Transformers Prime: First Edition Optimus Prime
(voyager class)

(February, 2012) For those of you who have not heard the story, the distribution for the limited-edition Transformers Prime First Edition toys has become something of a fiasco that threatens to become an infamous sore-point in the annals of Transformers collecting. The first wave of these toys consisted of the Deluxe-class figures, and out of the US retailers, only Toys R Us was interested enough to bite. Many of us eagerly awaited the second wave which would include the voyager-class figures Bulkhead and Optimus Prime, which would later be followed by the mass-market Transformers Prime Robots In Disguise line. Many collectors, like myself, have become wary (and weary) of the toy distribution issues here in the United States and abroad (where the situation is usually much worse), and so many of us turned to the online retailer Big Bad Toy Store, who stated they'd be the only US outlet to carry the voyagers, and offered up their customary pre-orders. I made sure to jump at a pre-order in November as soon as they were made available, and then I waited patiently as Canadian Toys R Us stores got their shipments of the voyagers.

Flash forward to the last full-week in January of this year, and the news broke that there would be no further waves of First Edition Prime toys, followed shortly thereafter by the news that BBTS wouldn't get their shipments in either and would be substituting the FE pre-orders with the R.I.D equivalents, which would be completely different molds. The weeping and gnashing of teeth began, and the toy-scalpers got wind of the news and reacted like lightning. I watched as one Amazon merchant jacked up his price on the FE voyager Optimus from $45.00, to $65.00 overnight, and within another 48 hours he'd raised his remaining stock to $75.00 per figure. The last I checked he was selling them for $95.00 a pop. Keep in mind that in the states this figure was going to retail for about $22.00, and sold in Canadian Toys R us stores for $29.99 before tax. Many eBay sellers also jumped at the chance to jack up their aftermarket prices, and I saw FE voyager Optimus figures sell from anywhere between $65.00 and $99.00 US. It was a frustrating, disheartening spectacle to those of us who had really looked forward to these figures, and whom had passed up online sales when the prices were reasonable in the weeks before the news broke.

Like many others, I turned to online fans in Canada who were willing to acquire and sell these figures at close to cost plus shipping. While this made the figures cost over twice as much as we would have paid had our pre-orders materialized, it certainly beat paying four times as much, plus shipping. Quite a few fans stepped forward and came through for as many fellow fans as they could, and in my case I'd like to extend a hearty shout-out to Gino over on the TFW2005 forums for grabbing one of these toys for me. I really appreciate it, man!

Anyway, after much stress and annoyance, I finally have my FE Optimus Prime. Yeah, he cost me more than twice as much as I would have paid, but I'm glad to have him anyway. And now that the tale is told, on to the photos. Enjoy!

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Last Revised: Sunday, February 12, 2012