Series: Beast Wars Japan
Many thanks to fellow TF-Fan BlackZarak, who loaned me his Convoy for this review. This figure is, of course, a slightly modified version of the original Beast Wars Ultra-class Optimus Primal
, which I have previously reviewed. Itís been almost seven years, though, so I think we can find the time for a full review for this new version.
Before we get into the details of the figure itself, letís look at the things that were changed in comparison to the 1996 original version. Starting on top, Reborn Convoy got a new head. Not only does it skip the Mutant Head gimmick, itís also a good deal more TV accurate, not only but also because of the mouth. The other major change in robot mode is the chest plate, which was also slightly remolded to more closely resemble the TV look. Finally, Reborn Convoyís furry parts arenít black anymore, but rather a dark shade of grey. Overall the changes are an improvement in my mind, though the fur colour doesnít really have an impact on me one way or the other.
On to the figure itself. As an Ultra-class figure Convoy is a massive toy, but manages to be very articulated at the same time. His range of movement is pretty awesome, showing once again that Beast Wars was the innovator of posing ability. Whatís even more impressive is that Convoy manages to retain his superb articulation despite containing a multitude of gimmicks, all of which are weapons, making him one big, mean fighting machine.
Convoyís big rucksack contains two missile launchers, which can flip forward to rest upon his shoulders. In the space where the launchers used to rest you can now see two curved swords for Convoy to wield, either one in each hand or as a wicked-looking double blade. He also has weapons in both arms. His left arm snaps open to reveal a double-barrelled gun, while the other contains a skull-shaped morning star. By the way, the morning star is the only one of these many weapons that Convoy/Primal never used in the TV show.
As a final gimmick Convoy has a lever on his back that causes his arms to move. You can either utilize it as a thumb-his-chest move (though that oneís more fitting for beast mode) or make him twirl his swords around like crazy. Not the greatest gimmick ever, but fun.
So overall: Convoy is one hell of a fun toy in robot mode. He combines gimmicks, cool look, and articulation into one fine package and has no flaws worth mentioning. A great robot mode.
Convoy transforms into a gorilla, naturally, and apart from the fur colour the only difference here is the apeís face. The Reborn version has a completely resculpted face that looks both more natural and more screen-accurate than that of the 1996 version. Very nicely done, I must say. You can almost imagine him starting to talk any second now.
Apart from the changes itís still the same gorilla, of course. Most of the robot parts are hidden well, only the arms show a bit. There isnít that much you can here, as the gorillaís articulation is somewhat more limited than the robotís and the only gimmick that works in this mode is the arm-swinging thing. Still, considering that the gimmick of the 1996-lineup of Beast Wars toys was the fact that they turned into realistic-looking beasts, one can only say: well done. Not the most intricate beast mode in the world, but fully adequate for this figure.
The history of this Ultra-class figure is a long and complicated one. It started out as Optimus Primal in Beast Wars in 1996. One year later Takara released it as Convoy for its version of the Beast Wars line, along with several variants in 1998 (Real Grey Type, Skeleton Type, Burning Convoy, etc.). Hasbro made a brief guest appearance with a butt-ugly Universe repaint in 2003. Then came this figure here, which was released for the 10th anniversary of Beast Wars in 2006. The Japanese anniversary series ďTelemochaĒ didnít start until one year later, though, seeing as Beast Wars started airing in Japan in 1997, not 1996. So Reborn Convoy here, along with his package-partner Megatron, is a bit of an oddity, especially since the Telemocha series (just one year later, as I said) brought out yet another version of this figure, which skipped the remolded head and chestplate of this figure here, but kept the remolded ape face. Confused yet? Good, because one must assume that this was Takaraís goal in all this.
Complicated history aside, though, the fact remains that this is one excellent figure. Despite being filled to the brim with gimmicks the figure doesnít suffer in terms of articulation, look, or TV accuracy, quite the contrary. In direct comparison to the original 1996 figure this Reborn version here does look slightly better to me, but the difference isnít that profound. So the bottom line here is: everyone who isnít completely opposed to the idea of beast mode Transformers should own at least one version of this excellent figure.