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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kamen's review: Big Convoy

Name: Big ďOne Mech ArmyĒ Convoy
Function: Bad ass Maximal Supreme Commander
Subgroup: Beast Wars Neo Ultra Beasts

Big Convoy, the Convoy warrior known as the one man army, is astoundingly powerful, but prefers being alone, heading onto battlefields by himself. He wields a Big Cannon, which can blitz enemies with a single shot. On orders from Vector Sigma, Big Convoy has been appointed as an instructor to a group of young warriors.

Ah, Big Convoy, leader of the Cybertron (Maximal) squad that was sent to discover the fate of Lio Convoy in the Beast Wars Neo cartoon, has only recently appeared in transformers fiction outside of Japan as a member of the bi-partisan committee on Cybertron in Beast Wars: The Ascending. Sadly, his part was rather small, and he never received his beast mode, instead transforming into a spider-tank. With the conclusion of that series, itís unlikely that he will return.

Because I have a soft spot for bad ass characters with ludicrous amounts of weaponry who transform into fuzzy-wuzzies, Big Convoy kinda became the ultimate figure from the Beast Era. While he was out; however, I could not afford to import him; I could only pine from afar. Which is more-or-less the same story with the rest of the Beast Wars Neo figures. All of them turned into unique or unusual animals (giraffe, horse, penguin, snake), and I did manage to pick a few of them up once I had the finance to fuel my addic-er, hobby. Big Convoy, however, continued to elude me by either being out of stock or insanely expensive, sometimes both. But perseverance had the advantage and I eventually found him, on e-bay of all places, for a decent, though still expensive, price. We know how that turned out; otherwise, we wouldnít be here now, eh?

Yes, he is mine at last. Though once I opened the box I was surprised to find that he has only one mode...

Army Mode:

Like nearly every other holder of the Convoy (Japan's name for Prime) title, Big Convoy comes in shades of red, white, and blue. These primary colours are much less prominent than one might imagine, though. White is only prominent on his lower legs and his right forearm. In both cases, it is juxtaposed with darker colours; red, grey, and brown for the latter and grey and gold for the former. Red comes in two types: the classic ďPrimeĒ red and a translucent affair. The shades give the figure a good contrast, especially on those parts where red is superior to the other colours. Blue, actually a metallic blue, only appears sparingly on his toes, sternum, and head where it offers a nice contrast to the other plainer colours. Black, grey, and gold take on most of the detail and filler work, accenting sculpting and breaking up the play between the other colours. The addition of a shiny silver decal over each eye simulates light-piping...in reverse! Really, light from any source will reflect off his eyes. I wonít say they gleam like tusks in the night, but even in low light youíll know heís watching every breath you take...

The sculpting is quite good. Lots of mechanical bits, hydraulics and such, but Iím especially impressed with his arms. Both appear to be the same mold at a glance, only differentiated by the paint job, yet closer examination reveals tiny omissions or additions in the sculpt. This is the kind of subtle detail that really makes a figure grand in my opinion. Iíll also mention Big Convoyís head sculpt, which, aside from being a more bulky version of the classic Prime helmet, features extended antenna that mimic his beast formís tusks. Open his chest for an eyeful of pretty swell detailing and a removable Matrix done in gold chrome with a red plastic center.

He does have quite a bit of kibble hanging off his shoulders and legs. However, most of it is has nice mechanical detailing on the visible surfaces. Those that donít, the beast mode legs, arenít really hidden but from most angles the eye is draw to the robot parts. Too far to either side or the back, though, and you will be met with a wall of beast parts. Kibble is inevitable with any figure, Beast Era figures being especially prone. Fortunately, the overall strengths of the mold keep the excess kibble from being an overwhelming eye-sore, and in some instances--the mammoth tusks on his shoulders--manage to give him a striking profile.

An immobile army is merely a standing target. With that philosophy in mind, Big Convoy wants not for articulation. Each arm has four points, including wrist movement (sadly only a hinge joint). His head rest on a ball joint, and can look any direction but up due to an obstruction behind his head. Surprisingly, Big Convoy even has waist articulation! His legs have a whopping six (!) points, with ball joints on both his toe and spur for maximum balancing. Basically, Big Convoy can bring the pain from any number of positions, and the only thing that will save your ass is the moment of indecision whilst he chooses the implement of your destruction.

Will it be by hip cannon? Tuifa? Maybe a double blast from his signature Big Cannon? Perhaps heíll opt for the Marquess of Queensberry rules or just beat you the old-fashion way: brutally! Your options are cake or death, and heís out of cake.

Alternatively...

Big Convoy can turn into a green-eyed mammoth and gore you with his tusks or throw you about with this tough rubber trunk. Sadly, his mobility in this form reduces to zero, as every part of his beast kibble locks into place to hide his robot parts. He makes up for it by having very convincing sculpted hair, typical of Beast Era figures, and tusks (also non-gleaming) that are lined and grooved for a worn appearance. The two shades of brown look nice, dark on top and light on the bottom, but the abrupt division, a straight line across his body like he walked through a pool of bleach, is somewhat jarring.

Still, should you try to take advantage of his immobility and head for the hills, youíre in for a surprise. A swift shift of parts, and Big Convoy can bring the biggest and baddest of his weapons to bear, sprouting from his forehead like a massive pimple of DOOM!

Game. Set. Match.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: Tricky the first time through, but still quite intuitive. Everything locks securely. 6

Durability: No problems as yet. He feels very sturdy. Iíd only worry about the rubber used for his trunk degrading over time. 8

Fun: His beast and weapon modes are only so-so, though they still look nice (and mammoths are awesome!). Robot mode is where the majority of the fun is to be had, and there is much. 9

Price: Big Convoy (and his redecos) is no longer available except through internet sites like e-bay, where he can run anywhere from $45 to several hundred for the Black or Universe redeco. I got mine for around $50, and am not disappointed. As with all older figures, itís up to you what you want to lay down. X

Overall: Iíve been waiting years for an opportunity to pick this guy up. I can happily say that Big Convoy was well worth the wait! 9
 
 
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