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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Clay's review of: BWII Lio Convoy

Name: Lio Convoy
Affiliation: Cybertron
Function: Super-Mega-Ultra-Supreme- Zenith-Grand-Galaxy-Commander

Honest, with a strong sense of right and wrong, though there are times when his seriousness appears humorous. Lioconvoy has a harsh, career-military side to him, but also has a humane gentleness. There are times when he behaves as if he knows something about the secrets of the planet where the battle is taking place.

Part of the same BW binge that netted me Tripredacus also caused me to end up with a Lio Convoy. The ebay auction for this was infinitely less ideal, though. I'm not going to dwell on that, or let it sour my opinion of the toy.

As for the background of the figure itself, the whole Mainframe Beast Wars series was a Canadian/US product, so Takara/Japan had to import the series as it was dubbed. Between the time the first season of Beast Wars was being aired in Japan and the beginning of the dubbing process for the second and third seasons (which were combined into one series called BW Metals), Takara had a traditional hand-animated cartoon series called Beast Wars II thrown together as a filler.

This line featured all the Cybertrons as beasts (using only the toys not featured in the actual BW series), and the Destrons as a more traditional vehicle force (comprised mostly of old G2 molds that hadn't been released in Japan up to that point). To the best of my knowledge, there were only two entirely new molds for this line (Lio Convoy and Galvatron), along with some remolds of pre-existing BW figures.

Meow

Lio Convoy's alternate mode is a white lion. This has some significance in that it really represents the only instance of a Convoy character having a predatory alternate mode. This is obvious for the various BW characters, but it holds true for the vehicular characters, too: they're always civilian machines (trucks, cars, etc), and never military (tanks and planes). Lio Convoy being an exception doesn't actually mean anything in regards to the design itself, but it's food for thought. (heh, a pun). The only exception to this is the G2 Hero Optimus figure, but for a completely different reason (the figure has no way to hide the big air-launched missle in the alt mode).

As for the toy itself, it's of fairly decent size, easily on par with Optimus Primal or Big Convoy. This mode doesn't feature much articulation outside of the legs, but it does contain a few action features: The lion mane can flip out and spin around when you press a button, four missle launchers can be deployed (also out of the mane), and another button can activate the lion's mouth.

Aside from all of that, the molding on the toy is very intricate, what with all that hair carved in. The only negative cosmetic aspect is that the robot chest serves as the lion's chest, so it's not well hidden. It doesn't bother me much, but I'm not that concerned with well-hidden alternate modes to begin with. If it can fake looking like something else from at least one angle, it's fine to me.

Autobots, transform and play with my pen!

Ah, the robot mode. One glance at the head instantly identifies this as some descendant form of an Optimus Prime/Convoy character. The transformation process itself is fairly simple: The robot chest flips down, the part with the lion head, back, and tail flips down and rotates a bit, and the robot chest goes back up. Considering this was Takara's first attempt at a toy for Beast Wars, it's a fairly decent job. The big problem is that the shoulders do not fasten securely to the torso. Instead, they're harbored in a cage to keep them from moving around too much. It works, but it could have been a lot better.

On the bright side, it's a great robot mode. The asymmetrical design works really well, and he has a lot of molded details (including a matrix in his chest). All of the missle launchers still work (two are detachable, and the other two are mounted on the arms), it can still perform the mane-spin gimmick, and the lion forelegs mounted under the robot arms have spring-loaded blades in them. This level of armament puts him equal with Optimus Primal, I think. He's ball-jointed pretty much all over, so articulation is not a problem. All in all, a great mode for strutting around the toyshelf in.

This figure was also repainted twice: As "Flash Lio Convoy" for the BW II movie, and as "Black Lio Convoy" for some episodes of the series with some sort of evil twin subplot (this is about the limit of my knowledge). Both were Toys-R-Us Japan exclusives, so they're somewhat rarer than the normal version. It's also worth mentioning that the basic version was available in the US directly from Hasbro's website, along with Galvatron and some others. Mine came in the Takara packaging with a big sticker that said "Hasbro, INC. Pawtucket, RI", so I'll gamble it originated there.

Finally, a smaller version of Lio Convoy has been released in the Robot Masters line. I've since obtained that toy as well, and it's drastically better in terms of engineering, sculpting, and durability.

Transformation: 6. It's pretty straightforward, but the shoulder joints could have been better.
Durability: 6. Again, because of the shoulder joints, it makes me a bit nervous when falls off the shelf.
Fun: 9. Again, it's the shoulder joints that limit the toy. You can be fiddling around with it, and the whole upper carriage will slide a bit causing the shoulders to swing free.
Price: 9. For an old import of a Japan-only Convoy figure, this goes pretty cheap. Just be patient, and you can eventually find one on ebay for around $20-$25 total.
Overall: 6. One of Takara's first attempts at "Kenner-Style" transformers, and it shows in places. They would get a lot better at it with Beast Wars Neo, and subsequently Car Robots, but they had to start somewhere. The real saving grace for this toy is that it's a Convoy, so there is some premium to it. If it were just another figure, it would probably be more forgetable. Still, it is a nice toy overall, with more positive attributes than negative. If you were interested in the figure before you read this, I can recommend it with confidence.

However, with the Robot Masters' version out and more readily available than this version, (and cheaper too), there's really no reason whatsoever to seek this one out anymore. I've since given the big one away and kept the RM version for myself. That should say enough about the differences.

To see all the gimmicks in action, watch this commercial featuring Lio Convoy and Galvatron!
 
 
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