|Beast Convoy Review Capsule
|Beast Convoy is a new attempt at a fan favorite character, this time with an Autobot-style Cybertron faction symbol and an all-new mold. He's posable, has no spring-loaded punching gimmicks, and no goofy head. And for fans of Beast Wars, he's going to be a favorite, even if he is a little expensive. Snag it if you see it.
A common complaint with fans of TransFormers toys is that the toys and television models of the characters don't jive as much as they should. While Energon sees virtually no deviance between the two, the CG-based Beast Wars had many, many changes-- in some cases, a ridiculous amount. When Beast Convoy was released as Optimus Primal in the USA, he had a full robot face shield, a toothy gorilla grin, a "mutant" head, and scores of spring-loaded gimmicks. Well, those are pretty much all gone now.
Fans wanting this character more in-scale with their other Beast Wars toys or just wanting one more accurate to the show are in for a big treat. Fans hoping for a big, action-packed toy are going to be disappointed. As this toy was totally resculpted and intended to look more like the TV show, fans will probably rejoice over such a great new addition to Robot Masters.
Some previous Robot Masters were repaints, and others were written off as existing toys that were shrank down-- which for the record, they aren't. Beast Convoy is a very obvious new mold and not merely a shrunken down version of the old toy with a new head.
The G1-style face used on all Optimus and Convoy toys has been dropped in favor of a proper mouth. The figure is highly posable, with joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, knees, and ankles. You can get quite a few nifty poses out of this guy, but it doesn't feel as posabe as, say, Cheetor.
The new head is a huge improvement and should please fans of the Beast Wars animated show with its accuracy. It feels a little fragile, which is odd given that Robot Masters is supposedly aimed toward youngsters and not collectors. The work put into the sculpt really shows, and the resulting face is a good one with no goofy smirks or otherwise unusual facial expressions.
This highly posable robot has a number of added features that, while not spring loaded, bring out a lot of personality in an already great toy.
The jetpack is a little tough to see in the picture on the right, and we raised some of the pieces to make it easier to view. You can also see where the cannons go, which are deployed on the image on the left. The weapons don't fire, but gosh darn it they look cool.
The wrist cannons pop out when the hatch is raised, and yes, they are spring loaded. Again, they don't fire rockets but they really look fantastic. This also means that this toy does pretty much everything the character does on the TV show, which is a big plus.
In beast mode, Beast Convoy is a gorilla. While he's a little more normal looking, he still isn't a dead-ringer for the television model in sculpt or color-- but it's a big improvement overall.
It's as posable as you can hope for but it really can't do much because of how the toy is created. The back gorilla legs, if moved, look a little odd because it exposes the white from the robot legs. The face is a little more mellow than before, but aside from that the figure is really no better or worse than the original version of the gorilla from 1996.
The transformation sequence is the same as before. Flip around the legs, pop out some shoulder pads, manipulate the feet into the right position, the only really tricky part is getting the gorilla back moved up and the gorilla face down. This time around, the face is on gears so it automatically rotates out of the way, revealing the robot chest. The mechanism is quite clever but the rotation doesn't always go as far as it should, meaning you still need to click it into place anyway.
Accessories & Gimmicks
The toy doesn't have all the weapons that its original counterpart included, but it does include a rocket launcher and some swords-- and this is not a bad deal!
The rocket launcher is the same mold used for both Convoys and Megatron from the first series, and is decorated the same as the standard Convoy weapon. As such, it's nothing new, but it adds a little something to the figure and most certainly doesn't suck.
For those looking for easily lost parts, take a look at the swords. In addition to both blades, which can store in the back of the toy, there's a little block you can use to join them both into a much larger weapon. The little block piece can be stored in the back of the figure, but it rattles around a little-- so take care not to lose it. Some have speculated that this was only included with the toy for shipping purposes, but as it does serve a function you might as well hang on to it.
It's not too fancy, but hey, it works. These weapons aren't precisely colored as they could be-- as the swords aren't blue on the show-- but they still work and should please those seeking a more accurate toy of Optimus Primal or Beast Convoy.
Packaging & Tech Specs
This toy came packaged in regular Robot Masters packaging, which is fairly intricate. Inside a box, there's a three-piece plastic tray to hold the figure in place, which is surprisingly extensive for a small toy. Best of all, there's no twist ties!
Not only does it look fairly nice, it's sturdy, dynamic, and has a lot of information on it. For example, the character stats are right on the front of the packaging-- a first. Unfortunately, they also added the clip-n-save card on the back, instead of having a trading card inside the box that's pre-cut and all of that. Still, the packaging has so many layers that you'll feel like what you're opening is a very expensive toy-- and while it may have been, that's mostly the fault of the importers.
Other Notes & Images
While there aren't many other things you can highlight about the actual toy, here's a few extra photos.
Here, see him next to the other Robot Masters new molds released thus far. Also see him duking it out with Beast Convoy for total supremacy.
Many fans have asked "so, how does he compare to Dinobot?" As we packed ours away due to an upcoming move, we dug up Grimlock, a toy made from the exact same mold. As you can see, the scale is a little closer to the show, but it's still far from being totally perfect.
Is it worth it? If you don't have any versions of this character, absolutely. If you're a collector, odds are this is going to be more your speed than the Universe version that Hasbro's currently offering in stores. Beast Convoy is almost a perfect update to the old toy-- his beast mode could be a little bit closer to the show, but as the line is all about robots, this toy should be a crowd pleaser. Snag one if you can, assuming the price is right of course.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample received on August 28, 2004 from a Japanese toy dealer for about $23 after shipping
Reviewed on September 14, 2004.