This is a Generation 1 Transformers Optimus Prime, the most recognisable of all Transformers. A boxed G1 Prime has a certain allure and glow, regardless of the endless number of global packaging variants that exist. There are vintage US and UK Hasbro Primes, Mexican, Yugoslavian, Italian, Asian, multilingual Milton Bradley, multilingual Hasbro, Canadian bilingual, Takara 01 Japanese, gold box "Original" Optimus Primes and here we have the Portuguese release of this famous and iconic toy.
A number of years ago, a seller from Portugal listed MISB G1 Autobot cars Mirage and Hound, as well as a sealed Optimus Prime. The price was right on Prime and it was a previously unseen variant, so I snapped it up. It was, I think, the first high grade sealed vintage toy I had owned as an adult collector. I didn't keep it long because it was at a time when a lot of my vintage toys were being sold off for the second time I sold Prime for a tidy profit and I understand he scored 85 with the AFA. The new owner had it graded. The number may not be a meaningful scale to me, but what it confirmed was that this was a very lovely sealed Optimus Prime. From PORTUGAL!
I have not seen another like this since, which makes me wish I had spent more time dissecting it. I do have these photographs though, and they say a lot. First of all, looking at the first picture in the article, we can see that the three stock images of Prime above the window have no white border, this is reminiscent of Mexican G1 packaging and more importantly, the very first early pre rub G1 Optimus box templates from the "No Grey Border" period. As a result we see a few black blocks on the box copyright under the techspec, most notably the one which has "Hasbro Bradley Inc" printed over it, because this box template would originally have said "Hasbro Industries".
The bit about being manufactured in Japan is also blocked over, because the Prime in this package actually has its whole copyright under the trailer blocked off - something I could see through the clear window on the box front. It is a 90s Chinese manufactured Optimus, the same that would have ended up in Asian G1 Primes such as Singapore released ones. It more than likely has the sections of styro cut away from the insert tray's base, so not a flat styro base like we are all used to from vintage Optimus packaging.
Having not opened the Portuguese Prime all those years ago, what provided the most interest was the long vertical sticker that the Portuguese distributor had placed on the box back. The Autobot cars he was selling had them too. This sticker not only has the distributor information for Portuguese release and case assortment number, but also package contents and transformation instructions as the paperwork is no doubt still in English.
What is most interesting about this release, beyond the fact that it proves just how widely this toy was sold back in the day (we just found them in Yugoslavian packaging!), is that it is a very late 90s era Generation 1 toy released in a box which uses the earliest template that Hasbro would have produced. If anyone knows of more Portuguese G1 TFs, I'd love to see them!
All the best