"Transformers" Missing Link C-01 Convoy Toy Review


"Missing Link" Logo

General Information:
Release Date: February 2024
Price Point: $119.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive (Available at U.S. retailers including BigBadToyStore and Entertainment Earth
Accessories: Rifle, Matrix of Leadership, Matrix Chamber, Roller (including six wheels), Energon Axe, Hose, Nozzle, Fuel Pump, Trailer/Base

Note: This review contains affiliate links to Amazon, BigBadToyStore and Entertainment Earth.

Official images and text below in italics are from Takara Tomy's site and translated via Google Translate:
A virtual reproduction version of the "Missing Link" series that may have existed in that era has been launched to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Transformers' birth! What if the first generation Convoy was fully portable? With the image of the original size, texture, and nostalgia, it has been commercialized with a completely new shape!

The size, deformation pattern, and basic configuration using some die-cast alloys follow the original Convoy toy, but the ideal Convoy Commander toy has been updated with movable joints for posing and gimmicks drawn in the anime. . Even the packaging and accessories are a thorough homage to the era, bringing back the excitement of opening a Transformers product in the 1980s even more than the reprint version. We reconsidered how to replace the fist during transformation, which was a regret in the product at the time, and it is now possible to completely transform the product by storing it inside without removing it. In addition, each joint, which had limited posing at the time, has been changed to movable, allowing you to pose freely. A Matrix can be stored in the chest as a reproduction from the anime scene. The newly designed fist has movable fingers, so you can remove the matrix and hold it in your hand. The anti-aircraft gun in the container can be separated from the container and rolled around, just like in the anime. The scout buggy "Roller" has a warning light drawn in the anime by flipping the rear end. The original grip part of the laser rifle has been changed to fit into the fist. The impressive weapon ``Energy Ax'' from the opening video of the anime is also included and can be attached to the fist. In addition, a red transparent "secret film" is included, and the play that can be decoded by overlaying it on the spec chart printed on the back of the package is back. The familiar "secret emblem" is also attached to the robot body, and when you warm it with your finger, the army mark will appear. The robot body is a three-dimensional sculpture of a mechanical mechanism that was previously expressed as a flat surface using stickers. A joint hole for a stand (sold separately) can be added to the back of the convoy to display it in action poses. Two new types of license plate user stickers that can reproduce the Japanese version box art and overseas version box art at the time are also added, and a newly designed collection card is also included.

In August 2023, Takara Tomy revealed Missing Link Convoy. This figure marries the wonderful nostalgia of Generation One toy design with modern day articulation, creating a figure that is the stuff of fan dreams. At first glance, the figure looked like another G1 Optimus Prime/Convoy reissue, but the various poses in Takara Tomy's pics and some of the sculpted details on the figure show that this is a brand new figure using a classic design as its foundation. In February 2024 this figure finally started shipping to fans. I received mine in early March 2024 from Amazon Japan. There were two variants of this figure released: "C-01" (Cybertron-01) a full release with cab, trailer and accessories and a smaller "C-02" release featuring just the cab in "Anime" colors. This review will focus on the "C-01" release. Also note: this figure was released as "Convoy", the Japanese name for Optimus Prime. I'll be using the two names fairly interchangeably when referencing the character's history.

When I took Missing Link Convoy out of the Amazon Japan shipping box I think I may have gasped a bit. Transformers packaging design has evolved a lot over the years, most of the time featuring amazing artwork and design. However, as a fan who grew up with G1, box designs inspired by that era never fail to grab at something very deep inside me. Missing Link Convoy's box uses the original Japanese G1 box as its starting point. It has the classic Japanese G1 logo with its gorgeous blue to white and red to white gradients. It also features the grid background that defined so many years of G1 packaging. You could be forgiven if the box art looks like G1 box art to you, but it is in fact a brand new piece of art based on Optimus Prime's iconic pose from "The Transformers: The Movie" as he launched into the air and aimed his rifle to take out the Decepticons attacking Autobot city. Takara Tomy went hard on being authentic, bringing back artist Shin Ueda to create Convoy's artwork. Ueda was the artist who drew Convoy's G1 box art, making him the perfect artist to create art for this new release.

The back of the box features the classic G1 "battle scene" with Optimus Prime/Convoy on the left and Starscream on the right with lots of explosions and Cybertronians battling it out around them. Below that is Convoy's tech spec. Sure it's in Japanese but I will tell you, it is really cool seeing a G1 styled tech spec that doesn't have to be in five plus languages and a classic stats grid on the right. The stats feature the red lines that "hide" the stats until you use the red plastic piece included with the set to "decipher" them! To the right are variations on Convoy's trailer transformation including using the trailer as a battle base or a repair tower.

Open up the box and you slide out a styrofoam tray. This is significant to the point where Takara Tomy even posted a news item about it last year! In the G1 era many boxed Transformers featured styrofoam trays. However, styrofoam is not really the most environmentally friendly material so instead of having tons of styrofoam winding up in landfills, Hasbro and Takara have opted instead for cardboard backers and/or plastic trays over the years. However, to maintain this figure's authentic G1 theme, Convoy and his accessories sit inside a styrofoam tray. I know it's not eco-friendly, but I cannot help but smile at this tray. It just takes me all the way back to 1984 and hits me hard with nostalgia. I also think Takara Tomy is (rightfully) betting that most people who buy this figure are not going to be tossing this tray. The packaging is a very important part of this set. Sure, some fans may toss the box in the garbage, but I suspect they will be in the minority.

This packaging is absolutely gorgeous and I am so happy that Takara Tomy put significant effort into creating it. Bringing back Shin Ueda was a stroke of brilliance and yes, the styrofoam tray has its own nostalgic value.

G1 Convoy had quite a few accessories, and Missing Link Convoy has even more, so hang in there because this section is going to be extensive! While one can consider the trailer/Combat Deck base an accessory to Convoy himself, I will be reviewing that in a separate section below.

Hose, Fuel Pump, Nozzle
I lump these three accessories together because they are meant to go together. The hose is a semi-flexible black plastic piece which looks like a hose. This attaches to the trailer when it is in Combat Deck base mode. This piece is slightly shorter than the one that came with G1 Optimus Prime. The other end then can attach to either the fuel pump (which looks like something you would still see today at gas stations) and a nozzle piece which can be whatever your imagination desires. Personally I like to think of it as either something to spray water or paint. All these pieces are black plastic. They are bagged together in a small plastic bag.

The rifle included with G1 Convoy had the peculiar distinction of not fitting in his hand properly. Instead of pointing forward, you would have to angle it for the weapon to sit in the hand firmly. For the purpose of this release, Takara Tomy decided to take care of business and create a whole new rifle accessory! The design is heavily based on previous designs including a vertical section in the back, a narrow section in the middle and a barrel end with a smaller barrel at the end of the weapon. The peg towards the back is the one intended for use by Convoy himself. The peg is 5mm and it fits perfectly in Convoy's hands while pointing forward. Then there is a second peg which is used to connect this rifle to Roller (more on him below). This piece is black plastic with no paint applications.

Matrix of Leadership
In the 1986 "The Transformers: The Movie" feature film, fans learned that Optimus Prime held an artifact of great importance inside his chest: the Autobot Matrix of Leadership! Since then, many Prime figures have included a Matrix including the Earthrise and Reactivate Optimus Prime figures. This figure continues that tradition with an all new Matrix accessory. This one is larger than the ones included with Earthrise and Reactivate Optimus. It features the iconic Matrix design with a ball in the center and handles on the sides. The Matrix is vacuum metallized gold with the "crystal" in the center painted metallic blue. Thanks to his hinged hands, Convoy can actually hold this Matrix (kind of) using the handles.

Matrix Chamber
If you are going to have a Matrix of Leadership, it has to fit in the chest somehow. However, the interior of Convoy's chest actually features two seats, a carry over from his Diaclone era design where "pilot" figures would sit inside this compartment. This design has carried over into this figure, and unlike the Matrix from the "New Year Edition" reissue, the Matrix included with this figure cannot fit into the tab in between the two seats to stay in place. Instead, the designers created a new piece that fits into slots on either side of the seats. This piece resembles the "Matrix Chamber" seen inside Optimus Prime's chest in the 1986 animated movie and it has a slot in the middle to fit the Matrix. This piece is vacuum metallized silver with no paint applications. I love the way the designers figured out a way to retain the Diaclone era seats while bringing in a Transformers era detail from the film.

Roller is the name of a small Autobot vehicle included with the original Convoy/Optimus Prime figure. In the Diaclone line this vehicle was meant to carry small figures (up to four of them). Takara Tomy could have easily just taken the old Roller sculpt and re-released it like they had previously. However, this time out they went a bit further. Instead of Roller just being a solid piece, the back seat now has the ability to rotate and reveal a small siren light! This is inspired by the character's appearance in the G1 episodes "More than Meets the Eye" Parts 2 and 3. While the original toy did not feature the light, he had it in the cartoon so now Takara has designed this Roller so you can decide whether you want a "classic toy" appearance or a "cartoon" appearance! If you do not have the siren light flipped up, there is a 5mm port allowing you to attach Convoy's rifle.

Roller requires minor assembly. His wheels come on a sprue. Pop them off and snap them on to the pegs on the sides and Roller is ready to go! Roller's main body is silver and the wheels are black. The siren light is translucent red with silver painted on the base. Fun note: even once you attach the wheels, Roller can still fit into the slot in the styrofoam tray.

Energon Axe
One of Convoy's most iconic weapons is his Energon Axe. It appeared in the original series and many incarnations of the character have included axe weapons (including Siege Optimus Prime). This set includes a new Energon Axe accessory. The axe blade has one large side and then a smaller one on the other side. The base is a ball of "energy" that actually has a hinged piece that swings open revealing a 5mm peg. This slots into Convoy's hand. Then you close the hinged panel and it looks like Convoy has "activated" his Energon Axe! This piece is translucent orange plastic with no paint applications.

Convoy Review

Vehicle Mode:
At first glance, it would be very easy to mistake Missling Link Convoy's vehicle mode as the original G1 version of the toy. The designers clearly used the original Convoy/Optimus Prime toy as the basis of the design. Many of the details on the vehicle are near identical to the original 1984 figure including the shapes of the windows, the row of lights on the top of the cab, the design of the grille and the details on the smokestacks. This new figure also has tiny details like the rounded "bolts" on the sides of the vehicle.

All that said, if you take a 1984 Optimus Prime figure and put it side by side with this figure you can start seeing some differences. Perhaps the most obvious are the headlights. The original Optimus Prime figure had holes where the headlights were. These were the attachment points for his fist accessories. However, Missing Link Convoy's hands are not separate accessories, so this figure has fully sculpted headlights featuring an oval with two circles inside. Another subtle yet significant detail are the rims of on the sides of each wheel. These details are different from the original, the most notable being the circular part that sticks out on the front wheels. These are much larger on this figure than they were on the original. On the rear wheels the shapes of the rim designs are a bit different as well. I really like the way the new figure borrows from the original in terms of detailing and design, but improves upon it in many ways with details like the headlights.

For those wondering, Missing Link Convoy does have die-cast metal parts in the same places as the 1984 Optimus Prime figure, most notably the panel that has the windshield windows. G1 toy enthusiasts will also be happy to hear that the wheels are rubber.

This figure features iconic Convoy colors including red, vacuum metallized silver and dark blue. Each side of the cab features a pre-applied Autobot symbol sticker and there is a heat sensitive rub symbol on the top of the cab.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the sections with the headlights out to the sides.
  2. Swing out the robot hands.
  3. Swing each upper arm section forward.
  4. Swing the robot head up.
  5. Swing the arms up a bit, then swing the front wheels up.
  6. Separate the halves of the rear section to begin forming the robot legs.
  7. Swing the robot legs down.
  8. Carefully pull the hip halves out to the sides, creating a gap between the two legs.
  9. Swing the robot feet up.

Robot Mode:
Much like the vehicle mode, when you first look at the robot mode on this figure you'd think "Oh, a G1 Optimus figure, that's cool." but the more you look at it the more you realize something is different! Many of the details from the 1984 figure carry over to this one including his iconic head sculpt featuring a large crest, mouth plate and antennae on the sides. He also has other distinct Convoy design elements including the smokestacks on his shoulders, the windshield windows on his chest and the vent like panels on his legs.

Here's where the designers decided to have some fun. There are many details on the original 1984 figure that utilized stickers to fill in. These include details on the top of the forearms and at the knees. This time out, the designers decided to actually sculpt those details into the figure! That means the two tubes and rectangular shape on the top of the forearms are no longer just a sticker, they are actual sculpted details that have been painted in! The same goes for the knees and the front of the feet. Even better, all these sculpted details are painted in featuring beautiful silver, metallic blue, red and yellow colors. From a sculpting standpoint these details elevate this figure in an delightful and unexpected way.

Okay, let's get down to it. We all know that aside from sculpt and colors it is the articulation on this figure that has really sold people. This figure features a staggering twenty nine points of articulation. This includes the head, eight in each arm (including hinged knuckles and shoulders that swing outward), five in each leg, partial waist articulation (including the foot being able to rotate, simulating an ankle tilt) and, I'm not kidding, an ab crunch! In contrast, the original 1984 Optimus Prime figure had twelve points of articulation (which was phenomenal for its time). All the joints are very nice and tight and the elbows and knees have ratchet joints, offering extra stability to the figure. I would be careful with the ab crunch as I had to use a tiny bit of force to get it to work, but it is amazing once you do. It is simply stunning how Takara Tomy started with the original 1984 Optimus Prime figure and added so much to it. I am very impressed!

As mentioned in the accessory section above, the rifle and Energon Axe can be attached to either hand.

Trailer/Combat Deck

Trailer Mode:
In 2019, Hasbro reissued the Optimus Prime cab as part of their Vintage G1 collection. At the time many wondered why the trailer was excluded. With the release of this version of the trailer I am now mostly convinced that the original tooling for the trailer was no longer viable and thus they excluded the trailer. The tooling has been in use in some form or another since the early 2000's when Convoy was reissued several times over the course of a decade. It would not surprise me if that trailer tooling was worn out. Fast forward to this trailer and even in its relatively simple, boxy trailer mode there are some obvious differences from previous releases. Now, it is important to note that there have been tons of variations of the Optimus Prime toy over the years but this is something else. When putting this trailer side by side with a 1984 trailer there are some key differences:

  • The front of the trailer has a small tab sticking out. On this new version of the trailer this piece is just a solid bit of plastic and does not move. Really, this is the button to launch Roller in the trailer's Combat Deck mode. However, this feature has been removed from this release (you read that right) so this tab is now purely decorative in nature.
  • On the back of the trailer there are tabs on the sides towards the top. The tabs on the Missing Link trailer are significantly larger than those on a 1984 trailer I had on hand for comparison.
  • On the bottom of the trailer there are nubs which help keep the supports stay in place in vehicle mode. On the new trailer these nubs are smaller with a hole in the middle while they are much larger with no hole on a 1984 trailer.
  • The section with the panel that connects to the cab is one large black piece of plastic on the Missing Link trailer but on a 1984 trailer I have for comparison it is more narrow and screws in differently.
  • The 1984 trailer I have on hand has trademark information on the bottom calling out both Hasbro and Takara indicating a manufacture location of Japan. Meanwhile, later reissues would have similar information but indicate a manufacture location of China. This new trailer only has Tomy's name on it with Vietnam listed as where it was manufactured.

The trailer is made mostly of grey plastic, but it is a significantly lighter shade of grey than the 1984 trailer I have here. That said, as the years went along and various reissues came out, the trailer color did change slightly here and there so this is no shock. The long stickers on the sides of the trailer also feature a lighter blue color on them than the 1984 trailer.

The trailer retains the functionality of the original. The wheels feature rubber tires that all roll independently. The back door can swing down, allowing you to roll some Autobots into the trailer for transport. Open up the trailer and pull up the pod inside with the radar dish and claw and you can extend up, then close the trailer up. It sticks out of a rectangular hole towards the front and adds offensive capability to Convoy in vehicle mode.

Transformation to Combat Deck

  1. Swing the back door down.
  2. Swing the supports on the bottom of the trailer out to the sides.
  3. Swing the sides of the trailer down.
  4. Extend the repair drone up, then extend the radar dish and claw arms.

Combat Deck:
Once you open up the trailer, it becomes very apparent that this is a newly tooled trailer and not a reuse of the same tooling from before. As was hinted in the trailer mode, a quick look at the middle of the Combat Deck base shows that the spring loaded launcher feature that would send Roller down the ramp has been removed. Instead, the middle of the trailer has been filled in with some line detail added in where there were once gaps for the springs. The piece that Roller would slot into has also been removed. I speculate this may have been done because of the complexities of recreating the mechanism making it too expensive to be worthwhile. That said, the designers did add a feature in that is unique to this version of the Combat Deck. Carefully push the repair drone section forward and the base and the entire piece will slide out! This winds up creating a repair drone that can roam around the battlefield helping out Autobots during combat. Indeed, this piece even has small wheels at the base which did not exist on previous versions of this set.

Adding evidence to my theory that this trailer is all new tooling is the claw on the repair drone is very different in design than the original 1984 version or the ones used on the various reissues over the years. The original was much thinner and featured a gap as part of the arm. This new version is much thicker and features no gaps. Also, the rod that supports the claw arm has several indentations running along it that are not present on the original. This does not affect the functionality at all, it just looks different. The traditionalist in me wishes the Roller launcher feature was still intact, but we've had decades of original and reissue Convoy/Optimus Prime toys with that feature so I'm just glad they put in a different feature in its place.

The rest of the Combat Deck base is pretty much the same as previous releases including having two seats for Diaclone sized pilots. The repair drone can open up to reveal another seat for a Diaclone pilot but in the process of tooling up this new version of the drone they failed to create a space for Diaclone pilot feet to slide into, so you can have a pilot awkwardly sit there but you cannot close the cockpit cover over it. The missiles included in this set fit into the front of the repair drone and can be launched using triggers on the sides (a rarity among Transformers toys nowadays). Also, don't worry fans, this is a Japanese release so the missiles are short and not the gigantic missiles used in U.S. reissues.

Taking inspiration from his Diaclone origins, Convoy's trailer can be stood up vertically with the repair drone facing down.  Convoy can then stand under the drone to make it look like he is being repaired after battle.  You will see this in one of the official Takara Tomy images in the gallery below.

The interior of the trailer is mostly the same silver/grey color as the exterior. The repair drone is a combination of blue, black, grey and translucent orange plastic. Stickers provide a lot of the details. Two large stickers are applied at the factory while you will have to apply the rest yourself. These are the same stickers as those used for the G1 release.

Final Thoughts:
Missing Link Convoy is a spectacular figure and this entire set is a thing of beauty. There have been so many Optimus Prime reissues over the years that a certain level of excitement was lost with each one. This was a brilliant way to bring interest back up fueled by a healthy dose of nostalgia. Highly recommended!


  • Beautiful new sculpt and tooling for the cab section.
  • Excellent deco.
  • Spectacular articulation given the base design.
  • The rifle fits properly!
  • The new Energon Axe accessory is very cool.


  • Some fans will not be happy about the elimination of the trailer's launching mechanism.

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