Robotmasters Toy Review: G1 Convoy

in 2003, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Robotmasters

Robotmasters Transformers

General Information:
Release Year: July 2004
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $25 (Depending on Import Retailer)
Accessories: Missile Launcher, Missile, Rifle, Axe, "Rifle" fists x 2, "Missile Launcher" fists x 2

Images:

Robotmasters is a line that takes an old Takara formula and resuses it, with varying degrees of success. The formula is simple. Take a couple brand new molds, toss in a pile of redecos and call it a line. One of the new molds for this line is the Cybertron commander himself, Convoy. Dubbed "G1 Convoy"
to distinguish him from the Beast Wars convoy due next month (that being August 2004), this toy is a whole new sculpt and design based in part on the design of Masterpiece Convoy.

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

Profile: A heroic warrior who protects innocent life. His teammates trust himdeeply. Aside from weapon attacks with his favorite Convoy Gun, his specialty is punching. His foremost hope is for peaceful use of solitarium ore.

Weapon(s): Convoy Gun, Energy Axe, Missile Launcher

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

Robot Mode:
This version of Convoy is designed (in sculpt and deco) to represent the animated version of the character. The primary design cue that you find is the Autobot symbol only being on the left shoulder instead of both (as the original G1 toy had). The sculpt is also based on the G1 animated design. His head has a much more elongated design than the original toy (which had a slightly more squat, rounded head) and the fender is not seen in this mode. The waist are beveled sections just like the animated program and he has the yellow designs on his waist that weren't present in the original toy.

In many ways, this toy emulates details of the Masterpiece Convoy toy. Here's a list of details inspired by Masterpiece Convoy:

  • The legs are rather thick and have several raised parts that look like the Masterpiece Convoy's legs. This includes how detailed the vents are and the lines cut through the blue portions of the leg and feet. Other details that are similar to Masterpiece Convoy are raised surfaces on the upper legs.
  • On the underside of the lower arms you'll see some tech details that match up to the location that Masterpiece Convoy uses
    for pulling in the robot hand in during transformation.
  • On the elbow portion of the arms, you'll see details resembling hydraulics, which Masterpiece Convoy has as well.
  • Also worth noting, Convoy's Autobot symbol is actually sculpted on his left arm instead of being just a sticker or paint app.

Some apsects of this design are rather unique however. Instead of a traditional waist connected to legs section, the top portions of his upper legs are actually the left and right sides of the waist. This is a simpler way of giving his upper legs posability where the upper body meets the legs, and I get the feeling it was simpler to do this than the "waist panels" system used on Masterpiece Convoy. Depending on the pose, this can look a bit odd or very cool.

The deco of the toy is definitely more "anime" than "G1 toy". His primary colors are flat red and blue. Silver also makes up a good portion of the upper legs and other details (such as his smokestacks and face). Details include dark gray on the leg vents, yellow on the waist lines and the two lines and arrow on his wrists and silver lining around each window on his chest. Interestingly enough, Takara chose to color the gun silver and blue as they did with Masterpiece Convoy instead of the more cartoon accurate color of black. Even his feet have more than your typical Convoy deco with an orange rectangle with a smaller yellow one on top.

Convoy has been given an additional weapon along with his traditional rifle. This weapon is a translucent blue and silver missile launcher, with a radically different design than his regular rifle. It's larger with small fins on the sides and top and the silver barrel piece has several protrusions reminiscent of the Beast Machines Tank Drone's cannon. The missile is long enough to meet US standards, so one would hope little would have to be changed should this toy ever be issued in the US. The missile launcher's handle is rounded while the rifle's is rectangular. Thus, Convoy actually comes with two sets of hands, one with rectangular holes and the other with circular holes. Aside from the holes, the hands are identical, so you can have one of each type of hand on him at a time.

Speaking of hands, having his hands be removable serves another purpose. Convoy comes with his Energon Axe as well! The piece is cast in translucent orange plastic and snaps into the wrist just like the fists do. What I like is how simple the sculpt on the axe is. It has the little energy "burst" pattern at the base and then a simple axe shape. They didn't try to "fancy it up" or anything, which in this case works well.

Convoy has sixteen points of articulation, which is a good number for a Transformer this size. And what's great is that these points are all useful including ball jointed shoulders, elbow articulation and foot articulation. I do wish they had added one more point on the legs to allow them to turn outward, but lacking that doesn't affect the functionality of the toy at all.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons from Convoy's hands.
  2. Turn the head around and fold it down into the hole behind the head.
  3. Swing the fists inward so the headlights show.
  4. Swing the upper body back a bit, then turn it around at the waist, then swing the upper body piece back down.
  5. Swing the upper arms all the way back so the smokestacks are in the back, then swing the lower arms against the waist pieces which will flip up.
  6. Push the two legs together and straighten out the feet/toes.
  7. Swing the legs up.

Vehicle Mode:
Convoy's truck cab mode is perhaps the weakest point of this toy, which is unfortunate. While its overall appearance is okay, utilizing a fairly classic Optimus Prime transform scheme (with a couple differences tossed in for good measure), the end result feels a bit unfinished. This is primarily because of the
plastic strip that the upper body rests on, connecting to the lower body. Because this "strip" is so thick (relatively speaking), it elevates the upper body a bit too much, giving the truck a hollow (albeit thin) gap between the upper part of the truck and the lower part. It's not a huge, horrible thing - but it's very distracting when you're used to seeing Convoy's truck mode as one solid object rather than two objects connected at the middle.

The thing is, I really don't know how they could have done this better without either thinning the piece in the middle (which would then probably cause it to break easily) or redesigning the arms so they're thicker (but then they'd look out of proportion).

Still, the truck mode does the job of giving Convoy an alternate mode, and his classic one at that. The detailing is still nice, with the dual headlights (another nod to Masterpiece Convoy), tech details on the top of the cab (another nod) and if you look carefully, you'll see a hole for a hitch in the back! Can a trailer be in the works? Time will tell.

Not surprisingly, the wheels are plastic, but they're sculpted with deep ridges, giving the illusion of tires with lots of traction. One detail I do really like are the sides near the front tires where it looks like metal plates are bolted on.

Color-wise the toy is what you'd expect. The grill, headlights and fender are silver. The front portion is mostly red with the back being blue. The tires are black with silver for the hubcaps. The "tanks" on either side of the vehicle are silver as well.

Final Thoughts:
Robotmasters G1 Convoy is a toy full of highs and lows. The robot mode is very well done and is a great "mini" representation of the Masterpiece Convoy. The designers popped in a bunch of details they really didn't have to, and that's always appreciated. The vehicle mode is lacking, but it's not horrific either. However, I do have a great affection for this toy since it is a "pocket sized" Convoy that kids (and older collectors) can easily carry around without losing easily (as you could with World's Smallest Convoy). Overall, I'd recommend this toy to the completist who wants every Prime or every Robotmasters toy or someone who just wants a fun little Prime/Convoy to play with.