Robotmasters Toy Review: Beast Convoy

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Maximal, Robotmasters

Robotmasters Transformers

General Information:
Release Year: August 2004
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $25 (Depending on Import Retailer)
Accessories: Missile Launcher, Missile, Swords x 2


When Beast Wars Megatron stomps around causing trouble - often Optimus Primal won't be far behind trying to stop him! That rings true in Robotmasters where "Beast Convoy" arrives on Earth to aid the Cybertrons in their fight against Beast Megatron's Destrons. Beast Convoy is also one of the few original molds introduced in wave one of Robotmasters.

Tech Specs (Translated by Doug Dlin):
Function: Supreme Commander

Profile: Capable young commander from the planet Energois (ancient Earth). Takes pride in being able to fight alongside G1 Convoy, whom he highly respects. Can be stubborn and temperamental, but also likes joking with his teammates.

Weapon(s): Plasma Canon, Mega Blaster, Cyber Blade

Rank: 10 Power: 9 Defense: 9 Stamina: 10 Speed: 8

Robot Mode:
Beast Convoy (whom I will refer to as "Convoy" for parts of this review) takes a cue from the design of G1 Convoy in that he
takes basic design elements of the larger toy (in G1 Convoy's case, it was Masterpiece Convoy) and incorporates them
into a smaller form with some new features. In this case, the designers looked to the original Gorilla Optimus Primal toy
as their basis. Like Beast Megatron, the goal here was to create a toy that was more accurate to the character's representation on the television show, and in that respect, this toy does a very good job.

In general, Beast Convoy's design mirrors that of the ultra Optimus Primal from Beast Wars, but it is not just a scaled down version of that mold. Functionally speaking, some parts differ:

  • Action Features: The spring loaded action features of the larger toy were not incorporated into this toy. That means the missile launchers do not spring to the front, and the arms do not have a "slashing" action - which really works fine in the context of the the design.
  • No Morning Star: Since the toy is meant to represent the character as seen on the show, his right arm no longer has a morning star in it, but rather a second dual barreled blaster.
  • Wrist Blasters: In the original Optimus Primal toy, to reveal his wrist blaster you had to basically make the fist fold back (this was spring loaded). However, in the show his arm didn't become the blaster, the blaster was on his lower arm over the fist. Here you flip up panels on either lower arm and dual barreled blasters emerge without the arm flipping back.

Not only does the design differ in functionality, but there are sculpt elements that are different as well:

  • Head design: The head sculpt used in this figure is based off the animated show, not the original toy. It has no "Mutant Head" and the antennae on the sides of the head look more like curved blades (as they did in the show). Of course, the most important feature is the mouthplate, which has a split in the middle where Convoy's mouth can clearly be seen.
  • Hand Design: The hands have been sculpted in an open palmed position, not something very common in the Transformers line. What's nice is that the fingers are slightly curled inward so when you put the swords in his hands, they still look like they're being held, not just stuck to the palms.
  • The cannons on his back are no longer missile launchers, so they are sculpted to look more like the cannons he had on the show complete with an eggplant shaped end with a small barrel end.
  • To better represent Convoy's ability to fly, his lower back has thrusters sculpted into it.

Convoy's colors are pretty much the same as the ones from the original toy. However, all the white parts are now a slightly darker off white. In addition, Convoy does not have a Maximal symbol. Rather, an Autobot symbol can be found on his upper left arm, reminscent of Universe Optimus Primal's symbol.I was a bit disappointed to see that his swords were painted blue. While the original toy had blue swords too, this toy is meant to represent the show version, which had silver swords.

Storage-wise, Beast Convoy can still stash his swords in the compartment on his back. You need to life up the shoulder cannons on each side, then just attach the swords via pegs to the sides of the back piece.

Beast convoy has sixteen points of articulation, including an impressive four points of articulation on each arm. And while his "action features" have been removed, he still has a lot of playability. His cannons still swing over his shoulders, they just don't do so automatically. He has two swords, which fit into his hand via pegs and holes. He also has a dual barrelled weapon in each wrist as mentioned above. What's neat is that Convoy comes with an additional piece, a small gray rectangle that both swords attach to, then you can take that piece and attach it to his hand, effectively creating a double bladed weapon. And, this small rectangular piece can be stored in his back as well! Very nice. Beast Convoy also comes with one of the translucent blue missile launchers (the same design as the one included with G1 Convoy. This can attach to the hole on the top of the wrist cannons.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Swing the should pads down to cover the upper arms.
  2. Push the robot head back and swing the chest piece up to go over it. The gorilla face piece will automatically flip.
  3. Rotate the waist piece around.
  4. Push the robot feet up.
  5. Flip the beast mode "toes" section around.
  6. Move the lower legs up so they angle, allowing the figure to walk on all fours.
  7. Swing the back piece down to hide the swords.

Beast Mode:
As impressed as I am with the robot mode, the beast mode is quite a disappointment. This is not so much due to the transform, which I think has some nice points to it. Rather, what gets me the most is the head sculpt. While I love the fact that the beast mode head flips on its own as you raise/lower the chest piece, it still looks too wide and goofy. The face looks out of proportion with the rest of the toy, and it does not really resemble the show model's head sculpture at all. I'm also not happy that they took the oval grey designs on either side of his head and just made it flat, instead of a sculpted ear piece.

The inevitable problem with this design comes in loud and clear too - robot color/bits showing too easily in beast mode. The biggest offenders are the upper arms of the robot mode peeking through. Unfortunately, with this design and totally rethinking the look of the character, these are hard flaws to overcome.

Convoy's beast mode has twelive primary points of articulation. Most of this is in the arms of course.

Final Thoughts:
Beast Convoy is a neat little toy. The beast mode is disappointing yes, which is why he doesn't get a resounding "Buy this now!!" Rather, if you want a substitute for your larger Optimus Primal figure - or if you never purchased that figure before, this is a neat little substitute. The robot mode is nice, and its transformation has some neat features. Worth checking out.