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.
JETWING OPTIMUS PRIME Black Ver. is a black, teal, and chrome redeco of Jetwing Optimus Prime exclusive to the Asian market. He appears to have been based on the cancelled TakaraTomy contest prize Jetwing Optimus Prime Black Version (see above), with a few color alterations here and there, plus the obvious addition of chrome. It was originally solicited by online retailers as the far goofier-sounding "Dark Nightwatch Jetwing Optimus Prime".
I agree with Aidan but would expand on his point. It’s not just that the sets seemed bigger; they were. As the relative complexity of sets has increased, so too has the piece count, but there has been an overall decline in the size of the models due to increased build complexity and a corresponding reduction in size of the pieces required to create such detail. The negative affect on perceived value in this is apparent, though I would argue, misguided when one considers the build quality and detail of new and recent sets.

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.
If there was one thing the toy planes of yonder were lacking, it was controllability. Guaranteed crash landings and the subsequent walks of shame to go pick up the pieces started to wear a little thin. The advent of radio-control provided an answer for that. But for model builders Aviation Design, that was child's play. Hense, the birth of the FALCON 7X business jet.
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 would make his first IDW Publishing appearance in a Spotlight issue focusing on him. In this, he was shown to be newly promoted to command of a group of Autobots including Gizmo, Backbeat and Dealer, who had been sent to secure the Magnificence, a device of some sort that could predict the future. Getting past the guardians, Hot Rod was swapping it with a fake to prevent the Decepticons from getting their hands on it when a seeming Decepticon ambush wiped out his squad. Determined to rescue the only survivor, Dealer, Hot Rod staged a daring solo rescue mission that managed to rescue Dealer - unaware that he was really Doubledealer, a Decepticon spy sent by Banzaitron to retrieve the Magnificence and now out to find where Hot Rod had stashed it.[10]
This Optimus Prime is a somewhat/nearly screen-accurate redeco of the Leader Class figure, but uses the original Leader mold instead of the Armor Knight retool unfortunately. In comparison to the first Age of Extinction Leader Class figure, his vacuum-metalized front truck bumper, sun visors, robot mode chest, smokestacks and side tanks chest was omitted, revealing the grey plastic underneath. His chromed chest was also stripped of chrome for adding paint operations, his shield was unpainted, and both of his sword and truck mode windows were casted in colorless plastic. He also features some extra silver paint on his robot mode forehead, and his white-colored Autobot insignia is slightly tampographed on the left. And lastly, his light-piping eyes is neutered by blue paint.
Surprisingly, this was also the first Hasbro exclusive transforming Movie Optimus Prime figure to be based on the final design seen in Age of Extinction. He even features the forearms that Prime had before obtaining the Sword of Judgement, which unfortunately means that he is inaccurate to his appearance in the battle of Hong Kong and the entirety of The Last Knight. The sword's blade is still painted as the heated-up version from the concept art.
The Optimus Prime Battle Rig Blaster transforms from a superdeformed amalgamation of his Movie truck and G1 Optimus Prime's truck (indeed pulling G1 Prime's trailer) to a fully G1 robotic forearm and hand with a built in Nerf style gun. By simply placing your hand inside the back of the trailer (I need an adult!) and pulling back on the front of the truck, the gun transforms and folds back into a weapon. It comes with three Nerf N-Strike size whistle darts which can be stored inside the trailer. Although not shown in the image, the truck front splits in half in gun-mode, while the grille acts as a sight. This toy was marketed as 'Optimus Prime Big Rig Blaster' overseas.
The Transformers toyline was created from toy molds mostly produced by Japanese company Takara in the toylines Car-Robots (Diaclone) and Micro Change (Microman). Other toy molds from other companies such as Bandai were used as well. In 1984, Hasbro bought the distribution rights to the molds and rebranded them as the Transformers for distribution in North America. They approached Marvel Comics to create a backstory with names and short descriptions for each character, most of which were written by Bob Budiansky.

1· To calculate the average price per piece in a year, I took the price per piece of each set made that year, multiplied it by the number of pieces in the set and then averaged all the weighted prices. I used a weighted average because when we are looking at the price per piece we are essentially saying we could buy x number of pieces for y dollars. Larger sets tend to have a lower price per piece so in effect you could get more pieces at that lower price that year. Note: this was done using US retail price data from Brickset.
A golden-chrome redeco of Cybertron Metroplex was offered as a contest prize in the December 2005 issue of TV Magazine, and came with an equally blinged-out Legends/EZ Collection Optimus Prime figure. Fifteen of this set were available as prizes in the initial contest; a single Metroplex was later offered as one of many prizes in a Takara website contest, but this version came only with the standard metallic paint version of Prime.
Available exclusively from Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape in March 2013, "Convoy Reissue BAPE VERSION RED CAMO" (コンボイ復刻版 BAPE® VERSION RED CAMO) is a redeco of the original Optimus Prime toy sporting a unique new red color scheme, along with a red 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.
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.
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

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.
I understand what you’re saying. You want it to be like the Cybertron games of making them look less earth but still have the colors and molds of G1. Because I never knew that G1 actually had their vehicles molds in their Cybertron Alt Molds. I thought that was so stupid having earth vehicles parts on Cybertron. But they had to make the G1 fans and Bay fans happy so they took the cartoon and modernize it with some bayism look. I think they did good but I can see some parts being better.
Within G.I. Joe's headquarters, Optimus found Doctor Venom controlling a robotic suit made out of the remains of both Bumblebee and Soundwave. The battle between him and the Joes spilled out into the open and into another battle, where Decepticobra was attacking the United Nations. As more factions joined the brawl, Optimus yanked Bumblebee's components free from Soundwave's body and took to the skies, back to Cybertron. Expelled from the Garden There, he was able to reunite Bumblebee's body with his head. Headmasters

Rodimus Prime/Minor is a character who appeared in season 3 of the Transformers Animated series. He is a homage to the Generation 1 version of the character Hot Rod.[17] He wields an energon bow-and-arrow weapon of his own design.[18] On March 31, 2009, Derrick J. Wyatt, lead Transformers Animated Character Designer posted an image of Rodimus' vehicle mode, which is described as a futuristic muscle car that is mostly based on a 2008 Dodge Challenger with some elements of a 1969 Ferrari Daytona. This was revealed at the 2009 BotCon where Hasbro released an action figure of Rodimus Minor. It showed that the 2008 Dodge Challenger parts of Rodimus' vehicle mode were mostly based on the back, top, and sides of the vehicle, while the 1969 Ferrari Daytona parts were found in the front of the vehicle, most notably, the headlights.
"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 Hasbro stock photos of the toy is slightly mistransformed: his pectoral armor is not folded correctly in robot mode. At least a very small number of units feature a faceplate-less head sculpt which was probably intended for a later retool, but so far there is no news about this pretool being released in the future. This figure was also released in Toys R Us Japan in May 1st, 2017 as a store exclusive, likewise identical to the Hasbro release.

This Collector's Edition Japanese e-HOBBY exclusive was a redeco of Targetmaster Kup, released in conjunction with the 2006 reissue of Kup and designed to represent the character Orion Pax from the Generation 1 television series episode "War Dawn". Orion transforms into a Cybertronic pickup truck and came with both a gun and Barrelroller, a redeco of Recoil. He has full shoulder rotation, though the way his elbows are set up means he cannot make full use of their joints. His legs feature no articulation whatsoever.
A redeco of the original Generation 1 Optimus Prime cab robot sporting an egregious number of Pepsi-themed paint masks and details, Pepsi Prime's differences from Pepsi Convoy are minimal: he features the shortened smokestacks previously seen on the Commemorative Series release of the mold, the blue pattern on his decals are different (matching the American Pepsi can/bottle look at the time rather than the one used in Japan), and also has a different layout for the Pepsi logo on his right shoulder. Like Pepsi Convoy, he comes with an entirely new trailer unit, specially designed to carry either a single 500ml (16.9 oz) size soft drink bottle, three 350ml cans, or 12 bottle caps (bottle cap figurines being a common and popular collectible item in Japan). In a first for the Prime mold, the figure's fists store in holes on the underside of the trailer while he is in vehicle mode. His ion blaster (which also stores under the trailer) is the first Hasbro reissue to feature the original, thick-barrel sculpt, which was reinstated to the mold by the Transformers Collection release of Prime a few years prior.

Prime's cab and trailer can also combine to form a super robot mode. Transforming the cab into the torso portion sends the transformation command to the trailer, which raises itself up off the ground to become a pair of immobile, statuesque legs (as long as you're not playing with it on carpet), and when the pair are connected, the super-robot head pops up with a metallic shriek sound effect. Pressing the Autobot symbol on the figure's chest activates a pulsing laser sound effect, and the small grey button on his right shoulder illuminates his fist with a red LED, which can illuminate either of his guns, as well as the Star Saber sword (the Star Saber was specifically cast in clear plastic for this purpose, but in practice, the light failed to carry even halfway up the blade).

It may be that the price of an individual brick has gone down over time, but what does it matter if the size of the bricks has decreased overtime? Sure, the average number of pieces in a set has increased, but how many of those pieces are tiny details? To answer this question, I compiled all the weight data on brickset.com and compared the sets by their price per gram in a similar fashion to how I compared them by price of piece. Below is the chart of my results (prices are in US dollars).
Accompanied by Prowl, Optimus went to Sumatra and discovered much of the jungle had been destroyed. The Decepticons tried to destroy the Brazilian jungle and take its oil, but once again the Autobots stopped them. Storms of Destruction Following a battle between the Dinobots and the Decepticons, Optimus ordered Slag be repaired by Ratchet at their Antarctic oil supply. Tracking Slag, Megatron attempted to destroy the base with the Crusher, slicing icebergs off the continent. Optimus ordered Autobot superjets to counterattack, but the battle was won when Megatron unwittingly reawakened hundreds of dormant Dinobots beneath the ice. Jaws of Terror Optimus and Prowl were baffled by Megatron's next strategy, a series of hit-and-run attacks in the Pacific rim. It emerged it was a distraction from the enslavement of the population of Buru. Optimus, Prowl and the Dinobots arrived and fought off the Insecticons, foiling the scheme to drain the island's oil. Slaves of the Insecticons When Megatron planned to drain the world's largest supertanker, Optimus had the oil tainted with a corrosive acid, sabotaging the Decepticon submersible. The Autobots flew the tanker to New York City, and ordered the few witnesses' memory to be wiped. Wow. Attack of the Decepticons
Adventure Lucky Draw Optimus Prime is a gold vacuum metalized redeco of the original Warrior Class figure (save for some of his unpaintable thighs & upper shoulders) released as a prize for the Transformers Adventure prize draw campaign held between 25 July 2015 and 30 September 2015. To obtain it, entrants needed to send in four robot points clipped from the packaging of Transformers Adventure products.

Another release of the Reveal the Shield Legends Class sculpt. The deco for its initial release is unchanged from the Transformers release from 2012, whereas the tooling is identical to the 2012 release's running change variant, with the retooled hands and a hole on the back of his head/top compatible with Cyberverse 3mm pegs. Bizarrely, the package art is lifted directly from the Generations Legends Class Optimus Prime/Autobot Roller two-pack's packaging, whereas the stock photos depicted on the back of the packaging are taken from Reveal the Shield Optimus Prime's packaging and only slightly altered, advertising a "Reveal the Shield" rubsign gimmick the toy doesn't actually have. Meanwhile, Hasbro's official stock photos provided to online retailers (including an in-packaging photo) depict the toy with the sword that came with the running change variant of the sculpt's 2012 release, even though the actual toy doesn't include the sword.
In our list of things you didn’t know about Optimus Prime, we learned that the live action version of Optimus was based on actor Liam Neeson. It turns out Michael Bay likes to base his Transformers on real actors, because it’s been revealed that Bumblebee’s character movements are based on Michael J. Fox-- but not just regular old Michael J. Fox; we’re specifically talking about Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies.
Although no scannable badge is located at his robot mode, the badge was located at his combined mode's left shoulder. The badge was impossible to be scanned while in-package due to the obstruction of the spring-loaded combiner chest kibble. Speaking of impossible, the badges on the re-releases of the toy can't be scanned by the game. The instruction sheet amusingly replaces Optimus's last picture in the transformation process with Sideswipe.
In Transformers: Alliance, Optimus Prime and the Autobots aid the human soldiers after the battle in Mission City and destroy the Allspark-powered machines that were created. A trailer is obtained for Optimus Prime to carry the remains of Jazz. The Autobots leave Mission City as the Sector 7 personnel arrive to claim the remains of the Decepticons. About a month later, Epps and Lennox contact Optimus Prime about aiding them in escorting the remains of the Decepticons to the naval yard. They are spied on by Barricade, who transmitts the information to Starscream.
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.
It took two further years, but this figure was eventually released as part of the Japanese counterpart to the Alternators line (Binaltech) in 2008. Binaltech Convoy features some additional paint details, like his silver pelvis, additional patterns on his shoulders, and red paint on his engine-gun, and like all Binaltech figures, he also includes die-cast metal pieces. Unlike previous Binaltech releases, a bio-card was not included.
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.

A single-packed version of the battle damaged Voyager Optimus Prime toy from the Sam's Club exclusive three-pack. Although the assortment number and the general packaging style (which are both the same also used for the Premium Series redecos of Voyager Class Autobot Ratchet and Megatron) seemed to indicate that this might be a Best Buy exclusive, it was later confirmed to be an "international market" exclusive. It was released in Hasbro's Southeast Asian markets, but was not available in the USA outside the Sam's Club three-pack.
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.
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.
Another thing different now from when I was a kid (70s/80s) is that the sets contain much fewer basic bricks. It seems the models are made out of all these exotic specialized pieces which are less useful for general building. Is this a business strategy to sell more sets by reducing the reusability, a marketing ploy to sell more pieces by making every set include unique collectable parts, or just trying to make the models look more realistic/slick? I think Lego was more fun when the majority of bricks were basic.
Hot Rod would appear in the UK Marvel comic issue #234, "Prime's Rib!" This story is set in the near future, 1995, where Optimus Prime, Jazz and Hot Rod introduced the latest Autobot, Arcee, to the human feminists. She was met with displeasure by the humans, being called a token female and disliked for her pink color. They were then attacked by Shockwave, Fangry, Horri-Bull and Squeezeplay, who thought the Autobots would be unveiling a new weapon. The Autobots fought off the Decepticons, who escaped, but nothing seemed to please the human feminists.

The first toy in TakaraTomy's United toyline is a redeco of the War for Cybertron Deluxe Class Optimus Prime, transforming into a Cybertronic "armored truck". As has been TakaraTomy's wont of late, he now sports a metallic red paint job, with brighter pink paint applications and cooler grey parts, and features several additional paint details to those present on the Hasbro figure in the form of black chest windows and pink lines on his face mask. His rifle transforms as well, folding and plugging into the roof of the vehicle mode. The rifle can also peg into his forearms, and, in its compact configuration, can attach to his shoulders via peg holes on the backs of his front tires or stored behind his back in robot mode.

Available with Grimlock, this Optimus Prime is a redeco (or possibly a repaint) of the figure above, featuring extra paint applications on the chest and thighs, and he features a different flame pattern on his side doors. His Autobot insignia is now tampographed on his right arm. The cyberglyphs on his front hood is confusingly translated as "PRIME". The 2-pack also comes with a card, which the glyphs being decoded as "DINOBOTS". Optimus Prime and Grimlock also saw release as a Toys"R"Us Japan exclusive, making this Optimus Prime redeco/slight retool to be first sold at Japanese markets.
The brand was yet to get its biggest revitalization, though. In 2007, Paramount Pictures released a high-budget live-action movie. Though many long-time fans resented the changes in style and story that the movie brought forth, it performed incredibly well at the box office and launched the brand into the public eye all over the world. Now, everyone recognized the concept of alien robots disguised as cars, and everyone associated the concept with the name: Transformers.
The main build of the set is a massive vehicle based on Optimus's truck cab, capable of seating a single Kreon in the driver's seat. Pushing the trailer-hitch on the back end towards the cab opens up the front grill, revealing a huge spring-loaded rocket launcher with rubber-tipped projectile. The cab can also stow the included stasis pod ussed to lock away the baddies.
One reason that people perceive that the cost of Lego has gone up is that the cost of so many other toys has gone down. You can now buy so much crap for a buck or two that Lego seems like a luxury item in comparison. It’s interesting to look in toy catalogs from the early eighties and see that Lego didn’t seem as costly then because the other toys were all costly as well.
Back in the 60s, Hasbro was commissioned to play down the negative stigma surrounding US soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War. The result was four, 12-inch tall dress-up dolls featuring realistic camouflage fatigues and weapons of the time. The figurines represented the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. There was no real storyline at the time which limited the allure of the toys.
This Classics Optimus Prime is a smaller, deluxe-class toy bearing a greater resemblance to the original G1 toy. He was only available in a special Versus pack with a similarly unique Classics Megatron toy and later the FAB version of the 2007 movie Prime. Later releases of this toy had him individually packed in some European countries. His vehicle mode and robot mode is based upon the original toy, but due to limitations in design, budget and gimmick, does not succeed very well. His thighs cannot collapse into his lower legs, meaning they are exposed in vehicle mode, as is his head. Although to be fair, you wouldn't really notice the leg thing if he had a trailer. But, he is greatly articulated.
Optimus Prime was subject to several molding and color variations in his early days. The earliest release of the figure featured larger fists, a gun with a thick, round barrel, a slightly-differently shaped gas pump, grey rockets, a grey Roller, a grey launcher in his Combat Deck, and metal plates in the floor of the Combat Deck (a holdover from the Diaclone version of the toy, to which the magnetic feet of the pilots could cling). In short order, his fists were slimmed down, the gun's barrel was pared down to a more slender form, the gas pump's shape was altered, the rockets and launcher were recast in black plastic, the metal plates were removed from the Combat Deck, and Roller's color was changed to a light blue. Along with Roller's color change, however, the Combat Deck's drone pod also became light blue, and a third running change soon followed that saw it restored to its original darker blue, and Roller changed along with it. These modified components would become the default accessories used by subsequent reissues of the Prime toy would take, though Roller stills fluctuates back and forth between grey and dark blue, depending on how show-accurate each reissue wants to be.
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