Series: Beast Wars Neo
For those who might not know: in Japan Optimus Prime was called Convoy and most succeeding leaders who, in the west, would have had “Prime” (or “Primal”) in their name somewhere, ended up being a something-Convoy in Japan (Rodimus Convoy, Lio Convoy, Galaxy Convoy, etc.). Same with the Japanese-exclusive Beast Wars Neo line, where the good guy leader was called Big Convoy. Now I never bought the original Big Convoy figure, seeing as I had already bought Universe Nemesis Prime
before I ever learned who Big Convoy was, but now that Takara-Tomy has released an Encore version of him, I couldn’t resist after all.
Quite a few Beast Wars Neo figures were shell-formers and few more so than Big Convoy. If you remove his many kibble parts, you can almost completely assemble his beast mode shell, leaving the robot mode separate. This might also be the reason why Big Convoy, despite having “big” in his name”, is actually the smallest of the three Beast Wars Ultra class leaders (Optimus Primal and Lio Convoy being the other two). Quite a bit of mass was put aside for his kibble.
Despite the kibble (or maybe even because of it), Big Convoy strikes an imposing figure. The mammoth tusks on his shoulders make him extremely wide (in the cartoon he had to turn sideways to walk through most doors) and he just looks very powerful. That is before you hand him his main weapon, a hilariously large gun (a true BFG, one might say) that has the beast mode’s tusk hanging off the end of it. It’s huge, it’s unwieldy, probably highly impractical, but it just looks right for him. You can also store it on his back, thus adding even more kibble to this guy.
Apart from the big gun, Big Convoy has quite the number of gimmicks built into him. His arms contain two flip-out batons, the kibble on his legs conceals two missile launchers, and his chest opens up to reveal a removable Matrix of Leadership. Side note: Big Convoy was actually the very first figure with a removable Matrix inside of him. The Matrix has two handles that Big Convy can easily grip, making all kinds of cool “Light our Darkest Hour” poses possible.
Articulation is very good here and the paint job has been slightly adapted for this Encore version here, making it even more cartoon accurate than the original figure was (the original didn’t have yellow shoulders, for example). So bottom line for the robot mode: very good. Unless you absolutely loathe kibble, this is a great robot.
The tusks and trunk have probably clued you in, Big Convoy transforms into a wooly mammoth. As mentioned above, the beast mode is pretty much comprised entirely of kibble with the robot curling up inside the shell. The big gun forms the back, trunk and rear of the mammoth. The limbs have no articulation here at all, but the lever on top causes the trunk to move and both the ears and the tusks can move as well.
The mammoth also has a kind of attack mode, which basically sees the big gun swinging around 180 degrees so that the missile launcher now faces forward and the trunk hangs off the back. Looks a bit strange, but works just fine. So bottom line for the beast mode: well done in a strange, shell-former kind of way.
In Japan the long wait between seasons 1 and 2 of the Beast Wars series was filled with a Japanese-exclusive spin-off series called Beast Wars II. Its cast was mainly composed of Beast Wars toys that hadn’t appeared in the original BW series, usually with a slightly altered paint job. Then, though, came Beast Wars Neo, which featured all-new toys, many of which would remain exclusive of Takara for years to come. Among them was Big Convoy, the no-nonsense, hard-boiled, take-no-prisoners leader of the Cybertrons (Maximals). For everyone who is interested, both Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo are now available with English subtitles.
As for Big Convoy as a figure, I personally like him a lot, but he is probably not for everyone. He is a beast former, he is a shell former, and he has lots of kibble. Plus he’s a kind of obscure character that few people in the West really know much about. But if you’re a Beast Wars fan, I’d definitely recommend taking a look at this figure.
Tags: - Animal: Mammal - Beast Wars Neo - Cybertron - Shell-Former - Takara