handheld shield based on the one used in Dark of the Moon, which results in a backpack-less robot mode. He also comes with an axe based on the one used in the third film.
The DOTM packaging release of this 2-pack features an altered paint application on Optimus Prime's ion blaster/barrage cannon. On the original ROTF packaging release, the slide-out barrel on Prime's blaster is painted silver with a black paint spray app to simulate usage of the weapon, and the exposed inside wall of the gas tank at the top of the blaster is left as unpainted grey plastic (exactly like the blaster on the original single-boxed ROTF Buster Optimus Prime). After receiving numerous reports from customers that the silver paint on the slide-out barrel was easily scraped off by merely transforming it from gas tank to blaster, Takara-Tomy briefly stated in an interview that they had addressed the issue for the Dark of the Moon packaged version by swapping the placement of the silver paint application. Thus, the Dark of the Moon packaged version now features the slide-out barrel on Prime's blaster as unpainted grey plastic with an unchanged black paint spray app to simulate usage of the weapon, and the exposed inside wall of the gas tank at the top of the blaster is now painted silver.
As he and Prowl discussed the wisdom of evacuating, a huge explosion obliterated the Forum of Enlightenment. Optimus led a team there, realising that the destruction was a message from Megatron. Leaving his team, he ventured underground, encountering Shrapnel, who blasted him into a pit. The War Within #2 Exploring the underground, Prime had a strange vision of a transparent version of himself, which warned that he had to grasp Cybertron's significance. Then he was attacked by Soundwave and the Insecticons, whom he was able to easily best by using the labyrinthine environment to his advantage. He then felt himself led to a confrontation against Megatron, and both faction leaders met atop of a bridge, overlooking a deep abyss. Starscream blasted the bridge Optimus and Megatron were standing on, plunging them into the chasm. The War Within #3 Recovering, Prime heard another disembodied voice telling him about Cybertron. Before he could look for a way out, Megatron found him, and informed him about the true nature of the Matrix, telling Optimus how it could be used to power Cybertron's planetary engines, transforming it into a space-faring war-world. This spurred Optimus to fight back, but before long, Megatron took control of the battle, smashing his fist into Prime's chest to get at the Matrix. A blaze of light enveloped the pair, who found themselves abruptly on 20th century Earth. The War Within #4
In 2003, Takara introduced the Masterpiece MP-01 Convoy/Optimus Prime. While retaining the original concept of a transforming semi-trailer truck, this die-cast figure incorporated modern toy manufacturing techniques for improved detail and articulation, while, at the same time, captured the look of the cartoon character. It has since been released by both Hasbro and Takara Tomy in different variations. In 2010, a version of the Masterpiece toy, called Masterpiece Convoy Sleep Mode, was released, painted in dark colors to match the appearance of Optimus Prime after his death in the 1986 film.
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.
The Diaclone Powered Convoy figure had several additional features and modes which were mostly excised or left unmentioned for the Transformers release of Ultra Magnus. Principally, Powered Convoy came packaged with "Powered Buggy", who was left out of Magnus's release (see notes below for further details). Omitted from Magnus's instructions is the ability of his chestplate and super robot head to combine to form a small vehicle; the Powered Convoy version of the figure included small rolling wheels on the underside of the chestplate which were removed for Ultra Magnus. Additionally, three additional modes were included in the Diaclone instructions that Hasbro left out: a "preparation base" mode and an "Autobot base" mode were excluded entirely, while the third, a "catapult launcher" mode originally intended and proportioned to accommodate the Diaclone Jet Robo figure that became Starscream, was shown only on the front of his packaging, interacting with Silverbolt. The Japanese release of Ultra Magnus—released as part of the Scramble City sub-line—did include instructions for the preparation base and catapult launcher modes, but replaced the original Autobot base mode with a new configuration.
He resembles previous Optimus characters in robot mode: his angular chest windows are reminiscent of Cybertron Optimus Prime, while his near-animalistic limbs and color scheme are evocative of Beast Wars Optimus Primal. He has excellent articulation due to his many ball joints, and is armed with a rifle. The flame attachment can fit onto the end of the (non-firing) gun barrel.
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 Animated Tech Spec written by Derrick J. Wyatt in Hasbro Transformers Collectors' Club #24 states that Rodimus as having the rank of Prime and clearly being the leader of a team like Optimus and Sentinel. His toy is listed as "Rodimus Minor" which Hasbro explained at San Diego Comic-Con 2009, was because "there were already too many Primes in the toy line". Within the series, he is only ever called or credited as "Rodimus".
A (technically) unreleased "black" redeco of Henkei Voyager-sized Convoy using the same plastic layout and paint mask but replacing red and blue with black, silver with gray, leaving the previously vacuum-metalized grill/fender area unpainted, changing the blue tint for the windows to red and changing all silver and yellow paint operations to blue. The red Autobot insignias would have remained unchanged.
Eleven years after their arrival on Earth, Prime and the Autobots made a new human ally in Wataru Hoshinoumi when he stumbled into the midst of a battle between Prime's team and Starscream and Ramjet. Enter! The Transformers When Megatron joined the fight soon after, he held Bumblebee and Wataru hostage, daring Prime to make a move against him. Prime opened fire, but Megatron merely used the defeated Starscream for a shield, then turned his cannon on the younger duo. Prime unleashed his ion blaster and apparently deflected the blast with a shot of his own, saving Bumblebee and Wataru and prompting the Decepticons to retreat. The Emperor of Destruction Appears!
In Transformers: The Last Knight, he is brother-in-arms with Bumblebee who he fought alongside with to foil the Nazi Party in World War 2. He speaks with a thick French accent due to being stuck in France for so long, much to his own embarrassment. He wields a special gun which can briefly slow down time. He is also the only Transformer who is shown to speak in vehicle mode. 
In the movie, he starts out as a 1976 Camaro before modernizing himself. But the 2007 version (the fifth generation of the model) was a concept car-- you couldn’t even buy a new Camaro until 2009. They later switched to the production version for the 2009 sequel Revenge of the Fallen and he was yet another updated model for Dark of the Moon in 2011 (the SS model). In Age of Extinction, he appears both as a 1967 model and another new model of the current version. Finally, back in June, Bay tweeted that in next year’s The Last Knight, Bee would be a custom-built 2016 Camaro. Over the first two years of the relaunch, Chevy sold an astounding 140,000 Camaros and saw a 10% spike in the yellow model, thanks largely to our friend Bumblebee.
The third United Optimus Prime toy is a redeco and slight retool of the Deluxe Class figure from Hasbro's 2010 Transformers toyline, itself an homage to Prime's Generation 2 "Laser" form. The toy features translucent blue plastic as opposed to Hasbro's orange, red paint is used on the biceps instead of blue paint, extra red paint applications on the knees like the original's sticker detail, and more broken-up red apps on the shoulders. Silver detailing was added to the cab mode on the grill, the bumper, and near the doors. The blue plastic in cab mode is now black plastic to make the figure more accurate to the Generation 2 original. The gray plastic is changed from the Hasbro version to more closely match the 2006 reissue of Laser Optimus Prime. Black paint was applied to the cab mode to mimic the fade from red to black on the original Laser Optimus, but still includes a flame deco like the Hasbro version, only in a different design. It lacks the roof-mounted rubsign of the Hasbro version, instead including Autobot insignias on the cab doors. (Disappointingly, they are Generation 1 insignias, rather than Generation 2 ones!) Additionally, a retool was made to the peg on the inside of his right shoulder, to make it shorter and wider than the Hasbro version, allowing it to move freely without hitting the torso, unlike the Hasbro release.
Although the animated series ended in the U.S. after The Rebirth, Optimus Prime continued to appear in animated sequences of Transformers toy commercials, progressing from Powermaster to Action Master. He even made an appearance as a computer-generated Combat Hero. Many episodes of the series were re-aired to promote Transformers: Generation 2. During these sequences, computer-generated scenes featuring key G1 characters are borrowed from Generation 2 commercials to serve as opening, closing, and commercial bumpers. Optimus Prime is shown in the opening and closing fighting Generation 2's Ramjet.
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 gold vacuum metallized version of Optimus Prime is a prize in Hasbro's Asia Age of Extinction campaign. To qualify for winning this toy, one must be the biggest spender of the day during the midnight launch of the AoE toyline at specific Toys R Us or participate in a lucky draw. This toy is limited to 7 pieces. 2 are in mainland China, while Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan each have one.
LEGO has changed a lot in its history. It started as a wooden toy company before it discovered the benefits of molded plastic. Since the advent of the brick, we have been able to build everything from houses, to spaceships, to working robots. The increased detail and wider product line has allowed for the blossoming of the idea of LEGO as an art medium7. LEGO bricks walk the line between giving people more pieces that can be used to add detail and restricting the pieces to inspire creativity. There is a balance that can be seen through the amazing works, both large and small, that can be done with a bit of patience and an eye for plastic.
Released as part of the Target-exclusive Reveal The Shield subline, this Tiny Turbo Changer 3-pack contains a redecoed Optimus Prime and Bumblebee (in their first non-blindpacked release) and a new Steelbane figure. This version of Optimus features red wheels & Tech Spec-esque patterns on his robot mode chest and... groin-flaps, though the real decoding is on his vehicle mode roof, which when seen through the attached clear-red weapons (or similar plastic device) reveals... an Autobot symbol. Surprise.
Just like Optimus Primal's basic bat toy, this figure was released during the short-lived period when the Beast Wars was still considered to be an extension of the Autobot/Decepticon war, and Optimus Primal was the same character as Optimus Prime. This was soon relegated to the realms of micro-continuity when the Beast Wars animated series began and clearly established that the two Optimuses were different characters, but the toy remains one that was officially branded as Prime, and is consequently listed here.
After the rise of the Decepticons and the death of the merciless Zeta Prime, he became the Prime, and entered what would become a millions-of-years-long war of attrition with the Decepticons, which would lead to the death of Cybertron and the spreading of the Cybertronian civil war far beyond their homeworld in a push for resources. With the end of the war and the emptying of the Matrix of Leadership to restart Vector Sigma and rebirth Cybertron, he found himself rejected by the returning civilian population, and - secretly gladly - abdicated his rank and returned to his original name of Orion Pax as he travelled through the galaxy.
Optimus Prime is composed of two parts, his truck cab and his trailer. His new truck cab is reminiscent of the original Optimus Prime truck cab, but is constructed entirely of plastic, lacks vacuum-metalized plastic and has no clear windows. It also transforms differently in that the front of the truck is no longer the robot mode's chest. His chest is now formed out of the truck's cabin rear, styled after his cartoon appearance. He is armed with two long black rifles, based in part upon his cartoon rifle.
Optimus Prime Special Color (オプティマスプライムクリアVer, Optimus Prime Clear Ver) was only available blindpacked as part of TakaraTomy's EZ Collection Vol. 3. It is a clear version of the Revenge of the Fallen mold, casted in (entirely colorless) clear plastic with opaque paint operations (which is the same paint mask from the original Legends Class toy albeit slightly darker) on the details. This redeco also uses the slightly small fuel tank/elbow tabs from the Battle Damaged release.
As with other Dark of the Moon Activators toys, this Optimus Prime (released under the Robo Power subline) is a very simple one-step transformation toy. You simply slam him down on the big blue button on the back end of his truck mode and he transforms thanks to spring-loaded mechanisms. To transform him back, just slam him down again on the same blue button.
For its release in Korea, Hasbro Asia provided a collector coin featuring truck-mode Optimus Prime on one side and "MP-01L" on the other. The coin came mounted on a card featuring lineart of the Autobot leader's head, the stark black design of which could be mistaken for promoting the earlier "Sleep Mode" release. The limited release (and general lack of enthusiasm for the collector coins in Korea) makes this one of the more difficult Masterpiece coins to find.
This gold vacuum metallized (save for his black joints, which they were made out of unpaintable plastic) Protoform Optimus Prime figure was featured as a Lucky Draw giveaway (along side similarly gold vac-metal versions of Voyager class Optimus Prime and Protoform Starscream) in the December 2007 issue of TV Magazine. Released in 2008, only 5 pieces were made, making it one of the rarest Lucky Draw figures; the images at right represent the only known photographs of it.