Cliffbee.com: Big Convoy Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Big Convoy
Series: Beast Wars Neo
Allegiance: Cybertron
Alternate Mode: Woolly Mammoth

Thanks to kup for loaning me Big Convoy for this review.



MAMMOTH MODE
Height: 13cm Length: 24cm Width: 11cm

   A brown woolly mammoth fading to tan at the bottom, Big Convoy has curly ivory tusks and small green eyes. The top parts are composed of a brown plastic and the bottom parts tan, the paint wash transition between the two colours is perfect. His toenails are painted white. The colours are essentially realistic - close enough at least - although they might not be spot on for the mammoth, they're pretty close for a creature that hasn't walked the earth for thousands of years.

   As you might expect, Big Convoy looks more or less like a walking shag-rug (as Ironhide succinctly put it). He's a big heavy lump covered in woolly fur moulding, with two tusks on the front, a soft plastic truck and hinged ears. There's also a brown tail on his rump which is hinged, but you're best not looking at it since from behind there's some robot kibble visible. From any other angle (other that below, of course), he looks quite convincing, as plastic mammoths go.

   To be honest, there's not really much I expect of this sort of beast mode, although Big Convoy does have some play value. The tail lifts and the ears can flap back and forth, as mentioned. You can also pull back on the ears which will cause the tusks to lift up - each side is a separate mechanism. There's a lever concealed on top of his head, pulling it back will cause the soft trunk to lift up - this is my favourite gimmick in this mode. There's pretty much no leg movement, since any shifting will open the mass of panelling that sits on his sides. You can lift out the crown of the head, trunk and tail as one section and turn it around so the trunk hangs out the back and a missile launcher under his rump aims forward. The overall effect is kind of bizarre, and I prefer leaving the launcher for robot mode.

   A good mammoth mode overall, but the panelling on his side is a little easy to crack open. There are also triggers for his robot mode shin-launchers visible on the sides, ruining the illusion slightly, especially since they're brown while the surrounding panel is tan. Still, on the whole this is a pretty good mammoth mode that's quite believable, which is what you'd expect of a BW Neo beast mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   A complex shellformer, basically. The short version is you unfold the entire toy and remove the trunk-missile launcher assembly. The arms fold out from the mammoth hips, the legs are underneath the beast and the panelling ends up decorating the robot. It's far too much to cover every step here. The reverse transform back into mammoth mode is probably the most difficult and fiddly transformation ever, since you've basically got to fold the robot up into a ball and get everything in exactly the right spot or it just wont work. The instructions describe transforming _into_ robot mode with no text, only outline drawings, despite the toy being sold in robot mode - and hence are absolutely useless.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 23cm Width: 27cm

   Now a mix of white, red and blue with brown and tan panels hanging off the edges, Big Convoy has a transparent red chest with a Maximal (Cybertron) symbol in the middle, flanked by gold chrome. The colours are suitably heroic, harking to the colours used on pretty much every Cybertron Commander since Convoy (Optimus Prime). His head is blue with a silver mouthplate, his eyes are gold. The tusks sit on his shoulderblades and point out to either side, hence the impressive width of this robot mode. Other than the tusks, the beast kibble includes the brown shoulderblades (mammoth cheeks), tan missile launcher panels on the outsides of his shins and tan beast forelegs hanging off his thighs. For the most part the kibble stays out of the way and the clever use of the side panels and cheeks as robot mode features actually enhances the look of this toy - which looks really good.

   Of course, he's almost the definition of a shellformer - since the Neo line really advocated the concept and this is the flagship toy. There are a few panels on his back and the gun is a mess of panels, and trunk with a missile launcher wedged in the middle. The gun is huge and heavy with a weird disc-trigger so not only is it tough for him to hold, it's harder still to fire whilst he's holding it. I'd actually recommend removing it although or just leaving it on his back.

   Not that the missile launcher is the only weapon on his arsenal. There are white spiked clubs that fold out from beast panels under his forearms, giving him wrist-mounted melee weapons, and of course a set of launchers on the shins that will fire crossbow shaped red missiles about a metre. His transparent chest plate folds down to reveal a chrome gold and transparent red "matrix, which can be removed and grasped in both hands. This is the first removable matrix accessory, and really adds to the toy.

   This is a very articulated robot mode - the neck, shoulders, elbows and hips are ball joints. There are hinges below the elbows, at the ankles, on the heelspurs, both above and below the knees and and on his wrists. Above the his twin-hinged knees are swivels, and there's another at the waist. So the poseability is in theory excellent, although the various mammoth bits here and there hinder some joints. Nothing is too restricted, but you have to make sure you move the kibble first for a lot of poses. The hindlegs of the mammoth can actually act as extra heelspurs of sorts to stabilise the toy if you like, although this will ruin the illusion from side on. You might find he'll stand up a lot easier without the massive gun assembly.

   The robot mode surfaces are all well sculpted, with pistons, hoses and other mechanical detail, surpassing the well sculpted beast mode. Attention to detail was something of a feature of BW Neo, so again it makes sense that this flagship mould features an excellent sculpting.

   It's immediately obvious that time and effort went into this toy, which is poseable, majestic and detailed. The play value is great despite the main weapon being a spectacular failure - the matrix more than saves the day. The colours are thoughtful, the kibble is extensive but well dealt with.

VARIATIONS

   None that I know of, although Universe Nemesis Prime is a repaint of Big Convoy.

OVERALL

   A fantastically complex toy, and one that takes the shellformer concept to it's pinnacle - making for a transformation that's very complex and in a way excessive. The mammoth mode has more play value than it's entitled to and the robot mode is poseable and a lot of fun. The matrix and robot mode colours make this flagship toy work well despite the limitations of the shellformer transformation. If you're a fan of Beast Wars toys I'd recommend this toy. I'm not sure if you'd want both this and Nemesis Prime - but for Neo fans this toy is recommended either way - 9/10, losing some for the kibble-gun.

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