Saturday 17 September 2016

Optimus Prime (G1, 1984)

Autobot Commander Optimus Prime
Function: Commander
Motto: "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."
Optimus Prime is the largest, strongest and wisest of all Autobots. His role is to protect all life in the fight to defeat the Decepticons. Splits into three autonomous modules: 1) Optimus Prime...the brain centre known as the commander, 2) Roller, the Autobot scout car...a spy who operates up to 1200 miles away, 3) Autobot headquarters...the combat deck equipped with a versatile mechanic/artillery robot. Injury to one module is felt by the other two.
STR...10; INT...10; SPD...8; END...10; RNK...10; CRG...10; FPR...8; SKL...10

Optimus Prime is one of, if not the most well known and recognised Transformers. As with the majority of the other original Autobots, Optimus Prime was first released in Japan in 1983 under the Diaclone line named "Battle Convoy".

Although there are several differences between Battle Convoy and the Optimus Prime figure, Battle Convoy does share similarities with Hasbros initial pre-rub sign Optimus Prime and Takaras own 1985 release of Convoy. These details are documented further down the page.

Optimus Prime transforms into a Kenworth K100 cab over engine truck and pulls a large silver trailer, there are 10 wheels in total each with rubber tires. Transformation is straightforward and he comes with lots of accessories to loose. The trailer is also large enough to fit an Autobot car or several Minibots.

The die-cast metal front of the cab pulls forward which is where two Diaclone Inch Men would have sat but this space is later made use of with the 2002 reissue which came with a small die-cast metal Matrix of Leadership.

The cab transforms into the recognisable robot mode and the trailer opens up to become a command base or a repair bay. The combat deck robot in the trailer also has an opening canopy which would have sat an Inch Man, there are also 2 other seats in the trailer which would have sat the other inch men. The combat robot can fire missiles and has an articulated arm which can perform repairs on Optimus Prime.

The trailer also features a spring loaded launcher which fires out the small scout vehicle called Roller (or "Buggy" in Japan). The strength of the spring was limited by Hasbro but can be easily modified, although you have to trim away a small plastic tab which stops the launcher.

In the Diaclone line, Battle Convoy was repainted and released with a new trailer in 1984 and was called Powered Convoy; this version was repainted and entered the Transformers series in 1986 as Ultra Magnus. Apart from the trailer and the colour the small cab was identical to Optimus Prime.

This figure is a must for any G1 fan; though the originals can be quite pricey for those in good condition, there are still plenty of reissues available for decent prices on the secondary market.

History (not including Ultra Magnus releases)

Battle Convoy, Diaclone (Takara, 1983)

The original Battle Convoy. The robot is similar to the later Transformer releases though this features a "bloated" gun, fists and silver missiles. The blue plastic in the trailer is lighter blue and the scout vehicle (Roller) is also lighter blue and was not moulded with the 2 pegs on its back end. The trailer launcher on this is powerful and will fire the scout vehicle quite far. Source: Yahoo Auctions

Camion Convoy Portauto, Diaclone (GiG, 1984)

Technically this is really "Ultra Magnus" however this is the only Diaclone "Optimus Prime" that Italy got at the time. The colours are identical to Takaras Battle Convoy and came with blue fists. Source: Maz

Diaclone Truck, Diaclone (Joustra, 1984)

This version is a good example where the Joustra Diaclone releases are merged with Hasbro's Transformers. It features a Joustra Diaclone printed sticker sheet and features the bloated gun, fists and grey missiles, however Roller is also silver and features the 2 pegs moulded in its back end. The trailer still has the metal plates on the inside and the blue plastic is the dark blue of the Transformers version. The trailer launcher is also the modified version found on the Transformer releases.  It does not come with any Diaclone pilots. The back of the box also features the box art of Optimus Prime, complete with Autobot logo. Source: eBay

G1 (Hasbro, 1984)

The original pre-rub sign variant which came with a silver Roller,  bloated gun and fists and metal plates in the trailer, much like the original Diaclone version, in fact identical to Joustra Diaclone's version. This also features the modified trailer launcher which limits the force of the spring. Note the error on the box with the radar showing under the box art which has not been cropped from the image on the underside of the box. Source: eBay

G1 (Hasbro, 1985)

The standard Optimus Prime release with stickers on the inside of the trailer rather than metal plates, dark blue plastic on the inside of the trailer and Roller; the gun is also thinner than the initial "bloated" version and the missiles are now moulded in black plastic. Source: eBay

Canadian box variant, G1 (Hasbro, 1985)

Source: eBay

Convoy, G1 (Takara, 1985)

The first Convoy release without the barcode on the rear of the box

Convoy with the metal plates in the trailer. Note the holes on the side of the trailer

Buggy with the pegs and the standard gun and fists

The Japanese release has four versions from what I can find. The first version is an easy spot because there is no barcode on the rear of the box (pictured above). This version comes with a silver Buggy (Roller) without the 2 rear pegs, bloated fists and gun, and the silver missiles.
The second version comes with a silver Buggy (Roller) without the 2 rear pegs, bloated fists and gun, and the silver missiles and the trailer features the metal plates. The rear of the box features the barcode.
The third version has Buggy (Roller) without the 2 pegs moulded on the rear as per the original Diaclone release, the blue plastic in the trailer and on Buggy is also dark blue; it also includes the "bloated" fists and gun and it also comes with silver missiles. 
The fourth version is similar to Hasbro's release with the pegs included with Buggy and the standard gun and fists.
The powerful launcher within the trailer in all versions is retained. Despite these differences from Hasbro's version, the box photography depicts the Joustra / Hasbro's pre-rub sign Optimus Prime. Interestingly the box art is different from Hasbro's initial release for some reason, yet retains a similar pose.

Convoy vs Megatron VSX (Takara, 1985)

The Convoy included in this set is identical to the Convoy 01 release.

Pepsi giveaway, G1 (Hasbro, 1985)

G1 (Milton Bradley, 1985)

Source: eBay

Red foot variant - this version possibly came about due to a mix up in the factory where they were applying paint to the diecast metal sections. A very sought after variant. Source: 20th Century Toy Collector

G1 (Cegi Revel, 1985)

Source: eBay

Red foot variant. Source: eBay

G1 (IGA, 1985)

Similar to Hasbros version though the eyes were over painted red when they were exported from Mexico due to the lead in the yellow paint which IGA used. The metal chest section did not come applied with stickers in most cases as seen in the example above. Source: eBay

Commander, G1 (GiG, 1985)


Commander, G1 (GiG, 1987) - Plastic variant

Italian "Commander" / Optimus Prime; similar to the later Ultra Magnus versions this variant has plastic wheels and feet though retains the metal chest. Source: The Optimus Prime

Good Bye Convoy, G1 (Takara, 1986)

Giftset containing Convoy, Alert (Red Alert) & Ligier (Mirage). Convoy comes with a blue windscreen, the unbloated fists and gun of the Hasbro version; Buggy has the 2 pegs on the back end and the trailer now features the modified launcher. The combat robot in the trailer also has a blue cockpit.  Source: eBay

Optimus Prime Movie Edition Mail-away (Hasbro, 1986)

Optimus Prime was available as a mail-away figure with a promotional poster advertising the Transformers Movie. This was a standard Optimus Prime but it was sent in a plain brown box which contained the polystyrene insert. It also came with a certificate of authenticity. Optimus Prime cost $21.50 USD and you had to include 5 Robot Points or 1 movie ticket stub.

Convoy Trophy, G1 (Takara, 1987)
Trophy made for Takara staff to commemorate Transformers 3rd anniversary. The plaque reads "Transformers 3rd Year Anniversary, June 11th, 1987. Takara, Inc"

Convoy Trophy, G1 (Takara, 1988)

TV Magazine lucky draw limited to 100 pieces, the plaque reads "Transformers colouring contest: Congratulations TV Magazine, March 1st 1988, Takara."

G1 (Marcanka, 1988)

This variant was released in Yugoslavia as it was known back then. Transformers released here were imported Mexican versions however Optimus Prime was manufactured by Marcanka, though retains the features of the Mexican IGA version. The blue plastic on the inside of the trailer and Roller came in either light or dark blue. Source: TFW2005 Poster Razorclaw.

Chinese Reissue, G1 (Hasbro, 1990)

The particular specimen was sold in Portugal. One way to identify a Chinese reissue is to check the borders around the photographs of the Truck, robot and base on the front of the box; if they are black (like the Marcanka version) then it is a reissue. Another tell is a small sticker with Chinese text in the corner on the box flap. Source: Maz

European Exclusive Reissue, G1 (Hasbro, 1991)

Source: eBay

European Exclusive Reissue Spanish Variant, G1 (Hasbro, 1991)

Source: eBay

Generation 2 (Hasbro 1993)

Above if a first issue G2 Optimus where the blue of Optimus' legs and trailer are dark blue like the G1 version. This comes with two additional missile launchers and a soundbox with 3 sounds - an engine sound, firing weapons and a voice speaking "I am Optimus Prime" sounding nothing like Optimus Prime. Source: eBay

Later light blue variant. Source: eBay

This is the Italian box variant. Source:

15th Anniversary (Takara, 2000)

The first Transformer reissue released in 2000 had to be Optimus Prime. This Japanese release was very different to Takara's initial 1985 release. It comes with a silver Buggy with 2 pegs on the back end, the thin gun, black missiles, and the fists have been remoulded to allow the robot mode to hold the gun  better than it initially could. The spring on the trailer though not as strong as the Diaclone version is still stronger than Hasbros original version. Source:

15th Anniversary Tokusei Golden Convoy (Takara, 2000)

a.k.a Millennium Convoy where the chrome on Convoy is now gold and Buggy has also been repainted with gold chrome. Source: Rik Ruff. 

This was a Lucky Draw Exclusive with numerous drawings:-
A) Figure King Magazine Lucky Draw, drawn at Takashimaya Department Store, Shininjuku Tokyo & Mitsukoshi Toy Store, Yokohama Kanagawa between 25th and 31st October. To enter the draw provide a receipt of a Car Robot figure purchase at that store. On the first day both stores gave away 5 Gold Convoys each - you could enter the draw for each Car Robot item you purchased at the store. On the second day both stores gave away 2 Gold Convoys each. On this drawing the campaign was "Which is your favourite Convoy?" and entered your details on a ballot to be drawn later.
B) Kiddy Land Campaign (between 15th and 28th November 2000) Send in a postcard between the allotted dates to be entered in a draw to win 1 Gold Convoy.
C) TV Magazine Convoy Present Campaign - from July 2000 TV Magazine edition send a coupon attached to a postcard no later than the 5th July to be entered into the draw. Winners were identified in Septembers issue. The Convoy Gold ver were limited to 10 pieces in this drawing.

15th Anniversary Black Version (Takara, 2000)

A black repaint limited to 2000 pieces which was available at Jafcon 8, Wonderfest and Osaka Toyland between July and September. Source:

Special Edition (Takara, 2002)

A reissue which features both the standard and bloated guns, a die-cast Matrix, the Action Master which was previously unreleased in Japan, Buggy (Roller) is now blue, a mouse mat and Convoy has the blue windscreen last seen in the Good Bye Convoy set. Source:

Commemorative Series (Hasbro, 2002)

Hasbros version comes with shorter smokestacks, longer missiles, a silver Roller and the spring in the trailer to fire Roller has been removed. The box art on this release is also Takara's version

European Box Variant. Source:

Transformers Collection (Takara, 2003)

Comes with a blue coloured Buggy (Roller), a bloated gun and a new energy axe weapon. Source:

Pepsi Convoy (Takara, 2005)

A repainted cab in Pepsi's colours. This comes with a new trailer which can store a Pepsi bottle and the "bloated" gun. Source:

Pepsi Optimus Prime (Hasbro, 2007)

Identical to Takaras 2005 release this this features shorter smokestacks. Source: eBay

Encore (Takara, 2007)

Near identical to the 2000 reissue featuring a silver Buggy (Roller) and "bloated" gun. This version however features the Cybertron / Autobot logos printed on the shoulders. Source: eBay

Music Label (Takara, 2007)

In Apples trademark white colour, this features an all new trailer which is an ipod docking station. The robot mode also has a newly moulded head which is now on a ball joint. This also comes with the "bloated" gun.

Repainted in the familiar G1 deco

Music Label "Exile" edition (Takara, 2008)

A repaint promoting Japanese pop band "Exile". Source: eBay

Universe (Hasbro, 2008)

This reissue features the same longer missiles and shorter smokestacks of the 2002 Commemorative Edition however the trailer is now spring loaded to fire Roller. The red, blue and grey colours are also much lighter. This also comes with the best feature released with a G1 Optimus toy - a sound box with the voice of Peter Cullen. The Autobot logos like the Encore version have been printed on the shoulders. North American version. Source: eBay

The European version which did not come with the DVD but retains the comic. Source:

Transformers Chronicle (Takara, 2011)

Similar to the Encore edition this features the Cybertron / Autobot logos printed in the shoulder and the trailer hitch has been remoulded to fit the hand gun in vehicle mode. This comes with the bloated gun variant and only comes with 1 trailer which fits the G1 and Deluxe Dark of the Moon Optimus Prime versions. Source: eBay

Source: eBay

Convoy Reissue Bape Ver. Bathing Ape (Takara, 2011)

An exclusive redeco of the 2007 Encore version. Source:

Convoy Reissue Bape Ver. Black Bathing Ape (Takara, 2012)


Reissue (Hasbro, 2012)

A reissue of the 2002 Commemorative Edition. This version does not state "Commemorative Edition" on the box and comes with the lighter grey trailer of the 2008 Universe reissue and a blue Roller. The Optimus cab utilises the mould of the 2011 Transformers Chronicle reissue where the trailer hitch has been remoulded to fit the hand gun in vehicle mode.  Source: eBay

Convoy Reissue Bape Ver. Red Camo Bathing Ape (Takara, 2013)

Source: eBay

G1 Vintage Reissue (Hasbro, 2019)

This Hasbro release comes with longer smokestacks for the first time since the Generation 2 release (not counting the unchanged Japanese reissues). However this version is noticeably without the trailer and Roller. It does however come with the 2 gun variants (fat and thin). The only other release which came with both guns was Takara's Convoy Special Edition (aka New Year Convoy) in 2002.

G1 Reissue Transformers 35th Anniversary Set (Takara Tomy, 2019)

1 comment:

  1. Great post, but appears to miss some like there are 2 variants of bloated metal plates (stampings under the trailer are different).
    Misses the light blue version of which there are 2 versions (1 has smooth bumper). Plus there are a couple more variant boxes of the g2 non-US boxes. There is a g1 takara no barcode variant box.
    Has the euro commemorative box but not the us box prime. i wish i could remember more details on the 15th Anniversary Gold Version.