There is one aspect not looked at in the price and that is the shift to model building vs. creation leading to a change in the utility of the pieces. I seem to need many more sets to get a useful variety of pieces these days as many of the sets contain a lot of pieces that are very specific to the needs of the set and are less useful when one wants to create their own designs. It would be a fascinating addition to rate each of the block types on its utility, perhaps by its prevalence in other sets, and then assess each set on its total utility score. So then the question is how many sets would you need to by to achieve different levels of utility and how has this changed over time.
In 2016, the figure saw re-release with the Combiner Force packaging. Being the tenth use of the sculpt at this point, some instances of mold deterioration have affected the figure, including: the vehicle front's bumper (which affects the space on the head/front bumper transformation), the headlights, and/or the legs, and the hole on the left shoulder is also prone to develop a stress mark due to the right shoulder's slightly "thickened" peg. Although the re-released badge didn't seem to unlock Optimus Prime after it was scanned, a later update to the game amended this.
Beast Wars: Transformers had to be renamed in some countries, particularly Canada, because of concern over the word "war" in the title. So, in some countries, it was released under the title Beasties. Long-time Transformers fans noticed the prominence of the words "Beast Wars" over "Transformers", the latter appearing in small type under the former. The Transformers' fan base splintered into two groups as a direct result, with the one enjoying Beast Wars for what it was and the other refusing to accept it as official canon in the Transformers mythology.
I have to disagree. Look at our planet. Jagged and rigid is an aspect of primitive technology. Smooth, compact, and protected is an aspect of futuristic technology. Transformers should look more advanced than what we hsve, nor technologically regressive. They have better scientists and millennia of knowledge compared to us. Smooth designs like Knight's are the only ones that make realistic sense in that context of technological progression, even as a life form.
The first release in the Asian-exclusive Asia Premium Series toyline is an extensive redeco of the previously-Japanese exclusive Striker Optimus. He features a comprehensive paint scheme directly based on Jetpower Optimus Prime, with blue pinstriped flames, lots of silver paint, and vacuum metallized parts, although his hands are left unpainted in favor of painting his mirrors silver. Along with his standard accessories, he also comes with 2 battle blades, which were previously exclusive to Toys"R"Us Japan. He features the "We must stop the Decepticons!" voice chip, but batteries are not included. Rather helpfully, his instructions are supplemented with text instructions written in English for all the steps, as well as the additional photographs used for the previous Striker Optimus toy.
This version of Optimus Prime is an all new mold, being the most movie accurate so far — or at least he was until Buster Prime came out. It comes with his two energon blades, and does not have a large gap at the back of the cab like the previous Leader-class Optimus Prime. It can combine with Leader class Jetfire to form Jetpower Optimus Prime. He is also very hard to transform. The process involves unclipping his firewall from his chest in a fashion that harkens to dissecting toys that lack screws, rivets or glue. In the meantime, he keeps saying, "I am Optimus Prime," over and over due to an overly sensitive voice clip trigger. Even the most die-hard Peter Cullen fan will be sick of his voice after five minutes of playing with this toy. That aside, the quality and articulation is top-notch and the poseability is amazing. Spring-loaded panels feature in his legs as well as ratcheting ball-and-socket ankles, G1 "transforming" sound effects, and multiple "Mech Alive" features raise the bar on this figure. Of note, the fists cannot accomodate standard accessories, and on test-shots of "Power Up" mode Prime has articulated fingers, like the 2007 toy, but this feature was dropped. Also, trying to transform Optimus from robot to vehicle mode can be very difficult at first.
Although the original Japanese incarnation of Transformers: Cybertron, known as Transformers: Galaxy Force, was produced apart from Armada and Energon, the series, as originally conceived by Hasbro, was as the third part of the trilogy. The English language dub of the series treats it as such. Consequently, inconsistencies arise between Cybertron and the other two series, but have been explained by the Cybertron comic book, available exclusively through the Official Transformers Collectors Club, as the result of fluctuations in the fabric of reality caused by the Unicron-induced black hole.
Part of the first wave of Mini-Con Battle Pack figures, this Optimus Prime figure is a new mold, about the size of a Scout Class figure (In Optimus' case, the size of Cyberverse Commander figure), and scaled with Legion Class figures. Its transformation scheme also takes some cues from the Legion Class figure. Battle Pack Optimus Prime also features a transparent orange battle axe & armor pieces, although the chest armor/flip-up mask piece is needed to be assembled first. The included pieces can be combined into a clawed battle axe, or attached to his body to form his armor (although the flip-up mask can restrict his head articulation). Optimus Prime can totally wield the axe dual-handed. As an undocumented feature, the axe can be stored on his truck mode with the tab featured on Prime's right shoulder.
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.
(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 figure would have come in a monochrome version of the standard Henkei! Henkei! Convoy's packaging, still named "Convoy" but now labeled as part of the Gentei! Gentei range of exclusives. Reportedly, this figure was intended as a Wonderfest exclusive, but was canceled because, according too TakaraTomy designer Shogo Hasui, it was too similar to Universe Nemesis Prime. Knockoffs were later made available, so buyers beware!
A Japanese-exclusive, the final new-design G1 Convoy toy was a departure from previous versions. He now transformed into a small extended hood cab truck of made-up model pulling an implausibly large trailer equipped with motorized caterpillar treads. The trailer could additionally pull along the auxiliary trailer transformer Grandus, on which the shuttle Sky Garry could land, forming the spaceship "Battlestars". Even without combining, Star Convoy's truck mode was a behemoth, including a Micro Trailer semi as a small accessory and an upgraded Roller that was now patterned after a tracked ballistic missile carrier.
Unfortunately for both Takara and Hasbro, the Generation Two series of Transformers sold poorly, and Hasbro abandoned it after two years. There were toys planned that never saw release. Most of these were G1 combiner team recolors or recolors of recent figures. Four unreleased molds were released in the Machine Wars line, and four more resurfaced in the Robots In Disguise series.
A mold for a standard LEGO piece costs anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000; over its lifetime, it will spit out some sixty million bricks. The cost of making the mold, spread out over all those bricks, is essentially zero. But when designers concoct a specialized piece and LEGO manufactures just fifty thousand of them, the molding cost rises to as high as $1 per piece. Including just a few of these specialized pieces, as LEGO did with unrelenting frequency during the Plougmann era, can potentially kill a LEGO set’s profit potential.
Having been caught unaware by a surprise attack launched by the Decepticons, Optimus led his troops in a losing battle against their mortal enemies. Though Optimus managed to dispatch a few Decepticons, namely Thrust, whom he punched through the chest, he soon found himself crippled and surrounded by enemy forces. Praying to Primus as the Decepticons readied their weapons, Optimus heard Grimlock calling out to his fellow Dinobots to combine, prompting the Autobot leader to yell out a plead to Grimlock to stop. It was too late, however, and The Beast began rampaging, killing Autobots and Decepticons alike. Taking advantage of the situation nonetheless, Optimus tackled Megatron and began beating on the Decepticon leader. The tide of the battle now shifted, Optimus attempted to reach Grimlock’s consciousness within The Beast so that its mindless carnage could come to a halt. It didn't work. The Beast Within
In "A Fistful of Energon", Optimus Prime is informed by Ultra Magnus about Starscream's escape from prison. He is quite upset when he has heard that Prowl set out in search for him on his own. He orders Prowl to return, but he disobeyed him. Later, Prowl is bound and abandoned by Lockdown, who wants to get the bounty that Megatron had set on Starscream. But Optimus Prime, together with Bulkhead and Ratchet, succeed in finding and releasing Prowl.
For all the positive aspects, these changes are not without their drawbacks. The LEGO community has been crying foul over the perceived decline in quality of the bricks5. While nowhere as bad as their competitor, any decline in quality reflects poorly on a company known for quality control. The LEGO group has been expanding its manufacturing base to places outside of Denmark, into Mexico, the Czech Republic, and China (although so far it seems only their “signature brand” non-set items are made in China). LEGO claims that this has not changed their dedication to the quality of standards by which they abide. However, it seems that the molds have changed to reduce plastic6. Whether or not this affects the durability of the bricks is yet to be seen.
The two sides found themselves equally matched until the Constructicons merged into The Devastator. The tables were turned once more when the Dinobots appeared, and mercilessly slaughtered the Constructicons. The Decepticons' plan foiled, Optimus decided that the Autobot-Decepticon war had come to an end, despite Megatron's protests to the contrary. He and his Autobots then drove away victorious. Battle for Earth
However, Prime was encouraged to keep fighting by the cheers of a human boy named Junpei. Megatron, surprised at Prime's resilience, attempted to finish his foe off with his Tornado Axe attack. Prime countered with his Double Wheel-Torque Mega-Ton, which trumped Megatron's attack and injured the Decepticon badly. Megatron teleported back to his ship and left Earth's atmosphere, vowing to return.
A slight redeco of Takara's Deluxe-size Optimus Prime was released as part of a special set commemorating both the 20th anniversary of Transformers and the 30th anniversary of its progenitor, Microman. Coming with an exclusive metallic redeco of Takara's Kicker, which was based on the Microman body, this Prime featured a chromed grill where the original had painted plastic, and supposedly slightly shinier plastics. Very slightly.
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.
In robot mode, like Combat Hero Prime, the bottom of the truck became his familiar windowed chest based upon the original Optimus Prime toy. His main gimmick was light up LED headlights, and a lightpipe in the bottom of his right fist, illuminated by an LED in his right forearm, that would illuminate his clear sword or his double-barreled rifle if they were used in that hand. All three LEDs were activated simultaneously by pressing the sunroof-like depression on the roof of the truck.
The lowest priced toys in the Armada line were three-packs of Mini-Cons. Each larger price point consisted of an Autobot or Decepticon who came with a Mini-Con partner. Mini-Cons could be used to unlock a variety of features on each larger robot, such as firing weapons, electronic lights and sounds, or alternate modes. Some three-pack Mini-Cons combined into other forms or had additional features. According to the storyline, Mini-Cons also enhanced the power of other Transformers, giving incentive to collect as many of them as possible.